Understanding Organizational Communication: Functions, Theory, Types and Benefits

What is organizational communication? – As social beings, communication is one of the important and common things we do. This communication activity is necessary to keep us close to each other, as well as facilitate a relationship, both between family, friends and members of the organization.

Understanding Communication

According to Jenis and Kelly, communication is a process carried out through a person or communicator who conveys a stimulus with the aim of changing or shaping the behavior of other people.

While according to Raymond Ross , communication is a process of sorting, choosing and sending symbols in such a way as to help the listener evoke a meaning or response from his mind that is similar to what the communicator intended.

According to the Indonesian Language Dictionary (KBBI), communication is the sending and receiving of messages and news from two or more people so that the message can be understood by the interlocutor.

So it can be concluded that communication is the process of sending, sorting and receiving symbols or messages from one or more people so that the message can reach and be understood by listeners and interlocutors.

Communication is a basic need that a person must have. In understanding communication and how to make a good and effective communication process, Reader can read the book Introduction to Communication Science Fourth Edition by Hafied Cangara.

Definition of Organization

In this first article, the writer will discuss about organizational communication, after explaining the meaning of communication according to experts, we need to know the meaning and meaning of the following organization :

According to Stephen Robbins , an organization is a group or unit in social life that is coordinated and done consciously that is limited by relative things that can be identified.

Sondang Siagian believes that an organization is a form of union or fellowship done by two or more people to cooperate (achieve a certain goal together) in a formal bond.

While Thompson expressed the opinion that the organization is a combination of several specialized members and its nature is very rational and impersonal, the specialized members will work together to achieve one or several common goals that have been discussed and determined by the group.

From the three members, the author can conclude that an organization is a group between two or more people in a special group that is formed to achieve one or several goals that have been set together by working together.

The existence of organizational communication itself, used to achieve a common goal, where often this type of communication is used and applied in the scope of work as discussed in the book Organizational Communication by Morissan.

After knowing the meaning of communication and organization, let’s continue to the next discussion, namely what is organizational communication? Does it have the same definition when the concepts of communication and organization are combined? In order to be more clear, the following is the meaning of organizational communication according to the experts that the author has summarized.

Understanding Organizational Communication

Ron Ludlow expressed the opinion that organizational communication is a communication program in the study of Public Relations (PR) regarding internal relations as well as government relations and investor relations in organizations.

Meanwhile, Devito believes that organizational communication is an effort to send and receive messages both in formal and informal groups in an organization.

Katz and Kahn also argue that organizational communication is a transmission and or exchange of information in an organization, so that it can form a flow of information. The existence of organizational communication can give rise to an information network in the organization.

Pace and Faules also argue that organizational communication is a behavior that occurs in an organization and how the people in it get involved in the process and make transactions in the form of exchanging meaning.

Meanwhile, Frank Jefkins defines organizational communication as a form of communication that has been planned by an organization with the public or the wider community where the organization is located to achieve a specific goal.

According to Frank’s view , interaction between organizational members or members with organizational leaders is not organizational communication, but rather the interaction between the organization and the communication target that is not part of the organization.

From six expert opinions on the definition of organizational communication, it can be concluded that organizational communication is a process that occurs in an organization in the form of delivery, reception and exchange of information and messages that are done to achieve a specific goal that has been set together (organizational members and leaders).

The process of delivering, receiving and exchanging information and messages can be done formally or informally as long as the set goals are realized.

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In the development of communication science, there are various basic concepts of organizational communication, dimensions in it, as well as classification that you can learn in the book Organizational Communication by Irene Silviani.

After knowing the definition of communication, the writer will further discuss the theory of organizational communication that has been presented by several communication experts. The following are theories about organizational communication.

Theory – Theories and Types of Organizational Communication Theory

1. Classical structural theory

This first theory developed since the 1800s, and can be called the machine theory. This theory explains that the organization is described as an institution that is central to its tasks and provides structural mechanical instructions that are rigid, monotonous and non-innovative. There are four basic conditions of this theory, namely power, serving each other, doctrine and discipline.

2. Neoclassical theory or human relations

This theory was introduced by Elton Mayo and appeared due to dissatisfaction with classical theory or machine theory. Neo classical theory refers to the importance of psychological and social aspects of employees as an individual or work group.

This theory has been “clarified” through an experiment conducted by Elton at the Hawthorne factory in 1924. The results of the experiment obtained the conclusion that it is important to pay attention to incentive wages and the working conditions of employees to increase work productivity.

3. Fusion theory

This theory was introduced by Bakke and in 1957 Argyris perfected Bakke’s opinion. Fusion theory originated from Bakke’s awareness in 1950 regarding the awareness of the satisfaction of different human interests in a bureaucracy or organization.

Bakke believes that organizations at certain levels will influence an individual. While at the same time individuals give influence to the organization introduced by the organization.

The phenomenon causes officers to show the characteristics of forming an organization or being organized. Each department owned by an officer is unique and has special characteristics of each organization, so that it can be modified according to the specific interests and talents of the officer or individual.

4. The Linking Pin Model (The Linking Pin Model)

This theory was developed by Renis Likert who describes the organizational structure that is interconnected with several groups, in this theory Likert explains that there are supervisors who are members of the two organizations or groups (low unit leaders and high unit leaders).

The supervisor mentioned by Likert has the function of a connector or someone who binds work groups to each other at the next level or level.

In the theory developed by Likert , the group process is considered important, because an organization needs to have a supervisor or connector so that each member of the group and the group itself can be effective.

