Co-Change-orientated Communication: a collaborative approach to making sense of change


  • Yolandi Slabbert, Prof. University of South Africa



Co-Change-orientated Communication, Change-orientated communication, Organisation change, Strategic communication, Concept development, Stakeholder engagement, Purposeful communication


This article presents a new concept, “co-Change-orientated Communication” (co-COC), to address the need for theoretical developments beyond mainstream assumptions by drawing from contemporary, critical developments in strategic communication. A two-phased, qualitative methodological strategy was employed. Firstly, a thematic analysis of a sample of literature according to specific parameters and contextual bases was conducted. Secondly, to identify an exemplar for co-COC, a document analysis was done of selected 2016 Fortune “Change-the-World” organisations’ annual and sustainability reports. In congruence with the themes of the literature, the document analysis revealed that co-COC is a bottom-up concept and elicits the attributes of meaningful dialogue, employee engagement, collaboration and co-creation, and encourages dissent. To realise the implementation of co-COC, the document analysis indicated the antecedents of stakeholder engagement, organisational agility, leadership agility and a change-able culture. co-COC contributes to the body of knowledge on strategic and change communication and serves as a heuristic for future research. Furthermore, co- COC provides theoretical development beyond the conventional, which not only affirms the critical role of change communication in the successful management of change, but could also assist communication professionals to realise the need for the inclusion of contemporary developments in strategic communication.


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