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Chapter III

Research Methodology

Although the subject of organizational communication is gaining interest, particularly


because it influences all dimensions of the organization’s performance (Putnam and Fairhurst,
2001; De Rider, 2004; Abugre, 2010b) existing literature on organizational communication in the
global theoretical framework is minimal. While many studies established the growing link
between organizational communication and worker satisfaction, many of them are done in
Western economies (De Rider, 2004; Meyer and Herscovitch, 2001). Therefore there is a
deficiency of empirical understanding on the subject matter in developing countries and in
particular in India. Adopting diverse and effective communication practices is important for all
organizations. This is particularly true for organizations operating with high spatial
differentiation. Research in telecommuting and virtual teams identifies effective communication
as a critical element for the success of such work arrangements due to their high degree of spatial
differentiation (Horwitz et al., 2006; Kowalski & Swanson, 2005). Though earlier research has
provided some information on internal communication and its relationship with job satisfaction
empirical research that can support the link between them is limited. Though few qualitative as
well as few quantitative studies were taken up empirical studies are very limited in this area. The
data available is largely collected by private agencies which has profit motives rather than the
social constructions. It assumed significance in case of large number of companies run in
cooperative sector in India. The current study will provide empirical data on the relationship
between internal communication and employee engagement and their impact on employee
satisfaction levels.

Most of the research on organizational communication has been exploratory in nature as


opposed to that of hypothesis testing (Porter & Roberts, 1976).The preponderance of exploratory
research reflects our relatively limited conceptual understanding of organizational
communication.

The concepts of communication, tools of communication, organizations commitment,


organization integration relationship between employee satisfaction with organizational
communication and customer orientation are often studied for better understanding of the impact
of communication. All dimensions of communication satisfaction were measured using the
communication satisfaction questionnaire (CSQ) developed by Downs and Hazen (1977). The
CSQ identifies eight dimensions of communication satisfaction: satisfaction with the
organization’s communication climate, satisfaction with supervisory communication, satisfaction
with communication concerning organizational integration, satisfaction with the organization’s
media quality, satisfaction with co-worker communication, satisfaction with corporate
information, satisfaction with personal feedback, and satisfaction with subordinate
communication (satisfaction with subordinate communication was not considered in this study
because the focus of this study was the relationship between front-line employees and external
customers and the “satisfaction with subordinate communication” dimension only applies to
those employees holding supervisory positions). Relating communication measures to more
theoretically established organizational concepts is the need of contemporary times.
Need of the study
The existing body of literature is exposed to a number of limitations in terms of scope and
context of this work, which this study attempts to address. The current study will provide
empirical data on the relationship between internal communication and employee engagement
and provide research on how internal communication affects employee engagement levels. This
study was designed to be an exploratory investigation, examining the relationships of
organizational communication to job satisfaction on the one hand and to organizational climate
on the other. In terms of context, this study seeks to address these limitations by exploring the
impact of organizational communication on employees’ satisfaction and how this could affect
organizational work output in a developing context. In terms of scope, the study focuses on a
cooperative dairy situated in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh that has more than one lakh
farmers as members, large network of customers and other stakeholders.
The study is focused in the cooperative sector in general, and on Sangam dairy in particular.
Since its various units are located at various places and the main office is also far removed from
the main line it minimizes the opportunity for meaningful face-to-face interactions between field
staff and managers at all levels of the organization. Since the field staff come across milk
producers and milk buyers regularly that run into hundreds it is difficult for staff at various levels
to communicate with head office staff that are in transit between fixed posts. Finally, in all of
these factors synergistically combine to minimize the extent to which staff can actively engage in
meaningful internal organization communication.

Objectives of the study

In view of these research questions, the present study has the following objectives:
1. To find out the socio-demographic profile of the employees of the cooperative dairy
2. To find out the personal details such employment, education, income and so on, which
impact the professional life of the staff and the betterment of the organization in turn.
3. To examine the communication pattern and the climate of the organization
4. To find out as to what type of communication channels are used by the employees of
Sangam dairy.
5. to find out whether the channels of communication used by the Company are effective in
communicating with both their internal and external publics?
6. to find out whether the employees of the company have satisfaction with the communication
process
7. to find out whether the employees of the company have job satisfaction
8. to find out whether both these concepts communication satisfaction and job satisfaction have
any correlation
9. if it is so what factors are supporting it effectively.
10. to find out what type of problems are being experienced by the staff in communication flow.

