The focus of internal corporate communication is gaining interest, particularly because it is very essential in all dimensions of the organization’s performance. Hence, effective communication has been linked to a number of positive outcomes like organizational success, financially and socially, higher levels of cooperation and employee job satisfaction while ineffective communication may lead to dissatisfaction, misunderstandings, lack of information, lower performances and more employee rotations. The inability of managers to effectively communicate with their employees leads to employee job dissatisfaction and poor performance. Hence, this study examines how internal corporate communication influences employees job satisfaction in selected organizations under study.
The survey method was adopted to gather data; 296 copies of the questionnaire were administered on junior and senior personnel of the selected organizations under study while in-depth interview was conducted with selected management level personnel. Data were collected and analyzed in simple frequency tables and the responses were represented in frequency tables as percentages of the overall sample. Also the Pearson chi-square was employed to determine the relationship between variables for any significance.
Findings from the study show that the channels of internal corporate communication operational in the selected organizations are: face-to-face discussions, e-mails, intercom units, intranet, reports, messengers, memos, newsletters, official letters, bulletin boards, departmental/management meetings, group/team discussions, in-house training sessions, management/employee briefing sessions, labor union meetings, suggestion boxes, notices, closed unit groups (CUGs), and assemblies.
Further findings reveal that most of the employees perceive internal corporate communication in their organizations as very effective, positive and a necessary organizational tool for employee job satisfaction. Findings reveal a significant relationship between internal corporate communication and employee job satisfaction which further enhances employee job performance. Further findings from the study also reveal that organizations are faced with diverse internal communication challenges such as: distorted feedback, matching message content with appropriate packaging, inadequate information, uneven flow of information, messages with lack of clarity of purpose, inability to arrive at a homogeneous internal communication approach and complete communication breakdown. These challenges, when not properly tackled, can hinder many organizational processes, especially its efforts at achieving employee job satisfaction/performance and, ultimately, organizational success.
Internal corporate communication plays a major role in influencing employee job satisfaction which significantly influences employee job performance hence; organizations that want to successfully retain a satisfied workforce must be willing to employ a communication style that is more participative and employee-supportive.
1.1 Background to the Study
There is a widespread notion in the management world that in today’s society the future of any company critically depends on how it is viewed by key stakeholders, such as shareholders and investors, customers and consumers, employees, and members of the community in which the company operates. Globalization, corporate crises and the recent financial crisis have further strengthened this notion. The management of many large organizations and multinationals nowadays consider protecting their company’s reputation to be critical. They view it as one of their most important strategic objectives. This objective of building, maintaining and protecting the company’s reputation is actually the core task of corporate communication practitioners.
Communication within any organization is crucial for its smooth functioning. It is the tool with which organizational goals and objectives and the ultimate goal of profit and progress are attained. Ineffective communication may lead to misunderstandings, lack of information, lower performances and more employee rotations. The inability of managers to effectively communicate with their employees leads to poor performance. The same is true when employees do not trust their managers because there will be no proper upward flow of crucial information. Good communication leads to increased job satisfaction, safety, productivity, and profits; it decreases grievances and turnover. Companies that attach higher importance to internal communication by setting up a separate internal corporate communication department usually have higher levels of employee engagement (Varttala & Varttala, 2010; Sharma & Kamalanabhan, 2012). Effective internal communication is thus essential for addressing organizational concerns.
Numerous researchers have established the significance of corporate communication as a crucial element in an organization’s continuing success (Finch, Hansen & Alexander, 2010; Abugre, 2011; Sharma & Kamlanabahn, 2012; Bedman Narteh, 2012). This is relevant because effective corporate communication (internal or external) has been linked to a number of positive outcomes like organizational success, financially and socially, higher levels of cooperation and employee job satisfaction (Czech & Forward, 2013).
In an era of economic and organizational upheaval, ineffectual leadership, and all time lows in job satisfaction (Czech &Forward, 2013), it becomes very crucial to investigate those factors that contribute to more effective leadership and job and relationship satisfaction.
At the centre of every organization are people held together by a common interpersonal relationship (Abugre, 2012). How strongly this interpersonal relationship is maintained is determined by the frequency and mode of interactions between organizations’ management and their diverse stakeholders in work contexts. These interactions are discussed by many scholars under the subject ‘corporate communication.’
