Effective Communication Research Proposal Sample
Category : Employee Empowerment, Free Sample Research Proposal, Motivation Theories, Research Proposal Samples
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This study explores the positive effects of effective communication on employee motivation and performance. Specifically, in intends to compare the results between service employees and manufacturing employees in terms of communication as a motivating factor. The theories used in this study to create a conceptual framework are Herzberg Two factor theory, Goal Theory, and the circular theory of communication. The concept is that when hygiene and motivator factors are high, goals can be developed, but can only be effective only if the message was disseminated effectively. The study uses quantitative research on service and manufacturing employees. They were surveyed using a semi-structured questionnaire with ranking questions and some open-ended questions. The study found that there were only slight differences in the motivator factors for both set of respondents but there service employees are higher in hygiene. Both industries, however, see communication as an important factor in motivation. However, they only experience high hygiene, but less motivator, which means that they are not fully motivated. It has been suggested that the companies of the employees surveyed should invest on improving the motivator factors within the working environment and improve communication flows.
THE PROBLEM AND ITS BACKGROUND
This study examines the importance of communication on the performance and motivation of employees. The target samples of the study are employees from service and manufacturing companies. This allows seeing the importance of organizational communication in two different angles – that is the difference between the views of service and manufacturing companies regarding the matter. Comparison of these views may lead to the development of new hypotheses or theories that may contribute to human resource management research. In this chapter, the nature of problem is presented and discussed. The backgrounds of different variables related to the study were also featured. Here, the aims, objectives, problem statements and significance of the study were also explained.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Employees basically refer to people who work for another in return for wages or salary (Gillis, 2004). Legally, an employee is referred to a person hired to provide services to a company on a regular basis in exchange for compensation, and who does not provide these services as part of an independent business (Gillis, 2004). However, Gillis (2004) stated that employees are more than any of those definitions. Employees are the lifeblood of the organization because they are the ones who provide products and services that define corporations, organizations and government entities (Gillis, 2004). They are referred to as the most precious assets of the organization because without them, the organization is crippled and cannot function effectively.
Because of the important role of employees, organizations have the responsibility to motivate them so as they can function more effectively. Theories of motivation such as Maslow’s theory, Alfelder’s theory, McClelland’s theory, and Herzberg’s theory (Mullins, 1999) explain why employees should be motivated and why organizations should take this concept into consideration. But what really constitutes effective employee motivation? Several research and organizational reports point positive communication as one of the most important factors that build effective employee motivation. For instance, Riccomini (2005) cited a couple of organizational research by General Electric and Hewlett-Packard in the eighties that concludes: “The better the managers' communication, the more satisfied the employees were with all aspects of their work life”. Building a positive communication with employees is important because they are the organization’s best ambassadors or loudest critics, depending on how fast they get relevant information and the context in which it is received (Howard, 1998). Information consistency affects the success of the company and if it fails to communicate information internally and externally, the reputation of the company may fall. Communication basically uplifts the morale of an employee as it makes them feel that they are valued by the organization. This also builds employee loyalty and satisfaction. As Goldfarb (1990) stated: “
Employers are becoming more aware that employee loyalty, commitment, and concern for quality depend on effective employee communication.
Communication is not just important to an organization, but is an important component in everyday human life. Gamble and Gamble (1999) stated: “Communication is the core of our humanness”, and that “how we communicate with each other shapes our lives and our world” (p.4). Communicative skills help humans to reach out to one another or to confront events that challenge our flexibility, integrity, expressiveness and critical thinking skills (Gamble and Gamble, 1999).
Communication is rather complex to define in a single sentence. In a glimpse, however, it has many types which include: interpersonal communication; intrapersonal; group communication; public communication; mass communication; and online or machine-assisted communication (Gamble and Gamble, 1999). Interpersonal communication means to interact with another person, while intrapersonal means to interact with oneself, or to reason with or evaluate self (Gamble and Gamble, 1999). Group communication, on the other hand, is defined as the process of interacting with a limited number of others, work to share information, develop ideas, make decisions, solve problems, offer support, or have fun (Gamble and Gamble, 1999). Mass communication, is communicating to a large number of people using media (television, newspaper, internet, radio), and finally, online or machine assisted communication deals with communicating through the use of online software that are programmed to interact with browsers or users (Gamble and Gamble, 1999).
Communication is also categorized into two: verbal and non-verbal. Verbal communication means the use of the spoken word when communicating, while non-verbal communication means using other medium such as body signals, writing etc. (Gamble and Gamble, 1999).
Communication undergoes a process, which involves the information source, the transmitter, noise source, receiver and destination. This is based on the communication theory (see figure 1) that was developed by Shannon and Weaver (1949). The information source is the communicator of the information, which then uses a specific type of transmitter or medium (e.g. verbal, written, telephone, etc). The receiver receives the information, but the information can be affected by a specific noise source, which can be a distraction from anyone or anywhere. The receiver then interprets the message and finally puts the communicated message in its destination (Bryant and Heath, 2000).
Figure 1: Shannon and Weaver Theory of Communication
The theory of communication evolved over the years, but the model of Shannon and Weaver (1949) is one of the firsts that explains the process of communication. Today, communication is being regarded as an important factor in business, and that the ability of the company to communicate can determine its success.
Communication is important in business because a business environment is a place where many interactions are needed, and much information should be acquired (Eckhaus, 1999). It always involves openly competitive activity, in which working professionals debate issues, defend positions, and evaluate the arguments of others (Eckhaus, 1999). Most working professionals, particularly those in middle and upper management, routinely produce a variety of messages, many of which are in the written form of memoranda, electronic mail, letters, reports, performance reviews, instructions, procedures, and proposals (Eckhaus, 1999). It is also argued that a fuller understanding of organizations is a vital ingredient at every forward step of the career process, and that communication is a primary element for understanding how organizations function and how members of the organization should, even must, behave in organizations if they are to advance their careers (Harris, 1993).
The practice of effective communication within the organization is also linked with the development of a healthy corporate culture, job satisfaction of employees, and the happiness and productivity of employees (Harris, 1993). Communication skills are also important to organization leaders because it helps them manage the company more effectively (Harris, 1993).
Companies recognize the importance of communication that is why it is a barometer in hiring or measuring employee performance. Waner (1995) found that companies want their employees to maintain confidentiality, write persuasively, write routine letters, use proper placement and format, compose at the keyboard, and write special types of letters. Furthermore, interpersonal and oral skills were rated as very important. Also, basic English as well as abilities dealing with ethics, morals, values, and sensitivity were rated either important or very important (Waner, 1995).
