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Communication is critical aspect in an organization for connecting employees and their supervisors, co-workers, and top management, allowing efficient organization functions. Several authors note that internal organizational communication is important for positive organizational outcomes (Clampitt and Downs, 1993; Goris et al., 2000; Postmes at el., 2001; Hargie et at., 2003). Particularly in service industry, Liden at. el., (2000) found that communication relationships with leader- member and co-workers are foremost interpreters of job satisfaction among low-level employees.
Due to turbulence work environments in which employees are more educated & intelligent than past generations, leaders are now required to lead by communication and negotiations. Specifically, for leaders who are inspiring people need to communicate more effectively with followers to sell their vision (Salacuse 2007). Therefore, next generation leaders it is vital to demonstrate tangible traits such as negotiation and communication in the work place. Apart from that current leaders have responsibility to cultivate those traits among young leaders in operational aspects or corporate business models of communication to take them up (Kambil 2010).
This qualitative study explored the relationship between leader influence and employee communication, particularly examining the channel choice of communication (operational and corporate) in terms of employee satisfaction, through an organizational qualitative case study, focused on Hilton York which is a member of Hilton international hotel chain.
1.1 Company Background
The Hilton Hotels is the leading worldwide hospitality business, with more than 3200 hotels and 545,000 rooms in 77 countries (www.hiltonworldresorts.com). New organizational culture aim mainly to make Hilton group the no one employer and the first choice in the hotel business in UK (Anon 2004). Securing brand via promising guests receive the same high level of service whichever Hiton hotel they visit, is a continuous challenge for employee development. As with all service businesses, the contribution of employees is of central importance to Hilton’s success (Evans-Baldwin 2006). Hilton York four star hotels which is a member of Hilton group in the region of UK and Ireland. It consists five departments with 135 employees. Organization structure illustrated under appendix 01 (Bo.Wu 2010).
1.2 Study Rationale and Research Objectives
Despite significant leadership, employee communication, and internal public relations research, few studies have examined leader influence on internal employee communication processes. Attempting to address the existing knowledge gap regarding ways in which a leader’s values, faith, and vision connect with leadership communication and employee communication satisfaction, this study explores the following research objectives:
1.2 Research objectives
Review of theory and practice of leadership and the role of communication specially explore the operational leaders (supervisor) and corporate leaders (managers) communication on employee satisfaction
Outline the context of leadership communication in the context of a service industry specially Hotel Hilton
Develop a conceptual model of leadership communication , that can assist to explore employee satisfaction at Hilton York Hotel
Explore how the leadership communication influence on employee satisfaction
To assist organizational leader’s to establish strategies that can consider to foster more effective employee communication in Hotel industry
Literature significant to this explorative study will illustrate from several fields and theoretical areas, with aiming on leadership communication and its influence on an organization’s employee job satisfaction in service industry.
Structure of the Literature
The overall aim of this chapter is to offer a theoretical foundation of theories and practises within the area of the thesis. The focus of this thesis is the leadership communication within a service organization between leaders and supervisors and their team members. When studying this, several themes interact with each other and enable to construct the conceptual frame work on next chapter. Within this specific service environment, the communication between a leader and supervisors and its staff contains numerous parameters which creates the theoretical framework for this thesis. The literature reviews covers different areas under different topics: employee communication, leader’s corporate communication concepts within the organizations with leaders vision & satisfaction of communication, Employee operation communication with satisfaction, Supervisors involvement in operational communication, , culture, and communication factors, finally it narrow down to internal communication particularity in hotel sector which include employee communication satisfaction and service quality, important characteristics of hotel industry. Before continuing to explore theories concerning leadership and communication aspects within service sector, the focus of this thesis, a description of communication within the organization is provided.