Hypothesis
From the studies it is understood that communication especially at organizational level has been
crucial. Basing on the above, the researcher assessed the importance of communication at
Sangam dairy, the different channels of communication, how effective they are and how they
have benefited the company. Since it got more than 2 lakhs of consumers and producers the
communication at various levels becomes very important. Unless it is perfect in all its
dimensions the targets of collection, production, sales ultimately benefits to the lakhs of people
would not be realized effectively. Sangam also a profit among millions of stakeholders in the
form of producers contribute company but it has assumed more significance as it is a cooperative
organization but not a simple company which is profit oriented and benefit both producers and
consumers simultaneously. This broad scope of service to millions of stakeholders made the
researcher to gauge how effectively they have been communicating with their publics to secure
the type of reputation they have. This also ascertained whether communication is effective as a
tool for the establishment of a good corporate reputation. The purpose of this study is to provide
insight into the relationship between communication practices, communication satisfaction, job
satisfaction. The researcher intends to test the hypothesis that communication satisfaction acts as
a mediator between an organization’s communication systems and satisfaction. It also put
forward the following statements.

H1. Respondents age, education, designation significantly and positively related with
communication satisfaction.

H2. Respondents income, place of work and significantly and positively related with
communication satisfaction.

H3. Respondent’s period of experience, shift pattern and significantly and positively related
with communication satisfaction.

H4. Communication practices are significantly and positively related with communication
satisfaction.

H5. Communication satisfaction will be significantly and positively related with job satisfaction.

Survey method
Survey is executed to inspect, scrutinize the prevailing system, to examine the condition,
situation, or value-appraise; to query (someone) in order to collect information about some
aspect of a group or area; to view or consider comprehensively Herbert Mc. Closky (1969)
defined survey “as any procedure in which data are systematically collected from a population or
a sample thereof through some form or direct solicitation, by means of face to face interviews,
telephone interviews or mail questionnaires”. Survey research is also defined as a method of
descriptive research used for collecting primary data based on verbal or written communication
with a representative sample of individuals or respondents from the target population. Kerlinger
(1973) considered survey research as social scientific research and focuses on people, the vital
facts of people, their beliefs, opinions, attitudes, motivations and behaviour. Parten (1950)
clarified that the social scientific nature of the survey research is revealed by the nature of its
variables which can be classified as sociological facts, opinions and attitudes.

The study considered quantitative analysis as the sole research paradigm for organizational
communication. It offers the best approach in that it explains deeply the communication
interaction process. This method is going to be used in collecting relevant data on the channels of
communication and their effectiveness in disseminating information to the publics at the diary.
The study also sample size was 250 people of who were randomly selected. Again purposive
sampling was used in the research to get rich information for in-depth analysis of the core issues
being studied above.

Research setting

Sangam, a milk producing dairy was established in 1977 in cooperative sector in Guntur district
of Andhra Pradesh. With more than 750 employees and a strong marketing division the dairy has
more than two lakh milk producers, milk buyers and procurement as well as marketing staff as
stake holders. In the organization the staff is divided into managers, supervisors, subordinates,
peer group. Though the dairy is based on the activities of collection of milk from more than
1,30,000 farmers and 730 paid secretaries who monitor the milk collection and distribution of the
remuneration to the farmers not much communication is experienced between the dairy and these
external publics. In turn since the system has been stabilized with regard to the activities such as
distribution of money, agricultural such as fodder, fertilizers, manure etc., are streamlined not
much communication is observed between the main line staff and the external publics. Hence,
the researcher has studied the flow and effectiveness of communication among various levels of
the staff in the dairy, its chilling plants, sales points, and other establishments that are spread
across Four districts mainly i.e, Guntur, Pakasam, Krishna and Chittor that constitutes 1/4 th of
the state.

