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INTERNAL COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS
In today's world, it is very important for organizations to survive and grow in rapidly changing environments. Change is the only constant and it is extremely crucial for an organization to adapt to this kind of environment in order to develop and revolutionize. Researchers have observed successful bureaucratic organizations utilizing various communication systems in order to achieve the expected results to conquer change. The communication in an organization both reflects and embodies the organizational structure (Yates, 1984). Effective internal communication systems can be employed among by managers to communication with their employees and this in-turn can bring about innovative improvements within the organization (Williams, 1992). In this paper, we will discuss the internal communication systems that are applied by various large organizations and how they are amended and improvised in order to evolve with change.
In a research carried out by Williams in 1992, it was seen that internal communication varied within organizations by the different levels of leadership within the specific organizations. These varying degrees of leadership can be categorized into four different types of models for internal communication systems; Impoverished, Imaginary, Disjunct and Adaptive. In brief, the impoverished communication systems depicted very poor leadership and communication skills where employees could not complete the task satisfactorily. Hence, this proved to be the least desirable communication system. The other communication system observed was the Imaginary communication system. In this type of system, although there is a set communication plan, the application of the proposed plan is not up to the standards. There is a set theoretical model for communication, however the action required to carry out the model is lacking in these kind of leaderships. On a higher degree of leadership, a Disjunct communication system exists which is quite different than the imaginary model. In this particular model, there is more of implementation than planning. The program is created with less planning and more of action when the problem arises. The most effective type of communication model observed within the studied organizations was the Adaptive model in which the degree of leadership and management was at its prime.
In this model, not only was there present a suitable and apt communication plan set by the top level managers but also the system to implement the projected plan. The program set by the managers was evaluated and moulded to suit the employees' acuity and insight and a number of different approaches were carried out to attain the most efficient and effective system. In this kind of model, communication is the key factor and it is made sure that the communication level between the top level authorities and employees remains high and constant. Sometimes in large business organizations, a well experienced communication manager is hired to carry out the communication processes and to deliver high standards. This also reduces the difficulties and problems arising during the interaction of authorities and employees at different levels (http://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=40312>.).
Considering all the factors that have been researched, an efficient internal communications system model should include the following main stages:
- Communication should be process initiating from top level towards lower levels.
- The messages to be communicated in the middle of change should be clear and consistent.
- The timing of communicating vital information is an extremely important factor.
- Making sure that the information conveyed is in the interest of the employees so it is better understood and comprehended.
- If possible, a communications manager should be appointed by the organization in order to convey the information appropriately.
- A proper integration of the external and internal communication is required.
Now that we have discussed an efficient and beneficial model for internal communication during change, we need to know the different means by which this communication can be carried out and performed. The most utilized and exploited one of them all is the e-mail. It is the easiest, quickest and most reliable source of internal communication used by every organization whether small or large. It is seen that the employees are extremely comfortable with this source of communication and adapt well to it. Another well used approach is the intranet which is basically a network within a certain organization. Usage of intranet in organizations is the safest way to share vital information and messages and in turn assures security.
Numerous other resources are used for internal communication in context of change such as newsletters, employee forums, memos and notice boards.
Change is a factor that can affect a communication system within an organization and hence steps need to be taken to resist major throwbacks in the business. Because most people dislike changes, they often assume that effective teams do not have it. In fact, both effective and ineffective teams experience changes. The difference is that effective teams manage it constructively (Temme and Katzel, 1995). Various types of changes can occur, for example a technology based change such as system upgrade. In this kind of change, a great deal of tests and approvals are necessary (Shackleford, 2008). In this case, employees need to be trained from the start and made sure they understand the new technology. The advantages and benefits of the new technological change need to be explained thoroughly to the employees and associates in order to engage them and increase their interest in learning the new processes.
To summarize all, the following techniques can be utilized in order to engage and involve the employees during a process of change:
- Keep in constant touch with the employees and communicate the purpose of change and the reasons following it.
- Clearly describe the objectives and aims behind the organizational changes.
- Get the employees involved and generate interest within them by allotting responsibilities and tasks according to their appeal.
- Make them comfortable enough to express their concerns and worries if any.
- Involve them in certain decision making actions and make them a part of the change.
- Provide proper resources for training them for the new changes occurring and required skills such as technological changes.
Several problems and issues are faced by organizations when dealing with change and communication. A major problem faced by organizations during the process of change is dealing with communication in intercultural settings. Within an intercultural setting, nonverbal and verbal communication are both prevalent in emphasizing the differences in cultures. It is very important to concentrate on these inter-cultural differences during the process of communicating and being able to communicate in a comprehensible and direct way. When communicating with a team on an international front such as business alliances and other organizations in partnership, it becomes all the more difficult in explaining the reasons for change. Communication in this context turns into a huge problem and hence clear and concise communicative measures are very essential and necessary in such situations. A major factor here is building trust and assuring that the change involved is for the betterment of the company. Here, it becomes very crucial to impart appropriate and accurate information and express ideas in an extremely lucid and understandable way. Communication at this point needs to be at a very high level. In such situations, it is best to have communication managers or specialists to carry out this function in a pertinent manner.
The obstacles faced during this process of change and reasons for potential failure in efficient communication are as follows:
- Discrepancy in the proposed plan and actual actions carried out by the management.
- Uncertainty about the set goals and vision of the change from the employees' point of view.
- Over dependency on colleagues and other specialists.
- Applying inappropriate strategies for a certain task.
- Not being able to coordinate between several activities and several means of change at a certain given time. (http://www.slideshare.net/Estragon/change-management)
Hence, the need for internal communication systems in an organization for its development and growth is a very vital factor. In this paper, we have discussed the various different internal communication systems performed and carried out by different organizations at several different degrees of leadership. We studied how lower levels of leadership and management lead to less effective means of internal communication within the respective organization. A suitable model for internal communication systems has been devised and explained which includes factors required to involve the employees and create an easy flow of interaction between the management and employees. The complications and difficulties faced by organizations in regards to communicating information during the context of change are discussed and ways to overcome these challenges are mentioned. Communication strategies with international businesses and organizations have been reviewed and techniques to deal with communication during change have been discussed. Hence, it is concluded that organizations need a concrete internal communications system in order to deal with change within their company and development and growth can be seen within these organizations if an appropriate and suitable method or program is utilized.
Williams. L, “A model of internal communication in adaptive communication systems”, 1992, pp.33
Yates. J, “Internal communication structures in American business structures: A framework to aid appraisal”, Massachusetts institute of technology, 1984.
Gudgel. R, Feitler. F, “Organizational change”, 2000.
Tucker. M, Meyer. G, Westerman. J, “Organizational communication: Development of Internal Strategic Competitive Advantage”, Vol. 33, 1996.
Shackleford. D, “5 steps for developing strong change management program best practices”, 2008.
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