Running Head: BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION        1             Examining Barriers in Organizational Communication and Cultur...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                            2                    ...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                         3out of the survey at an...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                           4organizational commun...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                          5factors that “unify th...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                            6defined it as an org...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                                7based on the sus...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                          8identified three types...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                            9         Message acc...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                         10(Broom, 2009, p. 218)....
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                         11       Consequently, t...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                           12       Mahwah, NJ: L...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                           13important to the stu...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                         14     include a confide...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                          15       organization, ...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                            16        You are abo...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                        17                       ...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                               18within their org...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                      19  Organizational Communic...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                               20                ...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                           21organizational commu...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                           22community affiliatio...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                         23of Operation Enduring ...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                        24media relations, event ...
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION                                                                   25     The research team does ...
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Silver foxes communication barriers p3 2 (nov 27) bennettrev

  1. 1. Running Head: BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 1 Examining Barriers in Organizational Communication and Culture Arlo Abrahamson, David Bennett, Shauna Lindsay, Myers Vasquez San Diego State University JMS 600B Dr. Hongmei Shen Fall 2012
  2. 2. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 2 I. Study Abstract. What phenomenon causes well planned organizational communication campaigns to failin changing knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors? In increasingly diverse working environments,organizations face the challenging and often complicated task of communicating withemployees. Athanassiades (1973) described the implications of poor internal communication asfar-reaching, affecting every aspect of an organization’s vitality (p. 48). Leaders andmanagement of large organizations continue to be challenged with understanding how to framemessages to their internal publics and formulate open environments that diminish barriers andembrace the influence of diverse subcultures. This study will examine barriers, influences, anddistortions in organizational communication that limit the impact of effective internal messagingcampaigns. This examination will contrast the relationship between hierarchical and participativeorganizational cultures to determine if these environments contribute to limited, enhanced, oreven distorted communication patterns. An analysis of prior academic research will providegreater insight into organizational communication, and a better understanding of why peopleaccept, distort, or reject messages. After such analysis, an online survey will be administered toemployees serving in management and non-management positions within U.S. military,corporate and non-profit organizational settings. Participants will be asked closed-endedquestions that explore organizational culture, perceived communication barriers, messageframing, and the influence of subcultures within their organization. The desired outcome of the study is to enhance the current body of knowledge regardingbarriers, influences and distortions in organizational communication, and to offer managementand communicators strategies to achieve more effective communication within the workplace.There are no risks of harm to human subjects associated with this study and participants can opt
