This summary is provided by the IPR Organizational Communication Research Center

Employees expect timely, accurate, and adequate information from their employers during times of crisis or turbulence. Given this reality, employers should prioritize effective internal communication.

One strategy employers can use to help employees navigate turbulent times is to communicate in a manner that fosters employees’ organizational resilience (i.e., the ability to bounce back from difficult situations). This study proposes that helping employees increase their perceptions of competency and self-efficacy (tenets of resilience,) leads to employees feeling a sense of control and confidence in new or unforeseen organizational situations, such as crises. Furthermore, two-way symmetrical communication (i.e., a mutually respectful back-and-forth communication style between employees and senior management) and the overall quality of the relationship are proposed as additional factors that help employees build organizational resilience and navigate turbulence better.

An online survey of 816 employees working in medium and large-sized U.S. corporations was conducted. Participants were 37 years old on average, and just over fifty percent were female (50.5%). Nearly seventy percent of participants were white (68.7%), and almost 60% had a bachelor’s or a post-graduate degree.

Key Findings
1.) Two-way communication where employers and senior management listen to and respond to employees can help increase the strength of an organization’s relationship to its employees, resulting in organizational resilience.
2.) The quality of employee-organization relationships enhances employees’ beliefs in their skills and knowledge, which can then be applied to employees’ problem-solving capabilities.
— This also encourages employees’ voluntary communicative behaviors to seek out and forward positive, organization-related information in times of crisis.
3.) To ensure the positive effect of employee-organization relationships on organizational resilience, the findings highlight the need to build relationships in an environment that stresses the importance of employees’ feedback and participation.

Implications for Practice
Organizations and communication managers should 1.) put more effort into creating an open and two-way symmetrical communication environment in which the employees’ concerns and expectations are considered, and 2.) prioritize a flexible crisis management process (including competence and self-efficacy-based communication) that retains organizational resources to positively adjust to unanticipated events and respond to ongoing change during and after a crisis.

Kim, Y. (2021). Building organizational resilience through strategic internal communication and organization–employee relationships, Journal of Applied Communication Research, DOI: 10.1080/00909882.2021.1910856

Location of Article
This article is available online here.

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