#263 from R&D Innovator Volume 6, Number 2          February 1997

FORUM--from our readers

They Lose by Keeping Us in the Dark

My small company was taken over by a large one a bit more than a year ago.  It was a friendly deal, and most of us felt quite secure and comfortable that we would make significant contributions to our new parent.  Of course, we expected that it would take a while to get us integrated, and to modify our strategies and our organization chart.

However, nothing has changed.  There’s been no edict to drop, or change, a program, no discussion on how to merge teams, and we’ve heard very little about our role in the overall company strategy.  We’ve been doing things just as we had before the takeover.

Of course, we’re curious—for many obvious reasons—about what is going on, and what will be going on.  What makes me a bit suspicious is that my boss, who was previously president of the small company and is now a vice president of the larger organization, seems to know much more than what he tells us.  He says that there have been no corporate discussions, that he knows about, that involve change in our group.  Sure!

Meanwhile, we’re getting a bit insecure.  One of my colleagues is now looking for a position outside of the company.  There’s a lot of discussion based on rumors.  For instance, someone was told by a very low-level employee that she heard, from someone else, that plans are being made for us to move to another facility, 2,000 miles away.  You can imagine the hours we spent discussing this rumor.  These are hours we’re supposed to be working.  My boss said, as expected, that he hadn’t heard anything along those lines.

Here we are wasting time and energy, losing focus and getting ready to be very angry when (if?) we find out that big changes have been planned for a while.  It would have been so much more beneficial to the company if we were told outright what is being discussed and/or planned.  So, we would have been disappointed; but at least we could plan our future and, if we want to stay with the company, we could plan how to be maximally productive—no matter where the location, and no matter what other changes are implemented.

If my boss is actually kept out of deliberations by the highest levels, and really knows nothing about discussions, that would make us even less comfortable.

This cloud of insecurity costs the company quite a bit.  Is it worth it?  Do they realize it?


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