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Interpersonal communication skills that enhance organisational commitment

Mary Bambacas (University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)
Margaret Patrickson (International Graduate School of Business, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)

Journal of Communication Management

ISSN: 1363-254X

Article publication date: 15 February 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is threefold. First, to investigate the interpersonal communication skills that human resource (HR) managers expect managers in supervisory positions possess. Second, to identify which of these skills HR managers expect managers use to engender subordinate commitment to the organisation. Third, the paper aims to investigate what interpersonal communication skills that enhance employee commitment to the organisation are most lacking in managers in supervisory positions.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach of the study is a series of in‐depth interviews with 32 senior HR managers in organisations with over 100 staff.

Findings

The paper finds that senior HR managers expected managers to be effective in interpersonal communication focusing mainly on the clarity and frequency of the messages, their ability to actively listen and the ability to lead in a collaborative way. The way messages were sent, especially their clarity, and a leadership style that engendered trust, was of the highest importance when HR managers wanted to enhance employee commitment to the organisation. However, these skills were also the ones found most lacking.

Practical implications

HR practitioners need to consider more explicitly what behaviours are important to promote organisational commitment.

Originality/value

This paper highlights that the interpersonal communication skills that enhance organisational commitment and are most valued by organisations are those that are most lacking in managers. This paper also provides insight for practitioners to the interpersonal communication skills areas that managers need to develop so that their interaction with staff may enhance commitment to the organisation.

Keywords

Citation

Bambacas, M. and Patrickson, M. (2008), "Interpersonal communication skills that enhance organisational commitment", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 51-72. https://doi.org/10.1108/13632540810854235

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited