What Is Organizational Communication? (With Career Options)

To create the best working environment, all managers and employees must be aware of how people behave. Organizational behavior is concerned with how individuals may be inspired to collaborate more successfully. Organizational communication is the interaction required to lead a group toward a set of shared objectives.

The answers to these and other questions will help you better understand the phenomenon and process of organizational communication. What is meant by “organizational communication,” what are its major functions and types, what are the most important communication skills in the workplace, what are the most typical barriers and obstacles to contemporary organizational communication

The ability to deliver and receive messages effectively and efficiently is a managerial skill. A manager must identify different types of communication barriers, examine the causes of their occurrence, and take preventative measures to eliminate those barriers. Consequently, a manager’s main duty is to establish and maintain an efficient communication system within the company.

Consequently, organizational communication refers to the formats and channels of communication among individuals or groups within organizations like corporations, nonprofits, or small businesses. According to studies, there is a significant correlation between an organization’s levels of communication and its employees’ job satisfaction and performance. Communication within an organization can be formal or informal, flow in different directions, and use a variety of media.

Organizational communication takes place upward, downward and horizontally. Through formal channels like policy manuals, rules and regulations, and organizational charts, downward communication travels from the managerial and executive levels to the staff. Staff members start upward communication with executives, which frequently takes the form of a complaint or a request. When coworkers get together to talk about topics of interest, solve problems, and exchange information, this is known as horizontal communication.

Leading, rationalizing, problem-solving, conflict management, and compliance gaining are listed as the five main functions of business communication by William Neher (1997) in his book “Organizational Communication: Challenges of Change, Diversity, and Continuity.” The role of leading is crucial because it enables management to give instructions in a precise, clear manner that makes them easy for employees to follow. This is generally downward communication.

Through this function, management can clearly communicate the motivations behind directives to employees. Although rationalizing is crucial to enabling employees to bring issues to management’s attention through upward communication, it is downward communication in this context. For instance, if a worker notices a motivation issue, he may formally notify management of the issue and use justification to highlight how it may affect profitability.

The majority of businesses hold regular meetings to discuss matters like production cycles, delivery times, price margins, and other areas where unusual circumstances could occur and potentially affect a business’ performance. Organizational communication is crucial to the problem-tabling, idea-generating, and solution-finalization processes in these meetings. In this manner, a business makes the most of the skills of those involved in the communication, which is horizontal and frequently informal.

Conflict at work can result in the departure of talented employees, the filing of grievances, and potentially legal action. Organizational communications plays a crucial role in conflict management by bringing all parties together to discuss their differences in a secure, moderated environment. Even though discussions may be informal, final decisions are typically communicated formally in this type of communication, which typically involves all three directions of communication.

Employee compliance with instructions requires gaining their cooperation. To achieve this, management must pay attention to employee feedback and consider their suggestions. It is crucial for a business to enable open communication channels in order to inspire and get the best performance out of employees. Feedback or two-way communication can be both upward and downward or horizontal, and it can be formal or informal.

Values are the behaviors, traditions, and institutions that a group of people hold in high regard. Typically, statements of value include words that express approval, disapproval, and obligation. The terms good, bad, should, and should not could be among them. However, value judgments are not required to include particular value words. Although the phrase “that is a lie” does not specifically express disapproval, it is understood that a lie is wrong.

A society’s foundational set of principles is its morals. Some moral principles are universal, such as the prohibition of homicide and the fundamental obligations to act righteously and promote the welfare of others. There are four things we should keep in mind because morals serve as the foundation of society, according to philosopher Robert C Solomon.

To have integrity is to be honest and sincere. Integrity is defined as upholding a moral standard when making decisions on a daily basis. Integrity is a sign that a person or organization can be trusted. However, businesses that lack this quality and deceive customers with subpar goods or deceptive advertising will pay a price.

Ethics is not just how we think and act. It is also about character. Character drives what we do when no one is looking. Every person has the power to develop, alter, or even destroy their own character. By thinking positive thoughts and acting positively, we can develop our character. Similarly, bad thoughts and behavior can destroy our character.

A person with character has strong morals and will always act morally out of choice, not out of necessity. A person with character will honor his or her commitments. Character pertains to organizations, as well. A trustworthy company upholds its commitments, behaves honorably, and commands respect.

Laws have legalized slavery, segregation, sexism, and apartheid. Although the values of society at the time these laws were passed may have been reflected in them, they cannot and will never be used to excuse immoral behavior. Similar to how it is unethical to lie to a coworker or on a job application, it is legal in business.

To address their particular business situations, many professions and businesses have created codes of ethics. In fact, nearly half of all corporations and 90% of Fortune 500 companies have codes of ethics that apply to all employees. An organization can make it clear that members and staff cannot use ignorance as an excuse for unethical behavior by creating an ethics code.

An additional incentive for having corporate codes of ethics and ethics education is provided by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations. If an employee is found guilty of breaking the law, companies that have made a significant effort to prevent it are likely to face less severe penalties. Just a few employees’ unethical behavior can have a negative impact on the entire company.

