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Effects of Communication on Organisational Culture

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Communications
Wordcount: 2063 words Published: 17th Jul 2018

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Topic 2: A range of authors (e.g. Gerard and Ellinor 2001; Isaacs 1993, 1999; Schein 1993; Senge 1995) suggest that dialogue can positively transform organisational cultures.


Communication acts as conversational skill, which is from physical and innate ability. Dialogue can be used and appeared everywhere, in work place, school, bus, home, pub etc. It is one beginning when you meet someone and try to do something new. Dialogue always impact the whole society, human and culture from ancient times to this present, especially organizational cultures. In this essay, there are some effectives, which are some positively transform organizational cultures to be explained. Some relevant academic literatures and suggestion of authors are going to be supported in this essay. Several examples will be provided. Finally, there are some discussion and challenges to be supplied and forecasted future.

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The word of dialogue is derived from Greek, which means flowing through (Isaacs, W.N, 1993). In 1914, dialogue is provided one exchange between human beings by Martin Buber who is the philosopher (Senge, P, 1995). In simplest sense, dialogue is one kind of talking skill, which is known as special conversation (Dixon, N.M, 1998). This conversation is two-way communication with emotion and passion between persons in different society, organization and group (Swidler, L, 1966). Learning and teaching will be occurred both side of persons, who can understand the whole among parts, link them together and make a decision from dialogue (Gerard, G., & Ellinor, L., 2001). Therefore, dialogue will have a strong and effective influence to transform organizational cultures.

Accounting to figure 1, there are four type of organizational culture to provide, which are competitive culture, learning culture, bureaucratic culture and participative culture. These cultures depend on different level of environmental adaptation and internal integration (Hellrigle and Slocum, 1994). These four different of cultures will be positively transformed by dialogue from individual, group and organizational levels.

At the beginning, there is one example to be given from book of Dialogue At Work. It describes engineering organization in Colorado. One project-based was supported and replaced. Some of employees never talk and share any ideas with others. However, some of them are very exciting and interesting this project. They discuss with employees, managers. They created one system for themselves about how to work and what changes would success their projects (Dixon, N.M., 1998).

Accounting to this case, individual and group dialogue play a role for learning culture. Isaacs mention collective thinking and communication will impact learning culture (Isaacs, W. N., 1993). In the first, Employees should have enough knowledge and experiences to provide when they are working in company. If they do not, they have to be trained before they worked. Training is beginning of dialogue from organization. Training is not only learned from teacher how to do. They need to go outside, not only in some formula to work. Employees can discuss with other employees to share study skills, this is because some skills can not learn from knowledge of book or rules. Dialogue is the best way to think and make a decision which method is suit for you. On the other hand, some mixture of qualification and generic skills training become much more popular. This training force on social interaction skills, team working, adaptability and flexibility of response. This non-formal learning will provide more challenge and skill for employees to go outside and contact others. This abnormal training dialogue can much more positively impact organizational culture (Cressey P., & Kelleher M., 1999).

Secondly, there are several problems will be appeared when they are working. These problems could not be solved by training skills. Employees may require another dialogues with staff or managers. Group communication is as extensive as individual learning, especially innovation and new production development department in participative culture of company. There is one successful case, which is Telia Company. They create “interactive academy” which is provided on line. Every staff can access this intranet system to obtain document and share information (Docherty P., & Ullstad C., 1998). This company organizes their whole company to one group. This open system is convenience dialogue, which may easily to achieve directly communication between employees and managers. This is because manager not only can spend less time to discuss with employees, and they may also control employees from different sections. For employees, they may find distinct requirements from managers and others to provide successful production or project. Therefore, this dialogue would act as timesaving, faster and functional system to extend other organization.

In sum of first two parts, there are three main elements to force on dialogue for learning and participation culture, which are listening, inquiry and reflection. Isaacs said, listening is the heart of dialogue (Isaacs, W. N., 1999). Listening is not only hear the words, people have to consider and understand what they are listening. This information would be noticed and observed to you. Basically, listening is one learning method, which collect information from others and suit for you (Gerard, G., & Ellinor, L., 2001). Inquiry is pretty functional model for dialogue. As a matter of fact, asking question is one directly observation way from dialogue. Any questions will be achieved by inquiry. You may obtain extra information when they solve your question and more options why other disagrees (Gerard, G., & Ellinor, L., 2001). The last one is reflection. During the conversation, you should be noticed what is your options and how to effect. At the end of dialogue, everyone should speed few minutes to think about this dialogue. Dialogue not only transform your mind, it will be also confuse others. These three elements will act as the key of dialogue to positively impact organizational culture.

