Author(s), Title and Publication:

Men, L. R., & Jiang, H. (2016). Cultivating quality employee-organization relationships: The interplay among organizational leadership, culture, and communication. International Journal of Strategic Communication, 10(5), 462 – 479.


Positive employee-organization relationship (EOR) is an important intangible asset for organizations, which influences external stakeholders’ perception and drives business performance. Considering the value of EOR in ensuring organizational success, this article provides insights on the central question of what affects the quality of an employee-organization relationship. To answer this question, the authors focus on the focal constructs of organizational leadership (i.e., authentic leadership), organizational culture, and symmetrical internal communication as antecedents of internal relationship management. Specifically, authentic leadership is characterized by organization leaders’ self-awareness, transparent communication with followers, objective and unbiased information processing and decision-making, and internalized moral values. Symmetrical internal communication aims to initiate dialogues between an organization and its employees, demonstrates genuine concern of employees’ needs and wellbeing, and is associated with a participative organizational culture and an organic organizational structure. Specifically, this article explores how authentic leadership interplays with symmetrical internal communication and organizational cultural values of competitiveness, social responsibility, supportiveness, innovation, emphasis on reward, performance orientation, and stability to influence EOR.

The authors conducted a quantitative online survey among 391 employees from 17 industry sectors in the U.S. The results indicate that authentic leadership and organizational cultures highlighting supportiveness, emphasis on reward, and stability are strong positive predictors of quality EORs. More importantly, symmetrical internal communication fully mediates the effect of authentic leadership and supportive cultures on the quality of EOR.

Implications for Practitioners

To foster positive employee-organization relationship, organizational leaders should 1) recognize the importance of developing authentic leadership, 2) practice symmetrical internal communication, and 3) cultivate an organizational culture of supportiveness, emphasis on rewards, and stability. Organizations should 1) provide systematic training and guidance for organizational leaders to be ethical, accountable, balanced in decision-making, and relationally transparent in communication, 2) equip leaders with symmetrical communication mindset and strategies, and 3) maintain a culture that highlights supportiveness, fair rewards, and stability.

Location of Article

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

Share this:

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *