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HOW DIGITALIZATION OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION AFFECTS INTERNAL COMMUNICATION SATISFACTION, EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT AND CONSEQUENTLY PERCEIVED LIFE SATISFACTION

Code:

J5-4584

Period:

1.10.2022 - 30.9.2025

Range on year:

0.18 FTE | 2022

Project leader at FDV:

prof.dr. Dejan Verčič

External project leader:

UNIVERZA V LJUBLJANI FAKULTETA ZA DRUŽBENE VEDE

Co-financiers:

/

Research activity:

Social sciences

The phases of the project and their realization:

To accomplish the main research objectives, the project is structured under four work packages with three data collection stages (Figure 2). In Work Package 1 we will establish the antecedents of perceived (digital) channel value, which we assume affects quality of internal communication (i.e., internal communication satisfaction). At this step we plan to make theoretical advances to existing literature and theoretically define constructs used for next stages of the project. In Work Package 2 we will conduct three experiments to empirically establish what shapes perceived (digital) channel value (Stage 1 data collection). After finishing this stage of data collection, this work package also includes applying a diary method which will help shed light on how perceived (digital) channel value affects internal communication satisfaction among employees (Stage 2 data collection). Results from this work package will help develop a scale to measure perceived channel value which will be incorporated into the next work package. Work Package 3 comprises of a multiwave survey (Stage 3 data collection) on purposeful stratified samples of employees in four countries, to explore the proposed model. The results of this stage will help determine the effect of culture and personality on internal communication, engagement, and life satisfaction, as well as the potential mediating effect of social exchange quality indicators. By understanding different responses of employees in various settings, the model can be assessed and redefined. Finally, Work Package 4 will include the development of guidelines about best practices in internal communication and indicate pitfalls to avoid. Providing research-based guidelines and assessment tools will provide practice-based innovations for this field. This will help the scientific community and practitioners to improve the elements of internal communication for the benefit of organizations and their employees.

Research Organisation:

https://cris.cobiss.net/ecris/si/en/project/20225

Researchers:

https://cris.cobiss.net/ecris/si/en/project/20225

Citations for bibliographic records:

https://cris.cobiss.net/ecris/si/en/project/20225

Abstract:

Formal organizations are probably the central institutions of modern society. We exist with and through them as they organize and structure our life from the beginning through to the end. New technology has created different challenges for all types of organizations, which are all significantly and ubiquitously affected by digitalization. On the one side we witness progress and an increase in life satisfaction, while on the other we see disruption and possible risks. It is an imperative to study this changing nature of work so as to learn more about the consequences of technological transformation and through that, minimise potential threats. New technologies mean new effects on society and human relationships, which is why the ability with which people use new technologies has an effect on viewing technology as utopian or dystopian (Spitzberg, 2006). This is in line with the Commission’s Digital Compass and ambitions for the next 10 years where three out of its four pillars fit with this proposal - namely: digitally skilled citizens and professionals; a digital transformation of businesses; and digitalisation of public services. When we focus on organizations as participants in the digitalization process, it is important to understand how employees perceive all this change and if and how it affects different aspects of their work, work-related attitudes, and perceived effects on quality of their lives. There are no organizations without communication. This reflects, to a certain extent, the rhetorical/ hermeneutical approach to communication where organizations are symbolic, and communication makes them possible (Grunig, 1992). A prominent interpretation of communication in organizations is that when communication is bad, there will be problems for the organization; while good communication means better performance and overall effectiveness (Roberts & O’Reily, 1974). Increasingly, organizations invest considerable human and financial resources in shaping effective internal communication systems (Carriere & Borque, 2009). The recent pandemic has amplified the importance of internal communication. In addition, rapid digitalization, which is one of the defining characteristics of 21st century communication, has also had a massive effect on communication within organizations. Decades of research in internal communication have demonstrated that it affects all aspects of organizational performance. But it also affects life satisfaction of its members/employees. Perceptions affect human behaviour (Thomas theorem), which is why investigation, interpretation and understanding of employees’ attitudes toward acceptance of digital communication has important implications for society. Post-pandemic working patterns are going to accelerate many pre-existing trends. The average employee wants to work from home almost half the time, while employers do not share this approach (The Economist, 2021). This overlapping of home and office already has and will continue to have vast consequences. It will force both, organizations, and employees, to raise their game. It will lead to changes in all aspects of work and create bigger divides. It will also bring improvement. Managers will have to communicate better and stop expecting employees to pick up information by osmosis. To understand new patterns of communication and how they affect employees’ lives, this project aims to develop a theory of internal communication preference and explore how it connects perceived digital channel value, culture, personality, social exchange quality indicators, engagement, and life satisfaction. We need to have a better normative understanding of the role that workplace communication has in the new post-pandemic reality. The social importance of this project is in clarifying how this aspect of our lives can be a positive influence on our life satisfaction. Main questions driving the project are: • How does digitalization of communication channels affect internal communication, engagement, and life satisfaction of employees in a post-pandemic world? • How do culture orientation and personality traits determine internal communication preferences? • What are the solutions to designing optimal internal communication systems in a new digital society? The main ambition of the project is to introduce a new paradigm to study internal communication. To achieve this goal the project will provide new theory, innovative empirical research to understand and tackle causes of and solutions to digital transformation of internal communication, creating a significant shift in the field of internal communication with specific theories from organizational behaviour, communication, and social psychology.


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