EIRP Proceedings, Vol 9 (2014)

Managerial Communication

in the Context of Organizational Change

Mirela Arsith1

Abstract: The hypothesis from which we start in initiating our approach is that according to which managerial communication is an important tool to change an organization's strategy. Our purpose is to argue in favor of the fact that this type of communication contributes significantly to adjusting the attitudes and changing behaviors of the organization members. In the context of change, managerial communication should be transformative, in order to ensure the adaptation of the organization to a new extra-organizational environment, which is, in turn, towards a significant change. What we intend to highlight is the fact that communicative interaction must occur at all levels and to be forceful, visionary and empathetic, to maintain wellness in the organization, as the essential element of the organizational change is the human change. Whatever the type of change - unplanned, planned, imposed, negotiated or participatory – it is very important to harmonize the measures of change between each other and with the processes that normally take place in the organization. Finally, we propose a case study that reveals the role of the transformative leadership and communication in the successful implementation of the new strategy.

Keywords: managerial communication; change; organizational trust; transformative communication

1. Introduction

The changes of the objectives and strategies of an organization are generated by the search of new markets or introducing new products. “When operating a change, it must be united every time with changing individuals” (Stanciu & Ionescu, 2005, p. 86). The success of any organizational change depends on the pace of adaptation and change of the people. “The change involves a sequence of organizational events or psychological process that unfolds in time.” (Johns, 1998, p. 526)

Changes can be unplanned, then they are not initiated or planned by the management; it they are anticipated, they can be properly prepared. Also, changes may be required by the leaders, but also negotiated, when two or more people or groups discuss the measures which will be introduced, the obtained benefits and the costs from the point of view of all people concerned. There is a participative change when people want to know what changes are prepared, thus being able to influence those changes affecting them, through discussion and consultation.

Knowing the conducting framework of the change it reduces the anxiety of the members of the organization and it supports the feelings of control over their lives, of participation, the effect of reducing the resistance to change. Also, the change of organizational success depends on the quality of managerial communication, which must provide permanently the understanding of the organization’s members’ concerns and their experienced difficulties.

2. Managerial Communication Strategies in terms of Organizational Change

Aline Fortin defines the power in organizations as the maximum influence that an agent can exert on another agent in a given area. “The organizational actors do not involve in such a relationship to display their forces, but to achieve their goals” (apud Cismaru, 2008, p. 58). Managerial communication, used efficiently, can become an instrument of organizational power.

Managerial communication represents more than 70% of the manager’s activity. Managerial communication can help motivate the employers, build confidence, create a common identity or increase personal involvement; it provides to individuals a way to express feelings, share hopes and ambitions and to celebrate and remember the achievements. The specific of the managerial activity, the position taken in the company, determine the weight of the concrete forms of communication that the manager assumes.

Thus the information communication is one of integration and maintenance, which provides the structure of systems, procedures, rules, information, which grants stability to the organization. Information communication should be characterized by precision and rigor.

Another form of managerial communication is of coordination, control, training and influence, which is designed to ensure productivity to the activities. It is characterized by determination, ability to stimulate and empower.

There is also influencing communication, relating, fitting and maintaining. It has an important emotional content and it is characterized by expressiveness, openness and empathy. This type of communication proposes as finality to ensure a productive work environment, and also motivating and developing human capital. (Cândea & Cândea, 2005, p. 159)

2.1. Transformative Communication

Transformative communication is specific to implementing changing periods, representing not only a tool, but also a state of mind able to shape attitudes and behaviors. This type of communication should take place permanently, continuously and directly, with minimal disturbances.

Communication channels must be multiple and varied, as they have to call different people in different ways. Therefore, it is important for the entire management to be involved in the communication campaign and support the change.

The transformative communication must transmit the change purpose, the way of conducting it, its progress, but also the difficulties and the failures, in order to increase credibility.

A significant dimension of transformative communication is the affective one, and therefore it must have a supportive feature. The change affects people's lives and there are plenty of situations where they can cause significant inconveniences. In this context, the change leader uses communication both to implement change and to reduce the stress that can generate the change process.

Rodica Cândea & Dan Cândea (2005, p. 256) say that the support of the change must be based on emotional routines:

  • actions of expressing empathy, in order to stimulate the employees’ receptivity to change and the increase of their power to renounce of what it was before;

  • the actions to increase hope, able to increase the mobilization of organization’s members in the direction of change, as a result of strengthening the confidence into the new;

  • actions to create an enthusiast, pleasant, comfortable environment, able to develop the employees’ creativity in adopting new attitudes and behaviors that ensure the stability of change;

  • actions to develop the attachment, in order to stimulate loyalty in the new form that the organization adopted.

In terms of an organizational change process, the manager has, on the one hand, the role to initiate, organize and manage the implementation and make permanent the change, and on the other hand, to be careful and manage the effects of these changes onto the subordinates.

2.2. Strengthening the Organizational Trust under the Changing Conditions

At the organizational level, trust is the ability to rely on someone, to believe in equals and managers. The organizational cultures who value open communication and inclusion will support managerial behaviors such as: cooperation, sharing information, discussing problems. These cultures will support trustworthy behavior.