Although there were proven studies that communication promotes positive improvement in organizations, specifically motivation and performance improvements of employees, studies often fail to compare the level of importance of communication in terms of firm industry types. Firms of today can either belong to the manufacturing or service industry. Each industry has different traits and characteristic from the other. Service industries sell and produce intangible services, while manufacturing companies sell tangible manufactured products. The management of the service firm is basically different the manufacturing firm because they have different organizational structures, services and products being provided, and working systems.
STATEMENT OF THE ISSUE AND RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
While many organizations believe that positive employee communication promotes employee motivation, this belief can still be considered as a complex issue because of the changing nature of organizations and the differences of their structure. For instance, the old employee communication paradigm relied on top-down approaches to reach their employees (Edelman, 2004). Today, this has already been replaced by new communication paradigms where employees “ping” sources both inside and outside their organization for information (Edelman, 2004). Employees are now basically treated as consumers. The Workplace Communication Consultancy (2005) even reported that statistics show “90% of those who are kept fully informed are motivated to deliver added value; while those who are kept in the dark almost 80% are not”. However, such results are not industry specific. Industries vary in terms of culture – for instance, service versus manufacturing industry. Thus, this study will confirm the effects of positive communication on employee motivation in two specific industries – service and manufacturing.
The following are the research objectives of the study:
1. To confirm the effectiveness of positive communication on employee motivation.
2. To determine the effects of positive communication on employee motivation in service companies.
3. To determine the effects of positive communication on employee motivation in manufacturing companies.
4. To find out if the relationship between positive communication and employee motivation depends on which industry the organization is into.
Needless to say, two groups of companies will be surveyed in this study –from the service industry; and from the manufacturing industry. The results from the two groups will be compared and evaluated to determine if the relationship between positive communication and employee motivation depends on a specific type of industry.
The study aims to test the hypothesis that: “managers in manufacturing companies give importance to motivation but their employees are less motivated compared with service companies”.
The reason why that hypothesis is developed is because of the difference between service and manufacturing company operations and process. For instance, since the service companies already dominated the market and most of their employees have higher salaries compared to manufacturing workers, there are great differences in terms of motivational factors.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study is significant to both service and manufacturing companies because it offers insights on which industry gives higher importance to communication. Through this study, the importance of communication in organization is once again emphasized. However, the comparison between the two business industries gives new insights and may develop new hypotheses for future studies. This study may help develop theories for service and manufacturing companies on how communication can be used as a tool to motivate employees to improve their performance or work.
This study is also significant to communication and business students. For communication students, this study may benefit them because it may serve as a reference when it comes to communication theories or the role of communication in business. On the other hand, for business students, this paper may also serve them as a useful academic reference tool. Through this study, they will realize early the importance of communication and how this can help them become motivated or more active at work.
Because the aim of this study is to determine a possible motivational factor for employees (which is specifically “communication”), the theoretical frameworks that have been chosen for this study are motivational theories – a content motivation theory; and a process motivation theory. Theories of motivation can be divided into two: the content theories; and the process theories (Mullins, 1999). Content theories emphasize the factors that motivate individuals. Examples of content theories are Maslow’s theory, Alfelder’s theory, McClelland’s theory, and Herzberg’s theory (Mullins, 1999). On the other hand, the emphasis on process theories is on the actual process of motivation. Some examples of process theories are Expectancy theories, equity theory, goal theory, and social learning theory (Mullins, 1999).
The content motivation theory that has been chosen as one of the frameworks for this study is Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory or Motivator-Hygiene Theory. This theory basically extended Maslow’s hierarchy of need theory and is more directly applicable to the work situation (Steers, 1983; Kreitner and Kinicki, 1998). Herzberg's research suggested that motivation is composed of two largely unrelated dimensions: job-related factors which can prevent dissatisfaction, but do not promote employees' growth and development (hygiene); and job-related factors that encourage growth (motivators) (Steers, 1983; Kreitner and Kinicki, 1998).
Herzberg’s theory is the first of its kind to emphasize the importance of non-monetary rewards in motivating employees (Gevity Institute, 2005). According to this theory, satisfying experiences are most often associated with the non-monetary, or intrinsic, content of the work. This includes variables such as achievement, recognition, personal growth, personal responsibility and the characteristics of the work (Gevity Institute, 2005). These factors are called motivators. When people are satisfied, they attribute their satisfaction to the work itself and not on the environment in which they work (Manisera et al, 2005).
On the other hand, dissatisfying experiences result from the extrinsic work environment (Gevity Institute, 2005). These factors include company policies, salary, co-worker relations, supervisor relationships, status, supervision, personal life and job security (Herzberg, 1966; Gevity Institute, 2005). Extrinsic factors cause a person who feels neutral about the job to feel dissatisfied and less motivated (Herzberg, 1966; Gevity Institute, 2005). The theory explains that workers basically attribute their dissatisfaction to the environment in which they work, or conditions that surround the doings of the job (Herzberg, 1966; Gevity Institute, 2005). This is also known as the “Hygiene factor” (Herzberg, 1966). This should be continually maintained because employees never completely satisfied (Manisera et al, 2005).
Manisera et al (2005) noted that when the hygiene factors are very low, workers are dissatisfied. However, when hygiene factors are met, workers are not dissatisfied but it does not necessarily mean that they are satisfied or motivated to work. The same goes for the motivator factors. When motivators are met, workers are satisfied leading to higher performance. However, when motivators are not met, workers are not satisfied but it does not necessarily mean they are dissatisfied with their work.
For this study, the following are the motivators and hygiene that affects the employees:
Table 1: Motivator-Hygiene Profile Framework
On the other hand, the process motivation theory adopted for this study is the goal theory of motivation. In the late 1960s, Edwin Locke proposed that intentions to work toward a goal are a major source of work motivation (Locke and Latham, 1990). That means the goal will tell the people what needs to be done and how much effort will need to be put in order to fulfill the goal and target of the organization (Locke and Latham, 1990). The key steps in applying goal setting are: (1) diagnosis for readiness; (2) preparing employees via increased interpersonal interaction, communication, training, and action plans for goal setting; (3) emphasizing the attributes of goals that should be understood by a manager and subordinates; (4) conducting intermediate reviews to make necessary adjustments in established goals; and (5) performing a final review to check the goals set, modified, and accomplished (Matteson, 1999).