AP Map with Guntur , Prakasam, Krishna and Chittor Districts


Sl.NO. Designation Frequency Percentage
1 Sr.Manager 6 2.9
2 General Manager 1 .5
3 Manager 7 3.4
4 Asst. Manager 14 6.8
5 Veternary Officer 5 2.4
6 Jr.Processing Officer 7 3.4
7 Jr.Manager 4 1.9
8 Jr.Engineer 5 2.4
9 Incharge 2 1.0
10 Supervisor 7 3.4
11 Field Supervisor 15 7.2
12 Shift Supervisor 1 .5
13 Microbiologist/QC Assistant 10 4.8
14 Executive/Sr.Executive 21 10.1
15 Sr.Assistant 15 7.2
16 Technician/Jr.Technician 3 1.4
17 Jr.Assistant/Diary Assistant 16 7.7
18 Office Assistant 42 20.3
19 Operator/Jr.Operator/chargemen 14 6.8
20 Worker/Semi skilled worker/attender 12 5.8
Total 207 100.0
Study Sample
As a first step the researcher studied the organisationl chart and the activities of the employees at
various departments.

From a total of 730 employees nearly 30% i.e. 250 were selected by means of purposive
sampling. First lists of all the employees from top to bottom levels in the main plant as well as
other establishments such as chilling plants, marketing departments officers, executives, its field
staff as well as the distributors and paid secretaries who have been with the dairy for a lon period
were incorporated in the various zones were prepared, later by means of purposive sampling a
total of 250 were ere identified. Later they were briefed about the need of the study and equipped
them with the necessary details about the tool i.e the questionnaire.

Later basing on the duties, responsibilities and the powers they were placed in four broad
categories. The dairy Top Management in the dairy includes Sr.Manager, General Manager,
Manager whereas the category of Management Group includes Asst. Managers and Veterinary
officers etc. the Supervisor group includes Jr.Processing officer, Jr.Engineer, Jr.Manager,
Supervisors, Field. Subordinate level includes Microbiologist, QC Asst., Sr. Executives,
Executives, Sr.Asst. Jr.Asst. Office Assts., Technicians, Jr.Technicians, Chargemens, Dairy
Asst., Operator, Jr.Operator, Worker, Semi skilled worker, attenders. The paid secretaries and
distributor were incorporated in this last segment.
Sl.No. Designation fr %
1 Top Management 6.8
2 Management 9.2
3 Supervisor 19.8
4 Lower level 64.3
Total 234 100.0

Operational definitions
The following definitions were operationalised in the study
1) Channels of communication: As the dairy has a good number of internal as well as external
publics physical instruments such as newsletters, circulars, memos, mails messages, were
used along with interpersonal communication channels such as face to face communication
discussions deliberations etc.

2) Organizational Integration: This concept was used in the context of various key aspects that
would determine the role activities and interests of the stake holders especially employees
and associated staff whose welfare is linked to the performance and growth of the
organization.

3) Communication/Organization Climate: Communication Climate encompasses the concepts


related to communication such as timing, level, identity, as well as pattern of communication
that is exclusive to this particular organization. The other concepts related to communication
which create a specific climate such as conflict management, summarization, Gate keeping as
well as overload would determine the Communication climate.

4) Top Management: Top management includes the staff members such as Directors of the
board of the company, Senior Managers, General Managers etc. of the company.

5) Superiors: Assistant Managers, Heads of the various Departments such as Marketing,


Engineering, Production, Quality control, HR, Veterinary Officers, Agricultural Officer
were considered as Superiors.

6) Peer Group: (Horizontal Communication) It consists of the employees and their colleagues
which are in equal status with regard to their designation, powers and salaries.

7) Supervisor: Supervisor is a person who is placed above his position and monitors the affairs
of staff under him regularly.