5. Theory of social systems

This theory states that the relationship between people allows an organization to last longer than the people in it.

That is, even if someone in a group (member of a certain group) has died, the group still exists only the people in it are replaced by new members.

Kats and Kahn also explained that the relationship between people in an organization is considered more important than the relationship between certain formal departments.

6. Theory of public relations

As said by Ron Ludlow, organizational communication is a study on public relations theory, this theory expresses the efforts made in a planned and continuous way by an organization.

The effort was made to create and maintain goodwill for mutual understanding between the organization and its audience. Besides Ron Ludlow this theory is also supported by Jefkins.

7. Leadership theory

This theory states that the leader of an organization or group is an important figure to help members meet the needs and achieve the goals of the group or organization together.

Hersey has formulated four tasks of a leader, namely (a) telling , able to provide information in a straightforward manner. (b) selling , able to provide guidance. (c) participating, able to establish good cooperation. (d) delegating , able to take decisions.

In learning communication theory, especially in the realm of organizations, you can see through the objective and interpretive approach that is currently of concern to academics and also communication science practitioners discussed in the book Contemporary Communication Theory.


Types of Organizational Communication

Organizational communication has two general types, namely internal and external. The internal type is communication that focuses on interaction and efforts to develop or strengthen relationships between fellow members of the organization.

For example, trying to change a vision that has existed since the organization appeared. Changing this vision should be done by uniting the opinions of each member through discussion and communication between members and good, serious and intense organizational leadership.

If good communication is formed, it will create a good organizational environment and strengthen the relationships of the people in the organization.

The second type is external organizational communication. This type of external means communication that is built to focus on parties outside the organization or group. This type of external communication is usually used if the organization wants to find sponsors or advertisements so it needs a party from outside the organization to help.

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External organizational communication is carried out to achieve the goal of obtaining sponsors, advertisements, developing cooperation and so on that are needed by the organization from parties outside the organization.

Benefits of Organizational Communication

After understanding the meaning, theory and types of organizational communication. So the following are the benefits of organizational communication that readers can find out.

The first benefit , by knowing the theory of organizational communication, then as an individual who lives in a certain organizational environment or group can understand our position in that organization or group.

The second benefit , an understanding of organizational communication can strengthen the relationship between members and the organization’s leadership. So that the life of the organization can last longer and will grow to want to care for and treat the organization.

The third benefit , facilitates the achievement of organizational goals. This is due to the formation of good communication, so that members and each unit leader understand the differences of opinion that are present in every discussion in the organization.

The fourth benefit , knowing organizational communication theory can make an individual adapt and place himself well in the organization or group.

The fifth benefit, knowing the duties of a leader and member in an organization. An understanding of the theory of organizational communication can make us aware of the tasks as a leader and member in an organization, this awareness can increase the work and effectiveness of the organization to achieve the goals that have been set together.

In addition, the awareness of leaders and members can facilitate all visions in the organization. With the ability to communicate in the organization, it will function as building a flow of information and a common understanding with each other. Therefore, according to the book Organizational Communication Theory and Case Studies, the importance of this is emphasized.


Organizational Communication Functions

1. Informative Function

Informative function, the first function is explained by Sendjaja that the organization acts as a system that processes information. The information process present in the organization is expected to be able to give and receive information well to achieve smoothness in the organization.

2. Regulatory Function

The regulatory function, the second function of organizational communication is expected to facilitate the rules and guidelines that have been set by the members and leaders of the organization.

3. Persuasive Function

Persuasive function, the third function is the function to give orders. This function is performed by organizational leaders to persuade their members rather than commanding their members to do something. The function of persuasion is considered to be easier, because a more subtle way (than commanding) will be more appreciated by the member for the task given.

4. Integrative Function

Integrative function, the fourth or last function is related to the provision of channels or things that can make it easier for organizational members to do and perform certain tasks well.

Concept of Organizational Communication

Goldhaber (1993) explained that organizational communication is a process to create and mutually exchange information and messages in a network that depends on each other. Goldhaber also explained that organizational communication has the purpose of overcoming an environment that is uncertain or always changing. It presents the concept of organization into seven concepts which are explained as follows.

1. Process

The process concept is a system needed to create and exchange messages between members. This is because the organization is an open and dynamic system. This concept happens continuously until it achieves the goal and creates a new goal formulated by the organization, therefore this concept is called a process concept (happens continuously).

2. Message

In accordance with the previous explanation, organizational communication is the process of exchanging and receiving messages. Therefore the message is important in the organization. Individuals present in the organization must pay attention to how to send and receive messages so that the message or information can be well received by other individuals and does not cause misunderstandings between individuals.

3. Network

The third concept is the big picture of the organization. An organization is a network in which there are individuals who form the networks both inside and outside the organization. Therefore, each network or individual who occupies a certain position will carry out the duties and perform the functions of their respective positions in the organization.

  1. The state of interdependence, the fourth concept is the nature of the organization as an open system. This concept is needed, because if there is a unit or part of the organization that is not functioning or running well, then another individual or unit is needed to help the rights so that they can return to running well.
  2. Relationship, the fifth function exists because the organization is a social system run by many individuals (two or more) so that the organization depends on the relationship between individuals that exist inside and outside the organization.
  3. The environment, the function of this environment can be divided into two, namely the internal and external environment of the organization that influence the decisions taken in it.
  4. Uncertainty, this function is useful to meet the availability of information and messages that are available and expected in the organization.

That’s a brief understanding of organizational communication that you should know. Hopefully useful especially for those of you who want to create or join an organization.