Communicationa key-dimension for improving the organizational climateContents and theories for OSTESA training sessionsISTUD Foundation
What is communication? Communication can be regarded as a key dimension of every organizational structure. As a matter of fact, the same organization can be defined as an open system among people who interact within a specific context with the purpose of achieving common goals through cooperative efforts. In this frame communication can be regarded as an attempt to share personal images of reality through verbal and not verbal behaviours.
The characteristics of organizational communication • System (open and closed system) • Input, throughout and output • The message becomes part of the input for additional communication activities • Communication system continuously cycle messages, ideas and information as they interact with the environment • Communication attempts to share personal images of reality through verbal and not verbal behaviour
Types of organizational communication It is possible to distinguish between different kinds of communication which have a strong influence on how the organization works and also on the perception of wellbeing/welfare which is strongly influenced by communication styles (communication can make an organization appearing more/less flexible, more/less formal, more/less friendly…). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5oXygLGMuY
Communication styles (1) Downward communication Upward communication Upward communication: from lower to higher levels of the organization. Types of messages: performances on the job, job-related problems, empolyees’ perception of organizational policies, practices, tasks and procedures. Impacts on welfare/wellbeing perceptions: the organization looks opened and democratic, involving employees in an informal context. Downward communication: from upper to lower levels of the organization. Types of messages: job instructions, jobs rationales, procedures and practices, feedbacks. Impacts on welfare/wellbeing perceptions: the organization looks hierarchical and structured with strong procedures and difficulties for employees to get in touch with the executive levels.
Communication styles (2) Horizontal communication Informal communication Informal communication: contents and infos rise from social and personal interests of the employees rather than from formal requirements and procedures. Impacts on welfare/wellbeing: the organization looks opened, friendly and people-based; the atmosphere is perceived as being warm and human. Horizontal communication: flow of messages across functional areas at a given level of an organization (people at the same level communicate openly and directly). Types of messages: problem solving, info sharing across differet work groups, tasks. Impacts on welfare/wellbeing perceptions: the organization looks structured and clusterized but allows internal communication to flow openly.
Communication and welfare/wellbeing Communication can and must have a relevant influence on the perception of wellbeing from employees and collaborators. Speaking openly and clearly, as a matter of fact, can promote the proper conditions for improving mutual understanding and overcoming internal problems. To this aim, one of the crucial challenge is finding the time to communicate.
Communication, participation and employees’ satisfaction Organizational communication refers to the extent to which employees receive sufficient information about the functioning of the organization. It concerns both the quantity and the quality or the information value of the communication and it is strongly related with the concept of participation. Organizational participation is defined as the degree to which employees have influence over decision-making. While organizational communication is characterized by a one-way, top-down stream of information, participation is a bottom-up information activity. Organizational communication and participation may thus both be interpreted as information flows that reinforce employees’understanding, wellbeing and feelings of control over the work situation and that reduce the perception of uncertainty.