A professional code of ethics establishes expectations that all members of the profession must uphold. It is a commitment to act in a way that safeguards the welfare of the general public. A professional code of ethics outlines expectations for a doctor, lawyer, accountant, or property manager for the general public. The public is willing to have their professional associations develop and enforce their ethical codes as long as professionals uphold these standards.

The public is likely to demand protective legislation when these codes are repeatedly and flagrantly violated. In response to these violations and the ensuing public outcry, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 was passed. The majority of professionals would rather set their own rules than have them imposed by outside parties. That is a key justification for why codes of ethics are created in the first place.

The values and principles an individual uses to guide his or her behavior and decisions are known as ethics. A code of ethics in an organization is a set of values that direct the organization’s programs, policies, and business decisions. The reputation, productivity, and financial health of a company can all be impacted by its ethical business practices.

Common goals of organizational communication

Most professions have similar organizational communication objectives, and they frequently employ specialists to carry them out. Some examples of these goals include:

What is organizational communication?

Organizational communication refers to the framework and mode of interaction used by businesses, nonprofit organizations, and governmental bodies. Typically, it involves the ways in which internal staff members and external stakeholders communicate with one another. People who hold jobs that require organizational communication can aid a company in controlling information flow, putting protocols into place, and fostering relationships. Additionally, you can assist organizations in creating their core values, which usually guide daily operations.

Types of organizational communication career fields

The following professions frequently concentrate on organizational communication techniques:

Human resources

The field of human resources (HR) is devoted to assisting a company’s internal personnel. People in HR positions typically recruit employees, manage onboarding procedures for new hires, oversee training initiatives, and support the maintenance of a company’s culture, all of which call for a solid understanding of organizational communication. Additionally, they make use of related abilities to promote cooperative working relationships among personnel in all positions.

Here are some examples of positions in the HR field:


A company’s goods or services are promoted to potential customers in the field of marketing. Organizational communication skills are frequently used by those in the marketing industry to create advertisements, run a brand’s social media accounts, and plan sales strategies. Additionally, they enhance a business’s reputation and guarantee that clients comprehend the value of a service or good.

Here are some examples of positions in the marketing field:

Public relations

The field of public relations (PR) focuses on building brand recognition and controlling how businesses communicate with the general public. PR professionals use organizational communication theories to advance a client’s value system, foster an effective persuasion strategy, and build a positive reputation for their clients. Depending on their preferences, they may speak for businesses, people, or governmental bodies.

Consider these examples of positions in the public relations field:

Policy advocacy

Changing a law or system through negotiation, activism, and education is referred to as policy advocacy. Advocates who work for either the government or a nonprofit organization employ organizational communication techniques to persuade lawmakers of their positions, produce persuasive proposals, and gain support in their communities. Some policy advocates study public policy while pursuing their bachelor’s degree in order to acquire the necessary abilities and information. They might also concentrate on a certain profession, like law or medicine.

Here are some examples of positions that involve policy advocacy:

Project management

The planning and execution of various projects for various industries, such as construction and software development, is the field of project management. Project managers can improve a team’s workflow, mediate any interpersonal disputes, and facilitate interactions between team members and stakeholders by using their knowledge of organizational communication. They might take additional training to hone their project management skills, depending on their field.

Consider these examples of positions in project management:

Academic administration

The daily operations of a university campus, such as the registrar’s office, college admissions staff, and student services like career counseling, are the focus of the academic administration field. Academic administrators use organizational communication to coordinate efforts across departments and assess campus culture to identify any areas that need to be improved. They may spend more time interacting with other administrators or forming relationships with students, depending on their position.

Here are some examples of academic administration positions:

How to earn a master’s degree in organizational communication

You can complete the following essential steps to obtain a master’s degree in organizational communication:

1. Get a bachelors degree

All applicants for master’s programs in organizational communication must typically hold a bachelor’s degree. Think about majoring in a discipline that is relevant, like communications, public policy, or business. Your chances of admission to a master’s program in organizational communication may improve if you raise your grade point average and seek out an internship experience outside of a formal setting.

2. Pick a program and apply

It’s crucial to choose the organizational communication program that will best advance your career. For instance, you might prefer to concentrate on a specific way its theories are applied, like the corporate or nonprofit sectors. Additionally, you can find courses that focus on organizational communication research, which may be especially important if you want to earn a doctorate and teach at a university. You may prefer an online program over on-campus classes depending on your schedule, or find a program with a set number of semester requirements.

3. Apply to masters degree programs

The following step in earning a master’s degree in organizational communication is to research specific universities to find out what materials they require applicants to submit. Most programs require applicants to submit proof of a bachelor’s degree, letters of recommendation from professionals, and a statement of purpose when submitting an application. Some may require you to attach a professional or academic resume or include additional essay prompts. You might also submit your General Record Examination (GRE) results depending on the program.

4. Fulfill course requirements

To ensure you complete all course requirements within the allotted time, try to keep in touch with your academic advisor on a regular basis. Numerous first-year students enroll in foundational theory courses to supplement their other program coursework. These courses might cover a thorough analysis of organizational communication practices, how to put them into practice at work, and how to carry out significant field research. After that, you could concentrate on complex topics like organizational culture, conflict resolution, and leadership development.

What is Organizational Communication? (full version)

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