Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Organizational Communication for Organizational Climate and Quality Service in Academic Libraries

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Organizational Communication for Organizational Climate and Quality Service in Academic Libraries

Article excerpt


Communication is a way of achieving productivity in academic libraries. Communication is the means by which people are linked together, how they function in to achieve a common goal. Communication is transactional, involving two or more people interacting within a defined environment. Without effective communication among different parties; the pattern of relationships that we call organization will serve no one's needs. Koontz (2001) defines organizational communication as the transfer of information from the sender to the receiver with the information being understood by the receiver. Onuoha (1991) agrees, calling it "the process of transmitting meanings, ideas and information from sender to receiver ." Hybels and Weaver (2001) see communication as " any process in which people share information, ideas and feelings, and that it involves not only the spoken and written word but also body language, personal mannerism and style "--anything that adds meaning to a message. The study of organizational communication involves the intersection of two complex concepts, "organization" and "communication". Both have been defined and approached in a variety of ways. An organization such as an academic library is a group of people whose activities are coordinated to achieve both individual and collective goals. Library organizational structures are created to help users and staff deal with each other in the larger organizational environment. Oakland (2000) concludes that " if one department or an organization has problems recruiting the correct sort of staff, and human resources have not established mechanisms for gathering, analyzing and responding to information of employees correctly, then frustration and conflict will replace communication and cooperation."

Background on Organizational Communication

The study of organizational communication dates back to the middle of the last century Miller (1999). Today, it is a well-established field and very important to library services. Some of the founding approaches originated in other fields like sociology, psychology, business management, and industry, and provide the foundation upon which the field of organization was built.

Miller (1999) describes three schools of thought: the classical, human relations, and human resources approach. These approaches are seen in organizations today. They are prescriptive by nature, describing how organizations should run rather than describing how they do run. These approaches are not designed as approaches to organizational communication, but have implications for communication in the organizational context

Methods of Organizational Communication

There are various ways by which people communicate, including language, signals, facial expressions, music, body movements, gestures, etc. Hybels and Weaver (2001) when they group types of communication as, "intrapersonal, interpersonal, small group communication, public communication, mass communication, inter-cultural communication. and ethical communication." In libraries, language, both oral and written, is the most frequent and important way people communicate. Nonverbal communication, such as facial expressions, body language, etc., is also important in any organization, including the library.

Organizational Communication and Academic Library Services

Communication is part of the process whereby rules, regulations, and responsibilities are designed and presented to members of the organization. Communication should not be overlooked when considering ways to improve services. Kreps (1990) states that, "communication in an organization serves to establish managerial control, provide workers with job instruction, and enable managers (librarians) gather information for planning." Similarly, Champoux (1996) observes that the functions of organizational communication include:

* Information sharing

* Feedback

* Integration to coordinate diverse functions

* Persuasion

* Emotion

* Innovation

Factors Affecting Organizational the Communication Climate

Organizational communication is influenced by many factors: Lesikar, in Stoner (2000) list the following factors:

* Formal channels of communication

* Authority Structure

* Job Specialization

Information Ownership

Barriers to Organizational Communication

Effective communication is needed for productivity. …

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