The Role Of Communication In Commitment Towards Change – A Case Study Of BT Group

In today’s competitive business world, the organizations have to face the issue of change management due to increased globalization, advancement in technology, changed rules and regulations and enhanced competition in market (Cheney et al, 2004). The organizations are in need of planned change that is a kind of change that is implemented through meaningful efforts (Cornelissen, 2014). The dynamic environment needs effective management of change within organization. Communication is a necessary part of change process, with having significant effect on success or failure of project. A main aspect to be considered during organizational change is getting employees for accepting new ways to do business and this is considered to be the most difficult part of change project (Cheney et al, 2004). Therefore, it is important for organizations to identify some effective practices through which change management can be done in an effective way within the organization. It is very important for management of organization to inform employees about change process, the reason of change, their role in that process and potential outcomes of change. This study has been done for identifying the important of communication with employees at the time of change management in order to enhance commitment of employees.


This research has following objectives.

To review previous studies about the role of communication in change.

To find out how communication has an impact on commitment to change management at BT Group.


This research will be done to fill the gap between literature of communication, change management and commitment. It has been suggested by Elving (2005) that there is a need of analyzing communication with employees as effective HR practice for successfully implement change in an organization. Similarly, Maheshwari and Vohra (2015) stated that there is a need of studying specific HR practice and its impact on commitment to change. In addition to this Maheshwari and Vohra (2015) also recommended for future research that future research must be done on one of the HR practices related to change and its positive impact on commitment to change. So, this research has identified this gap and this will focus on communication with employee as key HR practice and its impact on employee commitment. Hence, it will be of significant importance for academicians as it will minimize the gap. Moreover, managers of BT group will also get valuable insights about the role of communication in change management, hence, it will be of importance for them as well.

3.Literature review

Communication is important for effectively implementing organizational change (Schweiger and Denisi, 1991). It has been suggested by Miller (2014) that there are usually two main goals of organizational communication. One aim is informing employees regarding issues like their activities and policy of organization. Another aim is creating a society within an organization where every individual can share his or her view points and perceptions. When there is a need of bringing some change in an organization, then communication plays a very important role. In an organization, at the time of implementing any kind of change, the employees have to be informed and communicated about what will be changed, the ways through which changes will occur and also the changed environment that employees have to experience after implementing change. Particularly, when due to change implementation the tasks and functions performed by employees will be changed, then it is very important for HR managers to communicate employees about that change. So, it is the responsibility of managers to enhance communication at all levels of company.  This research will explore how communication is done for managing the change, effectively. The role of communication will be explored in the context of change management at BT Group.


Every research is based on any two or combination of two research method techniques. These techniques are referred as quantitative and qualitative methods. Both alternatives have their own advantages and disadvantages. In this research, qualitative research methods are used. The rationale for using the qualitative methods is that it allows to do in-depth examination of the research issue (Cooper and Schindler, 2007). It provides the subjective information, hence the data could be analyzed in accordance with the context of the study. It does not use the rigid variables hence the complex research issues could be answered with this (Creswell, 2009).  The research issues could be dealt in an effective manner through qualitative research. Though, there are few limitations of the qualitative research e.g. the element of bias could occur in qualitative research studies. But the researcher used the methods in a manner that bias is minimized. In opposite to this, quantitative studies has their own pros as it could provide more rigor and valid findings, but as per the nature of the research question, it was more appropriate to rely on qualitative data. The purpose was to do the in-depth analysis of role of communication in commitment to change, hence, it was considered appropriate to do qualitative inquiry for this research. From qualitative research methods, focus group discussion is selected for this study where 7 managers of BT Group has participated in this study.

5.Analysis and discussion

Due to the emergence of globalization, it has become compulsory for all kinds of organizations to experience changes both with respect to difficulty and dynamism. The change in an organization is required with respect to conditions of market, demographics of employees, technological development, lack of talent and changes in economy of country (Van Benthem et al, 2006). Thus, in order to gain competitive advantage, it has become important for BT group to change their strategies, standards and policies for aligning with changing needs of business environment. It was highlighted by one of the focus group members that:

“Through coping up with market environment, BT group can become capable of achieving long term sustainability and effectiveness.” (Focus group member 1).

