This is the first of a two‐part article reporting the results of a study which investigated communication and relationships in the workplaces of four large organizations in Northern Ireland, two in the public and two in the private sector. A central purpose of the research was to evaluate suitable methods for auditing relationships among staff. Based on a review of the apposite literature on organizational and relational communication, the techniques finally selected as holding out most promise were the focus group approach, retrospective interview technique, social network analysis (SNA), and critical incident technique (CIT). Part 1 evaluates the first two of these techniques in terms of their effectiveness and efficiency in generating rich data enabling sharp insights to be gained of the types of association that typify those who share a work environment. SNA and CIT are similarly dealt with in Part 2, where recommendations for using qualitative and quantitative methods for auditing internal relationships are also offered.
This paper offers a synthesis of best practice on how to build, maintain or modify an organisation’s culture. The image of a company in which all employees strive towards…
This paper offers a synthesis of best practice on how to build, maintain or modify an organisation’s culture. The image of a company in which all employees strive towards common goals is now a well‐established theme of management rhetoric. Teamwork has always been considered an adorned virtue of an organisation, where staff endeavour to work collectively as one body and stick together – whatever the outcome. This idealistic view is, however, a far cry from the real world. This paper provides a set of general guiding principles for culture management in organisations. Leaders and managers are advised to formulate an overall strategy, develop cultural leaders, share the culture by communicating effectively with staff, measure performance and communicate culture in all dealings with customers. These five distinct, yet related, elements are essential if culture management is to be successful, and so this paper argues that for organisational success, all five must ultimately merge to form one unified whole.
This paper aims to present the results of a study into the effectiveness of the communication of anti‐sectarian legislation in four of the largest public and private…
This paper aims to present the results of a study into the effectiveness of the communication of anti‐sectarian legislation in four of the largest public and private sector organizations in Northern Ireland (NI). The study had two related central objectives. Firstly, to ascertain the level of employee understanding of anti‐sectarian rules and regulations in NI workplaces, and, secondly, to evaluate the relevance of an Episodic Communication Channels in Organization (ECCO) approach to the investigation of this key aspect of organizational practice.
An ECCO questionnaire was used to evaluate and track employee understanding of existing legislation, and chart the sources, channels, location and timing of information dissemination.
A clear finding was that there was a paucity of employee understanding of existing policies and procedures with regard to sectarianism.
The results are discussed in relation to the importance of effective information flow on key organizational issues.
The efficacy of ECCO as a communication audit tool for charting information dissemination is evaluated.
This paper considers the implications of mass communications theory on public relations (PR) evaluation and briefly reviews mass communication effects, persuasion, and…
This paper considers the implications of mass communications theory on public relations (PR) evaluation and briefly reviews mass communication effects, persuasion, and cognition, attitude and behaviour change theories. The implications for evaluation are then examined. Reliance on domino models is shown to be too simplistic. It is suggested that claims of PR behavioural effects may be unrealistic and it is argued that more moderate and/or alternative goals are needed if preordained failure is to be avoided. Evaluation results must be interpreted cautiously so that further significance that is not supported by theory is not assumed. This paper shows how the concept of PR evaluation could be widened to include formative evaluation and broad environmental monitoring, which are especially important in identifying and understanding why and how communication works, what its effects are, what factors restrict or facilitate effectiveness and under what conditions success can be maximised.
On 4 April 2002 the Police Service for Northern Ireland (PSNI) officially took over from the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). This historic symbolic change of name arose from the Belfast Agreement, the subsequent Patten Commission and a long period of consultation and persuasion. Like so many UK police organisations the RUC had exhibited evidence that it recognised the need to address the issue of internal communications but had not been involved in any in‐depth assessment of its internal communications, nor did it have a written internal communications strategy. The use of communication audits had also been limited. By applying a validated audit methodology, this paper examines the position internal communications had within the RUC. Using a triangulation approach, the research encompassed structured interviews, the international communication audit questionnaire, and a critical incident approach. The results showed a general dissatisfaction in respect of communication and specific dissatisfaction in relation to particular areas of the organisation. The implications of the findings for the fledgling PSNI and other police organisations are discussed in the context of the role of communication strategies.
The growth of the “patient‐centred” approach to health care has highlighted the importance of quality communication practices. One area that remains problematic, however…
The growth of the “patient‐centred” approach to health care has highlighted the importance of quality communication practices. One area that remains problematic, however, is the process of breaking bad news to patients and/or relatives. Hence, there have been calls for more research and training in this domain. Reports the findings of a study that used the critical incident technique to explore the breaking bad news encounter from the perspective of the health care practitioner. In total 33 senior medical and nursing staff reported on situations in which they described specific, vividly recalled, experiences of both “effective” and “ineffective” bad news delivery. These reported incidents were content analysed and a range of key dimensions was identified for both effective and ineffective experiences. Interpersonal communication skills emerged as particularly salient factors and these are discussed in detail, together with implications for future research and training.
Reviews the relationship between internal communication in organizations and the effective delivery of service. Illustrates how quality internal communications can reduce…
Reviews the relationship between internal communication in organizations and the effective delivery of service. Illustrates how quality internal communications can reduce the levels of uncertainty experienced by staff, especially at times of change, and describes a methodology ‐ the communication audit ‐ whereby organizations can monitor and evaluate quality in this sphere. Explains the core steps involved in implementing this type of audit and itemizes the main data collection tools.
Reports on investigation to ascertain from education managers theirperceptions of the range of situations and difficulties they found mostimportant in their work…
Reports on investigation to ascertain from education managers their perceptions of the range of situations and difficulties they found most important in their work. Education managers were surveyed, using an expert systems approach, to identify those situations they face which generate most communication problems, the types of people involved in these interactions and the skills which would be of the most benefit in the effective management of communication relationships. Considers the implications for organizational research and management training.
Education managers from various education settings were asked to record the three most typical work‐related incidents of communication within a specified time‐frame. They…
Education managers from various education settings were asked to record the three most typical work‐related incidents of communication within a specified time‐frame. They were also asked to identify the strengths and weaknesses of communication practices at work. The resultant data provide insight into the existing communication climate within education organisations, and the problems which need to be overcome. Specifically, the main findings were of persistent communication problems between managers and staff, the organisation of meetings, the transmission of information and the use of appropriate communication channels. The data suggest that there is a need for improved communication to facilitate the more effective management of education organisations, and to improve relationships between education managers and their staff. Greater communication skills training for managers is therefore recommended. This paper also considers areas where further research is indicated.