Organisational Communication

Professor Gerlinde Mautner
Unit 1: Foundations
• Definitions • Functions of OC


"Organizational communication is the exchange of oral, nonverbal, and written messages among people working to accomplish common tasks and goals" (O'Hair/Friedrich/Shaver 1998: 15)

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A Web of Communicative Functions

Promoting products and services

Gaining and maintaining customer loyalty

Cultivating investor relations

Managing supplier relations

Conveying a coherent corporate image

Selection, Recruiting, Orientation Mentoring, Training Motivation


Gathering, processing and disseminating information

Knowledge management Initiating and communicating change processes

Mediating between diverging interests, conflict and crisis management

Communicating decisions about strategy, resource allocation, business processes, etc.

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Corporate Communication

Organisational Communication

Management Communication

Marketing Communication

Van Riel (2003: 163)

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An alternative classification
à Signalling relevance to and applications in commercial, nonprofit and public sectors

Organisational Communication

Management Communication

Marketing Communication & Public Relations

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Examples of topics relevant to the study of organisational communication

• "Examining the flow of messages in the organization to
determine how information is disseminated.

• Studying relationships in the organisation (…) and how those
relationships are created, maintained, and dissolved through communication. (…)

• Analyzing how the structure of the organization influences
communication patterns.

• Studying patterns of interaction in work teams. • Studying the intricate relationship between communication and
organizational culture." (Modaff / DeWine 2002:5)
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Three constructs…

… important to the study and practice of organisational communication:

• Organisational identification
• à an individual's sense of membership and connection with an organisation • Process AND product (result of socialisation efforts by the organisation)

• Job satisfaction • Communication satisfaction
• = "the degree to which employees feel that communication (…) satisfies their need for information and work relationships".

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Communication satisfaction

… can be broken down into eight factors:

• Communication climate • Relationship to superiors • Organisational integration • Media quality • Horizontal and informal communication • Relationship with subordinates • Personal feedback
(Modaff / DeWine 2002: 18)

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An organisation's constituents

• …also referred to as "publics" / "audiences". • See Lecture Notes pp. 6-7 • Authentic example: "Dialogue with Stakeholders" (Lecture Notes
p. 7)

• Reading: Blundel (2004: 156-159).

Slide 9 Gerlinde Mautner / Organisational Communication

Employees Investors Suppliers General Public Media Organisation Opinion Leaders Pressure Groups Trade Unions
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Political Parties

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