There are two opposite opinions for competitive culture by dialogue in internal and external company. Dialogue would negatively impact competitive culture in internal company. If the competition appears between employees, they would not share any ideas with each other, this is not satisfactory condition in organization. However, if this competition is appeared between companies. Dialogue is perfect method to provide more competition than other companies. Different department should work together and provide vary information from distinct sections. Company need to competitiveness up with dialogue between companies. Dialogue is resource and material, which promote development of company.

The last organizational culture is bureaucratic culture. It has been identified two major approaches: the top down and the bottom up (Thornhill, A, P. Lewis, M. Millmore & M. Saunders, 2000). Regarding the top down, it is known as culture engineering approach (Palmer, I & C. Handy, 2000). There is the top manager who has enough knowledge of desired values and achieves success to all staff of organization by norms and expected behavior. Therefore, there is one success case, which is British Airways to improve and achieve the top down approach (Watson, T.J. (1996). However, there is not enough evidence to circumstantiate several questions in the top down approach. Even though manager has the right and ability to create, maintain and change the organization culture (Thompson, R. & C. Mabey, 1994), they should also pass through lots of human resource to achieve, especially, organization development, communication strategies, training and reward (Mabey, C. & G. Salaman (1995). This system is too centralization of state power from manager and underestimating employee resistance. Employee would reliance on manager without measure. They could not thinking and discuss with each other. They only force on what order from manager and how to do. Manager considers everything, which they do, is correct, nobody can not reply them. At the end, it would lead to vicious circles of manager behaviors (Beer, M., R.A. Eisenstat & B. Spector, 1990).

In contrast, the bottom up approach is much more participative and interactive than the top down approach. There are greater opportunities to be provided for employee involvement in culture change (Hargie. O & D. Tourish, 2000). It would raise organizational effectiveness through this approach. Employee might discuss and talk with manager. In the case study of telecommunications of Sri Lankan organization, they have made an attempt through improved conversation between manager and other employees (Sri Lanka Telecom (2001). However, manager may recruitment correct staff in each stage. They have to spend effort, time and money in training the staff to suit for each stage. Hence, company will operate bottom up approach, which is stable by structure, policies and performance (Armstrong, M, 1990). As a matter of fact, the bottom up approach will help manager to relax and reduce pressure from company. Each department force on different staff to work. It not only increases work efficiency, and varies ideas will be provided by each employee. Sequentially, dialogue can positively impact organizational culture, competitive and innovation.



Dixon, N.M. 1998, Dialogue at Work. Making Talk Developmental for People and Organizations, Center for Creative Leadership, London.

Swidler, L 1966, What Is Dialogue, Temple University.

Gerard, G., & Ellinor, L. (2001), Dialogue at Work: Skills for Leveraging Collective Understanding, Waltham, MA: Pegasus Communications.

Hellrigle and Slocum, 1994. Management, 6e. New York: Addison Wesley

Isaacs, W. N. (1993), ‘Taking Flight: Dialogue, Collective thinking and Organizational Learning,’ Organizational Dynamics, 22, 24-39.

Cressey P., & Kelleher M., (1999) Partnership and Investment in Europe: the role of social dialogue and human resource development, Leonardo Project Consolidated Report, Jan. 1999 University of Bath / ECLO

Docherty P., & Ullstad C., (1998) Partnership and Investment in Europe: Volvo Car Corporation case study, IMIT, Gothenburg

Isaacs, W. N. (1999), Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together: A Pioneering Approach to Communicating in Business and in Life, New York: Currency.

Senge, P. (1995), The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook : Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization London: Nicholas Brealey.

Schein, E. (1993), ‘On Dialogue, Culture and Organizational Learning,’ Organizational Dynamics, 22, 40-51.

Thornhill. A, P. Lewis, M. Millmore & M. Saunders (2000) Managing Change: A Human Resource Strategy Approach, London: Prentice Hall.

Palmer, I & C. Handy (2000) Thinking About Management: Implications of Organizational Debates for Practice, London: Sage Publications.

Watson, T.J. (1996) ‘How do managers think? Identity, morality and pragmatism in managerial theory and practice’, Management Learning, 27: 323-342.

Thompson, R. & C. Mabey (1994) Developing Human Resources, London: Butterworth Heinemann.

Mabey, C. & G. Salaman (1995) Strategic Human Resource Management, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Beer, M., R.A. Eisenstat & B. Spector (1990) ‘Why change programmes don’t produce change, Harvard Business Review, November/December, 158-166.

Armstrong, M (1990) How to be an Even Better Manager, London: Kogan Page

Sri Lanka Telecom (2001) Annual Business Plan 2002, Colombo: Sri Lanka Telecom Ltd.,

Hargie. O & D. Tourish (2000) ‘Communication and organisational success’, in O. Hargie & D. Touris (eds) Handbok of Communication Audits for Organisations, London: Routledge.


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