Organizations around the world are in crisis. They are increasingly expected to deliver products and services better, faster and cheaper than their rivals - a far from easy task. These pressures arise in a world that is more interdependent than ever, and in which it is increasingly difficult to predict from where the next shock to the global economy will come. How do organizations, managers and employees cope with such a climate? How can they hope to sustain any sense of common purpose in the face of so many overwhelming challenges? This book has been inspired by these questions, and by the conviction that communication is central to any attempt to answer them.
Organizational communication is one of the fastest growing of academic disciplines. The importance of communications for corporate life is now widely recognized, and research publications in this field have mushroomed in the past few years. There is considerable evidence to show that companies with effective communication strategies are successful, while those with poor internal communications tend to flounder. However, a gap still remains between the triangular strands of the day-to-day practice of organizations, management theory, and communications research. For example, most managers intuitively know that a motivated workforce is important if they are to achieve their goals. Yet many organizations enthusiastically embrace practices that reduce the loyalty, commitment and motivation of their staff. From our experience of teaching, researching and consulting, we felt that more could be done to address these problems, and bring together the strands of management theory, communications research and management practice.
It was with this sense of purpose that we embarked upon the mission of putting together this book. Our main concern was to critically examine the true impact of key current themes in management for the practice of communications. As part of this we wished to examine these issues at both an operational and a theoretical level. The first step was to identify the key issues themselves. We did this by examining the current literature, by careful consideration of our own first hand experience of carrying out consultancy work in numerous organizations, and by listening to the concerns of the practitioners that we dealt with on our management courses. We then invited distinguished academics to consider and summarize how useful, valid or relevant the issues actually were in the