This summary is provided by the IPR Organizational Communication Research Center.
Organizational culture is a social glue that holds organizational members together and prescribes how things are understood, judged, and valued in an organization. The affective dimension of organizational culture, known as emotional culture, sets the tone for how members feel. Cultures of joy, love, pride, and gratitude are manifestations of a positive emotional culture. This study examined the linkage between a positive emotional culture and internal communications and the impact of emotional culture and internal communications on employees’ organizational identification. Specifically, the authors explored two types of internal communications: leadership-level motivating language use and organizational-level symmetrical internal communication. Leadership motivating language entails aligning employees’ personal goals with a higher organizational purpose (i.e., meaning-making language), articulating what needs to be done to achieve organization goals (i.e., direction-giving language), and conveying support, compassion, and respect to employees (i.e., empathetic language). Symmetrical internal communication represents the notion of openness, reciprocity, and tolerance for disagreement between organizations and employees.
With the assistance of a data collection company, the authors surveyed 482 full-time employees in the United States. The sample consisted of 58% female, and 68% of participants were between 25-54 years old. Furthermore, 53% were not in management positions, and almost half had at least a bachelor’s degree.
1.) This study found that leadership-level motivating language use and corporate-level symmetrical internal communication played a positive role in eliciting a positive emotional culture.
2.) A positive emotional culture was directly and positively associated with strong organizational identification.
3.) There was not a direct link between two types of internal communications and organizational identification. However, internal communications helped cultivate a positive emotional culture, which, in turn, boosted employee organizational identification.
Implications for practice
Organizations should 1) train leaders to use motivating language, 2) invest in resources to foster a two-way, symmetrical internal communication system, such as using annual surveys, town hall meetings, social media platforms, and informal gatherings to collect employees’ feedback, and 3) use different approaches in promoting a positive workplace emotional culture.
Location of Article
This article is available online at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/2329488420914066 (abstract free, purchase full article)