  3. 3. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 3out of the survey at any time of their choosing. II. Statement of Purpose and Background Existing literature and past studies have provided only moderate insight into how anorganizational culture effects internal communication. This literature review seeks to span theknowledge gap regarding organizational culture and communication barriers, highlight theinfluence of subcultures in message acceptance, and understand the leadership’s role inorganizational message framing and acceptance. If these varying factors affectingcommunication are explored under one umbrella of study, it will significantly enhance theunderstanding of the broad complexities and influences of internal communication practices. While the theories of previous scholars contributed to the initial understanding of internalcommunication barriers, the inherent limitations of these studies invite an unprecedentedopportunity to sharpen and expand upon past theories and create a broadened understanding oforganizational communication practices. Existing literature and past studies have provided only moderate insight into how anorganizational culture effects internal communication. This literature review seeks to span theknowledge gap regarding organizational culture and communication barriers, highlight theinfluence of subcultures in message acceptance, and understand the leadership’s role inorganizational message framing and acceptance. If these varying factors affectingcommunication are explored under one umbrella of study, it will significantly enhance theunderstanding of the broad complexities and influences of internal communication practices. Athanassiades (1973) described the “vicious cycle of communication distortion” createdfrom organizational climate to be most prevalent in an authoritarian organizational culture (p.45). Moreover, L.A. Grunig, J.E. Grunig, and Dozier (2002) theorized that excellent
  4. 4. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 4organizational communication is two-way symmetrical in nature, and most often occurs inorganizations with participative cultures. Further examination is useful to determine the moreprecise role and influence of organizational cultures and subcultures on communication barriers. Dozier, Grunig, L. A., & Grunig, J. E., (1995) likened core values in organizations asfactors that “unify the social dimensions of organizations” (p. 136). However, research suggestedthat powerful influences of diverse subcultures within an organization are often incorporated intothe larger cultural ethos. These subculture influences also impact the effectiveness of internalcommunication practices of top-management. Looking at the barriers to communication isbeneficial, but incomplete. Understanding how organization’s cultures, subcultures and messagedistortion are managed, can add value to past studies, providing necessary answers to identifiedissues. Leadership is instrumental in enacting the framework, through “framing” of themessages, but their influence can be “overshadowed by the individuals who actually manage theculture” (Fairhurst, 1993, p. 311). Examining how message framing can interact and be impactedby an organization’s subculture can provide new insight for better communication practices. The purpose of this study is to examine and better understand the complexities ofcommunication within organizational cultures. Specifically, research referenced throughout thissection suggests a strong correlation between organizational culture and communication barriers,which creates communication distortion and limits message acceptance. Ultimately, the goal is to dig deeper into the cause of internal communication barriers andenhance the body of work in an area that has far reaching implications for organizations andpresents new horizons for communicators in practice. Dozier, Grunig, L. A., & Grunig, J. E., (1995) likened core values in organizations as
  5. 5. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 5factors that “unify the social dimensions of organizations” (p. 136). However, research suggestedthat powerful influences of diverse subcultures within an organization are often incorporated intothe larger cultural ethos. These subculture influences also impact the effectiveness of internalcommunication practices of top-management. Leadership is instrumental in enacting the framework, through “framing” of themessages, but their influence can be “overshadowed by the individuals who actually manage theculture” (Fairhurst, 1993, p. 311). Examining how message framing can interact and be impactedby an organization’s subculture can provide new insight for better communication practices. The purpose of this study is to examine and better understand the complexities ofcommunication within organizational cultures. Specifically, research referenced throughout thissection suggests a strong correlation between organizational culture and communication barriers,which creates communication distortion and limits message acceptance. Ultimately, the goal is to dig deeper into the cause of internal communication barriers andenhance the body of work in an area that has far reaching implications for organizations andpresents new horizons for communicators in practice.Organizational culture and its effect on communication barriers Communication barriers are physical or psychological obstacles that limit how messagesare received from the sender to the receiver. In the organizational culture, communicationbarriers can severely limit the efficiency of how messages move throughout an organization.Organizational culture, as a concept, entered the lexicon of organizational studies nearly 15 yearsago (Sriramesh, Grunig, and Dozier, 1996). But what is organizational culture? Scholars have
