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Communication Climate at Work and Innovation, Dissertation – Literature Example

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Dissertation - Literature

Innovative approaches to climate at work and communication have been subject to research in recent years. The below review of relevant literature is designed to provide an overview of the approaches to corporate communication policies, innovative solutions and frameworks. The theories regarding the connection between communication structures, employee satisfaction, organizational structures and leadership roles will be examined during the review of the recent publications. The research will focus on innovation around open communication, interaction and networks.

1.1 Communication and Workplace – Overview

Guo and Sanchez (2009) determine different types of organizational communication; it is important to review them before conducting a research on its effects on job and employee satisfaction, commitment, organizational citizenship and productivity. The authors describe two types of communication as messages and feedback between employees and supervisors. A feedback can be an information that is related to productivity, and as such it is also connected with organizational values, goals and missions. The amount of feedback has an impact on employees’ satisfaction with organizational communication. However, feedback communication only has relevancy if it is based on clearly communicated guidelines, values and measures.

The authors also describe the different forms of feedback; descriptive, evaluative and prescriptive. These three types are connected to the employee’s communication. However, a more important type of feedback is the one that is task-related. Task related feedback is called • task or procedural feedback. It is related to effectiveness and appropriateness. A relational feedback is related to the group dynamics within the organization, and it can have a great impact on employees’ perception and understanding of the organizational structure in general. Individual feedback and group feedback are also effective ways of leadership communication, therefore, they need to be examined individually when measuring their effect on communication and job satisfaction on an organizational and individual level.

1.2 Measuring Communication and Organization’s Effects on Employee Attitudes

Ahmad et al. (2010) conclude that communication and organizational climate is an aspect of a business’ competitiveness. It is also a great contributor towards employee satisfaction, therefore, designing an effective and highly valued organizational climate is important for every business looking to retain talent, preserve competitive advantage and make business processes more effective. The authors state that workforce is one of the most vital assets that influence performance and development within the company. The main impacts of organizational climate and communication innovation are: productivity, involvement, turnover, commitment, motivation and organizational citizenship. However, the authors found that there is no significant relationship between the internal communication methods and employee satisfaction, while there was an indication found that organizational structure has impacted commitment and organizational citizenship. The results of the research seem to contradict previous research, which indicated that there is indeed a close relationship between the type of internal communication and employees’ job satisfaction.  (Payne & Pugh, 1976)

1.3 Institutional Approaches

Glomo-Narzoles (2012) determines the main contributors towards employee satisfaction and increased productivity. These are increased involvement (communication structures development), participatory management, raising satisfaction of employees and strengths-based approaches. Further authors (Clampitt & Downs,  2005 and Madlock, 2001) have also found relationship between communication, productivity and leadership methods. Based on previous theories, the authors concluded that encouragement, recognition, praise and effective communication were more effective in increasing morale and productivity than financial benefits and economic incentives. The study carried out by Glomo-Narzoles (2012) confirmed the initial statement that the type of communication climate had a strong impact on overall productivity.

Pavitt (2000)  also concluded that there is an important and non-negotiable relationship between communication and productivity. While the author focused on group performance, measuring productivity based on supervisor input, the details of the findings regarding the impact of leadership can be relevant to the current study.

1.4 Employee Satisfaction and Communication Competence, Leadership Style

Madlock (2009 and 2001) confirms that there is a strong link between the supervisor’s attitudes, communication methods, leadership style and employee satisfaction. As further researches concluded and proved that employee satisfaction is closely related to productivity, motivation and engagement, the findings of the author would indicate that communication methods of supervisors would have an impact on organizational performance. The details of the author’s findings are summarized below.

Madlock (2009) integrates Holladay and Coombs’ framework (1993) into his theoretical approach. The authors conclude that “leadership is a behavior that is encated through communication”. Therefore, communication is a tool of delivering organizational culture, attitudes and approaches.

According to the author, leaders who can successfully communicate their and the organization’s values and visions would gain more commitment from employees than those who fail at this task. This would also result in a higher satisfaction with the organization’s communication, as for employees the instrument of communicating company values is their supervisor most of the times. The author also states that there are two different aspects of leadership communication; relational and content. In the 2009 study, Madlock (2009) examined the relationship between the supervisor’s content and relational leadership style and communication competence and its influences on job satisfaction of employees (subordinates).

