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The communication Problem
The aim of this communication problem paper is to understand the problem of leadership communication within an organization making use of the communication variable “organizational commitment” in measuring this problem. The effectiveness or, otherwise, ineffectiveness of everyday communication within the workplace has a way of defining an organizations culture and on the other hand, has a way of determining the successful outcome of the organization and the commitment level of employees in the workplace. To have a clear understanding of what leadership communication is, we would be looking at the two words individually.
Leadership is a process of organizing, persuading, directing, and motivating or inspiring people for the sole purpose of achieving set goals and objectives. Leadership can also be defined as the interpersonal influence effected in a setting or situation through the use of communication and geared towards the achievement of a particular goal or goals (Tannenbaum, Weschler, & Massarik 1961).
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Similarly, Stogdill (1950) added a new viewpoint when he proposed a definition of leadership. According to him, leadership is the act or process whereby a person (leader) or a group of people (leaders) act in a way of influencing the activities of a group in ensuring its aims and objectives are achieved.
What is Communication?
Communication is an everyday activity that links people together and creates a relationship between them by a process of establishing a shared meaning in conversations. According to Keyton (2011), he describes the method of communication as a process of transmitting information and creating a common understanding between different people.
Before discussing why this problem should be considered an area of study, it is important to understand to bring the two terms together for a better understanding of the phenomenon. Therefore, we would be looking at the definitions of leadership communication and organizational commitment.
What is leadership Communication?
Earlier, we were able to establish the definition of leadership and also the definition of communication. Now, we would consider a complete view of what leadership communication is all about. Leadership communication is those messages that comes from the leaders or top management within an organization. These messages are embedded in the values and cultures of such organization and are of utmost importance to the employees, customers, shareholders etc. of that organization. John Baldoni (2002, P.3) posits that “leadership communication is a message of significant importance that flows from the leader to key stakeholders like employees, customers, investors, even the public at large”. Leadership communication deals with a purposeful transfer of meaning in a controlled manner by individuals put in a position of leadership to influence a person, an organization, a group or a community.
Understanding these two processes of leadership and communication brings up the question of what the role of the leader is in communicating. The leader’s role is to motivate and spur the followers to act inline/ act in the best interest of the organizations mission and objective by adequately carrying out their duties. In doing this, a leader has to be able to use persuasive but most importantly, make use of motivating languages to get their followers to act accordingly by understanding the notion that effective leadership is effective communication. This means that to be an effective leader, communicating effectively is an important characteristic. According to Luthra, A., and Dahiya, R. (2015), In emphasizing the essence and importance of communication to leadership, the author describes how effective communication is essential to great leadership. In my opinion, to grow as an efficient and or a successful leader in an organization, an effective and accurate communication system is an essential factor. Great leaders are believed to have great communication skills. These skills don’t just stop at good oral communication skill, it goes beyond that. The knowledge they possess and are able to pass across at any given time is of utmost importance.
Defining Organizational Commitment
What exactly is organizational commitment? Meyer & Allen (1191) describes organizational commitment to be an attachment that occurs emotionally by an employee to an organization. This emotional attachment puts the employee in a position that he or she has to consider his or her sense of obligation to the organization and the adverse effects of leaving the organization. Organizational commitment is the emotional attachment an employee has or experience towards his or her organization. Generally, employees who are emotionally attached i.e. those who have a feeling of commitment generally feel that they fit in and also feel that they understand the goals of that organization therefore seeing their self as a key player in that organization and tend to carry out their duties more adequately. Meyer & Allen (1997) discovered that there are different types of organizational commitment. There is the affective commitment, continuance commitment and the normative commitment. The affective describes commitment such that people stay in organizations or remain committed there because they want to, the normative holds the view that people stay because they feel they ought to and lastly the continuance is of the notion that people stay because they need to. These three types of commitment can be an entire study on its own, but what we are trying to achieve here is to understand how organizational commitment can be related to leadership communication.
Why is it important to study this?
According to Miller, P. (2012), he noted that leadership research that has been carried out over several years shows that most leaders if not all, spend around 75% to about 90% of their entire activity or time on communication activities. The effectiveness of such communication is what is in question and how it relates or affects organizational commitment, knowing fully well that every communication does not necessarily connote effective communication. We will all agree that organizational commitment of employees is an important factor in the success and output of an organization which can be related to the effectiveness of the organizations leadership communication system.
