University of Twente Student Theses


De rol van informele organisatiestructuren in de interne communicatie

Heining, A. (2012) De rol van informele organisatiestructuren in de interne communicatie.

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Abstract:For organizations, it is important that employees pursue organizational goals. For management, it is therefore important to have knowledge about what is going on in the workplace, not only in the (formal) departments, but also on an informal level. In 1949, Mayo argued that social groups exist within organizations and that management has an interest in the social structure of an organization to understand what’s going on within the organization. This gives organizations the ability to predict how people react to certain situations, and maybe even influence behavior of employees to make sure they act according to organizational goals. Employees of a department of a Dutch university were interviewed to (1) determine the factors that make people form/join informal groups, (2) find out about the value of informal (and formal) groups for employees, and (3) investigate the role informal groups have in the internal communication within an organization. This was determined by asking questions about the communication during a reorganization process. During the interviews, a card sorting method was used to identify groups. The interviews show that the informal groups are strongly determined by current or past work contacts. Proximity is a second important factor, next to similarity. The social identity seems to play a minor role compared to the previously mentioned factors. Formal groups are especially valued in terms of job content and belong to a team. Informal groups are considered more important by employees, especially to help each other to interpret the formally spread information. They also provide a nice environment where people in similar situations meet. Conflicts between informal / formal groups have little negative impact and are not considered problematic. What people hear from colleagues is very important communication for them, and also more relevant than formal messages. Informal communication by colleagues is considered a reliable source of information. In the formal information, the head of a department is the leading person to spread information, official meetings are not. Peak moments of informal communication can be identified directly after formal communication or meetings. Informal groups provide new information for employees on individual consequences of the reorganization as well as faster and therefore new information. This makes the informal group high valuable. The informal group is a place to interpret and discuss individual consequences, which is very important for people, who need this information to determine their own position within the reorganization process
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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