This study explored the role of public relations leadership during organizational change in 3 multinationals in mainland China. Based on 40 in-depth interviews, the findings suggested that the leadership of public relations unit or function during organizational change was shown through coaching middle management to manage employee emotions, providing communication training to middle management, communicating and reinforcing shared visions for change, and managing the conflicts between middle management and top management regarding change rationales, planning, and procedures. The leadership role of public relations managers was enacted through consulting CEOs' communication styles, exerting upward influence in change management, and acting as the different voice when decision making for change was questionable. Results of the study extended existing public relations leadership scholarship and shed light on some tentative dimensions of public relations leadership during organizational change: (a) coaching emotion management, (b) educating communication knowledge and skills, (c) reinforcing shared visions, (d) resolving conflicts, (e) exerting upward influence, and (f) acting as a different voice. Limitations of this study and suggestions for future research are also discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Public Administration