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Does A Successful Internal Communication System Result In A Motivated Workforce?

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Research Question:

Does a successful internal communication system result in a motivated workforce?

Introduction

As little as a few decades ago, managers believed that the behind the scenes dealings of their companies were of no concern to employees. Thus, information that may have motivated employees or inspired their job interest was not available to them as they were merely considered 'another cog in the organisational wheel'. Since that time, management science has formed a basis for analysing management style and its influence on communication and motivation. Described by Phillip V. Lewis, "...basically, motivation is any influence that causes behaviour..."

Background

As an undergraduate at Leeds Metropolitan University, studying for BA Honours Public Relations degree, the author has studied the Organisational Behaviour module, which focused on behavioural studies within a work place environment. One major component of the module was motivation, and identified was Maslow's Motivational Theory, used as a tool in helping to better understand employee behaviour in organisational settings. The aim of this study will be to observe this theory with reference to a chosen case study of an organisation, and establish whether there is a connection by which internal communications contributes to helping create a motivated workforce.

The inclusion of a case study in the dissertation will provide an opportunity to study in-depth, certain aspects of communication within an organisation, within a limited timescale. If possible more than one organisation will be approached with the hope of gaining a broader analysis and understanding of the link between internal communication and motivation of employees.

The main case study organisation will be Eurostar International, within the human resources and public relations departments based at Waterloo, London. The author has close contacts with this organisation and has previously carried out a work placement within the company. Eurostar have a high regard for their employees, and being such a large organisation with numerous sites and sectors of the company, the author felt this was an ideal choice to investigate.

Background Research

"Of many who have sought to identify the conditions which create a satisfied workforce, none has yet produced a definite answer to the question of whether internal communication specifically contributes to creating a satisfied workforce. Research to date has simply looked at the general conditions which create a satisfied workforce." (Fincham and Rhodes, 1992).

Philip V. Lewis looked at the effect a person's attitudes and values have over influencing behaviour. He discussed how attitudes are represented by feelings and emotions, and described them as 'affective, cognitive and conative'. Values are beliefs, which guide behaviour, telling an individual what is right and wrong. Although a person may have thousands of beliefs, generally they only have a few values. Lewis comprised a list outlining categories of values, these being; theoretical, economic, aesthetic, social, political and religious. He estimated that each individual would fit loosely into one of the categories.

It is generally accepted that attitudes and values influence an individual's behaviour; however, a common view of motivation is that it is a process of satisfying needs as people move towards their primary goal of well-being. A framework was devised for studying human needs, designed by Maslow, 1954. He suggested that all needs could be grouped into a five-step hierarchy, once a person had satisfied a need at one level; their motivation is attracted by the thought of achieving the need at the next level of the hierarchical system. This progression ultimately leads to behaviour motivated principally by the need to realise one's full potential, which Maslow termed 'self-actualisation'- a need that he believed will motivate behaviour throughout a person's life.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs has been eagerly adopted by many management theorists who apply this model to helping understand why employees always seem to want more from their employers. Foe example, once an employee has gained job security, the next step is to seek ways of satisfying social needs.

It is important for employers to recognise the necessity for effective communication within their organisation. Employers need the ability to align managerial and organisational theories with communication principals, look at how verbal and non-verbal behaviours act as a communicative stimulus within organisations, and overcome any communication problems. Managers must be aware of the methods of communication for transmitting information, and the effect this has on employees.

Smithson, 1987, would agree that an organisation is crucially dependent upon its communication patterns and activities. An employer must, therefore, employ a successful system of communicating with employees, through which messages, ideas and attitudes can be shared, and a sense of belonging is established for an employee. Communication is most effective when travelling in both directions of the hierarchical system in an organisation, with feedback from the workforce.

Research Aim

To assess whether a successful internal communication within an organisation can result in a motivated and satisfied workforce.

Research Objectives

1. To critically examine the effect attitudes and values have on the motivation process.

2. To examine models of work motivation theory in order to attain a higher level of understanding of what moulds employee behaviour in an organisation.

3. To identify the most effective methods of internal communications to use to motivate staff.

Methodology

It will be paramount in this section to clearly introduce the reader to the subject of internal communication, with a clear outline of the typical established methods of communication practiced in organisations today. In order to obtain this information, reference will be made to various sources, for example, the Eurostar International Internal Communications audit findings, and interviews with the Internal Communications Officer

The methodology of the research gathering for this dissertation will be carried

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