The study focused on four different hypotheses:

  1. the relationship between supervisor’s communication competence and employees’ communication and job satisfaction
  2. connection between relational communication of supervisor and employee communication and job satisfaction
  3. task leadership of supervisor and its effect on employee communication and job satisfaction
  4. relationship between the supervisor’s communication competence, task and relational leadership.

Further, Madlock (2009) also examined the types of leadership behavior in relation with employee communication and job satisfaction. The research was concluded using a sample of 220 working adults in the form of a quantitative survey questionnaire. The survey results confirmed a strong relationship between supervisor communication competence and employees’ communication satisfaction, while the relationship between employee job satisfaction and supervisors’ communicator competence was moderate.

1.5 Comparative Studies

In another research, the same authors (Ahmad et al. 2010) examined evidence in the pharmaceutical sector. The research focused on employee satisfaction, performance and their relationship with organizational structures. Using a questionnaire survey method using a sample of 246 middle level managers’ answers, working in multinational organizations in Pakistan. Using a Linkert-type rating scale, the attitudes towards the validity of statements were measured with five different scale points; strongly agree, agree, undecided, disagree and strongly disagree. The study focused on the comparison of employee satisfaction in multinational and local companies. The study found that highly organized multinational companies’ middle managers were showing more job satisfaction regarding organizational culture overall.

1.6 The Impact of Information Technology

Beard (2004) published a report that focused on the relationship between information technology and employee relations. The research results found that climate was closely related to organizational interests. (p. 14.) Using the Spearman correlation analysis, the research showed that employee trust was dependent on climate. The research involved a sample of 1100 IS managers, and took place in the form of a mail survey. Ten percent (111) of the questionnaires were returned and used in the research. The main hypotheses the research examined were:

Greater levels of perceived self-interest resulted in lower levels of trust.

b, Communications climate resulted in higher level of trust.

c, Work climate is related to communications climate.

d, Commitment and innovation are related to trust within the organization.

The research examining the correlations between different aspects of business communication will be valuable for future research and would be used to create and improve the current research’ hypotheses. The research method of correlative analysis appeared to be relevant to the subject or study, therefore, the framework of the measurements might be adapted by the current work.

Further, an important part of the research is to provide adequate definitions for terms and measurements to be used in the current research.

1.7 Stress Level and Organizational Climate

Ayers (2007) highlighted the impact of work climate on stress levels of employees. The author also found significant connection between work climate, morale and performance, confirming the most common hypotheses of other research; claiming that organization communication structures and climate have an impact on performance, staff retention, job satisfaction and morale. Further, the article concludes that a higher level of job autonomy also results in better morale, performance and higher level of commitment.

1.8 The Role of Organizational Climate

Sunadij et al. (2013) examined the influence of organizational culture, climate, communication and leadership on job satisfaction. They also researched whether the above have any influence on performance of employees, and to determine the type of connection (direct relationship) between job satisfaction and performance of employees. The research method used was structured questionnaires, and 158 employees’ answers were randomly selected for the research. The research examined transformational leadership, organizational culture, communication as separate variables with regards to job satisfaction. The main finding of the study is that high quality of leadership, change and transformational leadership, effective communication had a positive impact on both job satisfaction and performance. According to the authors, the relationship between communication, leadership, organizational culture and employee performance is mediated through employee satisfaction. This means that while the connection between communication, organizational structure and leadership and job satisfaction is direct, the above factors only indirectly influence performance, through job satisfaction. This means that job satisfaction also has a direct impact on performance.

The main statements of the study to be researched further are:

  1. Job satisfaction is closely related to organizational culture
  2. Job satisfaction is influenced by leadership styles
  3. Job satisfaction is closely related to communication.

Therefore, more effective communication would not only increase employee satisfaction but indirectly result in better individual performance. This would also indicate a higher retention of employees, the company’s better abilities to retain talent. As talent is an asset that contributes towards the company’s success, we can conclude that improving leadership, communication and organizational culture would provide companies with a competitive advantage through retaining talent, higher employee satisfaction, commitment and better performance.

