For an organization effective communication between employees is very important factor. Data flows sideways, forward and backward in an organization from Top to Bottom and Bottom to Top approach. This flow of data is called communication in an organization. Main factor of communication is a response mechanism between the supervision and workforce. This mechanism means employees understand the task or process given by the supervision or vice versa. Communication is very important factor in an organisation, if the communication between the employees from Top to Bottom and Bottom to Top approach is not proper then employees message not go to supervision board and supervision board message not come to employees properly and employees always feel suspicious about the motive and task. Therefore for growth of Multinational Organization the channels for communication marked as the main factor. Flow of information is divided into three groups in every Multinational Organization Formal, Informal and Unofficial and these flows of information are called Communication channels. Communication is generally divided into three parts Oral, Written and Body Language. Methods used for communication in MNC are Video conferencing, Phone, Meetings, Radio, TV, Face to Face, Intranet, Emails, Fax, Letters, Memos, Reports, Manuals, Printed Materials, Audio CD and Video CD's etc. Models used for communication between employees in MNC are Shannon's Model, Berlo's Model and Schramm's Model.
Redding (1982) says that for the successful communication the feedback factor is very important and overload information may affects the communication result. If feedback is on time and efficient then the result of the communication is proper. Sherry Devereaux Ferguson and Stewart Ferguson (1998) says that modern communication technology in MNC'S has further changed social interactions by manipulating time and place and by removing the body from the communication act. These changes have the potential to operationalize theories of democratic management in ways not possible in the days of Fayol or Roethlisberger.
Aim of research is to investigate how the channels of communication might we improved within the multinational organization.
Objectives of research
Investigate the limitation behind the communication channels, communication methods and technology used for communication.
Investigate the possibilities to change the communication system to more effective system.
Investigate the employment satisfaction.
Investigate the thinking of the employees regarding communication system.
Research is done on the Toyota's TOYOTA.jpg . Toyota motor starts in 1867 founded under the Sakichi Toyoda. Now Toyota vehicles found in 170 countries which shows Toyota spends almost 143 years in automobiles. Toyota is now biggest organization in Asia and seventh biggest organization in whole world. In Toyota culture there is a high level of sensitivity to the importance of communication and a belief that two-way communication, especially face-to-face, will be generally more effective than one-way communication and feedback opportunities will provide in two-way communication. Toyota uses the Kaizen, process which is never- ending cycle of continuous improvement. In Toyota culture, communication is grease for engine to work efficiently. Toyota communicating with 7,400 employees within the organization by use of its Kaizen system. Toyota interprets communications and its systems in three ways shows in figure below.
Formal communication- these involve information sharing from the company to the employees, from the employees back to the management, and between the employees.
Human Resource activity- these are designed to keep the communication channel open and effective.
Informal activities- these activities are designed to facilitate and improve communication.
Toyota Communication System
The communication system in Toyota is vast and multi-faced. The main methods of communication used in Toyota's are company newsletters, bulletins, mailings, bulletin boards and email and one very effective used by Toyota is closed circuit TV System. In every break area and the offices there is a TV set all the times. It runs general information, such as amount of overtime necessary to meet the monthly production goals, safety tips, times of the next blood, benefits fair, and many other topics. Real purpose of this system is to reach all the 7,400 employees simultaneously e.g. when TMMK was chosen as the production site for the Hybrid Camry the system was used to simultaneously connect Washington D.C., Tokyo, TEMA(headquarter) in Erlanger, Kentucky and TMMK to announced the news to all team members at one time.
Problem in Toyota communication system is excess of emails. Too much email comes in a seconds which are not easy to read and reply at a time. Maximum emails are of customers because of defects in automobiles, because for recalling the cars Toyota also use the email method. Emails are send to the customers for recall and it's obvious that customers reply about the emails. This is the gap which needs to investigate to remove this type of communication gap.
Introduction and Importance of Internal communication
Communication between employees in Multinational companies is very important factor as some experts and scholars says that it is a backbone of the organization. For communication between employees companies choose different types of channels. Employers did not know what the company goals are and how to achieve the goals. They are totally unaware of this information unless somebody gives them a task and goals. That's why companies use communication systems. It's a role of the manager to take care of the system and have a regular check of the communication system. Tompkins(1984) says that "the study of sending and receiving messages that create and maintain a system of consciously coordinated activities or forces of two or more persons."
Internal communication is divided into three types Vertical, Horizontal, Diagonal.
