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Normes de communication en changement et rapport au travail : analyse des décalages

Abstract : Starting from a review of literature on the interwoven themes of internal communication and change, this communication highlights the apparent discrepancies between a managerial approach and a sociological approach in organizational change.This research was two phased. The first stage, starts from the classic definitions of change and the different phases of change defined by authors such as Lewin (1947), Isabella (1990), Meier (2007). Briefly, Lewin defines different phases in change in the following way. The first phase, unfreeze, implies that the announcement of change modifies the actor's usual frames of reference. The second stage, move, puts in place new frames, new models that will be fixed in the last phase, freeze. Despite the linearity and the consequences of this conception of change, a number of authors are still taking this three stages' concept as a basis for their analysis of change. They can be found under different denominations notably in Armenakis' work (2002); readiness, adoption and institution and in Vandangen and Derumez's work (1998); maturation, uprooting (déracinement) and taking root (enracinement).In addition to the temporality of change, these authors also highlight elements that play a key role in this period of transition. Different critical factors are addressed such as the role of rumors in situations of change (Bordia, et al., 2006), the influence of the direct supervisor in the internal acceptance of change (Guest, Hersey, Blanchard, 1977; Richardson, Denton, 1996; Morillon, 2006), participation in the decision making process (Giangreco, Peccei, 2005 ; Dent, Goldberg, 1991 ; Dupuy, 2004).Our objective is to demonstrate the role played by these various critical factors in the different phases of change, but also the often uniform and homogeneous way in which they are used by authors.Indeed, this first phase of the research, shows a vision of change with strong norms, very directional, where consideration for the human being and for well-being at work are not often addressed. Moreover, the role of internal communication is addressed in a very general and superficial manner (Richardson, Denton, 1996; Armenakis, Harris, 2002), established a set of norms to apply in change situations, notably by calling upon a constantly higher " commitment " and " motivation " in employees, notably in situations of change. In fact the models of change as approached by management have evolved little since 1947 despite significant research on this subject. They are largely based on an ideology of management, that is to say a predominant technical or instrumental rationality (Deetz, 1992).In addition, we find that the normativity with which communication on change is approached is different to the way that the individual places himself in his relation to work and to society in general.In the second stage of this research, we notice that today's organizations evolve in an environment of permanent controversy. A climate of general distrust has grown progressively coming from both external and internal factors. Indeed, this " return of doubt and distrust generates a distant relationship by employees towards their organizations " (Libaert, d'Almeida, 2004). The words " anxiety" and " stress " are most frequently used by French employees to define their relation to work (Libaert, Westphalen, 2009).This distrust is translated into visible resistance and less visible conflicts that are progressively taking place. They notably cover absenteeism, reduction in productivity, petitions and the refusal to work additional hours (Bonnet, 2008). These actions take the form of " apparent conflicts of silence, conflicts in the shade " (Groux, 2009, p.175).But such resistance also demonstrates the fact that work does not necessarily hold the central place in the individual's existence (Thévenet, 2000). The three central poles are still family, housing and work but they cannot be considered exclusively or interdependently (Aubert, De Gaujelac, 1991). Moreover this relation shows a lesser commitment to work than in the past but rather a relation to employment.A transition which is marked by a change in values with an increase in hedonist and individual values which place the employees' private life as a priority in their main concerns (Libaert, Westphalen, 2009). This can notably be explained by the fact that the needs of individuals have evolved, in particular leisure during out of work hours.These two antinomical perspectives of the relation to work can thus be confronted. Despite the fact that management may focus their discourse on a nearly " total " motivation and commitment by employees to their organization, the social effect underlined here shows a more reasoned commitment and adherence from employees towards their organization. A reasoned adherence, in appearance, which we can compare to continuance commitment (Allen, Meyer, 1997). This kind of commitment is pertinent in the sense that the employee analyses the consistency between his aims and values and those of the organization. It is thus a comparison between the costs and the benefits that the employee can take from his commitment to the organization and the costs and benefits that the employee would have if he were to end to his employment with the organization (Thévenet, 1992). Far from a " total " adherence, the individual would thus be situated in a more " reasoned " commitment towards his work and his organization.This discrepancy between the discourse centered on old norms and the evolution of the individual in his relation to work and the place he has in society should be central to present day reflection. Moreover these classical models continue to dominate education of change management and serve to increase the gap between the organization, the management and its " precious capital " (Weil, 1990).From a pragmatic standpoint, we finally highlight alternative ways of thinking in comparison to the models that currently exist in change management and communication.
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Christine Hambursin, François Lambotte. Normes de communication en changement et rapport au travail : analyse des décalages. Communiquer dans un monde de normes. L'information et la communication dans les enjeux contemporains de la " mondialisation "., Mar 2012, France. pp.108. ⟨hal-00825894v2⟩

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