1.9 Theoretical Approaches

Kleinbaum et al. (2008) consider communication structures within a company as a “social fabric” inside the firm. (p. 6.) The authors also conclude that the organizational structure is the determinant of communication patterns within thee company. Formal reporting structure impacts the way and direction of communication, therefore, it is impossible to examine organizational communication methods and structures without taking into consideration the hierarchy and reporting issues. (Burt, 2004)

Burt talks about the social structure of competition, which focuses on communication structures and networks within organizations on the individual basis. The author concludes that communication and networks have their impact on the distribution of information. Therefore, a large network of connections within the company would bring with itself information benefits. (p. 33.) Contact clusters were described by Burt as complex webs of connections. (p. 39) The main thesis that has been taken from Burt’s publication is that structural holes within the communication network can impact individual employees’ level of knowledge, which can result in several disadvantages within the workplace.

The modern approach to the concept of commitment has been developed by Becker (1960). He explains commitment in a way that can be implemented in researching the effects of communication, involvement and organizational structures. According to the author, “First, the

Individual is in a position in which his decision with regard to some particular line of action has consequences for other interests and activities not necessarily related to it.” (p. 6) From the definition of commitment above, it is evident that the more involved an employee is in the organization’s structure and communication, the higher level of commitment they would show. Self-interest would be degraded because of the interest of others, and being a part of a team might be the situation that triggers positive moral attitudes, high commitment and involvement.

The effects of organizational communication on commitment of employees has also been examined by Guney et al. (2012).

1.10 Conclusion

The above literature review has provided the research with theories about the different types of leadership, communication and their effects on employees’ communication satisfaction. The next step is to create a framework that would successfully examine the relationships between the above factors of communication, confirming the statements that organizational structures, communication methods and leadership styles are in relationship with individual and personal performance, as well as the company’s competitiveness on the marketplace.

Works Cited

Ahmad, Z., Ali, L., Ahmad, N., Ahmed, I., Nawaz, M. (2010) Satisfaction as an outcome of  communication and organizational structures: An outcome based approach. nterdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business. September 2010 vol 2, no 5

Ahmad, Z., Ali, L., Ahmad, N., Ahmed, I., Nawaz, M. (2010) Organizational Climate (OC) as Employees’ Satisfier: Empirical Evidence from Pharmaceutical Sector

Ayers, S. (2007) Cambridge Handbook of Psychology, Health and Medicine. p. 441

Beard, J. (2004) Managing Impressions With Information Technology. Greenwood.

Becker, H. (1960) Notes on the Concept of Commitment. The American Journal of Sociology,  Vol. 66, No. 1. (Jul., 1960), pp. 32-40.

Burt, R. S. (1992) Structural holes : The social structure of competition. Cambridge, MA:Harvard University Press.

Clampit, P. G. & Downs, J. D. (1993). Employee perceptions of the relationship between communication and productivity: A field study. Journal of Business Communication, 30, 5-28.

Glomo-Narzoles, D. (2012) Communication Climate: Its Relation to Institutional Productivity. Asian Journal of Sciences and Humanities. Vol. 1. No. 4.

Guo, K., Sanchez, Y. (2009) Workplace Communication.    In: Organizational Behavior in Health Care. Ed. Borkowski, N.

Holladay, S. J., & Coombs, W. T. (1993). Communication visions: An exploration of the

role of delivery in the creation of leader charisma. Management Communication Quarterly, 6, 405-427

Madlock, P. E. (2001). The link between leadership style, communication competence, and  employee satisfaction. Journal of Business Communication.

Madlock, P. E. (2011) Employee Satisfaction: An Examination of Supervisors’ Communication  Competence. Human Communication. A Publication of the Pacific and Asian Communication Association. Vol. 11, No.1, pp. 87 – 100.

Pavitt, E. (2000). Groups Versus Individuals: Which is “Better”? Retrieved from

http://www.udel.edu/ communication/ COMM356/pavitt.htm

Payne, R. L., & Pugh, D. S. (1976) Organizational structure and climate. In M. D. Dunnette

(Ed.), Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology (pp. 1125-1173). Chicago: Rand Mcnally

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