Difference between formal and informal communication Essay

2617 Words Nov 26th, 2013 11 Pages
This research compares formal and informal organizational communication structures, specifically focusir^ on salience, channel factors, and channel usage.
The major hypotheses of this research were partially supported with data collected from a large, technically oriented governmental agency (n = 380).

Differences Between Fbrmal and
Informal Conuniinication Channels
J. David Johnson
William A. Donohue
Charles K. Atkin
Mtchtgan State Untverslty

Sally Johnson
Lansing Community College lis research focuses on a central problem in organizational comJL munication structures, the relationship between formal and informal structures (Hartman & Johnson, 1990). An organization's communication structure consists of formal and
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Salience to an individual means the perceived applicability of information to a problem that he or she faces" (Evans & Clarke, 1983, p. 239). Individuals use particular channels for a variety of motives, including some intensely personal ones, such as securing information related to advancement and merit increases. Using a channel to seek feedback about performance can be seen as an instrumental response on the part of employees who desire to eam positive evaluations (Ashford & Cummings, 1985).
Individuals who are skilled at seeking feedback are more likely to be successful (Ashford & Cvunmings, 1985). H i ^ performers within research and develc^ment laboratories have been found to be much more likely to communicate widely within their organizations, using a variety of informal sources (AUen, 1977). Accordingly,

Fbnnal and Informal Channels / Johnson, Donohue, Atkin, Johnson


Hla: Employees will perceive informal channels as more effective than formal channels for advancing their personal agendas.
Eftact Salience

An individual's beliefs about the outcomes of channel usage are also important. Individuals ask themselves: Can I do something? A belief that there is no procedure available for con&ondng their problems would impede channel usage. Somewhat relatedly, if an individual believes there are costs (for example, loss of self-esteem) associated with a particular channel,

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