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“ … it's a general meeting, it's not for us … ”: Internal communication and organizational learning – an interpretive approach

Liz Yeomans (Leeds Business School, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 6 August 2008

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the relationship between internal communication and organizational learning from an interpretive perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

Following a review of the internal communication and organizational learning literature, an exploratory phenomenological methodology was designed to capture the “essences” of experiences relating to “communication” and “learning” among employees within a UK healthcare organization with an aspiration of becoming a “learning organization.” Transcripts of interviews were analyzed, coded thematically and the essences of experiences collectively synthesized into one description.

Findings

The paper concludes that internal communication may contribute to the development of organizational learning through sense‐making processes. For the participants in this study, these processes were personal letters and memos, line management interactions and interactions with other colleagues. “Learning” was associated with the acquisition of knowledge through day‐to‐day interactions, self‐development and studying. However, some sense‐making activities designed to engage employees in organizational change were less relevant to participants.

Practical implications

The research highlights the need for internal communication strategies that match meanings to context, based upon research that recognises the social and culturally diverse nature of organizations; the interactions and identities of occupational groups; and how these groups in turn construct and reproduce their social world through discursive practices.

Originality/value

This paper demonstrates the relevance of interpretive approaches to corporate communication research that gives prominence to the everyday, subjective experiences, perceptions and feelings of organizational members.

Keywords

Citation

Yeomans, L. (2008), "“ … it's a general meeting, it's not for us … ”: Internal communication and organizational learning – an interpretive approach", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 271-286. https://doi.org/10.1108/13563280810893652

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited