The Orchestration of Communication during a Change Process

Communications Professional ‘s Role in the Orchestration of Communication during a Change Process


Nowadays, as the concern universe becomes more competitory, the engineering more advanced and innovated, and an organisation ‘s stakeholders more sophisticated, a high grade of organisational adaptability to alter is strongly advocated so that an organisation is less likely to dawdle behind and is hopefully to accomplish better public presentation.

This paper focuses on the function of communications professional in the orchestration of all signifiers of communications during a alteration procedure and supplying general guidelines which communications professional can follow to better orchestrate communicating efficaciously when alteration occurs within organisations, for the overall intent of accomplishing a competitory advantage and to better organisation public presentation.

First, brief account about the nucleus construct “ orchestration of communicating ” will be unveiled, followed by the designation of three phases of alteration procedure including “ unfreezing ” , “ traveling ” and “ refreezing ” based on Lewin ‘s three-step theory. Then relevant specific issues in each phase will be identified with presentation of appropriate illustrations so as to farther exemplify what communications professionals need to cover with and how to manage those issues, particularly hazards and menaces accompanied with alteration. And a brief sum-up of chief statements stated will be presented in the terminal.

Orchestration of Communication

Cees B.M. new wave Riel ( 1995, p.18-21 ) has stated the importance of “ Orchestration of all signifiers of corporate communicating through common get downing points ” in carry throughing effectual communicating and finally the overall organisation public presentation, and farther explained that “ common get downing points ” are the nucleus values which any signifiers of communicating within an organisation are based on and they will change harmonizing to different companies since the organisation ‘s existent and coveted individuality and image demand to be taken into consideration. He ( 2000, p.157-81 ) further argues that a sustainable corporate narrative is strongly recommended for working as an effectual attack to better quality of orchestration of communications between an organisation and its broad assortment of stakeholder groups, provided four standards ( relevant, realistic, sustainable and antiphonal ) are met.

Mike Wallace ( 2007 ) has defined orchestration as “ co-ordinated activity within set parametric quantities expressed by a web of senior leaders at different administrative degrees to incite, form, oversee and consolidate complex alteration across portion or all of multi-organizational system ” and emphasized the importance of coherency in the orchestration of communicating during a alteration procedure peculiarly in the public services.

Based on Van Riel ‘s work, Geller ( 2009 ) further explains the orchestra metaphor in that during a amalgamation ( one signifier of alteration ) “ instrumentalists ” are internal stakeholders, “ composer ( the dominant group ) ” is the 1 who writes the scheme, “ music director ” represents the communicating professional whose duty is to maintain all instrumentalists showing a symphonic music harmoniously, and “ audiences ” are external stakeholders. Nevertheless, specifying the function of communicating professional merely as “ music director ” , from my position, devalues the communicating professional during a alteration procedure, hence elaborate treatment and statement will be demonstrated in the undermentioned portion.

The Role of Communications Professional in the Orchestration of Communication in a Change Process

Whether a alteration can be successfully implemented and further rooted within organisation frequently rely to a great extent on communicating during the alteration procedure ( Cornelissen, 2003, p.201 ) , which indicates the necessity and importance of effectual orchestrated communicating.

Based on the orchestration metaphor, the function of communications professional can be categorized as either “ composer ” or “ music director ” during a alteration procedure. This portion will get down with placing the three phases of a alteration and so discourse the function of communications professional and the chief undertakings which they need to manage with, and farther to supply suggestions on how to cover with the relevant issues accompanied with a alteration, so as to accomplish effectual orchestration of all signifiers of communications among all stakeholders and finally to heighten organisation public presentation.