Organizational communication through leadership
Communication is the way by which information is transmitted from one party to the deliberate recipients with the anticipation that the latter will understand the information and as a result manage the behaviour, perception and motivation of the recipient to accomplish a desired outcome (Daft, 1997 and Baret, 2002). In the context of leadership and management communication is a core in the pragmatic skill in which 75 per cent or more of manager’s work involved in some form of communication (Mintzberg, 1973). Similarly, two leadership communication scholars have explained leadership communication as “Leadership is human (symbolic) communication which modifies the attributes and behaviours of others in order to meet group goals and needs” (Hackman and Johnson 1994 p. 53). Successful leaders must develop an affirmative relationship between themselves and their followers in conjunction with the situation, communications, and the goals (Eisonberg & Goodall, Jr., 2004). Thus in current context lead people in a stirring manner it is very vital. Leaders should think and believe something beyond the ordinary. Leadership must convey employees a motivation to believe in the vision of the organization, equipped them to consider that they are contributing to something imperative. The leader must deem, unambiguously, in that vision too. To make this into action the communication plays the role (Nicholson and Natasha, 2010).
Internal communication is a specialized separate discipline of communication that examines how people communicate in organizations and the scenery of effective communication systems in organizations ( Grunig et al., 2002). Internal communication explains as “In the information age an organization’s assets include the knowledge and interrelationships of its people. It is business to take the input of information, using the creative and intellectual assets of its people to process it in order to produce value” (Quirke 2000, p. 21). However internal communication occurs in a place of work even exclusive of internal media or creative, attractive operation. It’s called conversation. Wherever communities live and they indeed do in a place of work conversation is the method in which people divide the experiences of their accomplishments. They propose ideas, ask matters, define cost and find cohesion (Rosen, S 2004).
As organisational management became a theoretically based field and the correlation was noted between productivity, profits and employee job satisfaction, employee communication took on the more sophisticated plan of internal marketing (Pitt and Foreman 1999). However establish a plan or a system for intra team communication seems like an obvious advice. It can be argued that it is overlooked. Although caucusing is always option, managers told to avoid it because they didn’t want to signal a need to adjust strategy. Instead, they established creative ways to communicate with one other, which ranging from the explicit to the implicit and from low to high tech (Brett at al 2009).
Organizational top leaders such as CEOs hold strong beliefs about internal communication activities’ value and contact on their employees and organizations, displaying different judgment about success and their own limited direct communication with employees below middle-management level (Pincus et al., 1991). Communication at the organization can be task-role (operational) or organisational corporate activities. Such similar scope is relationships between superiors and subordinates such as supervisors, equivalent and informal communication and the personal feedback dimension form. The communication channel relationship to superior, measures abilities such as honesty of superiors to subordinates plus superior’s capacity to listen (Downs, 1994).
Here Carson and Gilmore (2000) make a useful distinction between management competencies and technical competencies. Technical competencies are related to operational and tactical aspects of a task whereas management competencies are related to and required for managerial decision-making purposes. In this context effective leadership communication vary on whether the leader is a branch of higher, middle, or bottom level management (Spinks and Wells, 1995).
Leader’s corporate communication (Internal)
In Corporate communications by leaders which offers a framework and language for the effective coordination of all means of communications (Cornelissen 2004). Grunig (1992) stressed that organizational leader’s structure and communication are strongly related to employee satisfaction, which can consider as internal employee relations. At the same time corporate communication involves leaders will find as they move into higher levels of an organization that they become the leader of change programs and vision development among employees (Barret J.D 2006). However, According to Holladay and Coombs (1993), leadership is a behaviour enacted through communication. Specifically, Holladay and Coombs suggested that communication shapes the perceptions of a leader’s charisma and communication can be divided into the content of the leader’s messages and the presentation of those messages. Corporate leaders use effective communication to enlist the support of other employees towards achieving corporate objectives. When an organization’s vision is communicated to its entire employees, the whole picture, the path, the future and everything about the ultimate goals is made known, the organization moves systematically towards total employees’ job involvement and total customer satisfaction, rapid rates of improvement and world-class levels of performance (Dale, 1999; Juran and Gryna, 1993; Zhang, 1999 as cited by Boon et al 2007). The advantages of vision-directed leadership communication are three fold. First, vision directed communication builds a shared context by reinforcing values and beliefs about what is important in the organisation. This shared context is essential for effective decision making and problem solving, as well as communication. Second, vision-directed communication helps minimise barriers in some instances (e.g. perceptual selection and absence of formal channels) and helps us reconceptualise “problems” (e.g. semantics and too much information) as opportunities. The third advantage of vision-directed communication is that some of the ideas, e.g. using ceremonies, rituals, artefacts and symbols, result in the message being present even when the sender is absent (Kouzes and Posner, 1995, p. 229 as cited by Kelly, D . 2000).
