Horizontal and vertical communication as determinants of professional and organisational identification

Jos Bartels (Social Science Group, Wageningen University & Research Centre, Agricultural Economics Research Institute, The Hague, The Netherlands)
Oscar Peters (Department of Media, Communication and Organisation, Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)
Menno de Jong (Department of Media, Communication and Organisation, Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)
Ad Pruyn (Department of Media, Communication and Organisation, Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)
Marjolijn van der Molen (PricewaterhouseCoopers, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Publication date: 9 February 2010

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present the results of a study into the relationship between horizontal and vertical communication and professional and organisational identification.

Design/methodology/approach

An empirical study was carried out at a large hospital in The Netherlands with multiple locations. Hospital employees (n = 347) completed a written questionnaire.

Findings

The results show that although employees identify more strongly with their profession than with their organisation, there is a positive connection between professional and organisational identification. Dimensions of vertical communication are important predictors of organisational identification, whereas dimensions of horizontal communication are important predictors of professional identification.

Research limitations/ implications

Identification with the overall organisation does not depend primarily on the quality of contact with immediate colleagues within a work group or department; rather, it depends more on appreciation of the communication from and with the organisation's top management.

Practical implications

Management should find a balance between communication about organisational goals and individual needs, which is crucial in influencing professional and organisational identification.

Originality/value

Previous research has shown a positive link between the communication climate at a specific organisational level and the employee's identification with that level. The current study adds to this concept the influence of horizontal and vertical dimensions of communication on identification among different types of employees.

Keywords

Citation

Bartels, J., Peters, O., de Jong, M., Pruyn, A. and van der Molen, M. (2010), "Horizontal and vertical communication as determinants of professional and organisational identification", Personnel Review, Vol. 39 No. 2, pp. 210-226. https://doi.org/10.1108/00483481011017426

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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