There are assorted sorts of definitions about the phases of alteration, harmonizing to Lewin ( 1958 ) , the phases of alteration can be classified as “ unfreezing ( the present province of an organisation ) ” , “ traveling ( to a new province ) ” and “ refreezing ( the new province ) ” . Compared with Lewin ‘s theoretical account, punctuated equilibrium theory can be considered as a more appropriate theoretical account of alteration procedure which is developed by Gersick ( 1991 ) , Miller and Friesen ( 1980 ) , and Tushman and Romanelli ( 1985 ) . Tushman and Romanelli ( 1985, p.171 ) explain the theory as “ organisations evolve through comparatively long periods of stableness ( equilibrium periods ) in their basic forms of activity that are punctuated by comparatively short explosions of cardinal alteration ( radical periods ) ” , which more dressed ores on changeless alteration happening within organisation from my apprehension. Here in order to clearly place relevant issues of alteration in each phase and the function of communications professional in orchestration of overall communications in each stage consequently, the classical theoretical account of Lewin ‘s three-step theory will be adopted because it can explicate both evolutionary and radical alteration more appropriately and moderately, to boot, as an drawn-out version of Lewin ‘s theoretical account, Lippitt ‘s stages of alteration theory ( 1958, see Appendix ) which focuses on the function of a alteration agent will be modified consequently and combined as a footing every bit good.

3.1 The Role of Communications Professional in the Orchestration of Communication in “ Unfreezing ” Process – Composer

The initial stage of a alteration procedure involves dissolving a current province within an organisation. As a communicating professional, three stairss are chosen from Lippitt ‘s stages of alteration theory and adjusted based on the specific duty of a communicating professional to accomplish effectual orchestration of communications: name the jobs which might happen in alteration, measure the motive and capableness for alteration particularly among internal stakeholders and compose the communicating scheme with senior direction.

And in all of the three stairss a communicating professional should do certain that stakeholder direction is underlined as the basis of orchestrated communicating. Furthermore, when sing all stakeholder groups, communicating professional demands to specify which stakeholder groups are the dominant 1s and set precedences harmonizing to the stakeholder saliency theoretical account which includes three elements: power, legitimacy and urgency ( Cornelissen, 2003 ) . Additionally, it is strongly recommended to communications professional that the in-depth apprehension of organisational “ inactiveness, content, doggedness and mutuality ” ( Weick and Quinn, 1999 ) is prerequisite for better understanding organisational alteration, which can be good for better developing a communicating scheme before implementing a alteration.

Undoubtedly, alteration might unleash emotions of stakeholders and excite acquisition ( Antonacopoulou and Gabriel, 2001 ) . However, in unfreezing procedure, it is frequently the instance that stakeholders do non ever welcome alteration, particularly employees who frequently resent and defy a alteration non because of alteration itself but of the feeling of uncertainness ( Cornelissen, 2003, p.207 ) , which would ensue in a broad assortment of jobs such as low committedness to the occupation or rumours among employees. Existing surveies ( Shapiro and Kirkman, 1999 ; Folger and Skarlicki, 1999 ) have focused on the possible effects that a alteration could act upon on employees ‘ negative feelings peculiarly opposition due to the prevenient unfairness. Therefore a communicating professional shoulders the duty of naming these possible jobs accompanied with a alteration. Both qualitative techniques such as focal point groups and quantitative techniques like questionnaires can be employed to research and place possible barriers and hazards caused by alteration. For case, employee attitude studies can be conducted to measure internal motive and capableness for alteration ( Schneider et al. , 1996 ) which can be considered as a resource to foretell how good internal stakeholders can manage the alteration and farther to help communications professional to compose a well-designed and executable communicating undertaking.

Having collected the overall information and feedback from stakeholders particularly employees, a communicating professional with the wide information and in-depth cognition can compose elaborate communicating programs to orient to different stakeholders for the intent of orchestrating all signifiers of communicating. Therefore, in this phase it is strongly recommended that a communicating professional had better shoulder the duty of developing communicating scheme as a composer instead than merely being the music director.

However, it is frequently the instance that communications professional by and large and traditionally is perceived as facilitators whose occupation is to supply aid during the alteration procedure instead than as a composer who shoulders the duty of developing a communicating scheme. The undermentioned will take the international pharmaceutical corporation Astrazeneca as an illustration to exemplify the sad phenomenon. Recently, Astrazeneca is be aftering a restructure chiefly taking to downsize ( radical alteration ) , which will doubtless ensue in puting off employees worldwide. After the brief debut about the restructure and a short conversation with Amanda who is one of the communicating professionals about her function and her major undertakings in this alteration procedure, it is let downing to recognize that she shoulders the duty chiefly as a “ music director ” whose occupation is to transport out the scheme developed by top direction alternatively of take parting in the decision-making procedure, and to maintain every section and each member of Astrazeneca international group aware of the alteration. From my position, it would be much better and good for the organisation if a communicating professional at least has entree to co-compose the scheme when the organisation plans to originate a radical alteration such as a major restructure in this instance in that a competent communicating professional has insight into the effectual integrating of all signifiers of communications which is highly of import in the ulterior alteration procedure since informing the alteration to all stakeholder groups is ineluctable. Besides, the message delivered to all stakeholders should be consistent and consistent, which can be better managed by communicating professional instead than several directors from different sections because they of course tend to comprehend their ain departmental involvements as precedence alternatively of the organisation ‘s overall strategic involvement ( Van Riel, 2000 ) .