For this study, the following framework based on the goal theory is adopted:
Figure 2: Goal Theory Framework
Aside from motivational theories, a communication theory should also be used for this study so as to have a process on how effective communication can be achieved. In this case, the communication theory adopted for the study is Osgood and Schramm’s circular theory of communication (Schramm, 1954) (see figure 3):
Figure 3: Osgood and Schramm’s Circular Theory of Communication
This theory is also based on Shannon and Weaver’s communication theory. Schramm also believes that the communication process should consist of a sender, channel and receiver (Bryant and Heath, 2000). However, Schramm explains that while one person is speaking, the other is listening. How this listening is done constitutes information for the sender (Bryant and Health, 2000). If a receiver frowns, that provides different information than if “he or she” smiles supportively (Bryant and Health, 2000). It is explained in this theory that recognizing the dynamics of interaction countered the tendency to communication as a linear progression of steps leading to or "causing" each following step. He understood that people respond idiosyncratically to messages as a function of their personality, group influences, and the situation under which the communication occurs (Bryant and Health, 2000).
The process of the model is simple. In it, the sender and receiver function as both encoder and decoder of information. Each functions as the interpreter of the message (Underwood, 2003). This model explains that effective communication can be possible if both the receiver and the sender are capable of interpreting meanings out of the information being communicated. For instance, in the business context, the supervisor may mean well and believe that he is delivering the messages properly to the employees. However, because the employees have not been briefed earlier about a particular piece of information that plays an important part on what the supervisor communicated, they miss the point of what the supervisor tries to say. In return, the supervisor may interpret that the employees are still ignorant about a specific piece of information and still need further briefing.
By combining the elements of the Two-Factor Theory, Goal Theory and the Circular theory of communication, a conceptual framework has been developed for this current study. The framework tries to interpret that the higher the level of hygiene and motivator in terms of how the supervisor communicates with the employees during policy briefing, training, or just informal talk, the higher the possibility that employees will develop goals. However, the effectiveness of that process is affected by how well the two parties communicate – that is show well the employees encode, interpret and decode the messages that the supervisor tries to disseminates, and vice-versa, on how well the supervisor encode, interpret and disseminate the messages that the employees give in return. The following figure (Figure 4) further explains the form and process of this conceptual framework:
Figure 4: Conceptual Framework
A study that compares statistically the effectiveness of communication on employee motivation between service and manufacturing companies may provide new results that can be further explored in future studies. This type of study allows seeing communication importance in two views – that is the view of service and manufacturing companies. Comparison of these views may lead to the development of new hypotheses or theories that may contribute to human resource management research.
However, like any other study, this research also has various limitations that may affect the credibility of its results. One of the limitations is that data are only acquired through survey. Surveys are limited only to abrupt responses unlike one-on-one interviews where the respondents can further explain their answers to the researchers’ questions. Participation of companies may also be a limitation of this study as there may be some who will not be willing to participate or who may participate half-heartedly.
Developing a good semi-structured questionnaire may also be a problem. In this matter, sufficient literature review will be conducted. Literature reviews will be presented in the Chapter 2 of the study. The discussion of these literatures will stand as secondary data of the study. These literatures will help the readers understand the basic and advanced concepts that are related with the problem of the study.
Questionnaires were also pre-tested so that errors can be spotted and they can be modified immediately to suit the study better. A pre-test of the questionnaires will be conducted to 10 samples so as to validate if its contents are okay and can actually answer the research questions of the study. If ever the questionnaire is not suitable as the pre-analysis show, it will be immediately modified. The suggestions of the 10 pre-test samples will also be considered in the modification. The pre-test samples will not be included in the actual set of respondents.
The questionnaires will be administered to respondents through email or personal contact. The questionnaires will contain an introduction that explains clearly the purpose of the study. The questionnaire also contains clear instructions so as the respondents are well-guided throughout their encounter with it.
Presented in this chapter are the literatures – theoretical and academic – that were collated for the sake of understanding more about the study’s topic, which is the relevance of effective communication to employee motivation and performance. This literature review contains three categories: motivation literatures; communication literatures; and literatures that try to explain the relationship between communication and motivation.
Motivation can be assumed as the reason or the force behind why a person does what he or she does. Sometimes, it is also a means to make the person perform better and more efficient. Basically there are three assumptions in human motivation established in research. The first one assumes that motivation is inferred from a systematic analysis of how personal, task and environmental characteristics influence behavior and job performance (Wiley, 1997). The next one infers that motivation is not a fixed trait; but rather it refers to a dynamic internal state resulting from the influence of personal and situational factors (Wiley, 1997). This means that motivation may change with changes in personal, social or other factors (Wiley, 1997). Finally, motivation affects behavior, rather than performance (Nicholson, 1995; Wiley, 1997). Wiley explained: “Initiatives designed to enhance job performance by increasing employee motivation may not be successful if there is a weak link between job performance and an employee’s efforts” (p.263).
Definition of motivation varies. Robbins (1998) stated: Motivation – “The willingness to exert high levels of effort toward organizational goals, conditioned by the effort’s ability to satisfy some individual need”.
On the other hand, Greenberg and Baron define the motivation as “the set of processes that arouse, direct and maintain human behavior toward attaining some goal” (Greenberg and Baron, 1997). This definition contents three key essential aspects: arousal, direction and maintaining. Arousal is to do with the drive/energy behind people’s actions such as their interests to do the things or they do it just want making a good impression on others or to feel successful at what they do. Direction means the choices people make to meet the person’s goal. Maintaining behavior could keep people persisting at attempting to meet their goal hence to satisfy the need that stimulated behavior in the first place.
Mitchell defines motivation as ‘the degree to which an individual wants and chooses to engage in certain specified behaviors’ (Mullins, 1999). From this theory, Mitchell identifies four common characteristics which underline the above definition of motivation: Motivation is typified as an individual phenomenon. Every person is unique and all the major theories of motivation allow for this uniqueness to be demonstrated in one way or another.
Ø Motivation is described, usually, as intentional. Motivation is assumed to be under the worker’s control, and behaviors that are influenced by motivation, such as effort expended, are seen as choices of action.
Ø Motivation is multifaceted. The two factors of greatest importance are (i) what gets people activated (arousal); and (ii) the force of an individual to engage in desired behavior (direction or choice of behavior).
Ø The purpose of motivational theories is to predict behavior. Motivation is not the behavior itself, and it is not performance. Motivation concerns action, and the internal and external forces that influence a person’s choice of action.
From the definitions mentioned, it can be analyzed that motivation is necessary for the growth of the employee in the organization. The employee starts his career through learning, basically the culture of the organization and his responsibilities. Motivation is a vital element to learning because if an organisation does not possess the ability to motivate its employees, the knowledge within the organisation is not practically used to the fullest. (Osteraker, 1999) Thus, in every successful learning organisation, finding the factors that will motivate its employees to partake in continuous learning and to take advantage of this knowledge, accordingly, becomes their aim (Osteraker, 1999).
