Author(s), Title and Publication
Kim, D. (2018). Examining effects of internal public relations practices on organizational social capital in the Korean context. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 23(1), 100-116. doi:10.1108/CCIJ-01-2017-0002

As organizational resources, internal publics (e.g. employees) can play a key role in determining organizational performance. In addition, because they form a communication channel, employees can interact with external publics to deliver positive messages about their organizations, using their authentic voice to offer support in times of crisis. An organization’s social capital is fundamental in encouraging employees’ participation or engagement in organizational behaviors and has been shown to produce organizational benefits such as decreased transactional costs, increased efficiency, performance, satisfaction, and quality of life at work. In public relations, social capital has been defined as the ability organizations have of creating, maintaining, and using relationships to achieve desirable organizational goals, however there remains a lack of empirical data on the connection between internal public relations practices, such as internal communication strategies and employee-organization relationships and organizational social capital.

To fill this research gap, using a closed-ended questionnaire, the authors collected data from 276 participants in 23 South-Korean organizations, which evaluated two-way and symmetrical internal communication, employee-organization relationships, and social capital, which included structural, cognitive, and relational components. The structural dimension of social capital can be clarified as the pattern of relationship, and can be analyzed from the organizational perspective, as effective, when a strong and stable network configuration results from repeated exchange between network ties. The cognitive dimension of organizational social capital concerns resources, such as shared representation, systems of meaning, narrative, and code. Relational social capital refers to the kind of personal relationships developed through the history of interactions which play a central role in building and maintaining relationships. Results showed two-way and symmetrical internal communication strategies are positively related to employee-organization relationships. Two-way and symmetrical communication are positively related to the structural dimension of social capital, while the cognitive and relational dimensions are only significantly related to symmetrical communication. The quality of employee-organization relationships characterized by satisfaction and control mutuality are positively related to organizational social capital. Trust additionally positively influences the relational dimension of social capital.

Implications for Practice
Organizations should (1) employ balanced internal communication in managing internal communication strategies which leads to building and maintaining healthy employee-organization relationships, (2) focus on building and maintaining strong interpersonal relationships with internal publics to incite information sharing and relationship building, and (3) seek to establish, restore, maintain, and enhance equality and balance as invaluable contributors to organizational social capital, through internal communication and relationship management strategies.

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