Interpersonal communication skills that enhance organizational commitment

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Interpersonal communicationskills that enhance organisationalcommitmentMary BambacasUniversity of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia, andMargaret PatricksonInternational Graduate School of Business, University of South Australia,Adelaide, AustraliaAbstractPurpose– Thepurposeofthispaperisthreefold.First,toinvestigatetheinterpersonalcommunicationskillsthathumanresource(HR)managersexpectmanagersinsupervisorypositions possess. Second, to identify which of these skills HR managers expect managers use toengender subordinate commitment to the organisation. Third, the paper aims to investigate whatinterpersonal communication skills that enhance employee commitment to the organisation are mostlacking in managers in supervisory positions.Design/methodology/approach– The approach of the study is a series of in-depth interviews with32 senior HR managers in organisations with over 100 staff.Findings– The paper finds that senior HR managers expected managers to be effective ininterpersonal communication focusing mainly on the clarity and frequency of the messages, theirability to actively listen and the ability to lead in a collaborative way. The way messages were sent,especially their clarity, and a leadership style that engendered trust, was of the highest importancewhen HR managers wanted to enhance employee commitment to the organisation. However, theseskills were also the ones found most lacking.Practical implications– HR practitioners need to consider more explicitly what behaviours areimportant to promote organisational commitment.Originality/value– This paper highlights that the interpersonal communication skills that enhanceorganisational commitment and are most valued by organisations are those that are most lacking inmanagers. This paper also provides insight for practitioners to the interpersonal communication skillsareas that managers need to develop so that their interaction with staff may enhance commitment tothe organisation.KeywordsInterpersonal communications, Interpersonal skills, Job satisfactionPaper typeResearch paperIntroductionOver the last three decades, studies on how to encourage organisational commitmenthave been of interest to researchers in the area of organisational communication(Buchanan, 1974; DeCotiis and Summers, 1987; Puttiet al., 1990; Reichers, 1985; McGeeWanguri, 1995; Gaertner and Nollen, 1989). Researchers and professionals assume andinvestigations have confirmed that the way managers convey information to their staffhas consequences on the attitudes they develop towards the organisation.Overwhelmingly, research espouses the positive organisational outcomes thatcommitted employees bring to organisations. Committed employees are believed to bemore productive and less likely to quit (Arnold and Mackenzie Davey, 1999; Arthur,The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available atInterpersonalcommunicationskills51Journal of CommunicationManagementVol. 12 No. 1, 2008

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Contemporary Project Management
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