3.2 The Role of Communications Professional in the Orchestration of Communication in “ Traveling ” Process – Composer and Conductor

The passage to the new province involves a series of deduction of the alteration in the daily patterns or might even interrupt the deep construction of an organisation ( if the alteration is radical ) , and particularly during this phase, certain practical issues both predictable and unpredictable will originate. Having been derived and refined from Lippitt ‘s stages of alteration theory, two stairss need to be addressed to better orchestrate the overall communicating between an organisation and its stakeholders in passage stage of a alteration procedure: do certain that the intent and message of alteration are understood systematically among all stakeholders, and detect practical jobs and prosecute relevant stakeholders in order to polish the old communicating programs consequently.

The first and first undertaking for communications professional is to guarantee that the chief end and all the information of a alteration are delivered to, shared and understood clearly in the same manner among all stakeholders. de Geus ( 1997 ) , Macrae ( 1996 ) and Shrivastava ( 1995 ) states the necessity and essentialness for an organisation to pass on with all its stakeholders harmonizing to a holistic policy. And during the execution phase of alteration, it seems even more of import in that alteration is likely to bring forth confusion, rumor and even chaos among stakeholders if the chief intent and the relevant messages of alteration are non claimed and informed clearly and systematically. Therefore, orchestration of all signifiers of communicating are extremely demanded and doubtless the communications professional should shoulder this duty as a music director to inform instrumentalists and audience what the show is and meanwhile to maintain all the instrumentalists playing their ain instruments good so that the orchestrated symphonic music is harmonically presented and can accomplish a great success in the terminal. Here sense devising in organisations can be an effectual attack which includes two stairss: scanning and interpretation, to do certain that there is a common apprehension of an organisation ‘s nucleus values and aims, otherwise superior public presentation is difficult to be accomplished ( Weich, 1995 ) .

However, walking the talk is much more complex and hard than simply speaking because as the organisational boundaries become less clear both internally and externally presents, one time alteration happens in one portion of an organisation it will largely bring forth certain effects on others, which can be called “ co-evolutionary alteration ” ( Jackson, 2006, p.256 ) . A communicating professional needs to take all the linkages and mutuality bing among persons, squads and sections within an organisation when pull offing emergent alteration ( Yeow and Jackson, 2006 ) , and the intensely tight mutuality between internal and external universe needs sing every bit good. Otherwise, incoherent and contradictory messages are more likely to be delivered to both internal and external stakeholders, which would perchance take to negative and inconsistent image among its stakeholders. Take the baccy company BAT for case, it presented its glamourous fiscal public presentation and redundancy of 123 staff in the same newspaper in the same twenty-four hours ( Van Riel, 1995, p.5 ) , which would likely bring forth a contradictory and negative feeling about the company among both internal and external stakeholders, particularly employees and clients in this instance, who would be less likely to swear the company, allow entirely back up it. From this large error, it is noted that specializers in different sections such as employee communicating, imperativeness dealingss, selling communicating, investor dealingss within an organisation peculiarly large corporation are non to the full capable of bring forthing and presenting coherent or consistent communicating messages ( Van Riel, 2000 ) . One account for this is that different sections instinctively tend to concentrate on their ain involvements instead than the overall benefits of the organisation as mentioned already. In order to extinguish the possible hazard of presenting baffled or contradictory messages peculiarly during the passage phase, communications professional demand to incorporate and orchestrate all signifiers of communicating ( Nowak and Phelps 1994 ; Schultz et Al. 1994 ) . And in footings of orchestration of the relevant message of a alteration, certain attacks can be employed to accomplish the coherency and consistence. For case, ocular coherency can be realized through house-style guidelines ( Olins, 1989 ) . Furthermore, in a wide sense, the organisation ‘s overall communicating can be orchestrated by using common get downing points, concerted constructions for communicating decision-making and common operational systems ( van Riel, 1997 ) during this phase of alteration procedure.

