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What Is the Relationship Between Organizational Culture and Communication?

Poor communication is a common problem with organizational culture at companies of all sizes.
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  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2014
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The relationship between organizational culture and communication lies in the fact that a good network of communication within an organization helps create a strong corporate structure. The culture of an organization is the description of how such a company handles its internal and external affairs. It defines the essence of a company and gives an indication of the driving force behind the attainment of the company's goals. An example of an organizational culture is the policy of a company regarding lunch breaks. If a company allows its employees to have a 30-minute lunch break, it may allow a grace period of an extra five minutes for them to report back to duty. Any employee who stays beyond 35 minutes may face sanctions.

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This requirement might be something the company takes very seriously because it is a part of their organizational culture. In order to impress the seriousness of this requirement on its employees, the company has to communicate with them. The method of communication is what determines if the company has a good organizational culture and communication network. Some companies have a centralized method of communication within their organization. In this type of method, communication flows from one centralized point to the rest of the organization. If it is a small company, a supervisor might be the source of communication with the employees. In bigger organizations, the information might flow from a human resources department to other parts of the organization through methods like memos, meetings and other forms of internal information dissemination.

Some big companies may have several subsidiaries with their own respective human resources departments. These departments may either be independent, or they may take their instructions from the human resources department located in the head office. As such, the information flows down from the head office to the human resource departments in other arms of the company, to the managers of different departments, and on to the employees. It may also work in a reverse fashion; the information may flow from the various human resource departments in the different subsidiaries to someone in the headquarters. The human resource department in the headquarters will gather all of the information and study it to find out if the different subsidiaries are conforming to the organizations corporate culture and working toward achieving its goals.

Organizational culture and communication also determines how a company relates with other entities that are external to the organization. For instance, it helps a company formulate policies regarding customer service, and the manner in which employees relate to the competition. Almost all organizations have a policy of strong customer service. The way the employees implement this stipulation is the result of effective communication with the employees by the company, or the lack of communication.

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Discuss this Article

bear78
Post 3

It's wrong to put all the blame for poor communication on administrators. Most communication problems have to do with technology -- messaging and email systems and data storage.

turquoise
Post 2

@ddljohn-- I'm glad you mentioned feedback. Many administrators forget how valuable feedback is for their employees.

When I was an intern at a very bureaucratic organization, I rarely got feedback. I was given projects but I was never given information after my work was completed. So I never knew what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong. I lost interest in my work as a result.

It's not encouraging to work in an environment where any criticism and praise is lacking. Employees need feedback from their bosses and I think the feedback should be balanced. I wouldn't want to work under someone who only criticizes me or who only praises me.

ddljohn
Post 1

My organization has a serious communication problem and it's leading to other organizational culture issues.

The organization is fairly large with many levels but information doesn't really trickle down. It gets stuck at the higher levels and we have many employees who are not working as efficiently because they simply don't know what's going on. How can someone do their job right when information is ambiguous, and direction and feedback is lacking?

I think communication is the backbone of organizational culture. An organization with poor communication will always have lots of conflict.

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