Communications Within the Organization: An Interpretive Review of Theory and Research

Topic: Internal Communication

Author(s), Title and Publication
Redding, W. C. (1972). Communications within the organization: An interpretive review of theory and research. New York: Industrial Communication Council.

This book is important because it is one of the earliest reviews of organizational communication research. This review interpreted communication theories in the organizational setting, and offered 10 propositions about internal communication that remain highly relevant today. These propositions are: 1) information meaning is created in receivers’ minds rather than being transferred by senders; 2) nonverbal communication cannot be ignored because organizational members will interpret all kinds of messages, including silence and inaction; 3) listening skills are crucial;4) information receivers’ perceptions are greatly influenced by their job, position, and experience; 5) managers find it difficult to be both receptive and responsive to employees’ feedback; 6) communication plans and programs should be based on benefits/costs evaluation; 7) organizations need to consider communication ways or media use to provide employees with adequate information; 8) information overload requires careful management; 9) omissions and distortions occurring during the message transmission process must be managed; and 10) an appropriate organizational climate is more crucial for organizational effectiveness than are communication skills or techniques. The main components of an ideal communication climate are: trust, supportiveness, participative decision-making, confidence and credibility, openness and candor, and emphasis on high performance goals.

Implications for Practice
Organizations can build effective internal communication programs by acting on these propositions. Doing so will help to establish an open and dynamic internal system that emphasizes adaptation to continuing change from the surrounding environment, flexibility in the organizational structure, and constantly shifting patterns of human interaction.

Location of Article
The article is available online at: (out of print) (available in UA Gorgas Library)

Posted in [Research Library], Culture and Values, Employee / Organizational Communication, OrgComm Best Practices and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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