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The influence of internal communication on textual and organizational outcomes in a home care organization : an experimental research on the comparison of internal messaging based on source characteristics and the perspective used in the internal messages

Wissink, Kim (2014) The influence of internal communication on textual and organizational outcomes in a home care organization : an experimental research on the comparison of internal messaging based on source characteristics and the perspective used in the internal messages.

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Abstract:Background. Among other home care organizations, TSN Thuiszorg is experiencing an ongoing process of change due to changing legislations and austerity measures. Nowadays it is critical to respond to these changes. If home care organizations still want to deliver high quality service to their clients with less (financial) resources, they should focus on their front-line employees who are working in name of their organization. When employees feel identified with the organization they are willing to improve the image and performance of the organization (e.g. Kane, Magnusen, & Perrewé, 2012). The important role of organizational identification for employees and organizations highlights the need to understand in what ways organizations can influence the degree of identification of their employees. Several studies that have been conducted in this area, argue that internal communication plays a critical and beneficial role (e.g. Tanis & Beukeboom, 2011). These researchers found that internal messages that signal personal focus and organizational identity increase employees’ organizational identification. This research wants to contribute to this knowledge by focusing on two different peripheral cues in internal communication. Message perspective (direct vs. indirect) and source characteristics (local vs. national) are used to measure the effects on the perceived comprehensibility and attractiveness of the internal messages and on organizational outcomes such as attitude toward the source, perceived organizational support and organizational identification. Thus, TSN Thuiszorg is hoping to find a way to improve the current organizational identification of their domestic helpers with the use of internal communication. Method . An experiment is established for this quantitative study based on a two-by-two between-subject design. This design concerned the independent variables message perspective (direct vs. indirect) and message source (national vs. local). These two variables are used to manipulate the internal messages on the intranet during a period of two weeks. Three internal messages are written based on the four different conditions; direct – local, direct – national, indirect – local and indirect – national. In total, 203 participants joined the whole experiment. They read the three internal messages, with intervals of three days, and completed the questions attached to the messages. Due to the fact that this experiment was conducted in a home care organization, the sample mainly exists of women (97%), the average age is 48, the average tenure is 5.4 years and the most common education level is pre-vocational secondary education (in Dutch, VMBO). Results . The different perspectives used in internal messages appeared to significantly differ from each other based on the manipulation check. A significant effect of message perspective has been found on message attractiveness and comprehensibility. The manipulation check of message source was less successful, it appeared that the participants did not understand the difference between a national and local source in the messages. Possible reasons for this misunderstanding are the lack of commitment with the source, disbelief, no attention paid to the source, and influence of the researcher. Due to this less successful manipulation, further analyses were not performed. Conclusion. This study contributes to a better understanding of the influence of source characteristics and message perspectives on employee perceptions regarding textual and organizational outcomes. A direct perspective used in internal messages positively influences textual outcomes in a home care organization setting. This direct perspective did not influence organizational outcomes such as attitude toward source, perceived organizational support or organizational identification. It is not wise to draw conclusions on the other independent variable, message source, because the manipulation has not been understood completely by all participants. Employees with a positive attitude toward the source, high perceived organizational support and high organizational identification can apparently not be realized after reading three internal messages. More material or actions fostering identification, and a longer period of time, are probably needed to accomplish positive influences on organizational outcomes.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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