Ch 13 Organizational Communication 06.08.02.doc
By Kathryn A. Baker
Managers have traditionally spent the majority of their time communicating in one form or
another (meetings, face-to-face discussions, memos, letters, e-mails, reports, etc.).
however, more and more employees find that an important part of their work is communication,
especially now that service workers outnumber production workers and research as well as
production processes emphasize greater collaboration and teamwork among workers in different
Moreover, a sea-change in communication technologies has contributed to the
transformation of both work and organizational structure.
For these reasons, communication
practices and technologies have become more important in all organizations, but they are perhaps
most important in knowledge-intensive organizations and sectors and, as such, are of great
significance to science organizations and to public science management.
The study of organizational communication is not new, but it has only recently achieved some
degree of recognition as a field of academic study.
It has largely grown in response to the needs
and concerns of business.
The first communication programs were typically located in speech
departments, but most business schools now include organizational communication as a key
element of study.
The study of organizational communication recognizes that communication in
organizations goes far beyond training managers to be effective speakers and to have good
interpersonal communication skills.
Moreover, it recognizes that all organizations, not just
business organizations, have communication needs and challenges.
The field of organizational communication is highly diverse and fragmented, as evidenced by
results of literature searches on the topic, textbooks in the area, and the Harvard Business
Review’s (1993) compilation of its communication articles,
The Articulate Executive
communication at the micro, meso, and macro levels; formal and informal communications; and
internal organizational communication practices (newsletters, presentations, strategic
communications, work direction, performance reviews, meetings) as well as externally directed
communications (public, media, inter-organizational).
Innovation, organizational learning,
knowledge management, conflict management, diversity, and communication technologies are
As a new academic discipline, organizational communication is struggling to
develop and convey some sense of coherency across these many areas.
In addition to its fragmented nature, organizational communication, perhaps more than any other
aspect of organizational theory and practice, has been subject to dramatic change.
communication in small organizations was largely informal.
As organizations increased in size,
formal top-down communication became the main concern of organizational managers.
Organizational communication in today’s organizations has not only become far more complex