Basically there are three assumptions in human motivation established in research. The first one assumes that motivation is inferred from a systematic analysis of how personal, task and environmental characteristics influence behavior and job performance (Wiley, 1997). The next one infers that motivation is not a fixed trait; but rather it refers to a dynamic internal state resulting from the influence of personal and situational factors (Wiley, 1997). This means that motivation may change with changes in personal, social or other factors (Wiley, 1997). Finally, motivation affects behavior, rather than performance (Nicholson, 1995; Wiley, 1997). Wiley explained: “Initiatives designed to enhance job performance by increasing employee motivation may not be successful if there is a weak link between job performance and an employee’s efforts” (p.263).
Wiley (1997) conducted a summary of the past 40 years surveys conducted in the Europe and American countries showed that the 5 top factors that motivate employees in their jobs, among from 20 alterative motivators, are:
1. good wages;
2. full appreciation for work done;
3. job security;
4. promotion and growth in the organization; and
5. interesting work.
This shows that leadership basically plays an important role in employee motivation. The supervisor should know how to recognize success and how to praise those who deserve praises. Several studies found positive linkage between leadership styles and job satisfaction, except for the initiating structure leadership style, which similarly shows negative effect on job satisfaction (Holdnak et al, 1993; Pool, 1997; Lok and Crawford, 2004). Deserving employees can be effectively praised and recognized through awards and bonuses. Developing a program were a particular employee with good performance would be branded as employee of the week can also be a good idea. Of course, this should also come with small rewards to make employees feel that their efforts pay off. Furthermore, a feedback rater group should be established to identify those who deserve praise, but should be anonymous. Ratings should be on employee behavior and work performance.
Reforming the compensation scheme should also be considered. Wiley (1997) stated that employees overall expressed the importance of pay as a motivator, and an effective compensation programme is critical. A good way to change compensation is to make sure that it affects the employees’ hierarchy of needs. For instance, a daily meal allowance can satisfy their physiological needs, while an increase in salary or extra bonuses can increase the employee’s esteem and safety as such actions symbolically tell them that their efforts are being recognized and that they are secure in the company. Promotion should also be given to those skilled workers who deserve promotion. This action can basically satisfy their social needs.
On the other hand, Hong and his colleagues (1995) of National Taiwan Normal University conducted a study in order to understand the impact of employee benefit on employees' work motivation and productivity. They contend that everyone works in expectation of some rewards, and welfare is one of them. In order to fulfill their research aim, the said group sent questionnaires to corporations that had undertaken employee benefit programs.
Hong and his colleagues (1995) found out that employees who receive better implemented benefit programs tend to perceive less impact of benefit programs implementation on job performance; this is because when a certain program is adopted, employees' demand for it decreases, as does its perceived impact on performance, and vice versa.
Other significant findings include: employee benefit programs have greater impact on work-motivation than on productivity; monetary benefit programs are most highly valued by both executives and workers; there is a cognitive gap between management and worker on the importance of employee benefit programs ; (3) there are differences between employee benefit needs of females and males as a result of different social roles; (4) single employees perceive more employee benefit impact on job performance than married ones; (5) employees with different education levels perceive different employee benefit impact; (6) employees with different positions perceive different employee benefit impacts; and finally, (7) employee benefit programs have greater influence on job performance of younger employees (Hong et al, 1995, p. 14).
Neff (2002), in her research entitled “What Successful Companies Know That Law Firms Need to Know: The Importance of Employee Motivation and Job Satisfaction to Increased Productivity and Stronger Client Relationships”, examined one law firm to determine the quality of the relationship between lawyers and their staff members as well as to ascertain what features of the workplace would most likely have a positive effect on employees' motivation and loyalty. The case study found that employees valued extrinsic rewards such as salary and retirement benefits to the same degree they valued respect and positive recognition from the lawyers (Neff, 2002). An incentive program is suggested, but it can be effective with three fundamental principles: rewarding incentives must be concretely linked to firm objectives; employees must understand the objectives and how their individual performance is linked to attaining them; and employees must be able to realize the objectives through performance (Neff, 2002). Those three principles basically suggest the importance of communication in making a specific motivational strategy to take into effect.
There are different relationships in communication. People have different levels of relationships, and each interaction uses communication differently. The different relationships are: acquaintance; friendship; romantic relationship; family relationship; and work relationship (Gamble and Gamble, 1999). In this study, the work relationship is applicable. People in the organization share interdependent relationships with one another. Each has to build a person-to-person-on-the-job relationship for personal growth and organizational growth (Gamble and Gamble, 1999). Within the organization, team work is important. Leaders and team members spend much of their time interacting. It is through this interaction that makes working easier; however, it also makes it difficult because of communication loopholes. Gamble and Gamble (1999) explained that job satisfaction in the organization is usually high when: interactions are perceived as supportive, open and honest; when people operate in a trusting and confirming climate; when they feel part of participative organization; and when leaders have a high tolerance for disagreement.
Another issue in communication is the interaction among different cultures. Intercultural communication means the process of interpreting and sharing meanings with individuals from different culture (Gamble and Gamble, 1999). It comprises of different forms namely: interracial communication (occurs when interactants are from different races); interethnic communication (occurs when parties are from different ethnic origins); international communication (occurs between persons representing political structures); and intracultural communication (involves all forms of communication among members of the same racial, ethnic, or other co or subculture groups) (Gamble and Gamble, 1999).
Culture is basically a combination of shared beliefs, social norms, organizational roles and values, emphasizing a cross-cultural socio-economic perspective in industrial and management research (Wang, 1993). This should be taken as an important factor in business communication because it encompasses different beliefs and opinions. One example is that the Eastern style of management is different from that of the West. The Chinese approach is usually based from historical leaders and philosophical figures such as Confucius, Sun Tzu, Mencius and Han Fei (Satow and Wang, 1994), which involves and depends on the connections, on circumstances, on the level of affinity (who you know and what family you come from) (Kziazek, 2003). Here, there is no consistent legal framework and, even within the regulations that do exist, the exception is the rule rather than the rare occurrence (Kziazek, 2003). On the other hand, Kziazek (2003) stated that the management in America is objective and driven by data and rational models. Deployment of statistics and financial modelling is the key in decision-making and strategic planning. These differences alone can create problems. Chinese employees may not function well with the Western management style and vice-versa. Thus, foreign expatriates should obviously be trained, as making themselves familiar with the new culture can help them create the appropriate management style that will make employees in the country perform at their best. Furthermore, they should also know how to communicate properly with the culture they are dealing with.
