Topic: Employee Communication Behavior

Authors, Title and Publication

Park, S. H., Kim, J-N., & Krishna, A. (2014).  Bottom-up building of an innovative organization: Motivating employee intrapreneurship and scouting and their strategic value. Management Communication Quarterly. DOI: 10.1177/0893318914541667.


Organizational leaders and managers regularly search for ways to make their organizations more innovative, competitive, and successful. The literature suggests that employees are one of the organization’s most strategic publics that can and should help make the organization more innovative and entrepreneurial through information behaviors related to their tasks and work routines. This study aimed to understand what kind of information behaviors employees display and under what conditions, what value and roles such behaviors play in building a more innovative organization, and what strategies organizations should implement to enhance employees’ motivation and capitalize on their information behaviors. A theoretical model is presented to demonstrate the ways in which organizations can increase employees’ intrapreneurship and business information seeking, sharing, and scouting via relationship building. Three management strategies—managerial receptiveness to innovative effort, employee empowerment, and communication symmetry—were tested for their effects on quality of organization–employee relationship (OER), and the effects of OERs on employee’s intrapreneurship and scouting.

A survey was conducted with 528 employees of U.S. organizations with a minimum of 300 employees. The results indicated that decentralized power and communication are key factors in the development of good relationships between employees and organizations. Employees who are empowered and whose organizations practice symmetrical communication were more likely to trust and commit to the organizations. Organizations become innovative and adaptive to the environment as they cultivate relationships with employees because they can motivate employees to engage in voluntary intrapreneurship and scouting in and around the organization.

Implications for Practice

Organizations might want to 1) develop two-way symmetrical communication to cultivate quality employee-organization relationships; 2) provide venues for employee voicing behavior and genuinely listen to employees; 3) involve employees in the decision-making process; and 4) gather strategic intelligence from employees via informal channels and capitalize on their proactive and voluntary communication behaviors.

Location of Article

The article is available online at:   (abstract free, purchase full article)



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