Not only the corporate leaders Nutt (1993), explains executives with different functional background usually develop different values and attitudes that affect their interpretation of the environment, preference for particular type of strategy, and capacity to create innovative micro communication culture to overcome issues. The cognitive skills of team members and their capabilities on the job of the industry also determine the capacity of the team to analyze communication information and develop innovative culture with adaptive micro communication strategy. Team members with relevant skills and knowledge can balance the leader’s biases and improve flexibility of decision making. In contrast D’Aprix (1996) as cited in Therkelsen and Fiebich (2003) stated that senior managers have usually been much improved to control macro communication, while leaving micro communication to the highly variable abilities and ambitions of supervisors and employees. Moreover, there are times when a knowingly strategized management system is in place, but there is no real answerability for communication deeds. A company that would never let a department head turn down to submit an annual budget recognizes justifications such as lack of time or discomfort for not participating in required employee communication programmes.
Academic perspective, in the transformational leadership theory highlights the importance for a leader to communicate clear vision and goals (Bass & Riggio, 2006). In practice one of the central roles of management is to motivate people towards reaching targets, goals and the organization’s vision. This is often done through visions of “excellence,” “pride” and “satisfaction” looming at the horizon of the organization’s efforts (Bandura, 2002). In fact effective leaders motivate and satisfy their employees by clarifying the paths by which employees can attain their goals, and who increase personal outcomes to employees when these goals have been achieved. Effective team leaders can be identified to the extent that they satisfy a demanding set of responsibilities associated with leadership, while still promoting the creativity and leadership ability of team members. Consequently, no single role or responsibility defines an effective team leader. Rather, effective team leaders must satisfy a variety of roles, requirements, and responsibilities (Trent, 2004). However, a study by Sharbrough et al., (2006) examined that impact of motivational language on a number of outcomes. They found positive relationships between a leader’s use of motivational language and their perceived effectiveness, communication competence, and their subordinates’ job satisfaction. Employees want a leader who knows them, understands them, care, concern, treats them fairly, and is someone whom they can trust. The leader need to know what their employees want and what is important to them. Retention management is all about relationships. People necessitate to feel like their contributions to the organization are valued (Taylor, 2001). Thus Piccolo and Colquitt (2006) discuss leadership communication with job roles and behaviours. It brings out that leaders could influence perceived core characteristic of the job by altering the language, imagery, and symbols. Ali et al. (2002) conclude that the generation distribution and frequent existence of organizational acquaintance depends on such a communication climate. Further, Kambil (2010) clarifies that when organizations developing next level leadership: from no questioning to courage, and communications skills to negotiation skills, aspiring leaders require to understand on budding and physically representative these traits and skills in the workplace communication climate. Based on how extent these traits and skills are treasured by current leaders, we should anticipate these to be key markers beyond the apparent performance gauges.
Employee’s operational communication vs. Satisfaction
The relationship between internal communication practices and employee satisfaction is well established. Communication audits reveal that greater communication efforts tend to result in higher levels of communication satisfaction (Hargie et al., 2002) and triumphant strategic leader communicates with a substantial responsibility to achievement of crucial managerial outcomes such as job satisfaction (Mayfield, 2009). Another study by Goris et al. (2002) resulted in various negative associations between three communication dimensions – accuracy of information communication under load, and communication overload – with one to another and with specific facets of job satisfaction and job performance.
