ACCURACY OF COMMUNICATION FROM AN EXTERNAL PUBLIC TO EMPLOYEES IN A FORMAL ORGANIZATION

Authors

  • JAMES E. GRUNIG

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Maryland
      James E. Grunig (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1968) is professor of journalism, University of Maryland, College Park, Md. 20742. This study accepted for publication May 17, 1978.
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James E. Grunig (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1968) is professor of journalism, University of Maryland, College Park, Md. 20742. This study accepted for publication May 17, 1978.

Abstract

As publics of organizations become larger, better organized and more powerful, communication from these publics into organizations becomes essential if the organization is to adapt to this portion of its environment. This article uses Grunig's multisystems theory of organizational communication and McLeod and Chaffee's coorientation paradigm to conceptualize which employees of an organization will achieve the highest level of accuracy with an external public and then uses data from a study of a large business firm to test the conceptualization. Results show that accuracy occurs only when special combinations of conditions are present. The article concludes that organizations cannot leave external communication to the initiative of individual employees but must form a unit to do “systemic” research on the organization's relationship with its environment.

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