Hofstede’s (1980) introduced four value dimensions of culture, which explain differences among work-related value patterns and affect the structuring and functioning of organisations. The four dimensions are the following:
Ø Large versus small power distance. Large power distance is the extent to which the members of a society accept that power in institutions and organisations is distributed unequally; while small power distance is the extent to which members of a society or organization accept that power is distributed fairly as employees are free to participate (Adler, 1997).
Ø Strong versus weak uncertainty avoidance. Strong uncertainty avoidance means the degree to which the members of a society feel uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity, which leads them to support beliefs promising certainty and to maintain institutions protecting conformity; while weak uncertainty avoidance is the degree to which members tend to be relatively tolerant of uncertainty and ambiguity and require considerable autonomy and lower structure (Rodriguez, 1995).
Ø Individualism versus collectivism. Individualism is the preference for a loosely knit social framework in society; collectivism stands for a preference for a tightly knit social framework.
Ø Masculinity versus femininity. Masculinity is the preference for achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material success; while femininity refers to a preference for relationships, modesty, caring for the weak and the quality of life.
These cultural dimensions can be useful in formulating an effective communication approach to employees. Du-Bobcock (1996) argued that individuals should go beyond understanding observable behaviors and develop an understanding of the deep content that is at the center of real messages to be competent in dealing with people from different cultural backgrounds. Most importantly, it is essential to understand the hidden cultural forces that shape the deeply rooted cultural behavior. Operating in a cross-cultural environment, individuals may consciously act like natives of that particular target culture at the surface level. But unconsciously, they are still inclined to exhibit their own cultural trait (Du-Bobcock, 1996).
Organizations should also be familiar with the different types of conflicts to be able to deliver effective communication. In communication, there are intrapersonal, interpersonal and intragroup conflicts.
Intrapersonal or intrapsychic conflict means conflict occurs within an individual (Liwicki, Saunders and Minton, 1999). Of course, this is understandable because interpersonal communication means communicating to one’s self. Roots of conflict in this level can be ideas, thoughts, emotions, values, predispositions or drives (Liwicki, Saunders and Minton, 1999). The person basically reflects in those roots and creates conflict with how he or she will react. Conflict within self is closely related to psychological and psychiatric field because it is linked with cognitive theories, behavior change theories, motivation theories, etc. (Liwicki, Saunders and Minton, 1999).
One of psychological theory that has a strong link with intrapersonal communication and conflict is the social cognitive theory, which basic tenets emphasize how people communicate with their self (Bandura, 1989). The basic tenets of social cognitive theory are: human behavior is a triadic, dynamic, and reciprocal interaction of personal factors, behavior, and the environment; people have symbolizing capability, which means most external influences affect behavior through cognitive processes; people have vicarious capabilities, which mean we have the capability to learn not only from direct experience, but also from the observation of others; human behavior is regulated by forethought, which is capability to motivate and guide actions anticipatorily; and the belief that people has self-regulatory systems that mediate external influences and provide a basis for purposeful action, allowing people to have personal control over their own thoughts, feelings, motivations, and actions (Bandura, 1989).
Another example of a psychological theory related with intrapersonal conflict and communication is the social learning theory, or the belief that people develop expectations about their capacity to behave in certain ways and the probability that their behavior will result in rewards. When a person meets a standard of behavior, that person rewards himself or herself with increased personal satisfaction and enhanced self-image (Vecchio, 2000).
On the other hand, Interpersonal conflict is the second major level of conflict, which means conflict between two or more individual people (Liwicki, Saunders and Minton, 1999). In other definition, it is the interaction between persons expressing opposing interests, views, or opinions (Cahn, 1990).
Interpersonal conflict is a process that has
three main stages (Cahn, 1990). The first stage of interpersonal conflict is
when the person is faced
with a choice between two or more incompatible options or goals. The conflict manifests in the second stage when interaction reveals that the two persons involved in the process want different things, but they think that these differences can be resolved (Cahn, 1990). Then in the third stage, the parties perceive that there is no mutually acceptable outcome and unwanted sacrifices must be made for resolving their differences (Cahn, 1990). Personal interests come first in the third stage. There are winners and losers and exercises of power likely dominate the process (Cahn, 1990).
Interpersonal conflict has different levels of its own. The different levels of interpersonal conflict include: behavioral conflicts; normative conflicts; and personal conflicts (Cahn, 1990). Cahn (1990) mentioned these levels for intimate conflicts, but basically, they can be applied to interpersonal conflicts in general. Behavioral conflicts include conflict over specific behaviors, such as different preferences for management style, leadership, team building, recreational activities, and doing tasks and jobs. Normative conflicts involve conflicts over the unique norms and rules of the relationship. Finally, personal conflicts concern a person’s characteristics, dispositions, and attitudes including life values, selfishness, inconsiderateness, and human relations (Cahn, 1990).
Then, Intragroup conflict takes place within a small group, basically on teams and committee members within a particular organization. In this level, “conflict is analyzed as it affects the ability of the group to resolve disputes and continue to achieve its goals effectively” (Lewicki, Saunders and Minton, 1999, p.16).
In the organizational setting, there are two types of intragroup conflict that should be considered - C-type conflict and A-type conflict.
C-type conflict means that employees or members of a particular team “focus on substantive, issue-related differences of opinion that tend to improve team effectiveness” (Amason et al, 1995, p.22). In this type of conflict, different ideas are being taken into consideration through effective communication. Esquivel and Kleiner (1997) stated: “It allows members to contribute openly and honestly to the team’s decision-making process while maintaining acceptance by team members and creating greater commitment” (pp.90-91).
On the other hand, A-type conflict means trouble. A-type conflict decreases the effectiveness of the group by allowing personal feelings or someone’s own agenda to deter the members from the team’s objective (Esquivel and Kleiner, 1997). This type of attitude can basically prevent creativity as ideas of change are barred with personal feelings and agenda. Anger and hostility also prevails in this type of conflict. Esquivel and Kleiner further stated: “Creativity is limited by the members’ reduced ability to contribute input due to the increasing hostility, anger and the elimination of trust” (p.91).
Effective communication in any form is assisted with the use of negotiation tactics. Negotiation can be simply defined as the act or process of negotiating to another person. Types of negotiation or bargaining strategies include: soft bargaining strategy; hard bargaining strategy; tit-for-tat bargaining strategy; and principled bargaining strategy (Johnson, 1993). Soft bargainers attempts to prevail by being agreeable. Hard bargainers are rigid and agree only on their own argument. On the other hand, tit-for-tats uses motivation of reward and punishment for negotiation. Finally, principled bargainers separate people from the problem, focus on interests, generate options for mutual gains, and use objective standards (Johnson, 1993).
