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Article Review - Distinguishing Effective Communication Strategies

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Managing uncertainty during         organizational change is an article published in Human Resource Management Journal in 1998. This article was written by Nicholas DiFonzo and Prashant Bordia. The authors of this article provide about ineffective strategies of communicating about organizational change (e.g., corporate restructuring, mergers, downsizing) are earmarked by the presence of pervasive rumors that flourish in a climate of uncertainty. In addition, this article provides using 15 structured field interviews with management and public relations personnel from multinational corporations, this article posits that successful programs of change communication hinge upon the proper management of uncertainty associated with change. The article also gives two detailed case studies are highlighted as opposing illustrations of change communication tactics that succeeded and failed. Effective change communication campaigns tend to reveal rather than conceal, reduce uncertainty through collective planning, and proactively establish and maintain trust.


The article begins with a discussion on argues that the key element distinguishing effective communication strategies is the proper management of uncertainty. Conversely, ineffective communication strategies err primarily in that they fail to adequately handle the uncertainty associated with organizational change. Also, this article further argue that such failed approaches are evidenced by an abundance of rumors.

In addition, this article will discuss about first, examine the connection between poor communication, widespread uncertainty, and the prevalence of rumors. Secondly, presenting the results of in-depth critical-incident interviews with communications professionals and management at large corporations. The core of this presentation is a detailed case study of an ineffective change communication episode that occurred in association with an extensive reorganization. Next, pay special attention to key aspects of effective change communication, namely, revealing rather than concealing behavior, collective planning, and trust. Finally, these aspects are then exemplified with the presentation of a detailed case study of an effective change communication strategy that occurred in conjunction with a downsizing.

The article then focuses on the present research explored the links between change, uncertainty, and rumor through an in-depth critical-incident case study methodology (Flanagan, 1954) in a limited number of organizational settings. Specifically, field interviews were conducted with public relations and top management personnel from 15 corporations represented in several large cities in the northeastern United States and in India.

However, researchers in this article conclude that rumors are a symptom of the uncertainty that often accompanies organizational change and persist or even flourish when poor communication strategies fail to adequately assuage this uncertainty. This article also states Executives were unanimous that morale had dropped, anxiety had been intense, and attitudes such as "you're going to get rid of me, so why should I continue to work so hard?" Had surfaced.



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