Vertical Communication- This type of communication occurs between some hierarchical structures. Information flows to both sides upward or downward. Downward is mostly used for internal communication in a multinational organization as compare to upward. Larkin and Larkin (1994) says that downward communication is the best approach but only if the process goes forward immediately e.g. Manager sends meeting minutes to Supervisor now if Supervisor sends the message to staff immediately then information reach to staff on proper time and they got the time for preparing for meeting. Supervisor should have powers to change the staff, remove the staff and also have knowledge about organizational issues, so that the staffs trust him/her and believe that the information coming through him/her is accurate (Roberts and O'Reilly 1974). "Although the content priorities of downward communication have not been definitively demonstrated, there is some level of certainty with respect to the best approach to downward communication (Jablin 1980), i.e.,
â€¢ Top managers should communicate directly with immediate supervisors;
â€¢ Immediate supervisors should communicate with their direct reports; and
â€¢ On issues of importance, top managers should then follow-up by communicating with employees directly."
The most used and true method for downward communication is first do oral communication, and then follow up with writing (Gibson and Hodgetts 1991). Upward communication is not much known. Larkin and Larkin (1994) research on upward communication and come to conclusion that nobody much cares about upward communication. Strategies made for upward communication for survey of employees, suggestion programs, and team meeting etc are not up-to date. McCelland(1998) gives some reasons why upward communication is poor
Employees are afraid to speak up. Because they afraid from the managers.
Managers don't bother low level staff because of fear of modifications in ideas given by them.
In some organizations Mangers thinks that they are the power, so they gives the impression like they don't have a time to talk to the low posts staff.
Lateral communication- In case of lateral communication there is no hierarchical relations. This is most used approached in organisations and this approach is very effective as compare to others. It increases the spirit and co-operation between the employees. This approach is used by the employees at different locations doing same kind of work.
Diagonal communication- Diagonal communication is a communication between managers and workers of different departments (Wilson, 1992). This type of communication not uses much in organisations.
Types of Internal communication
Picture shown below shows the types of communication in multinational organizations:
Communication channels are classified into three categories as shown in picture below:
Formal Communication channels
In Formal communication channel flow of information like Goal of organization, Policy of organization and procedures of organization take place. Information in this channel is flows like chain of commands from Top to Bottom approach. Information flows from Top position to managers and mangers to its subordinates and then to other staff. Basic and easy example for formal channel is newsletter which is passes from Directors or Supervisor to managers and managers to staff. This newsletter consist information about goals and policies of organization. Other transformation take place under this channel is like meeting schedule, memoranda, reports, directions, Plan for Business, Survey for satisfaction of customers, annual reports, employer's manuals and Reviews of meeting.
Informal Communication channels
Organizations where formal channels are uses for communication, informal channels always exist there. Some time a particular hierarchy cannot work efficiently, so to overcome this problem, informal channel always exist. Informal channel sometime disturb the chain, so managers have to alert for this type of communication. E.g. if I am an employee of the company and wants to talk to manager, so at the break time when managers come to cafeteria that time I can talk or manager's gives message inside the cafeteria to all employs. Information in informal communication is not as much important like in formal channels. Quality circle, working as a team and training programs are comes under informal communication.
Unofficial communication channels
Information transfer among employees outside the company or rumours are comes under unofficial channels. Rumours circulate in an organization like grapevine, so it's a duty of the manager to stop these rumours to stop the grapevine of rumours. Main example of these types of communication channels is gathering of employees.
Methods for communication
There are a lot of methods for communicating within organisation. Some methods are explained below:
Video Conferencing - It is modern telecommunication technology used for communication between two or more buildings or locations by two way communication.
Telephonic Communication- Communication take place on telephones are called telephonic communication. This method is used normally within the organisations.
Face- To- Face- Face- To- Face communication is mostly used communication within the organisation. This method is used while meetings and seminars. First discussion on all the points is done by face to face then that result or outcome will be written on document for sending to staff by using other communication methods.
Letters, Memos, Reports, and Printed Materials are used in organisation for proof of information. These methods are used in vertical approach mostly and other methods are used for communication are Audio CD, Video CD etc.
Limitation to internal communication
In this modern era everyone wants to expand business internationally i.e. more than one country like Toyota starts from Japan then shifted to Asia and then America and at last in Europe. But to going different nation physic difference becomes barrier between communications. So companies have to take care of these barriers.
Second barrier is overload of information while communication. Very typical example is overload information is emails in Toyota in recent years. In recent years Toyota recall automobiles models by transferring the emails to customers and they got replies by emails which is not possible to read and reply same time.