Otherwise, Theaker (2001) believes that some routes may work well and others may be blocked. When communication doesn’t work, the grapevine steps in to fill the gap. The grapevine, made up of rumour and gossip, is not controlled or controllable. It is always in existence, but the effects can be moderated if communication flows are working well. Issues may arise if the grapevine is the only form of communication, or is seen as more reliable or important than information sent by the management. Shaw (2005) Supervisors to be perceived as competent communicators, they must share and respond to information in a timely manner, actively listen to other points of view, communicate clearly and succinctly to all levels of the organization, by means of different communication channels.
The most common factors leading to worker stress and dissatisfaction are those emanating from the nature of the job itself, within which interpersonal relationships between employees take place (Kenny & Cooper, 2003). Mainly job satisfaction associates strongly to work motivation. It could be viewed, at one level, as a consequence of being able to achieve something in performing in agreement with one’s motivation. In this sense, satisfaction comes to pass not from performance of the job but from the capacity to have a need or motive satisfied. It is supposed that high degrees of motivation will have both psychological and behavioural penalty: the emotional consequence include job satisfaction and organizational commitment; at the same time the behavioural effects include higher yield, lower absence and lower probability of leaving the job (Foster, 2000). Employees that are satisfied with their jobs have a constructive practice of their pay, supervision, chances for promotion, work environment, and tasks. Job satisfaction is associated with job enrichment, good supervision, clear roles, and met expectations. In addition satisfaction in the work place is important for staying and management techniques probably contribute to it. They also mention recommendations in order to solve turnover issues like; common and sincere communication, fair and equitable compensation, and clear performance expectations. Pay and financial incentives also work to increase motivation, commitment, and satisfaction (Mitchell et al, 2001).
Apart from that differing factors behind job satisfaction and communication were discussed by the scholars. Some of these studies are supervisors’ displays of nonverbal communication (Madlock, 2008), job level & organization level (Zeffane, R and McLoughlin, 2006), and perceived supervisors’ support (Eisenberger et. el., 2002). However, some times in leader-subordinate communication a supervisor’s trend to reveal essentially job-related information to employees in similar or dissimilar manner. This leads to dissatisfaction, favoritism which arise within employees. Within an organization for example, supervisor plays monumental role as information provider to his or her subordinates at various levels (Connaughton and Daly, 2004).One exception was the work of Madlock (2008) whose findings indicated that supervisor communicator competence accounted for 68% of the variance in subordinate communication satisfaction and 18% variance in job satisfaction. Further, Johlke and Duhan (2000) found that employee satisfaction can be enhanced by simply increasing the frequency of supervisor- employee operational communication.
Arguably open communication can make them more comfortable with constructive approach to equality (Sadri and Tran 2002). James Barker (1999) offered another view, with related to culture and employee communication. Here culture acts as a system for producing meanings in employees, blending different skills in work activity and encouraging followers to select. Further proceed in ways that will support functions of the organization as they communicated everyday life at work. So these contexts leads not based on meanings, but on the processes whereby these are constructive and deconstructive.
Internal communication Satisfaction and Service quality: Hotel Industry
In past research, internal communication has revealed as one of the key incident that impact upon the quality of relationship between an organization and its employees (Jo & Shim, 2005) the effects of effective communication skills ( Mintzberg, 1994), interpersonal communication (Quick & Macik-Frey, 2004), rapport building (Campbell, White, & Johnson, 2003). Kim et al. (2005) showed that employees perceive greater value congruence with an organizational culture when a common message is communicated about the values and culture of the organization. Regardless of the approach taken, leaders should remember that communication plays a powerful role in changing an organization’s culture (Zamanou and Glaser, 1994). Smidts et al. (2001, p. 1053) discuss the quality of communication climate and argue that positive communication climates increase employee identification with the organisation. These authors distinguish levels in the communication climate including top (or strategic) management, supervisors (line management) and colleagues (peers). Now days the issue for many leaders is getting employees to listen for communication satisfaction – really listen – to an important message with an impact on the success of an initiative or an organizational change process. Leaders, especially senior leaders, are often perceived as being distant and unable to relate to or understand the issues and concerns of ordinary employees. How can the boss know what I’m dealing with if he or she has never been there and done that? How can I trust the advice or recommendation of someone unfamiliar with the problem at hand? (Harris and Barnes 2006).
