Internal communication practices during an organizational change. Case: cooperation negotiations in a marketing agency

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School of Economics | Master's thesis
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International Business Communication
International Business Communication
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Objective of the study The objective of the study was to investigate internal communication practices in a company operating in the marketing communications field. The case company was a marketing and advertising agency, which had gone through cooperation negotiations followed by an organizational change. More specifically, the aim of the study was to answer three specific research questions: 1) How do employees perceive the internal communication practices (channel choice, quality, quantity, and frequency of information)? 2) What is the role of internal communication before, during, and after the cooperation negotiations? 3) How could cooperation negotiations be communicated to maintain the commitment of the remaining employees to the new organization? Methodology and the Theoretical Framework This study used a qualitative single case design. Semi-structured interviews were used as the data collection method. In total five interviews were conducted in the case company’s office in Helsinki. The interviewees were employed by the same unit of the case company before the organizational change. The theoretical framework of the study was modified from Yates’s (2006) Hierarchy of Effective Communication. The framework was based on a hierarchy of important factors for effective communication. The pyramid defines five steps driving employee behaviour and engaging them to change through organized internal communication. Findings and Conclusions The main internal communication practices of the case company consisted of weekly newsletters and meetings within units. The internal communication was however considered unorganized. Also, the frequency of information was slow and the open communication climate was missing. Lack of information before, during and after the cooperation negotiations resulted in anxiety among the employees. Consequently, the frequency of information had an effect on the employee engagement. To further engage employees, a communication schedule stating the steps of the cooperation negotiations and expectations are preferred. Recommendations for improving internal communication practices in the case company include organized, relevant and open communication in order to influence employee engagement especially during organizational change.
international business communication, internal communication, change communication, organizational change, employee engagement, cooperation negotiations
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