Advantages of Internal Communication
There are lots of advantages of internal communication within the multinational organisations. We can say that without internal communication organisation never develops. If there are no communication channels then employees always feel suspicious about the goals of organisation. Advantages are as follows:
Goals of organisation is always reminded by mangers to staff by using printed materials and Close Circuit TV's in cafeteria or other parts of firm.
Co-ordination between employees becomes better.
Effective communication also helps the firm to meet the requirement and achieve the goals.
Feedback from employees goes to upper level staff very easily.
It creates the transparency in firms.
Approach used for research
To do any type of research only two methods are used Inductive and deductive. Inductive means
Two main strategies are used while research. These are empirical and theoretical. We used empirical strategy only if the data is collected by practicals, interviews and practical operations etc. On the other hand theoretical strategy is applied if data is collected theoretically and by own knowledge. For this investigation of channels of communication Empirical strategy is applied. But for this data should be collected from running organisations. Proofs and evidences should require for applying empirical strategy. Empirical strategy gives the accurate and proper result after doing the analysis. By using this strategy researcher saves lot of time and money as well. Theoretical strategy never be used in this type of cases because data collected is not from practical organisations and this strategy is very time consuming and costly.
To choose the research strategy and research methods we use research philosophy. It helps us to save the time and avoid the use the over work and keeps us on track. Two research philosophy types are given by experts one is Phenomenology and other is positivism. Basically we use positivism type because it focuses on experiments, original surveys and practical information. Positivism helps us to use deductive method and empirical research. On the other hand phenomenology means social behaviour of peoples with its roots in social science. This is used to develop the ideas by analysing the in formations. This is very time consuming philosophy only that's why we mostly we use positivism.
When we think about the plan and collection of data methods we need some constraints that are availability of subject, Population Size, cost, time and access. Sampling is divided into two types one is Non- Probability samples and other is Probability sample. Non- Probability samples is based upon subjective assessments. Non- Probability sampling techniques are Convenience samples, Judgment samples and Snowball samples. And on the other hand Probability samples are Random sampling, Systematic sampling, stratified sampling, cluster sampling and multistage sampling. In this research systematic sampling and random sampling is the best sampling method to use. Because while investing the communication channels we choose employees randomly by using random sampling and then we use systematic sampling by making one simple software and put all the barriers and problems of the employees while communication in the software. After doing all the research software put the problems in priority order and we start solving all the problems and barriers according to priority.
Analysis of data
Analysis of data is classified into two types one is qualitative data and other is quantitative data. Qualitative analysis is used for detailed description. To collect qualitative data we require studying a lot of theories given by experts and researchers. So this thing is very time consuming and not much used by the organisation for research. For Quantitative analysis we don't require to study theories and ideas given by experts and researchers. We can collect the data by doing the surveys and experiments and this is not time consuming process that's why quantitative analysis is much used by organisations for data collection. For investigation of communication channels we can use the quantitative data by doing the survey in organisation. We can ask from employees about problems they are facing while communicating inside organisations or we can do the experiment by changing the communication channels.
Data analysis sources
Mainly data analysis sources are divided into two types one is primary source and other is secondary source. In this research we can use both primary and secondary source for data collection. Primary source is data collected from experts and researchers. Secondary source is data collected from books and articles. Both data can be used for this research because secondary data becomes the back bone of the primary data.
Mechanism and methods for collecting data
Methods used for collecting data for this research can be interviews, questionnaires and surveys. For investigating the barriers of communication channels we can do interviews with upper staff and give questionnaires to staff or by using random sampling we can do the surveys regarding problems while communicating.
An ethical issue in this research means honesty. In this research there are some ethical issues which have to take care like don't disclose the research privacy, it should be the prime concern, don't force anybody to give opinion while doing survey, research will not be plagiarised and don't involve the official who get the benefits by giving opinions in surveys.
Limitation for this research
Main limitation of this research can be a money and time. Because money required for resources for research and it will take lot of time for collecting data, analysing the problem and solution for problem and then implementation of solution. But time and money limitation can be reduced by using deductive approach and quantitative approach.
Time table chart used for research
TimeTable for Reserach.jpg
Defination communication channels http://work911.com/communication/channels.htm
Sherry Devereaux Ferguson and Stewart Ferguson (1998)
Larkin and Larkin (1994)
Jablin 1980), i
Roberts and O'Reilly 1974
Gibson and Hodgetts 1991).
Sherry Devereaux Ferguson, Stewart Ferguson
Sherry Devereaux Ferguson, Stewart Ferguson
Transaction Publishers, 1988
Toyota culture: the heart and soul of the Toyota way
Jeffrey K. Liker, Michael Hoseus, Center for Quality People and Organizations
McGraw Hill Professional, 2007