  6. 6. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 6defined it as an organization’s core values (Deal & Kennedy, as cited in Sriramesh et al., 1996),or the “rules of the game for getting along in the organization” (Sriramesh et al., 1996, p. 232).Wallach and Schein referred to corporate culture as assumptions, beliefs, or understanding that isshared by an organization’s employees (as cited in Sriramesh et al., 1996). Grunig et al (2002)characterized organizational cuture in perhaps the most comprehensive terms as “the sume totalof shared values, meanings, beliefs, assumptions, and expectations” (p. 482). Athanassiades (1973) distinguished two distinct types of organizational cultures, one thatis (heteronomous) hierarchical and authoritarian in nature, and potentially coercive andsecretive toward subordinates. The second organization is the (autonomous) participativeorganization, which is more open and has a more flat chain of command structure (p. 48).However, Sriramesh et al. (1996) noted that these two cultures were not mutually exclusive –authoritarian and participative organizations may hold characteristics of the other culture. Assuch, these two types of organizational climates should be evaluated on a sliding scale, asorganizations will manifest varied degrees of hierarchical or participative organizational culturetraits. Moreover, the extent of these organizational traits is strongly linked with communicationbarriers. A valuable insight to understanding organizational culture and its links to communicationbarriers can be found in Rogers’ (2005) study on authority-innovation decisions and collectiveinnovation-decisions. In such study, Rogers (2005) posits that collective-innovation decisions aremade through consensus within participative organizations, where as hierarchical organizationsoften inhibit authority-innovation decisions that are made by a small yet dominant group thatutilizes “champions” to implement their innovations among the rank-and-file (p. 403). Organizational cultures provide the foundation for internal communication effectiveness,
  7. 7. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 7based on the susceptibility of barriers resulting from the hierarchical or participative traits of theorganization. Rogers’ (2005) study makes a clear case for the open, participative organization infostering and spreading innovation through open communication. Such examinations alsoexposed the potential limitations of both communication and innovation diffusion in hierarchicaland authoritarian organizational culture, and makes the case for further examination of how suchculture plays a role in creating barriers and enhancing, or distorting internal communication.H1: Authoritarian and hierarchical organizational cultures have more barriers to internalcommunication than organizations with participative cultures.Perceived corporate culture and subcultures and influence on organizational communication While much of the literature on corporate culture focuses on a single overarching culturein an organization, many scholars questioned this notion. Sriramesh et al. (1996) warned of thepotential for multiple cultures in an organization. “Instead of being monolithic phenomena,organizational cultures are composed of various interlocking, nested, sometimes conflictingsubcultures” (Martin & Siehl, 1983, p. 53). Other scholars (Lok, Westwood & Crawford, 2005;Wilkins, 1983) also questioned the monolithic culture theory and believed that subcultures werelikely in large organizations. There have been several studies that sought to identify how subcultures form within anorganization and to define these subcultures. Wilkins (1983) noted “people who associate witheach other and share common backgrounds and objectives tend to develop and share commonorientations that may differ from the orientations of other groups” (p. 29). Likewise, Lok et al.(2005) found that subcultures could form in an organization due to a variety of environmentalfactors like location, job function, and background. In their 1983 study, Martin and Siehl
  8. 8. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 8identified three types of subcultures. Enhancing and orthogonal subcultures supported, to varyingdegrees, the dominant culture’s core values (Martin & Siehl, 1983). Countercultures, on the otherhand, espouse core values that challenge the dominant culture’s core values (Martin & Siehl,1983). Consequently, many scholars sought to explain the impact of countercultures on internalcommunication and message acceptance. Sriramesh et al. (1996) noted the potential influence ofsubcultures in internal messaging campaigns. While an organization’s CEO or members of itsdominant coalition may propose a new corporate “vision”, it is the lower ranking members of theorganization who influence the acceptance of that vision “because they are the purveyors of thevision” (Sriramesh et al., 1996, p. 237). Likewise, Gotsi, Andriopoulos, & Wilson (2008) notedthat organizational core values could be undermined by conflicting values of a subculture. In thiscase, consensus may arise in “the boundaries of subcultures rather than on an organization-widelevel” (Gotsi et al., 2008, p. 48). As previous research found, organizational communication is influenced by theorganization’s culture and various internal subcultures. However, what are the barriers tomessage acceptance during internal messaging campaigns in hierarchical organizations? Martinand Siehl (1983) noted that countercultures are likely to emerge in hierarchical organizations.With this in mind, how do countercultures within hierarchical organizations prevent or influencethe acceptance or rejection of messages from top management? From the background presented,the following hypothesis is proposed:H2: The number of countercultures within an organization is positively correlated with morebarriers to internal communication.Framing and its link to message acceptance
