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Informal communication styles benefit McDonald's and Ford: The way ahead in an era of social networking

Anas Khan (Based in Auckland, New Zealand)
Riad Khan (Based at the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji)

Human Resource Management International Digest

ISSN: 0967-0734

Article publication date: 18 October 2011




The article's aim is to outline the importance of fluid communication patterns that develop certain employee attributes and improve organizational performance. It seeks to focus on the examples of McDonald's and Ford.


The article draws on work carried out by the authors, plus the HR literature.


It is argued that flexible, easy and team‐friendly communication styles, rather than the traditional system of bureaucratic communication, are the way forward. It reveals, through the examples of McDonald's and Ford, that informal communication protocols can mean better customer service and organizational performance.

Practical implications

The article draws attention to a couple of the disadvantages of more open, informal communication styles – in particular that employees can originate incorrect information which nevertheless is absorbed by people around the world, and that employees who move to another company can take sensitive information about their original employer with them. It highlights the effects of modern social networking on traditional, top‐down styles or organizational communication.


The article questions whether top‐down styles can survive in an era of instant social networking.



Khan, A. and Khan, R. (2011), "Informal communication styles benefit McDonald's and Ford: The way ahead in an era of social networking", Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 19 No. 7, pp. 27-29.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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