Power role is also important in communication. Lewicki, Saunders and Minton (1994) discussed the role of power in negotiation. Power means having the capability to satisfy ones wants and goals, in his or her own terms (Lewicki, Saunders and Minton, 1994). Power, however, is in the eye of the beholder. Its effectiveness and influence is defined by the behavior of the other person. Also, power is corrupting (Lewicki, Saunders and Minton, 1994). Power is useful in negotiation because it can easily use diversion tactics, such as: persuasion; exchange; legitimacy; friendliness; praise; assertiveness; inspirational appeal; consultation; and the use of pressure (Lewicki, Saunders and Minton, 1994).
Relationship between Motivation and Communication
The article by Foerenbach and Goldfarb (1990) in the early nineties has been one of the firsts to take notice of the changing needs of employees. Goldfarb (1990) took note from a survey of nearly 300 organizations conducted from 1987 to 1989 by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) that employers in the nineties have become increasingly aware that employee loyalty and commitment are dependent on effective communications programs, but that many corporate communications efforts remain ineffective. Findings show that employees are less focused on the company and more focused on non work-related issues-families and quality of life, for example (Foerenbach and Goldfarb, 1990). Thus, the organization has the responsibility to get the employees involved. However, several issues must be resolved first. For instance, although employees are more satisfied than ever with the information they're getting, communication efforts are still not meeting their needs. The majority of employees want face-to-face communication. Also, other issues include: employees remain intensely critical of management's willingness to listen to them and to act on their ideas; first-line supervisors, although overwhelmingly the preferred source of information, are still not communicating at satisfactory levels; and senior management remains invisible and out of touch.
Howard (1998) also agrees that effective communication can lead to employee motivation and job satisfaction. Howard (1998) believes that companies can use their employee communications programs to achieve their business goals if these are managed properly. One of the factors that affect the reputation of the company is the consistency and relevance of communications, outside and in (Howard, 1998). Therefore, managing communication and being able to implement an effective one may motivate employees to work as they will have the perception or the view that the company treats them as someone who really belongs with the group, and is not isolated (Howard, 1998).
ACAS, an organization in the UK the resolves employment disputes, stated that “ensuring that everyone has a say in decisions that affect them is the basis for building better relationships within workplaces” (ACAS, 2003). Furthermore, the company stated that effective communication is a key to good decision making, smooth management of change and organisational improvement (ACAS, 2003).
According to Riccomini (2005), a study from General Electric and Hewlett-Packard in the 1980s revealed the importance of communication in motivating employees. The two companies quantitatively established the correlation between managerial communication effectiveness and employee satisfaction based on five questions in employee attitude surveys that focused on one-to-one communication. They concluded that “the better the managers' communication, the more satisfied the employees were with all aspects of their work life”. Since then, both Hewlett-Packard and GE have shifted the focus of much of their communication efforts to build on the immediate manager as the key link in the communication chain.
In GE, employees have freedom of speech. Employees have been given the opportunities to improve and to voice out their ideas and suggestions (Slater, 1999). Employee empowerment has been considered as a management technique which can be applied universally across all organizations as a means of dealing with the needs of modern global business (Barry, 1993: Johnson, 1993; Foy, 1994). Empowerment describes working arrangements which engage the empowered at an emotional level (Slater, 1999). They differentiate between concepts of empowerment which are relational and motivational. As a relational concept empowerment is concerned with issues to do with management style and employee participation. As a motivational construct empowerment is individual and personal, it is about discretion, autonomy, power and control. This motivational aspect to empowerment becomes the defining feature of the initiative. Furthermore, Johnson (1993) stated that an empowered employee must feel a sense of personal worth, with the ability to effect outcomes and having the power to make a difference. In addition, advocates of empowerment claim that employee empowerment helps firms to enthuse and enable employees to take responsibility for the service encounter (Barbee and Bott, 1991).
According to Gillis (2004), the attitudes and loyalty of employees are directly influenced by their participation in communication efforts, and this has a direct influence on how they treat customers and clients, which in turn leads to growth of the bottom line. This shows the importance of communication in the organization’s daily operation. For instance, in change management, Gillis (2004) explained that the more employees participate in the communication and change strategy, the higher the level of trust between the organization and its employees; the higher the degree of control mutuality between an organization and its employees; the higher the level of commitment between an organization and its employees; the higher the level of satisfaction with the relationship between an organization and its employees; and the more positive the overall relationship between an organization and its internal publics.
METHODS AND PROCEDURES
This chapter presents the methodology used in this study. It explains the different processes the research went through, specifically the research approach, the sampling method, data collection and data analysis used.
The research approach in the study is positivism because the aim of the study is to collect, analyze and present data. The emphasis in this method is on a highly structured methodology to facilitate replication, and on quantifiable observations that lend themselves to statistical analysis (Saunders et al, 2003). It means that the law of generalization is applied in the study.
The study is also approached in the deductive way – meaning the aim is basically to deduce or to test a hypothesis, which is “service company employees are more motivated than manufacturing employees”.
The descriptive approach, on the other hand, is the research strategy adopted for the study. It intends to present facts concerning the nature and status of a situation, as it exists at the time of the study (Saunders et al, 2003). It is also concerned with relationships and practices that exist, beliefs and processes that are ongoing, effects that are being felt, or trends that are developing (Saunders et al, 2003) In addition, such approach tries to describe present conditions, events or systems based on the impressions or reactions of the respondents of the research (Saunders et al, 2003).
2 service companies and 2 manufacturing companies in Malta were included as participants in the study. In each company, at least 30 employees was the target number of samples. Overall, there should have been 120 employees who could have participated in the study. However, only 82 agreed to participate. Since the sampling method used was convenience sampling, respondents were asked informally and many chose not to participate. Out of the 150 respondents who had been asked to participate, only 82 agreed – 40 from service companies; and 42 from manufacturing companies. The number of respondents was limited because of the time constraint in the study and the difficulty of finding a respondent who is willing to participate.
Convenience sampling was chosen as the sampling strategy because it is more flexible compared with statistical sampling methods. This method made it easy to adjust when a considerable number of respondents backed up or disagreed to participate. Despite the claim that convenience sampling is flawed because it haphazardly selects the respondents, applying the approach in this study is considerable because of the huge number of service and manufacturing employees within Malta. Since the target of the study are service and manufacturing employees in general and not limited to specific company employees only, convenience sampling is appropriate to use.