  9. 9. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 9 Message acceptance is interpersonal in nature and measures how people accept, reject, orignore communication presented to them. Organizational communication is influenced by howthe message is conveyed, and how “framing devices function in the vision implementationprocess” (Fairhurst, 1993, p. 332). The leadership’s ability to frame internal messages has beenfound by research as a critical contributor to message acceptance. An organization’s success iscontingent on the ability of the leadership to impart its vision on its constituencies (Fairhurst,1993). In a hierarchical organization the message or vision is asymmetrically framed to conveythe top leadership’s expected behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs from its members. In aparticipative, more symmetrical organization, Broom (2009) defined effective framing as havingan intimate understanding of the position and problem, and to know the “needs, interests, andconcerns of the target publics” (p. 332). Fairhurst (1993) explained that a visionary frameworkwas created through a mutual understanding that took place between the organization’s topleaders and its members. Framing is the “way people come to understand issues and events” (p.312). Management must link its members to a shared view of the organization or compete withthe members’ conflicting values, perceptions, and individual interests. Charismatic leadershipcan “inspire members to move beyond their own self-interests partly through a vision thatmembers find compelling” (Avolio & Bass, 1987; Bass, 1985; Burns, 1978; Conger, 1991;Conger & Kanungo, 1987, 1988; House, 1971; House, Spangler & Woycke, 1991; Kuhnert &Lewis, 1987; Tichy and Devanna, 1986, as cited in Fairhurst, 1993, p. 334). Management must frame the vision in a hierarchical or authoritarian style organization,so “decisions are made at the top levels of the organization and implemented at the lower levels”
  10. 10. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 10(Broom, 2009, p. 218). As such, the internal communication campaigns are “planned, organizedefforts to mold corporate images, manage issues, and articulate values” (Fairhurst, 1993, p. 340).Leadership is instrumental in enacting the framework, through framing of the message, but theleader’s influence can be “overshadowed by the individuals who actually manage the culture”(Fairhurst, 1993, p. 348). An authoritarian organization acknowledges the internal members’ influence inacceptance of the message, but does little to institute symmetrical communication practices toallow participation of the members. Grtonstedt (2000) emphasized integrated communication is a“strategic management process that must permeate through entire organizations, rather thanquick fix crash program or campaign” (as cited in Grunig, L.A., Grunig, J.E., & Dozier, 2002, p.274). More research can be done to explain how leadership uses framing to overcomecommunication barriers within the organization. From these examinations, the followinghypothesis is proposed.H3: Message acceptance by subordinates is positively correlated with leadership’s ability toframe internal messages.Rationale and relevance of proposed research Broom (2009) suggested that organizational communication is one of the leastunderstood aspects of public relations scholarship by both researchers and practitioners alike.Moreover, organizational communication is often deeply misunderstood by the dominantcoalition or leadership within organizations, who are the essential people to carry out such tasks.Broom (2009) and other communication scholars attributed this lack of understanding inorganizational communication practices to a cause for declining job satisfaction and productivity.
  11. 11. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 11 Consequently, this study is relevant in adding to a body of work for an area ofcommunication scholarship that is moderately understood, and further, an area where scholarsthemselves admit there is room for deeper understanding. Existing theory will guide this study,but new discovery and enhanced understanding of communication barriers will not only help addto the existing knowledge in organizational communication, but also make suggestions toimprove practices. The impact of such scholarship is limitless, considering that organizationscontinue to diversify and the challenges of organizational communication will only intensify associety moves progressively into the post-modern world. III. ReferencesAthanassiades, J. C. (1973). The sounds and silences of employee communication. Journal of Business Communication, 10(4), 43-50.Broom, G. M. (2009). Cutlip and Center’s effective public relations (10th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Dozier, D. M., Grunig, L.A., & Grunig, J. E. (1995). Manager’s guide to excellence in public relations and communication management. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Fairhurst, G. T. (1993). Echoes of the vision when the rest of the organization talks total quality. Management Communication Quarterly 6(4), 331-371. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/232857217Gotsi, M., Andriopoulos, C., & Wilson, A. (2008). Corporate re-branding: Is cultural alignment the weakest link? Management Decision, 46(1), 46-57. doi: 10.1108/00251740810846734 Grunig, L. A., Grunig, J. E., & Dozier, D. M. (2002). Excellent public relations and effective organizations: A study of communication management in three countries.
