Organizational communication and job satisfaction: what role do generational differences play?

Payal Mehra (Department of Communication, Indian Institute of Management Lucknow, Lucknow, India)
Catherine Nickerson (College of Business, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates )

International Journal of Organizational Analysis

ISSN: 1934-8835

Publication date: 8 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of the generational category that managers in India belong to on their job satisfaction and on their satisfaction with organizational communication; the authors defined organizational communication as the communication that occurs in interactions between employees. The authors wanted to see whether there would be differences between the generations in the attitudes to and expectations of organizational communication, and whether this, in turn, would influence their job satisfaction.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 400 managers working in public and private listed companies in India were surveyed using a questionnaire over the period of a year, from August 2016 to July 2017. This resulted in 334 responses. The questionnaire measured the respondents’ choice and comfort with communication media, their satisfaction with the communication at their workplace and the type of interactions that took place. It also measured the respondents’ job satisfaction. The study was inter-disciplinary in nature, in that it drew on several theories of communication, e.g. accommodation theory and media richness theory, alongside the findings from empirical studies that have looked specifically at intergenerational differences.

Findings

The authors found that organizational communication was positively related to job satisfaction, and also that generational category moderated the relationship between these two factors. In addition, the results show that Gen Y managers in particular were the least satisfied generation at work, and that they frequently used avoidance while communicating with older adults. The conclusion is that job satisfaction may be enhanced, by focusing on the development of a positive communication environment; in addition, employees who belong to different generations may define what constitutes a positive communication environment in very different ways.

Originality/value

Despite receiving some attention in other contexts, such as in the family, the impact of intergenerational differences in the workplace has not been widely investigated. A few studies do exist on the influence of generational differences on work outcomes and on attitudes and behaviors, but much still remains to be done. In addition, while there have been many studies on job satisfaction, as well as on levels of attrition in workplace settings, very few have looked specifically at non-Western contexts such as India. The present study attempts to contribute to this debate, by providing a comparison of the workplace communication preferences and experiences within multi-generational organizations in India.

Keywords

Citation

Mehra, P. and Nickerson, C. (2019), "Organizational communication and job satisfaction: what role do generational differences play?", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 524-547. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOA-12-2017-1297

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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