Communications in a changing environment
This research consists of a collaborative study of internal communication in a National Health Service Trust. Information was obtained by means of interviews, discussions and surveys of staff. A small comparative study was carried out with senior officers from a Borough Council. Strengths and weaknesses in organisational communications have been identified. The most important of these strengths was recognition in the Trust that communication is everybody's responsibility. Weaknesses were apparent in interdepartmental communication, visibility and approachability of management and lack of information and briefing on general matters and changes. The study has demonstrated the successful use of mechanisms for identifying both weak areas and groups. A new scale has been utilised and indices have been developed and evaluated to measure specific aspects of communication. These include: (i) Overall communication satisfaction and level. (ii) Frequency of communication. (iii) Information overload. (iv) Non-occurrence or breakdown of communication. These measures have facilitated the identification of categories of staff in the Trust that are either communication advantaged or disadvantaged. As a further contribution, the measures can be used to examine certain hypotheses such as those relating communication to involvement with the organisation. The thesis also describes key areas that need to be addressed in the future. The NHS Trust has accepted and utilised the findings of this study and is implementing improvements. The mechanisms and management of the improvement processes are detailed.