In the service industry, employee job satisfaction is extremely crucial to the triumph of an organization. Because of the unique characteristics of service compared to goods, such as intangibility, heterogeneity, simultaneous production and consumption, “employees are service and the brand” (Zeithaml et al., 2006, p. 349).
Services cannot be inventoried–they are usually sold first, then produced and consumed simultaneously. On the other hand, physical goods are produced first, then inventoried, sold, and consumed. Hence, service organizations frequently have trouble matching supply and demand. Further, clients greatly influence the outcome of the transformation process of service delivery. The features of a service can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, from client to client, and from day to day. Ineffective awareness to these characteristics can humiliate the quality of services a company provides, which in turn pessimistically affects customer satisfaction, employee turnover, sales, and productivity (Schlesinger & Heskett, 1991 as cited by Kundu et el 2004).
Specially, hotels are mostly bare to service disappointments since the relation between hotel staff and the customer is stronger than in other service sectors. Thus the unsatisfied employee service quality also makes the risk of business than in other service companies (Ford & Magnini, 2004). In service settings, such as hospitality, the quality of the interpersonal communication between the customer and the contact employee greatly influences customer satisfaction (Bitner et al., 1994; Lovelock, 1996 as cited by Wei at el 1999). Bai (2006) also found job satisfaction and internal service quality to have positive relationships with organizational commitment, which “is of paramount importance to hospitality companies that strive for competitive advantage” (p. 40) whilst It is evident that many quality programmes fail from lack of commitment on the part of senior and middle management, and front-line employees in Irish hotel industry. It is emphasized that the management of quality in contemporary hospitality organisations is lacking in participation, communication and teamwork dimensions (Keating and Harrington 2003). The problem for managers is that this employee is typically the one who is the least identified with the long-term goals and objectives of the organization, who has the least seniority, least experience, and lowest pay. In other words, one of the unique challenges in the hospitality industry is to get the person who is the least involved and least committed to the organization motivated and enthusiastic about delivering the guest experience in a way that makes the guest not only happy with the organization. Since, for many guests, the front line server is the organization, managers must inspire that employee to deliver the experience in a way that so exceeds guests’ expectations that they will tell everyone they know what a wonderful place the organization is to visit and experience (Heskett et al., 1997; and Heskett et al., 1994 as cited by Crotts et al 2009).
Thus particularly service providers need to be aware of which communication style perpetuates higher customer satisfaction and which style fails to achieve customer satisfaction. Further, service providers (employees) can benefit from knowledge of other factors (e.g. service specific or situational variables) that might play a role in shaping the effectiveness of their communication style. A comprehensive knowledge of the nature and specific of the relationship between communication style and customer satisfaction will not only encourage the service providers to be cognizant of their communication, but also assist them in identifying an appropriate communication ways for a given service run into (Webster and Sundaram 2009).
