Evaluation of Information Awareness and Understanding through Different Internal Communication Tools

Evaluation of Information Awareness and Understanding through Different Internal Communication Tools

Tanja Sedej (Research and Research, LLC, Slovenia) and Damijan Mumel (University of Maribor, Slovenia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7272-7.ch011
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We are living at a time when change is the only constant in our lives. This is also true for organizations, which have to communicate these changes effectively to their employees. Internal communications are therefore increasingly garnering attention. In this regard, immense efforts should be made to create high levels of awareness and understanding about a new change project. Organizations use a variety of tools to communicate this information effectively. However, employee awareness and understanding can also vary on the choice of internal communications tools. This chapter presents the results of research carried out in Slovenia in 2012, where an experiment was conducted on 165 individuals. The individuals who took part in the experiment were exposed to information distributed through three different tools used in internal communications. Empirical data concerning the views of awareness and understanding of information according to the three internal communications tools are evaluated and presented.
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1. Introduction

More than ever before the need for efficient and effective internal communications is becoming a key benchmark for organizational success all over the world. Organizations face heightened local and global competition, rapid technological development and increasingly demanding customers every day (Sankar, 2010; Teixeira et al., 2012). Truong (2005, p. 56) believes that the ability of organizations to compete and survive in a global environment will depend on their ability to be flexible and to adapt to changing market needs, while Khalil and Mady (2005, p. 39) describes the international economic environment which has experienced drastic changes in last decades as fierce cost wars, slow market growth, decline of productivity and decreasing protectionism. Kini and Basaviah (2013, p. 98) explains that organizations are constantly striving to refine and optimize processes, improve efficiencies and reduce costs. Consequently, they are eagerly looking for solutions as to how to successfully cope and manage these changes, which are occurring with ever growing intensity and frequency in today’s dynamic business environment.

The most successful organizations develop and implement internal communication programs that focus on the needs of their employees and the ability of organizations to cope with the changes. Argenti (2007, p. 139) also believes that organizations with effective communication strategy are usually more successful. Today, as change is the only constant in the lives of organizations, rapid development can also be seen in the area of ​​internal communications. New technology is seeping into every aspect of everyday life and internal communications in organizations are no exception.

The crucial role of internal communications–especially during times of introducing change–has not only been noted in academic circles but also in the practice of managers and experts because only well-informed, motivated and committed employees can contribute to a positive realization of the vision and business objectives of any organization. Croft in Cochrane (2005, p. 18) stress that internal communication activities are a priority factor during implementation of change. It is essential to understand that change of behaviour is long-term goal that cannot be achieved overnight.

However, to communicate in an organization successfully, internal communications need to raise high levels of awareness and understanding of the change that is being implemented. But there is also another aspect that has been widely neglected: the right selection of internal communication tools can lead either to great success or total failure. Nonetheless, compared to other research fields, little has been done so far. However, existing research has identified that internal communications that facilitate information awareness and understanding are critical factors for success (Theaker, 2004; Sande, 2009; Merrell, 2012).

One of the main tasks of internal communication professionals is therefore to really understand the potential of internal communication tools in such a way that encourages employees to contribute eagerly to achieving business goals. This research verifies and advances existing literature by including broader knowledge on the potential of internal communication tools at times when change is being introduced. The central goal is to ascertain what kind of impact careful selection of internal communication tools has on levels of awareness and understanding of change by its employees, and which internal communication tools work better in times of change from the three carefully chosen tools.

Above all, the research results on awareness and understanding of information conducted with different tools appears to be indispensable, because in times of rapid change and new technologies an in-depth view and due consideration is certainly required.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Organisational Change: Organization change is an organizational transition from its current state to a desired future state.

Internal Communications: Internal communications represent a function responsible for effective communications among employees within organizations.

Information Understanding: Achieving information understanding is usually a complex task, since it is often necessary to establish a dialogue among employees within organizations.

Internal Communication Tools: Through internal communication tools with informing, creating dialogue, and relationships among employees communication objectives can be achieved.

Organizational Information Transmission: Organizational information transmission is an act or process of transmitting information within organizations.

Internal Communication Objectives: Setting internal communication objectives provides a clear focus, how to communicate with employees for achieving overall organizational results.

Information Awareness: Achieving awareness is based primarily on informing employees through simple forms of information transmission within organizations.

Change Management: Change management is a process, approach or method that increases the likelihood that employees will successfully manage through a change process.

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