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What Is Organizational Communication?

By Deneatra Harmon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Organizational communication applies to the interaction between a person and a group, specifically in the workplace. This field assesses internal and external communication, as well as communication styles within a business or a nonprofit group. Some colleges and universities offer degree programs in organizational theory and communication to students who show interest in improving human interaction. Programs focus on key areas of communication necessary for careers in management.

In the business world, managers or other leaders incorporate organizational theory into the workplace to encourage teamwork, resolve conflicts, and improve internal and external business relationships. In other words, the manager often acts as a liaison between other people or groups to reach a common ground. Organized communication involves the skills and processes necessary to create a successful business, whether it is a large corporation, a smaller business, or a nonprofit group. The field looks at the overall goal to encourage or strengthen written, oral, and interpersonal communication.

Examples of external organizational communication include interacting with the public, as in customer service, working with local organizations, fundraising, and organizing public relations campaigns. Internal communication settings include e-mail, presentations, business meetings, and employee performance reviews. Business leaders must incorporate this type of communication with specific goals in mind for promoting a successful company. These include leadership, conflict resolution, and negotiation, as well as compliance, motivation, and innovation. Organizational theory also strives to promote productivity, as well as effective decision-making and problem-solving skills.

Several universities offer training in organizational communication or organizational theory that leads to a certificate, a bachelor’s, a master’s, or a doctorate degree. Most of these programs require students to take courses relating to interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills. Examples of courses include theories in organizational communication, business writing, public relations, and conflict resolution and negotiation techniques. Other programs may include crisis management, global communication, communication technologies, and professional speaking. Overall, training enables the person to understand human interaction and behavior, maintain a positive work atmosphere, and listen effectively to employees or customers.

A degree in the field prepares students for careers in management, such as human resources, as well as other fields. Part of the duties of a sales representative, for example, includes incorporating organized communication strategies. Other careers to which the field applies include public relations manager, publicist, mediator, recruiter, and event planner. A patient advocate also uses organizational communication skills when mediating between a patient and a healthcare provider.

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Discussion Comments
By Bhutan — On Jul 23, 2011

I think that managers also have to take into account the some people cannot multitask. Some people need step by step direction and others that more highly skilled just need the big picture.

I also think that strategic organizational communication should involve methods that will motivate employees to become more productive. A lot of companies do this with employee birthday celebrations as well as anniversary gifts from the company.

Company picnic and holiday parties are also ways that businesses show their appreciation and some companies even add additional benefits or revamp the compensation in order to improve the employee morale.

I personally think that a yearly conventions is a great organizational communication strategy because all of the employees will be present and will hear firsthand what the company’s earnings were and the strategic objectives and overall organizational direction that the company will take.

This makes the employees more connected to the company. These types of pep rallies really motivate employees and many find newfound energy towards their jobs when they go back to work.

Usually managers that are presenting at these conventions have to develop their presentation skills in order to keep the employees engaged because if the presentation is boring and does not offer information about how the employees are going to benefit most will lose interest.

By icecream17 — On Jul 22, 2011

@Sunny27 - I think that things like that happen a lot, but in reality I don’t understand why they keep happening if we have cell phones and can be reached on them when we are not working. Also business communications in the form of weekly staff meetings do take place in most organizations, so I don’t know how a misunderstanding can happen like that.

I think that business communication probably breaks down when people are busy, but cutting corners with communication usually leads to problems.

By Sunny27 — On Jul 21, 2011

I think that effective communication is really important in any organization because lack of proper organizational management leads to the biggest problems in the workplace. Employees as well as managers need to understand the strategic vision of a company in order to execute that vision.

Many conflicts arise when there is a miscommunication of some kind. I know that it happens a lot when there is priorities are not set correctly.

This happened at the company that my husband works for. There was a manager that was working on a training project and spent most of his time on that project, but neglected to devote time for an upcoming presentation with a potential new client.

The manager was under the impression that the training manual was more pressing, but in reality the client meeting was.

I also think that this can happen when an employee is overwhelmed by too many priorities at one time. A manager should really prioritize the work for an employee like this because if every project is urgent then the employee understandably would be overwhelmed with the responsibility.

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