Another view is an understanding of customer expectations and desires, improved translation of those issues into performance specifications and delivery system design by internal communication which reduce the gap between perceived service delivery and customer expectation (Coye 2004). To understand these type of service gaps Zeithaml and Parasuraman (2004, p. 1), explains SERVQUAL model ( Appendix 02 ) as “the degree and direction of discrepancy between customers’ service perceptions and expectations.” Furthermore, their research shows that customers assess SERVQUAL along five perception dimensions – assurance, empathy, reliability, responsiveness, and tangibles – that can be evaluated by the SERVQUAL scale. The five dimensions are : tangibility – the appearance of the physical facilities, equipment, personnel and communication materials; reliability – the extent to which the organisation performs a service dependably and accurately; responsiveness – the organisation’s willingness to help customers and provide a prompt service; assurance – the knowledge and courtesy of individuals and their ability to be trustworthy and inspire confidence; and, empathy – the extent to which the organisation “cares” about its customers (Morgan, R. E . 2004). Above Service gaps show that identifying improvements and enhancement to customer service. Thus leaders also need to refine employee roles through enhance internal communication systems. The impression made on the customer depends primarily upon how the organization’s employees communicate with the customer. An organization needs to be fully aware of the impression that is received by someone who contacts the company. The impression made on the customer depends primarily upon how the organization’s employees interact with the customer. Therefore, each employee is a potential customer service representative (Jones 2000). However, Chase and Stewart (1994) also point out the limitation of using SERVQUAL gap model alone when analysing operations for further service quality improvement. They classify errors in services into server errors and customer errors, and argue that it is important to design an error-free system or models to omit service gaps.
Taking into consideration of hotel industry considered as labour-intensive industry with a high share of low-skilled and unskilled jobs. Moreover, hospitality jobs offer the least job and income security and are likely to expose workers health risk (Hermanussen 2008). These type of jobs often shaped by mundane for employees. Thus, largely unskilled and low paid workforce in hotel industry, employees often “moving from place to place”, and “often in and out of work”, but by and large staying inside the wide confines of the industry. Thus if they stay, “there must be something in; some basis of satisfaction” (Riley 2000:29).Thus employee morale affects customer satisfaction the leaders of international tourist hotels need to cultivate good relationship with their employees (Tsai 2008).
Additional service provider’s warm or cold communication style influenced judgments about the quality of service. Organizational communication in services reflects that a leader’s warmth or coldness affected employees’ perceptions of the leader. Consequently, warm communication style was associated with favourable evaluations of the service interactions (Street and Weimann 1987 and Wong and Tjosvold 1995 as cited by Webster and Sundaram 2009 pp 105 and 106). Hence, It will be required to develop behaviours by hotel leaders with the personnel and change employee satisfaction for a set of potentials or challenges to go further than their current way of serving customers through a developed effective internal communication (Gonza´lez and Garazo 2006) and exemplified extraordinary customer service management. It enable effective leadership and to build a customer-centred corporate culture. If the corporate culture is not customer-centred, the organization is likely to lose large numbers of customers to its competitors (Jones 2000). Accordingly it is important to understand the collective contribution of all communication, which depends not only on the “main effect” of each activity but also on the “interaction effects” among communication activities (Keller, 2001) which bridge the gaps. A real issue for leaders is how to introduce and maintain a new way of communicating with employees and other audiences with a vested interest in the company. There is no time to return to communication directions and methods used terminations or closures (Mathews and Wilma, 2010).
Conceptual Frame Work
The literature reviewed for this study appears to support the notion that leader’s communication between employees and supervisors has an influence on the employees’ job satisfaction. Based on the research reviewed and the gap in prior research relevant to the influence supervisor communicator competence, task leadership style, and relational leadership style have on employee job and communication satisfaction, the following conceptual model were advanced.
The literature reviewed for this study appears to support the notion that leader’s communication between employees and supervisors has an influence on the employees’ job satisfaction. Based on the research reviewed and there is a gap in prior explorative research relevant to the leaders corporative communication and supervisors operational communication with employee satisfaction particularly in hotel sector. In following model (Fig. 01), it is assumes that when an organization could effectively communicate its goals and objectives to employees, It should be employee-satisfaction relationships, but when these channels different with the communication (operational and corporate) there is a divergence with employee satisfaction. Thus there is a need for a comprehensive study to find linkages between the operational communication channels (Corporate leader ƒŸƒ Team member) and corporate communication channels (Leader ƒŸƒ
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