Corporate communication has been defined differently by many scholars as: the management function that offers a framework for the effective coordination of all internal and external communication with the overall purpose of establishing and maintaining favorable reputations with stakeholder groups upon which the organization is dependent (Cornelissen, 2004); the management function within an organization (profit or non-profit) which is responsible for communication processes that are initiated from within the organization and trying to promote a sustainable interaction between the organization and groups of the public in the internal and external environment (Herle & Rustema (2012); ‘an instrument of management by means of which all consciously used forms of internal and external communication are harmonized as effectively and efficiently as possible’, with the overall objective of creating ‘a favorable basis for relationships with groups upon which the company is dependent’(Van Riel, 2010:5).
These definitions suggest that communication is the mainstay of corporate organizations. It is the bridge between an organization and its diverse stakeholders which, if not properly erected, can collapse many things in the organizational process. It suggests that organizations need to be judged as ‘legitimate’ by most, if not all, of their stakeholders in order to survive and prosper, and corporate communications is the management function that works the hardest to achieve that (Cornelissen, 2004). It also suggests that this communication does not occur in a vacuum but takes place among individuals who make up the publics of different organizations: employees, investors, host communities, media, customers and consumers. Thus the ability of any organization to achieve its goals is premised upon its success at building viable relationships through its communication networks.
Underlined in the definitions above is also the fact that corporate communication involves all forms of communication which takes place between an organization and its stakeholders with the aim of establishing and maintaining favorable reputation with them. These forms of communication are divided into two major groups: internal and external communication. These two groups are too broad to be covered in a single study.
This study focuses on internal (corporate) communication with the intention to measure how it influences employee job satisfaction and performance.
Welch and Jackson (2007, p. 186) define internal corporate communication as, “… a process between an organization’s strategic managers and its internal stakeholders, designed to promote commitment to the organization, a sense of belonging to it, awareness of its changing environment and understanding of its evolving aims.” Invernizzi, Biraghi, and Romenti, (2012:154) define it as; “…both the set of communication initiatives planned and carried out inside an organization, and the set of all interactions which occur among organizational members. Mehta and Xavier (2012), from the perspective of public relations, define internal communication as the public relations specialty dedicated to the building and maintenance of relationships with, and among employees. In the social constructionist approach, internal communication is defined as the way language is used to create different kinds of social structures, such as relationships, teams, and networks. These relationships, teams and networks, when managed through effective communication, lead to organizational commitment and total quality management evidenced by employee satisfaction (Czech & Forward, 2013).
Internal communication, from the foregoing is an important aspect of the organizational process which involves keeping employees informed and up-to-date about organizational initiatives, departmental plans and progress, human resource developments, and overall progress in the organization through a comprehensive internal communication process (Finch et al, 2010). It is integral to managing relationships at work between managers and subordinates. When it is effective, it can create an atmosphere of communication satisfaction which can foster high employee job satisfaction, adequate performance and low employee turnover intension.
An efficient internal corporate communication would produce a cohesive corporate identity by increasing employees’ knowledge about the overall philosophy of their organization and its strategic direction, and this brings satisfaction to employees (Czech et al, 2013).
Communication between managers and subordinates is critical for organizations because it encourages interactions in which trust is created through positive relationships. These repeated interactions foster cooperation and create conditions for commitment. Organizations that attach higher importance to internal communication are known to have higher levels of employee engagement and better reputation (Sharma & Kamalanabhan 2012).
From the foregoing, scholars have endeavored to define internal corporate communication, elucidating its role in the effective running of an organization. They also outline its potential as a mediator between high employee job performance, job satisfaction and low turnover intention. The emphasis remains on internal corporate communication and its crucial role in the continuing success of any organization. Effective internal communication is crucial for successful organizations as it affects the ability of strategic managers to engage employees and achieve objectives (Welch & Jackson, 2007:1).
1.2. Statement of the Problem
The focus of internal corporate communication is gaining interest, particularly because it is very essential in all dimensions of the organization’s performance. Further review of the research in this area underlines its importance towards building commitment, satisfaction and retention of employees in an organization (Iyer, & Isreal, 2012) yet, existing literature on this aspect of corporate communication in the context of its influence on employee job satisfaction is hardly observed in the global theoretical framework (Abugre, 2011). Abugre (2011) in his studies which aimed at gauging workers perception on how organizational communication impacts employees’ satisfaction in organizational workplace, and how managerial interactions affect employee work output in Ghanaian organizations (Abugre 2012), found out that there is a significant relationship between effective internal communication and worker satisfaction. This position was reasonably supported by the data collected in the studies. Finch et al, (2010) also observed that employees derive greater satisfaction from their jobs and perform to a higher standard when they are engaged in their workplace. Effective communications, according to them, is an essential feature of engagement. A further analysis of these studies shows that effective communication from corporate leadership to employees will motivate workers to be satisfied to give off their best.
