Corporate Communications: A Comparison of Japanese and American Practices

By William V. Ruch | Go to book overview

9
Downward Communication in the American Corporation: Electronic

Both the oldest, the newest, and, some feel, the most exciting techniques of downward communication are electronic. The growth of the telephone paralleled that of the corporation, at least in America. And modern methods of film making and teleconferencing are rapidly revolutionizing corporate communication today.

Old methods of "talking to" employees through primarily print media have become inadequate. More and more companies are using audio- visual techniques to achieve the same thing more quickly and cheaply.

A survey of its members conducted for the International Association of Business Communicators by the University of Kansas showed that 90 percent of the 406 respondents publish a magazine or newspaper, some more than one, and 57 percent use bulletin boards. About 70 percent use videotapes, and 53 percent are beginning to use other methods such as teleconferencing. Films are used by 44 percent and audiotapes by 38 percent. One-quarter of the respondents maintain telephone hotlines. 1

New Jersey Bell Magazine is part of that company's overall multimedia program, which includes daily and weekly news programs on closed- circuit television, a weekly employee newspaper, and a twice-monthly management newsletter. Also news bulletins, closed-circuit TV programs, face-to-face discussions, and seminars are all used on an 'as- needed' basis." 2

Caterpillar Tractor Company wanted to communicate a message to employees in its East Peoria, Illinois, plant to reinforce the concept of quality workmanship. It would also improve communication between management and the hourly employees. While the accepted method a few years ago would have been a special issue of the plant newspaper,

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