  12. 12. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 12 Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. APALok, P., Westwood, R., & Crawford, J. (2005). Perceptions of organizational subculture and their significance for organizational commitment. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 54(4), 490-514. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-0597.2005.00222.xMartin, J., & Siehl, C. (1983). Organizational culture and counterculture: An uneasy symbiosis. Organizational Dynamics, 12(2), 52-64.Rogers, E. M. (2005). Diffusion of innovations (4th ed.). New York: Free Press.Sriramesh, K., Grunig, J. E., & Dozier, D. M. (1996). Observation and measurement of two dimensions of organizational culture and their relationship to public relations. Journal of Public Relations Research, 8(4), 229-261. IV. Subject Characteristics The research will utilize participants from the U.S. Military, a California stategovernment organization, corporate, and non-profits. The study involves gender-neutralhypothesis and will include both male and female subjects. All study participants will be 18years of age or older. V. Subject Selection Criteria This study will utilize participants who work in both management and non-managementroles. Management personnel in the context of this study are defined as people serving inpositions of leadership in responsibility within organizations. They can be middle managementto top-staff positions within the chain of command. This group is critical for this study becausemanagers and leaders are often paramount in creating the culture and climate within anorganization. Non-management personnel are defined as those workers within an organizationwho work in lower management and rank and file positions. These personnel are extremely
  13. 13. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 13important to the study as they are the recipients of organizational messages from coming frommanagement and they determine the success rate of message acceptance. VI. Subject Recruitment Source PAO subjects will be recruited with assistance from the Navy’s Chief of InformationOffice (CHINFO) for U.S. Navy participants. For corporate and non-profits organizations, studycoordinators will work directly with the respective communication departments within theorganization to obtain permission to recruit participants and to coordinate the administration ofthe survey. VII. Subject Recruitment Methods Nonprobability convenience sampling study will use subjects recruited by e-mailnotification. A designated communication staff member from every participating organizationwill liaise with study coordinators to help recruiting suitable participants and help monitorprogress in survey response. A recruitment memo will be sent or participating organizationdescribing the intent and purpose of the study. An example below highlights memos that will besent to various organizations: From: Deputy Navy Chief of Information To: Navy Public Affairs Officers and Mass Communication Personnel Subject: Organizational Communication Barriers Study Dear Navy Public Affairs Team, LT Arlo Abrahamson, LT David Bennett, LT Myers Vasquez are graduate students in the Navy’s Public Affairs Graduate Studies program at San Diego State University. They are conducting a study on organizational communication trends within various government, corporate, and non-profit organizations. The study instrument will
  14. 14. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 14 include a confidential survey administered to volunteer participants in management and non-management positions. For the Navy’s participation, study coordinators would like to utilize media department and public affairs personnel aboard aircraft carriers and large public affairs staffs ashore. The survey questionnaire will ask participants in management positions (officers and chief petty officers) and participants in non-management positions (petty officers and below) questions regarding perceived organizational culture, potential barriers in internal communication, perceptions about the influence of sub-cultures within an organization, and questions about framing impact of command messages. The survey will administered via surveymonkey.com at the following link (LINK TBD) Participation in this survey is strictly voluntary and confidential. The responses will help the research team understand more about the nature of organizational communication and offer solutions to improve or capture best practices. If you have difficulty accessing the survey, please make sure that JavaScript and cookies are enabled on your computer. For any other technical help, please contact project manager LT Arlo Abrahamson at 757-338-8154 or arlokane@gmail.com. The second recruitment email that will be forwarded to corporate participants: From: XXX (TBD) Communication Department To: Volunteer Employee Participants Subject: Survey – Organizational Communication Graduate students in the U.S. Navy’s Public Affairs Graduate Studies program at San Diego State University are conducting a study on organizational communication trends within various government, corporate, and non-profit organizations. For your
