Effects of Internal Communication and Emotional Culture on Employees’ Organizational Identification

by Cen April Yue, Linjuan Rita Men, Ph.D., and Mary Ann Ferguson, Ph.D., University of Florida
Summary provided by the IPR Organizational Communication Research Center

In a survey of 482 full-time employees in the U.S., this study examined the linkage between impact of emotional culture and internal communications on employees’ organizational identification.

Specifically, the authors explored two types of internal communications: leadership-level motivating language use and organizational-level symmetrical internal communication. Leadership motivating language entails aligning employees’ personal goals with a higher organizational purpose (i.e., meaning-making language), articulating what needs to be done to achieve organization goals (i.e., direction-giving language), and conveying support, compassion, and respect to employees (i.e., empathetic language). Symmetrical internal communication represents the notion of openness, reciprocity, and tolerance for disagreement between organizations and employees.

Key findings include:

  • Leadership-level motivating language use and corporate-level symmetrical internal communication played a positive role in eliciting a positive emotional culture.
  • A positive emotional culture was directly and positively associated with strong organizational identification.
  • Internal communications helped cultivate a positive emotional culture, which, in turn, boosted employee organizational identification.
  • Organizations should:
    • Train leaders to use motivating language.
    • Invest in resources to foster a two-way, symmetrical internal communication system, such as using annual surveys, town hall meetings, social media platforms, and informal gatherings to collect employees’ feedback.
    • Use different approaches in promoting a positive workplace emotional culture.

To see how internal communication and culture affect employees’ organizational identification read the

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