Welcome to the IPR’s Organizational Communication Research Center (OCRC), your comprehensive source for game-changing employee communication research, best practices and measures. If you want to learn more about engaging employees, building trust and improving communication climate, this is the place.
The OCRC is a continuously growing database of research articles and information about employee communication. With just a few clicks, you can locate abstracts of important research studies about many topics, which are arranged alphabetically. Each abstract summarizes the research study in 250 words, suggests implications for practice, and includes a link to the full text, if available.
But the OCRC is more than a database. It’s interactive. It’s a space for conversation among professionals and academics who share interests in and a passion for communications within the organization. We want you to express your thoughts, insights and experiences about the research and the topic. We also hope you’ll alert us to other important employee communication research studies.
Definition of Organizational Communication
We define organizational communication broadly to refer to communications and interactions among employees or members of an organization. This includes: 1) The formal communication efforts of the organization (planned products and services typically produced by communication professionals, e.g., newsletters, Intranets and prepared executive videos); 2) group communications that occur within, among and across work teams and units; and 3) leader and supervisor verbal communications and behaviors.
Why Organizational Communication is Important
Every effective organization has a central process through which employees and members share information, create relationships, make sense of their organization and “construct” culture and values. This process combines people, messages, communication channels, diverse meanings, practices and purposes. Internal communication is the foundation of modern organizations.
Communication is one of the most dominant and important activities in organizations because relationships grow out of communication, and organizations function and survive based on effective relationships among individuals and groups. Communication helps individuals and groups coordinate activities to achieve goals, make decisions, solve problems, share knowledge and manage change processes.
Internal communication also provides employees with important information about their jobs, organization, environment and each other. Effective communication can help motivate, build trust, create shared identity and spur engagement; it provides a way for individuals to express emotions, share hopes and ambitions and celebrate and remember accomplishments.
Benefits of Organizational Communication
A growing body of evidence demonstrates that effective internal communication helps increase employee engagement, productivity, commitment, trust and revenues. For example:
- Organizations with engaged and committed employees were 50 percent more productive than those organizations where employees weren’t engaged. In addition, employee retention rates were 44 percent higher in organizations with engaged and committed employees (Izzo & Withers, 2000).
- More than 80 percent of employees polled in the US and UK said that employee communication influences their desire to stay with or leave an organization. Nearly a third said communication was a “big influence” on their decision (Burton, 2006).
- A significant improvement in communication effectiveness in organizations was linked to a 29.5 percent rise in market value (Watson Wyatt, 2004).
Research in Organizational Communication
In the past half-century, researchers have conducted hundreds of studies in human resources, management, psychology, sociology, organizational studies and public relations. The studies have focused on a range of topics, though many group around four elements in the communication process: 1) communication sources or senders, 2) messages and message contents, 3) communication channels, and 4) communication receivers.
Other important research areas include measurement and evaluation of internal programs and development of models and theories that help describe and explain this function. In addition, three relatively consistent research findings place these factors at the core of effective internal communications: 1) The words and behaviors of senior leaders, 2) the communication skills and behaviors of front-line managers and supervisors, and 3) the communication climate and organizational culture.
How IPR Manages the OCRC
Our process for selecting, abstracting and sharing research consists of five steps:
Step #1: We identify relevant studies by reading professional and academic journals, attending conferences and otherwise seeking out new research from diverse sources.
Step #2: We select appropriate studies, articles and books for inclusion in the data base. Once studies and articles are identified, an academic team reviews the research to determine whether it is appropriate for inclusion in the OCRC. Criteria for inclusion are: a clear focus, high quality of the method and overall research project, significance of the findings and “newsworthiness,” among other factors.
Step #3: We prepare a professional abstract of 250 words for selected articles. The abstract includes brief practice implications and a link for the full article or text, when available. Not all research articles are freely available online
Step #4: We enter the research abstract and document/link into the appropriate OCRC topical category so that it is available to the public. All new entries are headlined on the OCRC home page.
Step #5: We evaluate use of the OCRC by regularly monitoring the: 1) number of visitors to the site, 2) frequency of visits to particular research documents, 3) number of downloads, 4) comments of visitors to the site, and 5) other measures that may us continuously improve the site and its value.
The Organizational Communication Research Center Team
Rita Linjuan Men, Ph.D.
Chief Research Editor, Organizational Communication Research Center
Rita Men is assistant professor of public relations at the University of Florida. Her research interests include employee engagement, leadership communication, public relations evaluation and measurement, relationship/reputation management, and social media public relations. Men has published over 30 articles in leading referred journals (e.g., Journal of Public Relations Research, Communication Research, Management Communication Quarterly, Public Relations Review) and books. She has received numerous awards and grants from national or international communication associations and conferences. Men is the 2010 recipient of the Ketchum Excellence in Public Relations Research Award from the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) and a Page Up member of the Arthur W. Page Society. Accredited in public relations, Men’s professional experience includes corporate communication, marketing, and public relations research. She has worked internationally with Alibaba Group, Inc., Ketchum, Inc., and provided communication consultancy for multiple multinational corporations and non-profit organizations. Men earned her Ph.D. in Communication in 2012 from the University of Miami.
Research Editor, Organizational Communication Research Center
Katy Robinson is a Ph.D. student and graduate assistant at the University of Florida. Her research interests include internal communication, leadership communication, employee engagement and relationship management through the public relations lens. She began her professional career practicing public relations in the non-profit sector, before transitioning to the public sector, with a focus on internal and external relationship management. Earning her master’s degree in communication management and human resources management in 2013, Robinson’s work remains focused on the evolution and implementation of the public relations field to ensure effective communication strategies for practice.
Research Editor, Organizational Communication Research Center
Patrick Thelen is a Ph.D. student and graduate assistant at the University of Florida. His research interests include reputation/relationship management, employee engagement and public relations ethics. He began his professional career as a reporter and later transitioned to corporate communications where he provided communications consultancy and worked for the multinational public relations firm Hill+Knowlton Strategies. Thelen earned his Master of Arts in Strategic Public Relations at the University of Southern California in 2013.