Kauppakorkeakoulu | Kielten ja viestinnän laitos | International Business Communication | 2010
Tutkielman numero: 12422
WHY DO WE NEED CHANGE? An analysis of the discursive practices and strategies of a multinational corporation in legitimizing a planned organizational change
|Otsikko:||WHY DO WE NEED CHANGE? An analysis of the discursive practices and strategies of a multinational corporation in legitimizing a planned organizational change|
|Vuosi:||2010 Kieli: eng|
|Laitos:||Kielten ja viestinnän laitos|
|Aine:||International Business Communication|
|Asiasanat:||yritysviestintä; business communication; kansainvälinen; international; kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; organisaatiomuutos; organizational change; diskurssianalyysi; discourse analysis|
|Avainsanat:||change communication, international business communication, legitimation, legitimacy, legitimation strategies, organizational change, strategic renewal, restructuring|
Objective of the Study: The objective of the study was to identify the specific discursive practices employed by the case company, a global elevator and escalator manufacturer, in legitimating its renewed strategy and a development and restructuring program to its internal and external stakeholders. The study aims to answer the following two questions: 1) What discursive strategies did the case company employ when legitimizing the planned organizational changes to its stakeholders in 2005-2007? and 2) Did the company legitimize the changes differently to different primary stakeholder groups?
Methodology and the Theoretical Framework: The data in this qualitative single case study comprised articles featured in the case company’s internal magazine, interim reviews, annual reports and a stock exchange release addressing the changes. The documents were analyzed by using qualitative content analysis to outline the company’s main arguments to justify the changes and to distinguish the specific discursive strategies used in constructing senses of legitimacy. After that, the observations made on the documents were compared to determine whether there were any differences in the case organization’s legitimizing practices when addressing different stakeholders.
The theoretical framework argues that the role of communication during organizational change is to promote willingness to change by reducing uncertainty. However, unlike previous literature suggests, informing stakeholders of the specifics of the change is not enough to convince them that the change is worth adopting, and hence legitimation of the change is also needed.
Findings and Conclusions: The analysis showed that the emphasis of the texts aimed at the two different stakeholder groups varied, as originally anticipated. Despite their different emphasis, the same set of legitimation strategies; authorization, rationalization, moralization, and narrativization, were used to frame the changes as inevitable. Contrary to previous research, instead of focusing on the positive aspects of the change, the legitimation efforts were tailored to reduce the concerns the stakeholders were expected to have due to the changes, which is also the main objective of change communication. This proves that even though change communication and legitimation have not been combined in academic literature before, the two concepts are, in fact, inseparable.
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