A closer look at employee communication

Digital communication technologies have changed workplace communication. Internal, corporate communication is no exception and has undergone several important shifts. Carliner (2010) has noted that there has been a massive move to publish organizational content online and, second, organizations increasingly seek dialogue with and feedback from employees via social, digital communication technologies, such as corporate blogs, micro-blogs, wikis, discussion forums, and social networking sites. How do social digital communication technologies, specifically the blog and the micro-blog used for employee communication, change the formation of organizational social capital of a large, global, high-tech organization?

Large corporations in the US, such as Intel, Dell, IBM or Starbucks, have begun to adopt social media tools for employee communication. The weekly printed or emailed newsletter is increasingly being replaced by or supplemented with posts published on company internal blogs that allow for quick and efficient publishing and updating if needed. Micro-blogging tools, giving employees the opportunity to communicate with each other, have also been launched inside of many large businesses. Organizations are recognizing that their employees are exposed to a plethora of social media tools in their private lives and are beginning to expect the same communication tools at their place of work. Some companies are experimenting with intelligent corporate directories that have the ability to connect employees based on the information they enter into their profile pages. These technologies are designed to connect employees for their benefit and for the benefit of the organization. These tools have one important thing in common: they create digital archives of what is communicated. These records can be searched and filtered and, at minimum, provide insight into a company’s culture. For the researcher interested in organizational communication, these archives or information products provide never-before-seen opportunities to examine communicative exchanges between the organization’s leadership and the employees and communication among employees.

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