The semi-structured questionnaires were given to the respondents informally. The respondents were briefed first about the aim of the study and then were told about the instructions. A written instruction was also available at the beginning of the questionnaire. The respondents were also informed that they are free to ask any questions if they cannot understand something in the questionnaire. Questionnaire fill-up usually took 10 to 20 minutes.
This survey-questionnaire has three sections. The first part intends to acquire the demographic profile of the respondents, while the second section contains a set of attitude statements. The purpose of the set of attitude statements is to determine the level of agreement or disagreement using a five-point Likert scale. In the Likert technique, the degree of agreement or disagreement) is given a numerical value ranging from one to five, thus a total numerical value can be calculated from all the responses. (Underwood, 2004) The equivalent weights for the answers will be:
4.50 – 5.00 Strongly Disagree
3.50 – 4.00 Disagree
2.50 – 3.49 Uncertain
1.50 – 2.49 Agree
0.00 – 1.49 Strongly Agree
On the other hand, the third part of the questionnaire is the open questions that the respondents have to fill up. The use of this type of question is intended to avoid bias, help explore the topic further, and produce a fuller account (Easterby-Smith et al, 2002).
The percentage and weighted mean of the data were acquired. These two statistical methods will allow a basic comparison of data, for instance, which among the service and manufacturing respondents has the highest rate in terms of being motivated.
The following are the statistical formulae:
1. Percentage – to determine the magnitude of the responses to the questionnaire.
% = -------- x 100 ; n – number of responses
N N – total number of respondents
2. Weighted Mean
f1x1 + f2x2 + f3x3 + f4x4 + f5x5
x = --------------------------------------------- ;
where: f – weight given to each response
x – number of responses
xt – total number of responses
ANALYSIS AND PRESENTATION OF DATA
The data analyzed has four categories, which are: communication; motivation; employee perception; and open questions. The “communication” category was meant to acquire the opinion of the respondents regarding the importance of communication within their company. On the other hand, the “motivation” category has two subcategories which are: hygiene; and motivators. These dimensions were adopted from Herzberg’s Two Factor theory. The aim is here is to know the level of hygiene and motivator factors within their company. Then, the employee perception category was meant to determine if the employees are motivated by communication. Finally, the open questions provided the opportunity to explore more the respondents’ point of view. Through these open questions, the research has managed to see the perception of respondents deeper.
Communication (see Appendix A)
The results show that service companies have stronger communication between managers and employees compared to manufacturing companies. Only 50% of the manufacturing employee respondents agreed in the statement: “There is a strong communication between employees and the managers”, compared to the 70% of service employees. Furthermore, the findings show that service employees of the same department has stronger communication (67.5% agreed) with each other compared with manufacturing employees (50% of them disagreed). However, both groups of respondents have a high level of disagreement with the statement: “There is strong communication among employees from different departments” (71% and 70% disagreed with the statement).
The findings also showed that service employees agree that they are well-informed on basic company operations i.e. what the company do, what the company sell, the business locations, etc. Most of the manufacturing employees disagree to this, which means that they only receive limited information about the nature of the business they are work in. Manufacturing employees also disagreed that they are well-informed about company policies on compensation and salary information such as rules for salary deduction, etc. unlike service employees who mostly agreed although the weighted mean showed that the data was uncertain.
It was also found that both service and manufacturing employees agree that there is no transparency of compensation and salary in the company they work in. This hints that there may be unequal distributions of salaries among employees as they are not being informed how much the salaries of their co-workers.
The results also showed the manufacturing employees (81.7% agreed) are more informed when it comes to different company prohibitions and specific punishments compared to service employees (62.5% disagreed). Then, in the statement: “The managers and the supervisors talk with employees formally as well as casually”, manufacturing employees agree more compared to service employees who were uncertain about the statement. However, in the statement “Employees are at ease with the managers. They can be easily approached when employees want to comment or discuss on something”, 80% of the service employees agreed while manufacturing employees were uncertain. Finally, both set of respondents disagreed greatly in the statement “There are no communication gaps within the company”. This hints that communication gaps can be high on either manufacturing or service companies.
Motivation (see Appendix B)
In the motivation category, the service employees showed a higher level of hygiene compared with the manufacturing employees. The service employees showed high level of agreement on statements: “Supervisors sincerely participate in employee communication programs”; supervisors prefer to communicate through written notices or letter”; and “Supervisors prefer to communicate through electronic devices” On the other hand, manufacturing employees only have high level of agreement on the statement: “Supervisors prefer to communicate verbally”. This shows that the communication medium that manufacturing company prefer is verbal communication, while service company managers prefer written or electronic device communication.
In terms of the statement “Supervisors clearly explain directions”, manufacturing employees were uncertain while service employees disagreed. In the statement “Supervisors communicate with employees in a quiet place where no noise can interrupt the conversation”, most of the respondents from each side disagreed. Finally, in the statement: “Company policies including compensation and salaries are communicated well to employees”, most of the respondents from both sides were uncertain of the answer.
The manufacturing employees had the higher level of motivator, as they have one high level of agreement, in the statement “My responsibilities as an employee are well-explained to me”, compared to service company employees who had none. On the other hand, in the rest of the statements, most of the results were “uncertain”, which shows hints that both set of respondents may be experiencing low levels of motivators, which means they are less motivated through communication. Furthermore, manufacturing employees disagreed in the statement: “Managers communicate with us when we make mistakes but they prevent us from feeling down”. Also, the service employees confessed that they are not usually being praised for a job well-done and are not being complimented or recognized though awards.
Employee Perception (see Appendix C)
Most of the manufacturing employees disagreed that they have the freedom to voice out their opinions to the management. This is also the case for the service employees. This shows that all of them are not motivated because they cannot voice out their opinions. Service employees also disagree that they are motivated by knowing every policy in the company, while the manufacturing employees were uncertain. However, both set of respondents agree that being well-informed of being fairly compensated and protected by safety measures motivate them and keep them free from worry, although the service employees have higher level of agreement compared with manufacturing employees.
The respondents also recognize that being familiar with company rules and regulations help them work faster and more efficient. They also agreed in the statement “Communicating with my fellow employees and with my managers with ease helps me boost my morale, which I need to work efficiently everyday”. On the other hand, the respondents were uncertain on statements: “I am motivated to work because I know that my superiors are approachable”, and “I am motivated to work because the management always talks to us and making us feel that we are a big part of the company”. Finally, service employees agreed that effective communication help them build goals. Oppositely, manufacturing employees were uncertain about the statement.
The respondents wrote some interesting insights in the open question segment of the questionnaire. In the first question, the top five motivating factors for the respondents are: salary; an accommodating working environment; location of the working place; benefits; and being able to voice out their opinion.