Communication and the amount of information disseminated by the employees are important factors of organizational trust. If an employee is included in a network where the flow of essential information is higher, he can feel a greater organizational trust.

The organizational trust depends on managerial communication factors such as:

  1. the accuracy of the information - employees gain confidence when communicating bosses with employees is accurate and it has implications for the future;

  2. the amount of critical information disseminated by the employees - trust increases when the employee is included in a network where the information flow is greater;

  3. timeliness and frequency increase of communicating relevant information about resources, mobility jobs, etc.

  4. explaining decisions - trust increases when there is information and explanation of policies and decisions;

  5. honesty in communication – accepting problems and organizational or personal limitations, expressing the truth;

  6. opening - are perceived with more confidence in the managers that grant time to open communication with subordinates of opinions and feelings;

  7. the feedback which, when it is properly achieved, it denotes good observation skills and understanding; subordinates invest managers with a greater credibility, being willing to consider the remarks on performance;

  8. the possibility of expression of employees – exposing opinions when appropriate for decision making.

An important task of the manager is to make sense of the major concerns of the group and manage them positively. If, for example, solving a problem involves a blockage due to the members’ belief that they are not safe to speak openly, an effective leader labels the situation as lack of confidence and he takes action to build confidence within the group.

Charismatic and transformative leaders were more often associated with high levels of confidence as they are associated with certain behaviors:

  • he pays particular attention to the needs of subordinates and organizational constraints;

  • he connects the current needs of the employee to the organization's mission;

  • he evaluates the organization to see the possibilities of change.

The level of trust of the employees in their direct chiefs or in those from the highest hierarchical levels can influence their degree of identification with the organization’s objectives, complying with regulations and administrative procedures and their willingness to negotiate mutually satisfactory solutions in case of discrepancies or conflicts. The subordinates who invest trust in their leaders are more willing to accept the changes proposed by them.

3. The Role of Leadership in the Changing Process (Case Study)

Leadership is the deep force of any change. The impact that leadership has upon the changing process and the direction required for the change makes it a necessity. Therefore, managing the change has involved going over the following steps: preparing for change, accepting and understanding it, the achievement of the change proper and its institutionalization.

For “Prodix” Company, the emergence of new competitors on the market has triggered the need for a change. The manager of the company was aware that keeping the current status the organization would most likely determine its disappearance from the market. The old technology did not allow employees to be more efficient and fully satisfy their customers.

The production manager started from the premises that in order to successfully implement the change he must have an excellent cooperation with specialists in mechanics within the company, who would to assume the change as positive and necessary, being ready to be involved in its implementation.

The manager has initiated a series of discussions with these specialists in order to identify the best ways to achieve technological change. People felt involved, they came up with ideas and began to work together in order to introduce the change, becoming a team positioned at the center of the changing process.

The General Manager had discussion with employees in order to motivate and help them identify their doubts and problems. The motivation took place under the form of encouraging employees to participate in training courses so as to integrate the new technology in the organization.

Investing in these courses was considerable, but absolutely necessary.

Through an open managerial communication, the “Prodix” Company members elected to be leaders of the change, initiating a culture of involvement and learning. The change was not seen by employees as something negative, of which they should fear, but it was regarded as a natural fact that they accept openly.

Organizations need leaders who can clearly recognize the need for change, to have the vision of what an organization could become through change and to be able to provide motivation and direction that the organization must take in order to reach the desired results.

4. Conclusions

In a world in a constant change, as our world has become, managers must constantly rethink their action strategies in order to adapt to the external changes and to prepare staff to manage these changes. Cooperation between organization’s members is easier to achieve if they are listened to; they acquire the certainty that they and their problems matter. Through active listening the management benefits of feedback, and thus it can ascertain whether what it was communicated was received correctly, if the organization members are prepared to accept the change. The leader recognizes the need for change and he acts in the direction of reducing the obstacles of its implementation.

5. References

Cândea, R. & Cândea, D. (2005). Competenţele emoţionale şi succesul în management/Emotional competencies and success in management. Bucharest: Economică.

Cismaru, Diana-Maria (2008). Comunicarea internă în organizaţii/Internal communication in organizations. Bucharest: Triton.

Gary, Johns (1998). Comportamentul organizaţional/Organizational behavior. Bucharest: Economică.

Iacob, D. & Cismaru, D.-M. (2013). Comunicare managerială şi relaţii publice/Managerial Communication and Public Relations. Bucharest: SNSPA.

Mucchielli, Alex (2008). Comunicare în instituţii şi organizaţii/Communication in institutions and organizations. Iasi: Polirom.

Stanciu, Şt. & Ionescu, M. A. (2005). Cultură şi comportament organizaţional/Culture and organizational behavior. Bucharest: Comunicare.ro.

1 Associate Professor, PhD, Faculty of Communication and International Relations, “Danubius” University of Galati, Address: 3 Galati Boulevard, 800654 Galati, Romania, Tel.: +40.372.361.102, fax: +40.372.361.290, Corresponding author: arsith.mirela@univ-danubius.ro.


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