Effective Internal Communication: Volume 2 (PR In Practice)

Executive Summary

Chapter 17 Publishing the printed word the logistical aspects. Chapter 18 Broadcast do it yourself or call in the experts? Chaper 19 Managing change. Chapter 20 Communicating in a crisis. Chapter 21 Signposting the ether. Chapter 22 They go it alone online. Chapter 23 How to measure success.

Chapter 7 How the legal framework fits in.

Definition of the Topic

Chapter 8 The channels vehicles and activities. Chapter 9 Who uses which media for what. Chapter 10 The receiving end. Chapter 11 Communicating with special groups. Chaper 12 The globally dispersed workforce. Part 2 Getting it Right Practical Application. Chapter 13 How to do it setting about communication. Chapter 14 We can all talk cant we? Chapter 15 Leading from the middle. Chapter 24 How to make it happen gone shopping. Chapter 25 Internal communications the future.

Appendix 1 Internal communications knowledge and skills. Appendix 2 Communications in the public sector. Appendix 3 Setting up an internal communications function things. The German sociologist Max Weber developed a theory of bureaucracy as a way to formally establish authority and structure operations and communications. Some key components of this approach included: Two key communication goals were to prevent misunderstandings, which might impair productivity or quality, and to convey decisions and directives of top management. The formal structure of organizations drove top-down communication, primarily through print channels.

The content of most communications was task or rule oriented. The social side of communication was largely ignored, and employees relied heavily on the grapevine for such information. In the s, the focus shifted from work tasks to employees and their needs, and the Hawthorne Studies spurred this movement. Carried out at the Western Electric Company in Chicago, the studies revealed the importance of groups and human relationships in work. Elton Mayo and his Harvard colleagues discovered that employees who worked in friendly teams, with supportive supervisors, tended to outperform employees who worked in less favorable conditions.

In his view, the key to cooperation was communication: These approaches focused on opposing assumptions that managers may hold for workers, and the corresponding behaviors of managers. Simply put, Theory X managers believe workers lack motivation, resist change and are indifferent to organizational goals.

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Thus, managers must provide strong, forceful leadership to direct and control employees. Theory Y managers believe employees are highly motivated, creative and driven to satisfy their needs for achievement. The role of managers, then, is to elicit those tendencies through employee participation in decision making, managing by objectives and problem solving in work teams.

This approach included more F-T-F communication and acknowledged the importance of internal communications. Downward communication still dominated, but feedback was gathered to gauge employee satisfaction. Some social information was added to the task-oriented content of communication, and managerial communications were less formal. The human resources approach Miles, was widely adopted by organizations in the s.

This participative, team approach to management-employee relations recognized that employees can contribute both physical and mental labor. The preferred team-management style—high on concern for both people and production—became the basis for management development practices in a number of companies. Quality control circles, decentralized organizations, total quality management and employee participation groups are manifestations of this approach. Focusing more on organizational structure, Rensis Likert , theorized four organizational forms and labeled them System I through System IV.

Likert believed that a System IV organization, characterized by multi-directional communication and a participatory style and structure, would spur productivity gains and reduce absenteeism and turnover. Other theorists argued that the best leadership style would vary from one event to another, depending on contingencies in the environment.

Fiedler said that leaders should first define a contingency and then determine the most appropriate leadership behaviors to deal with it. Contingency theory recognizes that organizations and environments are constantly changing, and there is a need to monitor environments and carefully analyze information before making decisions.

Communication became multidirectional and more relational. Feedback was sought to enhance problem solving and stimulate idea sharing. Innovation content was added to social and task information in communications. Concepts of employee trust and commitment emerged as important issues, and organizations began to share communication decision-making among employees. In the s some theorists adopted a systems perspective, viewing organizations as complex organisms competing to survive and thrive in challenging environments.

In general systems theory, any system is a group of parts that are arranged in complex ways and which interact with each other through processes to achieve goals vonBertalanffy, , An auto supply company, for example, consists of a number of departments or units production, marketing, finance, sales , each of which includes individuals and teams. The functioning of any of these units or subsystems relies on others in the organization; they are interdependent. The company is also part of a larger supra system—the automobile industry. Systems and subsystems have boundaries that are selectively opened or closed to their environments, allowing the flow of information and other resources.

Individuals who exchange information with other systems or groups customers, government personnel, suppliers are boundary spanners. Media outlets provide other important links between organizations and the environment. Weick used systems theory to explain organizational behavior and the process of sense making. He argued that communication is the core process of organizing; through information produced by processes or patterns of behavior, systems can increase their knowledge and reduce uncertainty about the complex environments in which they operate.

Communication is vital for exchanging information in and among subsystems through multidirectional channels which are used in internal communications. Feedback processes help systems adjust, change and maintain control. Collective decision-making processes and shared responsibilities for communication are more prevalent. Cultural approaches emerged in the s in the context of increasing competition from Japan and other nations in the global marketplace. As the performance of American corporations declined, management scholars looked for other explanations of the behaviors and practices in the troubled companies.