  15. 15. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 15 organization, we seek volunteers in management and non-management roles who can fill out a short confidential survey on organizational communication. All coordination and permissions will occur through your communication department or designated representative. The survey questionnaire will ask participants in management positions and participants in non-management positions questions regarding perceived organizational culture, potential barriers in internal communication, perceptions about the influence of sub-cultures within an organization, and questions about framing-impact of command messages. The survey will administered via surveymonkey.com at the following link (LINK TBD) Participation in this survey is strictly voluntary and answers are anonymous and confidential. No names of organizations will be released in any of the findings; only the types of organization, i.e. government, corporate, or non-profit. The responses will help our research team understand more about the nature of organizational communication and offer solutions to improve or capture best practices. We will be more than happy to share any findings in the overall study with your organization. If you have difficulty accessing the survey, please make sure that JavaScript and cookies are enabled on your computer. For any other technical help, please contact project manager LT Arlo Abrahamson at 757-338-8154 or arlokane@gmail.com. VIII. Informed Consent Process Before participants can access the survey at www.surveymonkey.com, they will read aninformed consent form online. Clicking to begin the survey will constitute granting theresearchers consent to use their responses for this study. The informed consent form will read:
  16. 16. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 16 You are about to access a survey about Internal Communication Practices. A team of graduate students at San Diego State University is conducting this study. The procedures involve filling out a questionnaire on-line, which will take approximately 10 minutes. None of the information will be deceptive. Your participation is voluntary, and you may withdraw from participation at any time without penalty. If you have any concerns about this study, you can contact the coordinator, Arlo Abrahamson, at arlokane@gmail.com. You may also contact SDSU’s Institutional Review Board at XXXXXXXX for further information. By clicking to begin the survey, you acknowledge that you consent to participate in this study. There are minimal risks associated with the study. All participants will be assigned randomized identification codes. The data will be stored in a locked drawer in the principal investigators office at the university. Once the study is complete, the investigators will destroy the data. Your choice of whether or not to participate will not influence your future relations with San Diego State University. If you have any questions about the research, please contact the study coordinator, Arlo Abrahamson, at arlokane@gmail.com.After viewing this consent statement, volunteers will have to click on the box “I agree to providemy consent for this research study” in order to continue. If they do not provide their consent,they will not be allowed to participate in the study. IX. Permission Before beginning the study or soliciting participants, the researchers will obtainappropriate permission from the U.S. Navy and/or additional corporate/organizationalparticipants as identified.
  17. 17. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 17 X. Research Design Participants will complete an online survey at www.surveymonkey.com. Questions willask respondents to consider a variety of factors, conditions and dimensions relating tocommunications within their organizations. The online research questionnaire will test the following hypotheses: H1: Authoritarian and hierarchical organizational cultures have more barriers to internal communication than organizations with participative cultures. H2: The number of countercultures within an organization is positively correlated with more barriers to internal communication. H3: In the organization, message acceptance by subordinates is positively correlated with leadership’s ability to frame internal messages. This study will be conducted using a single online questionnaire distributed to employeesand to managers/directors/officers. The first part of the questionnaire will ask qualifying questions about exposure to andawareness of internal communications (including print and online newsletters as well as face-to-face meetings). The second part will determine respondents’ awareness of barriers to internalcommunication and the role of countercultures within the organization. The third part will askbasic demographic questions to ensure that none of the differences noted in the results can beattributed to demographic factors. Survey questions will determine participants’ knowledge of communication barriers
  18. 18. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 18within their organizations and the degree to which their organization practices participativecommunication. (expand further based on completed questionnaire) The survey will employ a Likert scale to measure each variable. After collecting data, theresearch team will aggregate and analyze results from each respondingorganization/department/company and apply appropriate statistical tests to measure the study’sreliability.Correlating Data In order to correlate data yet still protect confidentiality, participants will be assigned arandomized number through SurveyMonkey with their corresponding responses. No names willbe released from the researcher. XI. Subject Involvement The organizational managers and members will complete an online survey that shouldtake no more than 15 minutes. Directions and an informed consent form will be included withthe survey. Once the study is completed, the researcher will contact the participatingorganizations to share results and answer any questions. XII. Study Location The survey will be administered online, participants can take the survey by logging on tohttp://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YHM7FW6 from any computer with internet access. XIII. Tests, Questionnaires, and Interview Guides This study will utilize an online questionnaire that will be administered toindividuals in management and non-management positions within their organization.