8) Subordinate: Subordinates include the last segment of the employees in the hierarchy who
generally obliges the orders issued by the top managers, superiors and are continuously
monitored during the discharge of duties. They constitute a large chunk of the staff who takes
up the large amount of work on a daily basis.
Data collection instrument

Organizational communication was measured using various instruments used in various studies.
“Organizational Communication was taken up by the questionnaire developed based on the
earlier instruments used by Roberts and O'Reilly (1974a) as well as the Downs-Hazen
Communication Satisfaction Questionnaire (CSQ), another instrument developed by Gray and
Laidlaw (2004) and the job satisfaction survey instrument. They were considered as basis for the
instrument designed by the researcher and customized for the study.

The “Organizational Communication Scale” developed by Roberts & O’Reilly (1974) measured
organizational communication by studying the variables such as trust, influence, mobility, desire
for interaction, upward communication, downward communication, lateral communication,
accuracy of information, summarization, gate keeping, information overload, communication
satisfaction, and openness. Communication satisfaction was measured using the CSQ developed
by Downs and Hazen (1977). Over all these years it has been established that the CSQ is
“arguably the best measure of communication satisfaction in the organizational arena” (Clampitt
and Downs, 1993). Job satisfaction was measured using a 28-item “Job Satisfaction Survey”
developed by Spector (1985). This measure comprised dimensions namely; pay, promotion,
supervision, fringe benefits, operating conditions, co-workers, and the nature of work.

In the communication process the direction of information flow, the formal and informal
channels of communication flow, and relationships with various members of the organization,
and the forms of communication and the satisfaction with the communication were studied with
the help of another instrument developed by Gray and Laidlaw (2004). This is considered as
valid and most comprehensive instruments available.

A recent study of CSQ concluded that it is an appropriate instrument for gaining overall insights
into the way employees evaluate aspects of organizational communication(Zwijze-Koning and
de Jong, 2007).

The purpose of this study is to provide insight into the relationship between internal
communication practices, communication satisfaction, job satisfaction. The researcher intends to
test the hypothesis that communication satisfaction acts as a mediator between an organization’s
internal communication systems and satisfaction.

as well as satisfaction organizational communication The CSQ was considered particularly


relevant to this study. CSQ instrument was developed by means of several studies, the first in
1976 when Osmo Wiio conducted 22 organizational communication audits in Finland. Downs
and Hazen (1977) used similar procedures for further investigating the concept of
communication satisfaction. Their factor analyses resulted in eight stable constructs of
communication satisfaction (i.e., communication climate, communication with supervisors,
communication with subordinates, organizational integration, media quality, horizontal
communication, organizational perspective and personal feedback) (Hamilton 1987, 113). In
1984 and 1986,Pincus (in Grunig 1992, 554) revised the Downs-Hazen instrument by
differentiating between three dimensions of communication satisfaction: the relational
dimension, that i.e subordinate communication, horizontal communication and top management
communication; the informational/relational dimension, that is, personal feedback,
communication climate, and supervisor communication; and the informational dimension, that is,
media quality, organizational integration, and corporate perspective.

Data collection instrument was a structured questionnaire consisting of close-ended and open-
ended questions. The structured questionnaire was prepared in both English and Telugu
languages for the convenience of the sample. It was divided into five parts. Part I consists of
questions related to demographic data of the respondents such as gender, age, caste, religion,
marital status, native place, mother tongue, annual Income (per year), level of education so on.
Part II had questions dealing with the details of employment such as appointment, shifts etc., Part
III had questions related to communication channels and processes Part IV had questions related
to usage of communication tools organization integration as well as organization perspective.
Part V has questions related to communication climate, communication at various levels such as
management, supervisor, horizontal, subordinate communication and its satisfaction along with
job satisfaction.