The cultural approach was attractive because of its dynamic nature and the kind of depth insights it can provide Schein, Two popular books in the s influenced organizational practices and structures and helped culture gain mainstream recognition. These included customer focus, employee empowerment, trust, shared values and lean organizational structures.

Miller distinguished between prescriptive and descriptive approaches to examining organizational cultures. This approach rejects the notion of a one-size-fits-all cultural formula for success and focuses on how communications and interactions lead to shared meaning. Descriptive approaches also call attention to other important aspects of organizational culture, e. Communication and culture share a reciprocal relationship Modaff et al.

Communications help create and influence culture through formal and informal channels, stories, shared experiences and social activities. Culture influences communications because employees interact though shared interpretive frameworks of culture, e. These five approaches demonstrate how internal communication changed as organizations grew and evolved. Today, elements of all five approaches live on in organizations—work rules, hierarchies, policies, training programs, work teams, job descriptions, socialization rituals, human resource departments, job descriptions, customer focus and so forth.

Corresponding communication practices also are present today in formal, top-down communications, bottom-up suggestion programs, horizontal communications among team members, myriad print and electronic communications and new dialogue-creating social media that are changing communication structures and practices.

Employee / Organizational Communications

New perspectives continue to appear. Others focus on power, gender or hegemony issues in modern organizations e. Still others theorize companies as learning organizations , arguing that the only sustainable source of advantage for any organization is its ability to learn, acquire knowledge and change faster than others e.

Much of the literature in this review suggests that internal communication has long been a struggle between the needs and desires of managers and those of employees. Professional communicators, if mentioned at all, are seen as technicians who carry out the compliance-gaining directives of executives. But this view is changing, as is the role of communicators. Practitioners today are moving from historical roles as information producers and distributors, to advocacy and advisory roles in strategic decision making, relationship building and programs which foster trust, participation and empowerment.

They help their organizations create a strong foundation for success in a dynamic world—a culture for communication that is conducive to open, transparent, authentic two-way communications and conversations. Public relations excellence theory is grounded in a systems perspective Dozier et al.

Grunig, , ; L. The role of public relations is to help organizations develop and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with internal and external stakeholders through excellent communications. Excellence theory also describes some factors that facilitate or impede creation of a culture for communication. He was referring to communication planning, budgeting, staffing and policies. In addition, publics assess an organization based on the quality of employee relationships with their organization.

Editorial Reviews. Review. "Internal comms is shown to be a discipline of many dimensions, and I can see this book being a first port of call for communicators in . Effective Internal Communication: Volume 2 (PR In Practice) and millions of other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more. Enter your mobile number.

Important factors in employee-public-organization relationships include: Kennan and Hazleton outlined a theory of internal public relations based on social capital theory. Social capital accrues through communication, interaction and development of relationships inside and outside of the organization. The use of social capital gained through communication may increase employee satisfaction, commitment and productivity, as well as customer satisfaction.

Trust is the basis for productive relationships, cooperation and communication. They found that trust impacts the bottom line because it influences job satisfaction, productivity and team building; it also was linked to lower incidences of litigation and legislation. Brad Rawlins has provided a comprehensive review of trust on this web site https: They must process continuous changes and shifting workplace demographics, assimilate new technologies, manage knowledge and learning, adopt new structures, strengthen identity, advance diversity and engage employees—often across cultures and at warp speed.

Internal communication lies at the center of successful solutions to these issues, and professional communicators must play key leadership, strategic and tactical roles to help their organizations resolve them. This section briefly reviews four issues affecting current practice:. Thus, organizations seek to create an identity that distinguishes them from others and ties employees more closely to them.

Haslam found that communication reflects and creates social identities, and shared identity helps build trust and shared interpretations. A strong company identity can boost employee motivation and raise confidence among external stakeholders van Riel, As Williams noted, however, a new generation of employees, less inclined to identify with their employers, requires new approaches to identity building. This may include greater use of new dialogue-creating media and e-communication groups.

Long an issue, it is more crucial today due to a dynamic marketplace, an information-saturated work place and trust and morale problems exacerbated by waves of downsizing, restructuring and corporate governance problems in the past 15 years Burton, Professional communicators can help by aligning words with actions, building relationships and conversing with employees rather than communicating at them, and helping guide authentic executive actions which reflect organizational purpose. Burton suggested that new technologies help engage employees by personalizing executive communications and reinforcing face-to-face initiatives.

The benefits of an engaged workforce are clear. Employee retention rates also were 44 percent higher. A Watson Wyatt study found that companies with more engaged employees produce greater financial returns. Professional communicators agree that measurement of their work is crucial, but they share few standards for what or how to measure. As a result, many measurement practices are tactical in nature rather than strategic and ongoing Williams, In addition, organizations are struggling to set objectives for new social media and to measure their effects in internal and external communication initiatives Edelman, Sinickas and Williams provide useful guidelines for conducting audits, developing surveys and other measurement tools, evaluating program results and analyzing and reporting data.

