Internal communication content: a critical exploration of whatorganisations provide and what employees require
Lancashire Business School, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UKkevin.email@example.com
Internal communication is becoming increasingly recognised as a criticalcommunication function. According to Moreno et al (2010 p, 101), respondents in theEuropean Communication Monitor, 2009, “expect that internal communication andchange management will be the second important discipline next year, right behindcorporate communication”. Organisations have long recognised the importance of internal communication, though this is often seen from the perspective of theorganisation rather than the employee. As Welch and Jackson (2007 p. 187) argue,“research into employee preferences for channel and content of internal corporatecommunication is required to ensure it meets employees’ needs”. This is echoed byUusi-Rauva and Nurkka (2010, p. 303), who assert that little research has focused onfinding out what employees consider important in the internal “expert communicationprocess”.In the wider communication field, the locus of academic debate has tended to beexternal, rather than internal. However, 26 years ago, Grunig and Hunt (1984 pp.244-5) highlighted that “A great deal of money is spent on achieving a degree of journalistic slick which does little in communicating to employees but does much tosatisfy the egos of communications technicians”. Morris and Goldsworthy (2008 p.130) suggest that this is still the case and, furthermore, there is a dark side to internalcommunication; it is “the branch of the modern PR industry that best realises thepropagandist’s dream”. This is based on the contention that organisations have amonopoly on formal communication channels and the collapse of alternativechannels such as those provided by trade unions. In contrast, a two-waycommunication approach entails making publications “more employee-centred thanmanagement centred” although this in itself is not dialogical, so Grunig and Hunt(1984, p. 246) also argue that symmetrical programs also use many non-traditional,nonprint media and techniques that emphasise interpersonal communication anddialogue with management.
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