Qre reflects the details of the following


1) Demographic profile
2) Abilities and Training of employees
3) Employment Details
4) Frequency of Communication
5) Specific areas of communication
6) Channels of communication
7) Adequacy of Communication
8) Communication issues
9) Satisfaction with quality of information
10) Organizational Integration
11) Communication/Organization Climate
12) Handling of conflicts, Gate keeping and Overload in Communication
13) Management Communication
14) Supervisor Communication
15) Horizontal Communication
16) Subordinate Communication
17) Levels of Communication
18) Feedback
19) Communication Satisfaction
20) Job Satisfaction
This research was done in three stages. First, an original questionnaire was developed,
administered, and factor-analyzed. Second, on the basis of the early factor analysis, a new
questionnaire was refined, administered to four different organizations and factor-analyzed
again. Third, the correlation of each factor to job satisfaction was explored to determine which
communication dimensions tend to interact most with job satisfaction.
All these measures were studied with the comparison among the four categories of the sampe (
Table 1)

Pilot study
The questionnaire thus prepared was pilot tested in both the districts of Guntur and Prakasam, the
main areas where the activities are concentrated and were tested with ten members of the sample.
After studying the patterns of answers as some questions required modifications, the researcher
incorporated necessary changes in the questionnaire wherein few questions were revised and
some more were added.

Data collection procedure


The process of data collection took three months i.e. April, May, June 2017. As the researcher
himself was a Govt. employee and have experience, he approached the respondents with a
questionnaire. Further, he explained the purpose of the study to the identified respondents who
cooperated with him in filling the questionnaires. As many of them are busy with their usual
work and seasonal pressures, respondents took more time than expected. They asked the
researcher to leave the questionnaire with them. In spite of giving them the questionnaire, they
did not return it in time. Since Prakasam, Krishna and Chittor where some of the sample
respondents are offering services due to distance and in accessibility, it took more than one
month for the researcher to collect data pertaining to the study.
Data reduction and analysis
The data thus collected were tabulated and analyzed by using Statistical Package for the
Social Sciences (SPSS). The analysis was done to examine the relationship between variables.
Percentages were calculated and appropriate statistical tests were applied wherever necessary.
Problems in data collection
In the process of data collection, the researcher came across few problems such as
frequent travels, staying in Ongole and Chittor for the purpose of meeting the respondents and
persuading some of the respondents to return the filled-in questionnaires. As the researcher was
staying in Guntur, he had to travel to destination in the weekends to meet some respondents.
Although prior appointments were fixed with few respondents, they were not available on
account of special assignments. In some occasions, the respondents were given irregular weekly
offs. Some respondents expressed the view that they wanted to meet the researcher only in their
offices and while some others invited her to their house. Since they spend more than 12 hours on
duty and have a wide range of assignments, it is not possible to get them to answer the
questionnaire. Though they were cooperative, due to unexpected work schedules it was not
possible to handle them in time. Since the two states have newly formed the activities of
political parties, government and related sections have doubled but the media organizations had
to work with the same manpower. Especially news reporters and photographers had to share time
between the two governments and parties. While collecting the data the researcher had come
across small problems with regard to availability of respondents. Another
The main problem is that many of the respondent’s works in different shifts and found it
very difficult to interact with them. The researcher had to visit the diary many times first to
understand their working style and later to get the survey done. The study, however, has other
limitations. Since the sampling method adopted for the study is purposive, the results are
confined to the respondents in the sample only. And the results cannot be generalized to all the
respondents. Further, the study has been taken up in the vigilance of the management perhaps
some bias would have cropped in.
Downs, C. and Hazen, M. (1977) A factor analytic study of communication satisfaction, Journal
of Business Communication, 14(3), p.63–73.

Gray, J. and Laidlaw, H. (2004) Improving the measurement of communication satisfaction,


Management Communication Quarterly, 17(3), p.425–448.

Jeffreys, M., Massoni, M. and O’Donnell, M. (1997) Student evaluation of courses: Determining
the reliability and validity of three survey instruments, Journal of Nursing Education, 36, p.397–
400.

Corne Meintjes and Benita Steyn COMMUNICATION Volume 32(1) 2006 pp.
152-188

All the data were tabulated and analyzed using statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) - version 16
for windows because SPSS is the most widely used and popular method of statistical analysis by means
of computer throughout the world (Howitt and Cramer, 2005: 1). A chi-square test has been employed
simply because the data in this research are in the form of frequencies and chi-square is essential to
measure whether two or more samples that consist of frequency data differ significantly from each
other (Howitt and Cramer, 2005: 93).