In the second question, most of the respondents admit that internal communication in the company is important because it helps them achieve a sense of belonging, or not being left out. It is also important for them because it updates what they know about the company and helps them relieve stress.
In the third question, the most common answer is that communication can be improved by bonding the employees and managers together in team building or by using different types of medium aside from verbal one-on-one communication.
The results of the study showed that there is not enough statistical evidence to conclude whose set of respondents’ value communication more as a motivating factor. However, service employees slightly have a higher sense of valuing communication compared with manufacturing employees. The results also showed that service employees are well-informed on basic company operations, prohibitions and specific punishments, and company policies on salary and compensations compared with manufacturing employees. Service employees are also more at ease with managers and can easily comment or express their opinions contrary with manufacturing employees.
Although the results favor mostly service employees, especially having a high level of hygiene, service employees also suffer a low level of motivator, which means that they are also less motivated like those from manufacturing companies. The Two Factor theory stated that even though the company has a high level of hygiene, it cannot be said that the employees are motivated. The motivator should be the one given priority because it is what the employees perceive within themselves. The study basically shows that both service and manufacturing companies do not fully use communication as a tool to promote motivator factors, to further motivate their employees.
The study also showed that both set of respondents’ value communication as motivational factors although most of them agree that those were not being fully utilized in their respective companies. Manufacturing companies were mostly uncertain about realizing the contribution of communication in setting their goals, compared with service companies who mostly agreed with the statement. Perhaps the rationale behind it is that service employees are fortunate because they usually belong into small working groups unlike manufacturing employees who work with many. It means that the latter experiences higher competition and larger number of employees compared to the former, which basically makes reaching out to every employee a daunting task. Furthermore, service employees are basically more trained to communicate rather than to operate specific mechanical devices.
Regarding the theory constructed for this study, it can be assumed that low communication level in motivator would lead to less development of goals, leaving employees uncertain and less motivated. Communication as a motivator should be realized by both the service and manufacturing companies because employees value communication and see it as a means of being important or as a signal of their belongingness in the company. The open questions showed how much the employees value communication and how much it is needed within every company. The employees believe that communication, specifically internal, is an important issue for them because “it helps them achieve a sense of belonging”, or “not being left out”. It means that when the managers or the supervisors communicate constantly with employees, they feel they are not isolated and the working environment they work in is “accommodating”. Employees feel that “they are not alone” and that people in the office are willing to help if they need any. That means, an office environment with poor communication can dampen the working spirit of the employees because it will make them feel isolated or alien to the culture of the company. However, this type of reason was prevalent among service employees.
The employees also believe that communication updates what they know about the company. One of the employees stated that: “when managers…communicate constantly with me or tell me about changes taking place within the company…I can adjust quickly to the changes and do my work better”. Several of the employees stated that being told quickly and clearly what has changed in the company helps them to do their job well because it creates an understanding on why the changes took place. Communication can also be a stress reliever for some. Although those who answered this did not fully explain why so, it can be interpreted that having a break and talking with co-workers and managers can lighten up the tension in the office and break boredom. This answer was mostly given by the manufacturing employees. After all, most who were interviewed believed that one of the factors that can motivate them is “an accommodating working environment”. By accommodating means employees are free to ask questions and are receiving answers. They are also free to chat and are not bounded by rules such as “no talking”.
As the overall conclusion to this study, there shows a slight difference between service employees and manufacturing employees. Service employees are slightly more motivated by communication compared with manufacturing employees. However, it shows that service employees are only better in hygiene factors meaning they are not completely motivated because of communication. The communication policy that they experience has only little to do with their motivation and performance, since those factors were not motivators that will push them to act. Manufacturing employees, on the other hand, have moderate hygiene and also have low motivators. It is also not clear for manufacturing employees if communication can help them build goals to become motivated. On the contrary, service employees believe more that communication – that is hygiene and motivators – help them build their goals. According to the theory, goals can develop motivation and improve performance. But since, the motivator score of the service employees, is also low, it cannot be completely said that they are being motivated by communication. They only experience good hygiene or the sense of being governed and ruled by good communication policies, but are not actually experiencing or engaging in communication. It means that messages were not disseminated effectively, ruining the circular motion of communication. This then prevents the employees develop goals and eventually lose motivation or failed to be motivated further. Other barriers of communication effectiveness can be attributed to choice of location of managers when communicating with employees. Furthermore, there are lack of efforts in bringing out messages clear
It is recommended that both service and manufacturing companies should not only focus on improving the overall communication policies within their companies, but also look for ways in which those policies can be incorporated effectively. According to the open questions, employees on both industries value communication and think that it is an important factor for motivation. Other important motivational factors such as salary and benefits are also informed through the employees through communication and without having an effective one, or employees will be confused and will lose their interest or drive in working.
Service companies should also make it a point to give compliments to where compliments are due. The manufacturing employees in this were not also satisfied as the overall results showed that they were uncertain about it. Both industries should find it a way to motivate employees through compliments. An effective award system for the best employees should also be a good idea. Although the companies implement an award system, it seems that the employees were not satisfied with how the system goes. The companies should ensure that the award system should be balanced and fair. This being balanced and fair should also be communicated effectively to the employees – the system should be explained well so as they will not get the wrong idea. Places where the communication takes place should also be chosen well. A noisy place will have too much interference on the process, affecting how well the sender and the receiver of the message understand each other.
Finally, it is being recommended that managers and supervisors should be trained to know the basics of communication theories, so that they would be able to communicate better with their subordinates. Managers should at least know how to say a compliment properly to employees, or how to talk to them in the proper informal or informal way. Managers should be able to read through, and should be able to know that good communication is an important part of productivity.
The study has not completely proven that there is a difference between service and manufacturing companies in terms of giving importance to communication. However, it did found out that communication is important for both industries. Although hygiene factors are high, specifically service employees, motivators are low which means that communication policies are being effectively instigated and implemented by employees.
Regardless of the results, this study also has several limitations. First, the sampling used is only convenience sampling since this would make the study process quick. It is also used because both the service and manufacturing companies have large overall number of employees, making it difficult to put the sampling statistically. This sampling method made the study limited because validity measures are too low and can be criticized easily by those who prefer statistical sampling. The respondents were gathered haphazardly and, although there are criteria, respondents came from different companies.
Another limitation of the study is that it did not cover the reasons on why communication is not effective within companies, or why the motivators are low. Of course, descriptively, the data shows that both industries suffer from low motivators, but there has not been any mentioned reasons why so. Future studies should investigate more on the reasons why motivators or hygiene factors are low so as to develop a means or method to improve them. Future studies should also come up with the same study with a larger sample so as results can be more valid.
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