A significant but seldom measured ROI on employee communication is the reduced cycle time for change associated with mergers, acquisitions and other culture-changing initiatives Berger, Though steady advances are occurring in evaluating internal communication projects and programs, better measures are needed to assess linkages among communications, longer-term outcomes and desired behavioral changes. The Cluetrain Manifesto Levine et al. Social media refer to new electronic and web-based communication channels such as blogs, podcasts, wikis, chat rooms, discussion forums, RSS feeds, web sites, social networks e.

Social media are revolutionizing communications and reconfiguring the long-time S-M-C-R model of internal communication Williams, New media increase the volume, speed and every-way flow of communication, connecting people, giving them a voice and stimulating discussions about topics of common interest Smith, Holtz wrote one of the first comprehensive resource works for practitioners to help guide strategic use of new media.

However, external PR specialists and marketers have adopted new media more quickly than internal communication professionals. In part this is because organizations no longer control communication, so new media require professional communicators to rethink tactics, strategies and their own roles.

This means moving the professional role from one of information distribution to open dialogue, letting go of the notion of control, listening closely to others in the conversations, communicating honestly and equipping managers and supervisors as primary communicators. Communicators in the survey also rated highly the effectiveness of such media in achieving campaign goals, though measurement of social media is in the early stages. For communicators, social media are here to stay.

On the other hand, new media have not killed or replaced traditional media, but rather influenced them and forced them to adopt Holtz, Like all channels, new media represent advantages and disadvantages, and communicators must carefully analyze and assess their best use. Effective internal communication is hard work, but research findings and case studies point to some practices and principles which seem crucial to successful internal communications for organizations, employees and members.

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Here are 15 of them:. In addition to achieving specific goals, internal communications should help create and reflect a culture for communication , where employees at all levels feel free to openly share ideas, opinions and suggestions. This will enhance employee understanding, build trust, stimulate engagement and encourage greater diversity. Communications and the systems theory of organization. Journal of Business Communication, 12 1 , Social identity theory and the organization. Academy of Management Review, 14 , The functions of the executive. The process of communication: An introduction to theory and practice.

State of the field. Journal of Communication, 54 4 , The best ideas of top management thinkers. The effect of organizational culture on communication and information.

Journal of Management Studies, 31 6 , Without trust, you have nobody: Effective employee communications for today and tomorrow. The Strategist , Linkages between internal and external communication. Foundations of social theory. Power and the structure of society. The best companies to work for in Effective public relations 9th Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: A new approach to managerial information processing and organizational design. Throwing rocks at the corporate rhinoceros: The challenges of employee engagement.

Connecting the workplace with the marketplace. The rites and rituals of corporate life. Advances in theory, research and methods pp. Leading organizations through transition: Communication and cultural change. Managers guide to excellence in public relations and communications management. Business, media now more trusted than government. New Frontiers in Employee Communications. General and industrial management.

A theory of leadership effectiveness. A social information processing model of media use in organizations. Communication Research , 14, Best practices in employee communication: A study of global challenges and approaches. The IABC handbook of organizational communication. Edelman Memo to Management, 1 4. Improving the measurement of communication satisfaction.

Management Communication Quarterly, 17 3 , Organizations, environments and models of public relations. Public Relations Research and Education, 1 1 , Excellence in public relations and communication management. Characteristics of excellent communication. Excellent public relations and effective organizations: A study of communication management in three countries. Theory and practice in a global environment. The social identity approach. Everything you need to know and why you should care. How to do everything with podcasting. The impact of technology on corporate communications.

Public relations on the NET. The future of social media. The new handbook of organizational communication. Research on organizational communication. Nordicom Review, 28 , Helpful listening and responding. Readings in relational communication pp.

Upper Saddle River, NJ: Thus, managers must provide strong, forceful leadership to direct and control employees. The study also suggests that employees may feel more empowered through participation in communication programs with publics. Capability is differentiated by the availability and speed of feedback of the channel, the use of multiple cues and natural language to facilitate understanding and the personal focus of the message. Andrew Powell has been a expert planner for Seven yrs and have been writing awesome ideas with Mining Jobs in Australia in part of his involvement with New Ideas Group ,a new innovative team for developing individuals. Likert believed that a System IV organization, characterized by multi-directional communication and a participatory style and structure, would spur productivity gains and reduce absenteeism and turnover.

Challenges for the new century. Internal public relations, social capital, and the role of effective organizational communication. Reflexivity and internal public relations: The role of information in directing organizational development. How to win employee support for new business directions. New patterns of management. Its management and value.

Alumni and their alma mater: A partial test of the reformulated model of organizational identification. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 13 , Educational and Psychological Measurement, 52 , The human problems of an industrial civilization. The human side of enterprise. The extensions of man. Winning PR in the wired world: Powerful communications strategies for the noisy digital space. Human relations or human resources? Harvard Business Review, 43 , Foundations, challenges, and misunderstandings.

Critical organizational communication studies: The next 10 years. Communication Monographs, 60 , New Frontiers in Employee Communications Society for New Communications Research. In search of excellence: Revisiting metaphors of organizational communication. Communications within the organization: An interpretive review of theory and research. The employee-public-organization chain in relationship management: A case study of a government organization. Institute for Public Relations: The employee-customer-profit chain at Sears.