Topic: Measurement of Employee Communication Behavior

Author(s), Title and Publication

Kim, J-N, & Rhee, Y. (2011). Strategic Thinking about Employee Communication Behavior (ECB) in Public Relations: Testing the Models of Megaphoning and Scouting Effects in Korea. Journal of Public Relations Research, 23(3), 243-268.


This study examined how to facilitate positive employee communication behavior (ECB) by investigating the effects of organization-employee relationships and internal communication on ECB. The study indentified two unique aspects of ECB: megaphoning (employee’s positive or negative external communication behaviors about their organization) and scouting (employee’s volunteered environment scanning behaviors, including seeking valuable organization-related information, as well as sharing and forwarding the information within the organization). Based on megaphoning and scouting, the study proposed  a new concept, microboundary spanning, which refers to employees’ voluntary communication behaviors to disperse positive information about one’s organization.

A survey was conducted with 300 employees in various organizations in Korea to measure the perceived quality of employee relationships (trust, control mutuality, commitment, and satisfaction), internal communication (symmetrical communication efforts) and ECB (megaphoning, scouting, microboundary spanning) in either a peaceful or turbulent business environment. Results indicated that through symmetrical internal communication, organizations can foster positive relationship with their employees, and employees with such relationships tend to share their positive impressions about their employer with others during both peaceful and crisis periods. Favorable organization-employee relationships also increase the likelihood of scouting behavior among employees and encourage employee engagement in microboundary spanning activities. Given that the study was conducted in Korea, the results may be limited to the societal culture of Korea. Future research should also examine organizational culture and structural variables as factors affecting ECB.

Implications for Practice

Organizations could convert the measurement scales of megaphoning, scouting, and microboundary spanning to a communication audit to better understand the overall sentiment of employees toward the organization, as well as employees’ communication behaviors. Organizations also can benefit from using symmetrical internal communication to cultivate quality employee relationship and increase positive communication effects.

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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