Chapter 7. Communicating organizational change Information Technology Meets the Carbon-Based Employee Unit

Joseph G. Wojtecki, Jr., and Richard G. Peters

Abstract: Change is a constant reality in today's workplace, causing substantial psychological stress within a workforce concerned about its livelihood and quality of life. Against this backdrop is the information technology (IT) explosion, bringing its unprecedented capacity for disseminating information. Many managers are embracing e-mail, intranets, and other technological innovations as efficient solutions to the high communication demands during times of change. However, simply making information available is not the same as communication. People under stress can lose as much as 80 percent of their ability to process information. Situations in which concerns are high and trust is low call for as much attention to the methods of communicating as to the messages.

This article offers insights into why human resources need more low-tech communication during times of change. The research on risk communication provides nontraditional and sometimes counter-intuitive principles for avoiding some familiar pitfalls to effective internal communication.

Two powerful forces are surging through American enterprises with accelerating velocity: organizational change and information technology (IT). In the wake of organizational change often lies a workforce in turmoil, shaken by loss of employment security and loss of loyalty to seemingly uncaring ...

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