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Therefore, the question that arises is that why should time be devoted to studying this? Studying this would help us understand if/how leadership communication can transmit into organizational commitment of employees. From previous studies, an effective communication system from leadership to employees within an organization creates an opportunity for an increase in organizational output and increases the commitment of employees in performing their duties. Luthra, A. et.al (2015) notes that when essential information is shared by leaders with their employees, a culture of trust would be developed, and this would allow for a good association to occur between leadership and employees and every other stakeholder that facilitates the organization to grow more rapidly. This emphasis the need for sharing information as Lack of information within an organization is one of the things that can hinder a good employer-employee relationship. Sharing adequate information about situations in the organization, what to do and what not to do, plans, etc. can help an employee feel like a member of the organization and build a culture of trust between the employee and the organization and also with other bodies that the company relates with which might help in increasing their level of commitment to the organization.
According to Underwood, R., Mohr, D., & Ross, M. (2016),the effectiveness of any organization is impacted by the effectiveness of its leaders. Organizational success and employee well-being is significantly impacted by the effectiveness and the quality of leadership that exist within that organization. Effective leadership does not only mean effective coordination or planning, it goes beyond that. It is also about effective communication. Being an effective leader means that you are also an effective communicator. As effective leaders, there must be a clear and effective communication system between the organization and its employees.Leaders must know how to communicate effectively with the employees, and other bodies that the organization interacts with.
It is important to also note that in the process of advocating for an effective or a good communication system between leaders in an organization and its employees, it is essential to create an effective communication channel that also gives way for adequate feedback. Sharing essential information alone is not enough but allowing feedback to happen is essential. This creates an opportunity for the voices of the employees to be heard and make them have a sense of say/involvement in the activities of the organization. In doing so, the employees will feel energized and gratified which would also make them committed.
Conclusively, a further exploration into this area of study would help organizations in understanding the effects of an effective leadership communication system. By doing this they would be able to make use of the right leadership skills in communicating effectively to their employees and other stakeholders in order to get them committed to their vision, their aims, and their objectives in which they set out to accomplish. Most organizations today do not understand the importance of an effective leadership communication system or they tend to look down on its importance by cultivating the wrong leadership strategy which makes no room for employee feedback on issues or matters that arises in the organization.
What has been done in the area of study?
Earlier studies have been helpful in making us understand what leadership communication seeks to achieve and the role it plays in the workplace. Also, previous researches have been instrumental in laying emphasis on workplace experiences through communication variables such as organizational aims and objectives, job satisfaction, job productivity etc. but there have been little engagements on how effective leadership communication has a direct effect on organizational commitment. Studies like that of de Lange, L., & Mulder, D. (2017) where emphasis was placed on the importance of effective leadership within an organization and the effectiveness of such leader as a critical factor in driving organizational success. The paper explored leadership communication from two major perspective by employing the Rogers’ revolutionary conceptual analysis and also undertaking a phenomenological study among professionals in the communication field who are exposed to the leadership communication so as to explore their experiences of the phenomenon.
Also, Mikkelson, Alan C., York, Joy A., & Arritola, J., (2015) carried out a research by using communication competences of supervisors and the leadership style they use in order to predict specific employee outcomes. These specific outcomes range from their job performance to their job satisfaction and motivation. This problem was studied using regression analysis and it was discovered that relations-oriented leadership alongside effective communication are the best predictors of employee job satisfaction, motivation, and job performance.
Furthermore, Genevičiūtė, J., & Auksė, E., (2013) were PhD student and a Professor respectively at Vytautas Magnus University at Kaunas, Lithuania who studied the negative aspects of employee organizational commitments on organizations. This was studied using questionnaires made up of organizational commitment questions by looking at different types of commitment like the affective commitment and continuance commitment and they type of effects (negative or positive) they have on organizations.
Conclusively, it was discovered that an effective communication system does improve job satisfaction (Holtzhausen, 2002) and when employees have job satisfaction, their productivity is also improved (Litterst & Eyo, 1982) while employee job performance is increased through effective communication (Goris, 2007).
Where do we go from here?
Considering what has been done in previous studies in this area and what we can understand from it, quality research time should be devoted to establishing a correlation between effective leadership communication and organizational commitment. Creating a link between cooperate leadership communication and organizational commitment would help in discovering the types of leadership skills that can make room for effective leadership communication that would encourage or inspire organizational commitment. Theories should also be explored and help solve the communication problem which would in turn make it possible for organizational commitment to occur.
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