  19. 19. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 19 Organizational Communication Barriers Questionnaire Table Introduction Your opinions and experiences regarding communication within your team/company/unit are requested for a research study being conducted by military public affairs and civilian graduate students. Results of this study will be used to help improve communication processes within these and other organizations. All responses are anonymous and confidential. By clicking “submit” on the survey response, you indicate your willingness to participate in this survey. This survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete. Measures Concept (Items in this section are by selection) Organization type and My organization would best be categorized as a (military/local position held government/corporate/not for profit organization) My position in my organization is (top management/management/non-management position) in my organization Organizational Culture Measures Concept (All items measured on a 5-point “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree” Scale) Knowledge, attitudes Key decisions at my organization are made at the highest level and behaviors about My organization encourages new ideas organizational culture My boss often accepts my ideas I have access to top management My opinions are considered when decisions are made Perceived Communication Barriers Organizational I know my organization’s core values Communication In my organization information moves efficiently throughout each level of management I believe my boss withholds important information
  20. 20. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 20 Organizational SubculturesIdentification and There are individuals within my organization that are not ream playersaffiliation with There are individuals within my organization that are not loyal to thesubcultures within organizational leadership, policies or core values.organization There are individuals within my organization that support different views from those of my organizational leadership There are individuals within my organization that resist the authority of my organizational leadership - Based on your previous answer, about how many individuals do you think exist within your organization? - On a scale of 1 to 4, 4 being very influential and 1 being not influential, please indicate how influential you think these individuals are in influencing the behavior or attitudes of other individuals in the organization An organizational counterculture is defined as a group of two or more individuals within an organization that advocates a set of values that present a direct challenge to the core values of the organization. Based on this definition: “Countercultures exist within my organization” Message FramingMessage framing and Leaders/managers/officers are candid in the information they shareacceptance in My boss communicates in a way I understandorganization Information communicated by my organization to its members is truthful My organization communicates bad news as well as good news Most things my bosses say about the organization I dismiss Top management clearly communicates its expectations Top management in my organization are charismatic XIV. Potential Problems Because this study involves multi-level sampling from different organizations, gatheringdata poses a challenge. To mitigate these challenges, the research team will work throughappropriate members of participating organizations to ensure a sufficient response rate. XV. Potential Benefits This study’s findings will potentially provide insight into the challenges organizationsface when communicating with employees. By examining barriers, influences, and distortions in
  21. 21. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 21organizational communication that limit the impact of internal messaging campaigns, this studywill provide managers and communicators strategies to achieve more effective communicationwithin the workplace. XVI. Identification, Assessment, and Management of Risks Subjects may experience minimal psychological harm from participating in this study.The survey will prompt them to disclose personal feelings and behaviors related to their workenvironment, which may provoke changes in their thinking or emotions about their work. Also,subjects may experience minimal social or economic harm in this study. The survey will promptthem to disclose perceptions or activities that impact communication within the organization,which may, if confidentially is breached, lead to individuals being labeled in a way that couldaffect their reputation or employment.To minimize this risk, participation in the study will be voluntary, and respondents will be ableto exit the survey at any time. Additionally, the study may inconvenience participants, as thesurvey will require them to sacrifice about 15 minutes of their time. The online survey formatshould relieve some of this inconvenience by allowing them to complete the survey in a varietyof settings and at any time. XVII. Confidentiality As part of this study, each respondent and participating organization will remainanonymous. The study will collect only the personal information that is required to meet thesampling protocol of the research design: respondents’ organization type (e.g. corporate,nonprofit, governmental), departmental affiliation, and, for military respondents’, current
