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Title: Rethinking internal communication
Author: Welch, Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 2678 5563
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2008
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Inspiration for this thesis came from two key influences: an interest in the practice of internal communication prompted by the author's previous career in corporate communication management; and an interest in the theory relating to the discipline. Gaps in theory have been emphasised in the literature and the area described as a 'wasteland in terms of research' (Argenti 1996, p. 94). The aim of the thesis was to rethink internal communication to contribute theory with the potential to assist practice. Making a contribution to internal communication theory in this way adds to the strategic public relations and corporate communications body ofknowledge, and may assist internal communication management. This is important since internal communication impacts employee engagement and organisational effectiveness. The conceptual analysis: positions internal communication within integrated corporate communication; argues that internal communication is multi-dimensional; introduces the Internal Communication Matrix to illustrate the dimensionality; and, contributes definitions of internal communication and internal corporate communication. Consequently, the thesis breaks an unhelpful continuous loop concerning definition of the field of internal communication. The empirical work used a research case study strategy involving focus groups and a questionnaire with open and closed questions to gather data from employees concerning their internal corporate communication preferences in the context of a UK university. The empirical analysis of the qualitative and quantitative data found an hierarchy ofmethod category preferences from most preferred: electronic, print, face-to-face. The hierarchy was inconsistent with previous literature claiming face-to-face communication as most preferred. An hierarchy ofpreference for internal corporate communication content category was found starting from most preferred: belonging, understanding, commitment, awareness. Further analysis found that employee group membership and knowledge worker group membership was associated with significantly different preferences for internal corporate communication content and methods. The thesis proposed a coaxial view ofrelationships featuring trust and distrust interacting in an employee sense making process, the Zone of Approval, wl1!cl1results in employees adopting a mixture of cynical, sceptical or humorous styles or routines to help them cope with complexii)r.- -- Rethinking internal communication in this thesis showed that the concept is more complex than previously characterised in the literature, broadened understanding of the concept and prepared the ground for future research. The concluding chapter draws the elements together in a model which shows the linkages between internal communication, employee engagement and organisational effectiveness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Not available Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available