Nwagbara, Oruh, Ugorji, & Ennsra (2013) in their study of the impact of effective communication on employee turnover intention observed that communication is integral in managing relationships at work between managers and subordinates. They also noted that effective communication is correlative of communicating tasks effectively in organization as well as vital in feedback. Osemeke (2008) in his study of effective communication and performance improvement in Nigerian organizations found out that effective communication in an organization improves its performance thereby enhancing the achievement of organizational objectives. Udegbe, Udegbe, Ogundipe, Akintola & Kareem, (2012) in their study of the impact of business communication on organizational performance in Nigerian companies found out that effective business communication aid improved organizational performance. Effective communication, according to these scholars, can create an atmosphere of communication satisfaction that can foster low employee turnover intension. When everybody expresses their concerns about how organizations are run through effective communication and friendly work ethic, employees will be more satisfied with their jobs and less willing to leave. Thus, the desire of employees to either leave or stay with an organization is determined by the extent to which they are satisfied with the quality of communication within that organization. Sharma & Kamalanabhan, (2012) support this with their view that the influence of internal corporate communication on employee commitment and job satisfaction is fully mediated by communication satisfaction.
As much as the subject of corporate communication is gaining interest globally because of its role in boosting organization’s performance, the existing literature on the influence of internal corporate communication on employee job satisfaction in Nigeria however is scanty. While the studies above indicate the growing link between internal corporate communication and worker satisfaction in different organizations, the studies done on internal corporate communication in Nigeria have largely focused on its impact on employee turnover intention (Ugorji et al, 2013); organizational performance (Udegbe et al, 2012; Osemeke, 2008); its potential for increased employee performance and role as an organizational retention strategy, (Gberevbie, 2010). There is a deficiency of empirical understanding on the subject matter in relation to employee job satisfaction in organizations in Nigeria.
This study therefore, attempts to address this gap in internal corporate communications literature in Nigeria by focusing on its influence on employee job satisfaction, using selected organizations in the oil and gas industry and federal government establishments in the south-south (Port-Harcourt) and south-west (Lagos and Ibadan) Nigeria.
1.3. Research Questions
This study will answer the following questions:
- What are the available internal corporate communication channels operating within the organization?
- What is the perception of the employees on the internal communication operating within the organization?
- To what extent do internal corporate communications influence employee job satisfaction?
- How does internal corporate communication affect employee job performance?
- What are the challenges of internal corporate communications in relation to employee job satisfaction?
1.4. Purpose of the Study
The objective of this study is to assess the internal corporate communication channels operating within some organizations in Nigeria: the oil and gas industry and some government establishments, the perception of the employees on these internal communication channels, how these internal communication channels affect employee job performance, the extent to which the internal communication operating in the organization influences employee job satisfaction and the challenges of internal corporate communication in relation to employee job satisfaction.
The premise for this study is also based on Blau’s social exchange theory which argues that obligations are generated through a series of interactions between parties who are in a state of reciprocal interdependence. The notion of reciprocal interdependence in the employment relationship is consistent with Robinson, Perryman, and Heyday (2004)’s, description of engagement as a two-way relationship between the employer and employee.
1.5. Scope of the Study:
The study will focus on the influence of internal corporate communication on employee job satisfaction in selected organizations from the oil and gas sector and some federal government establishments in South-West (Lagos and Ibadan) and South-South (Port-Harcourt) Nigeria. Its findings however, will be relevant to other organizations in the country due to similarities in workplace culture and managerial practices.
1.6. Significance of the Study:
The findings of this study will help organizations understand the role of internal corporate communication in achieving employee job satisfaction. This will further help them to appreciate it as a useful employee retention strategy so that they will put it in perspective in the formulation of organizational policies and in all management communication practices.
It will inform organizations’ managements that the application of internal corporate communication strategies which are employees-support-oriented will motivate staff for performance thereby giving them a sense of satisfaction with their jobs.
The results of this study will be of value to communication practitioners seeking to understand and promote the specific role of internal corporate communication in achieving increased employee job performance and job satisfaction in organizations in Nigeria. Finally, this study will contribute to existing literature on internal corporate communication in Nigeria, especially its role in achieving employee job satisfaction.
1.8. Limitation of the Study
As much as this study has demonstrated some interesting findings, it also encountered some limitations. The author believes that the number of organizations selected for this study may not be sufficient to generalize the findings particularly in the large Nigerian formal sector. Also, the uncooperative communication policies of the selected organizations affected staff response to some of the issues raised in the study. This challenge also affected the original sample size as two hundred and ninety-six (296) valid copies of the questionnaire were utilized out of about three hundred and fifty (350) copies administered on the respondents.