Topic: Internal Communication

Author(s), Title and Publication
Welch, M. (2012) Appropriateness and acceptability: Employee perspectives of internal communication. Public Relations Review, 38(2), 246-254.

Internal communication is effective when appropriate messages reach employees in formats useful and acceptable to them. This study explored employees’ perceptions of the formats of internal communication (i.e., print, electronic, and face-to-face), and attributes of internal communication media (e.g., controllability, usability, and dissemination capability). Controllability refers to whether communicators have control over the message content and format (e.g., there is more control over newsletters than Internal blogs). Usability refers to the easy of use of the media for employees (e.g., employees can search information from the Intranet easily and quickly). Dissemination strategy refers to message delivery method (e.g., email is push dissemination, and Intranet search is pull dissemination). The author investigated employees’ preferences for internal communication via a qualitative survey in one large UK higher education organization (n=64).

Employees preferred electronic channels the most, followed by a mix of electronic and print, and print newsletters. Because wasted resources and financial costs were employees’ major concerns in media format preference, most employees valued cost-effective, sustainable electronic media formats, with a proviso that printed copies could be made available on request. Some employees also preferred blended dissemination tactics (receiving both emails and webpage links) to pull dissemination tactics (searching for information on a website).

Implications for Practice
Employees share different preferences for internal communication formats, and practitioners should select appropriate communication formats (print, electronic, or mix) based on employees’ preferences, and inform employees in multiple ways (e.g., sending email and posting on the organization’s website). Regular employee surveys and focus groups can help communicators keep in touch with employee needs and preferences.

Location of Article
The article is available online at: (abstract free, purchase full article) (rent to view full text)

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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