  22. 22. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 22community affiliation (e.g. aviation, submarine, surface, special operations, expeditionary, etc.). Collecting this information will be necessary in order to cross-sectional analyze the data.Data collected online will only be accessible through a password-protected website as a furtherprotection of participants’ anonymity and confidentiality. XVIII. Costs to Subjects Outside what participants may pay to use the internet and time spent taking the onlinesurvey, the subjects will incur no costs from participating in this study. XIX. Compensation and Incentives The research team will offer no compensation or incentives to those participating in thestudy. XX. Investigator Experience The research team are graduate students at San Diego State University in the Journalismand Media Studies department. They will be conducting this study and training in social scienceresearch methods concurrently. Please add your piece here, alphabetically. Arlo Abrahamson is an active duty Navy officer with 20 years of experience in publicaffairs and visual information. He previous assignments include Director of Public Affairs forEast Coast based Navy SEAL teams and public affairs officer aboard the aircraft carrier USSCarl Vinson. Abrahamson has deployed numerous times to both Afghanistan and Iraq in support
  23. 23. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 23of Operation Enduring Freedom. David Bennett is an active duty Navy officer who has served as a public affairs officersince 2007. He has deployed multiple times in support of global operations and humanitarianassistance missions. Before Bennetts admission into SDSUs Graduate program he served onstaff as the PAO for Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group One on the West Coast. He hasextensive experience in national and international media relations, event planning , and crisiscommunication. Shauna M. Lindsay is a graduate student in Journalism and Media Studies. She is aformer public relations manager and internal communications manager for Verizon, AT&T andSiemens Mobile. She has more than 15 years experience developing plans and content for mediarelations and employee communications programs in corporations and agencies. Lindsay is aformer newspaper reporter and communications consultant. Currently, she is employed as aservice executive at AT&T. Myers Vasquez is an active-duty Navy officer with 13 years of service. Since 2005,Vasquez has served as a Navy public affairs officer (PAO) with multiple deployments overseasand high profile jobs as a fleet PAO and on the Navy headquarters staff in the Pentagon. Throughthese varied positions, Vasquez has acquired extensive experience in national and international
  24. 24. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 24media relations, event planning , and crisis communication. Dr. Hongmei Shen (Ph.D., Communication, University of Maryland, 2009) will supervisethe graduate students conducting this study. Shen also holds a graduate certificate inmeasurement, statistics, and evaluation from the University of Maryland. Prior to her academiccareer, Shen worked as a staff writer and reporter for the Beijing Review, an English-languagenews weekly under the State Council in Beijing. She also interned and freelanced for variousorganizations both in the U.S. and China, including the National Institutes of Health,International Women’s Media Foundation, and American Journalism Review. Shen is a memberof the Commission of Public Relations Education and chair of PRSA’s the Committee on Work,Life, and Gender. She advises the PRSSA San Diego State University Chapter and serves on thePRSA SD/IC Chapter Board. She also serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of PublicRelations Research and Case Studies in Strategic Communication. Her research interests includestrategic management of public relations, relationship management, international publicrelations, corporate social responsibilities, crisis communication, health communication,organizational psychology, and quantitative research methods. She has won top paper awardsfrom top international and national communication conferences. Her research has been publishedin Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Journal of Public Relations Research,Communication Booknotes Quarterly, Public Relations Review, Public Relations Journal,Health Communication, Journal of Health Communication, and International Journal ofCommunication. Shen teaches core research methods and advanced quantitative researchmethods in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at SDSU. XXI. Conflict of Interest
  25. 25. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION 25 The research team does not have any financial interest associated with this project.

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