Corporate Communications: A Comparison of Japanese and American Practices

By William V. Ruch | Go to book overview

11
Upward Communication in the American Corporation: Written

Upward communication is the weakest link in the communication system of the average American corporation. Not only do employees lack adequate facilities for sending messages up the management chart, but they are given no incentive whatsoever to try to do it using those facilities that are available to them. In this chapter, we will examine the possibilities for employees to communicate their thoughts in writing to their superiors. Both employees and manageient need to know about these channels, and managers need to pay attention when employees use them with the understanding that using them, as stated in Chapter 10, implies action.

One problem, of course, with written communication of all kinds is keeping them in already full file cabinets. An article in New Jersey Bell noted, "In the American business world, it's estimated that 50 million file drawers contain more than 250 billion pieces of paper."1

One company that has begun to do something about it is Rohm and Haas Company of Philadelphia, which recently conducted a "Dump Your Documents" campaign. As described in the company newspaper, the campaign was conducted like this:

Simple guidelines were prepared for the "dumpers": the principal target was company confidential documents that were no longer needed, but private and unclassified documents were accepted, too. A hot-line consulting service was set up to help employees interpret the nuances of the guidelines. Research Services provided an ample supply of fiber drums and secured them for transport as they were filled.

"The Spring House [the company's Research Center] effort was an unqualified

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