From this, it can be analysed that in today’s business world, companies are forced for making and managing change in an effective and continuous way.

In organizations, despite there is a great need of managing and implementing change but about seventy percent of efforts regarding change do not get successful (Beer and Norhia, 2000). The focus group member highlighted that

 “From many years there is a consistency in the rate of failure and this failure is due to inadequate people management issues.”

As also told by Spiker and Lesser (1995), one of the major reasons behind failure in implementation of change is addressing issues related to people in an inadequate manner. The findings of interviewees highlighted that:

“Many times, such issues occur in BT group because many of us do not understand the important of such issues. Hence, they could not understand how important is the attitude of employees for the success of the change. It indication could be found in the BT group lack of communication. Many times, strategies are introduced which are not known or communicated to the employee.”

Another group member said:

“Though, many do not realize the importance of people management issues, but there are others who have clearly understood this issue. The orientation of such people is continuously changing and they are realizing that they really need to understand the importance of people and their attitude”

This is consistent with the findings of previous studies where it is highlighted that after 1990s, the organizations have realized about the significance of employees, their mental responses and their attitudes towards change (Tetenbaum, 2001). Indeed, few have realized the issue, but still many such issues could be found even in BT group focus study. It was said by the focus group member:

“Managers in BT group are not successful in effectively managing the issues regarding employees working in that organization”

Some researchers also shed light on these kinds of issues during change management. Like, Bordia et al (2004) conducted a research on three banks regarding customer relationship management and it has been found by their research that focus of organizations is mostly on technological problems rather than employee-related problems. It has been stated by another focus group member that:

 “When in BT Group the employees are main focus for change management activity, then a significant role can be played by human resource managers at the time of implementation of change.”

This concept has gained significance specifically in last decade. It has been found by many researchers that ability of managers to manage and accept change can be enhanced through different effective human resource practices (Kalyani and Sahoo, 2011). As said by another focus group member that:

“This can be happened in an organization because there is strong link between human resource management practices and behaviour of employees that is why if employees are managed in an effective manner during change, their commitment to change can improve.”

Previous different researches have highlighted different HR practices that can impact attitude of employees towards organizational change in a positive ways. However, the focus of this study is on communication, so the role of communication is found as:

“From all human resource management practices, one of the most important thing is ‘communication’. The importance of effective communication have been found whenever we implemented any change management practice.”

It has been stated by Cummings and Worley (2014)that there is a need of strategically proactive HR management that can help in enhancing innovation and creativity during change management, facilitating merger and acquisition and leading in making links between requirements of market and internal organizational capabilities during implementation of change. In the list of proactive HR practices, communication is the critical one. One focus group member stated that:

“At the time of implementing change in an organization, efforts must be done for maximizing communication, empowerment of employee, training employees for coping with stress and creating more buy in. In all this, communication is the foundation of all practices which are critical for effective change management.”

The organizations can get competitive edge in a market through successfully managing change. However, this process is very slow and usually becomes unsuccessful due to lack of effective management.  As the focus group member stated:

“We know that in BT group, the change management process is quite important and this can help us to obtain competitive advantage. But there are various challenges related to this process which needs to be managed through effective change management practices. I will also suggest that communication is the key to managing the change, hence, it should be managed as the most important factor. I can assure that if there will be smooth flow of communication, change management effectiveness will increase.”

Further going in the detail of how communication helps in change management, one focus group member stated that:

“For managing change, the importance of communication is critical as it helps in developing positive attitude and behaviour in employees.”

Another member stated:

“The commitment to change is developed when every employee knows why certain practices is implemented and what is its rationale. This could only be ensured through effective communication.”

Further to this, it was mentioned that:

“During change implementation, the traditional management has to be transmitted to process based management which is tough and needs complete attention and motivation of company. In process based management of change, communication is critical”

This tells that the role of communication is critical in managing the change process. So it can be analysed that this research has first highlighted the importance of HR function in organization for facilitating change (Napier and Stratton, 2013).


This research concludes that human resource managers can add value through focussing on communication with employees regarding change practices in order to affect attitudes of employees in a positive way. The managers of BT Group will have to make sure that there provide sufficient opportunities for communication to their employees. This communication will help them to manage everything in an effective manner and change management initiative will also become successful.




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