In add-on, in the passage phase communications professional demands to carefully detect and oversee the whole alteration procedure so as to place practical jobs, and closely engage relevant stakeholders every bit good to roll up all the feedback and resources available, so that the old communicating programs can be refined and recomposed consequently. In this stage, group coordination, frequent and continual communicating, and feedback from relevant stakeholder groups are the indispensable factors ( Lippitt, 1958 ) .

Actually, an organisation which equips itself with high stakeholder direction capableness frequently engage multiple stakeholder groups in planing and implementing communicating procedures ( Freeman, 1984, p.78 ) , and such organisation explicitly involves stakeholders and negotiates with them on critical issues ( Van Riel, 2000, p.160 ) , which can be considered as a highly good attack during the passage phase.

3.3 The Role of Communications Professional in the Orchestration of Communication in “ Refreezing ” Process – Composer and Conductor

Refreezing phase of a alteration involves incorporating the alteration into the organisational civilization, which requires communications professional to supervise continuously and to pass on both internally and externally so as to do certain that the alteration can be reinforced and the integrating of alteration into organisational civilization can be perfected every bit good. In making so, communications professional have to shoulder the duty as a music director who keeps each single instrument participant showing a symphonic music non merely harmonically but besides routinely wholly, which can finally bring forth an competitory advantage and achieve a better fiscal public presentation. Cobweb attack can be employed every certain period to mensurate whether there is a spread between the coveted consequence which the alteration is expected to bring forth and the existent circumstance which the alteration have already shaped, based on which specific communicating programmes can be initiated by communications professional consequently.

In the interim, communications professionals should see themselves every bit composers as good for the ground that in today ‘s extremely competitory and unpredictable universe, any organisation should fix themselves for changeless alteration ( Drucker, 1993 ; Weick and Qyinn, 1999 ) , therefore necessitating communications professional continuously to pay attending to both internal and external demands and force per unit area which encourage an organisation to alter. As a composer, communications professional had better communicate and prosecute stakeholder groups on an on-going footing, taking their feedbacks and sentiments into consideration to fix a mature and well-developed communicating scheme for farther alteration so that the organisation have the capableness to maintain up with the penchant of audience and fulfill their demands.


Surveies from assorted positions have acknowledged the demand for using holistic and integrative attacks in pull offing alteration ( Worren, Ruddle and Moore, 1999 ) , which farther emphasizes the significance of communicating orchestration. Harmonizing to Jackson ( 2010 ) , the function of communications professional is to efficaciously orchestrate all signifiers of corporate communicating so as to carry through a competitory advantage in the fast-changing and extremely disruptive concern universe presents, in the interim to maintain reconfiguring the internal resources when facing alterations.

Having realized the necessity and importance of alteration, and based on what has been illustrated above, it can be concluded that in a wide sense, the function of communications professional is both a composer and a music director for the ground that they non merely command the whole communicating undertakings and maintain participants seting on a show harmonically but should besides be included in the senior strategic direction to develop the communicating scheme in the first topographic point to stress the essentialness and significance of orchestrated communicating particularly during a alteration. However, it is sad world that organisations normally consider the function of communications professionals as coordination and supervising of assorted communicating programmes alternatively of composing the scheme along with senior direction ( van Riel, 1997, p.304 ) . Therefore, the first and first thing is demanded to be done desperately is for senior direction to to the full acknowledge both the cardinal function of communications professional and orchestrated communicating played in finding whether an organisation can successfully implement a alteration to carry through a brilliant fiscal public presentation.

However, depending on varied signifiers of alteration and different organisations, communications professionals had better fix themselves to shoulder different duties and to develop specific scheme which can be tailored to cover with a broad assortment of jobs accompanied by alteration, which is non allowed to province in item due to the infinite and clip restraint in this survey.


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