What is the Relationship between Organizational Communication in the Workplace and Employee Satisfaction for Soldiers at Fort Hood Base?

The connection between workplace communication and workers’ job satisfaction has been validated in various texts. Workplace communication is a determinant of many aspects of the organization, the workers’ job satisfaction being one of these components. The communication must be applied effectively and properly for it to bring a positive impact on the job satisfaction. Furthermore, workers need to be informed about the organizational issues, including its goals, activities, objectives, and orientation, together with giving them a proper means or medium via which they can convey information to the managers for performance and motivation improvement determinations. The interaction between workplace communication and job satisfaction is directed towards the achievement of a better job performance. Thus, when the supervisors use proper styles of communication, including the communication system, content, and credibility with their workers, the extent of job satisfaction will be enhanced to some extent.

The topic of organizational communication and job satisfaction is of great interest because the communication in the workplace has become a backbone of the organizations’ success in any workplace today. Workplace communication performs vital functions that direct organizations towards the attainment of the objectives and missions. Therefore, it is an interesting area that needs to be researched. The paper aims at identifying the association between the organizational communication in the workplace and job satisfaction for the soldiers in the Ford Hood Base. It will evaluate how effective communication contributes to a better job performance of the soldiers, which in turn lead to improved job satisfaction. Furthermore, the paper will describe and explain various organizational communication aspects, such as the medium and channels of communication, levels of communication and the message. The analysis will also identify the job satisfaction components, including the job performance, information sharing and supportive supervision. The major parts of the paper will include the workplace organization impacts on job satisfaction, which determines the link between the two issues, the job satisfaction level of the soldiers in the Ford Hood Base due to the workplace communication, and inferences based on the findings.

Fort Hood is home to the first Cavalry Division and the largest active duty armored post in the US. Found in a hill and a lake region between Killeen and Copperas Cove central Texas, the base is about 60 miles north of the capital city Austin. Fort Hood has a large population with about 33,042 active duty military officers, and 13,427 civilians and contractors (Army, 2012). The high number of people and operations conducted at Food Hood makes it necessary to have a sustainable communication system that offers and ensures there is a good flow of orders and feedback.

Communication is a fundamental aspect of the existence of an organization. The concept of communication has been addressed from different perspectives in the literature. Communications can be perceived as a process that consist of speech and verbal symbols, facilitating an exchange process. From another perspective, it is a process that denotes the successful flow of messages between parties who understand each other. The epitome of the communicative process is to disperse information or ideas to other people (Lunenburg, 2010). In this context, it is the process where participants send and receive messages concurrently. Despite the different interpretations of communication, its importance lies in its ability to facilitate sharing, coordination and offering insights. It evolves the sharing of feelings, views and information between two or more persons or groups, leading to the revelation of a common meaning.

The communication process begins with the sender who sends a message for a particular purpose. The message contains the information being conveyed to another party. The recipient is the other party who receives the message and decodes it to acquire information being conveyed. The communication process is complete when the information delivered can be understood and put into use by the recipient (Lunenburg, 2010). The flow of the information is facilitated by the various channels of communication that link the sender and the receiver. The channel must be chosen appropriately to ensure that the information is not destroyed or changed before it reaches the recipient. The channels used can be direct speaking, writing, video, audio, electronic channels, texts, nonverbal, body language and others. The receiver should decode the message, and sometimes they can offer feedback to the sender.

Communication can occur within an individual through the thinking process. The self-communication is the first level a person can engage in the communication process, and it helps with personal reflections and organization of what to dispense to other people. The intrapersonal level entails personal activities such as paying attention, perceptions, comprehension, recalling, and learning. Subsequently, it can be attributed to the level of knowledge, opinions, and attitudes people portray on various issues (Poole, 2007). Interpersonal and intragroup communications occur between different individuals or groups. It might be a one-to-one conversation or involve large or small groups. It can be informal or formal, and it is based on some shared features (Seeger, 2006). For instance, the language used should be understood by the participants. In this context, attachment and identity are key aspects that determine how the information is processed and put to use. The nature of communication determines the level of cooperation that exists among the people involved. Additionally, this level of communication leads to the emergence of communication norms that characterize certain groups. For instance, the military has a particular style of communication that is characterized by giving commands in short, coded and accurate messages.

Reverting to the organizational communication, it entails the flow of information within the organizational environment such as Fort Hood. The key objective of engaging in an organizational communication process is to deliver the policies, maintain focus on a continuous coordination of organizational activities among the members, engage in organizational problem solving and allow sharing of information and ideas (Farahbod, Salimi, & Dorostkar, 2013). In the military setting at Fort Hood, the flow of information is fundamental due to the delicate operations. Additionally, keeping the organization on board requires the cooperation not only among individuals, but also across the various departments that operate at Fort Hood. Suggestively, organizational communication can also allude to the interdepartmental exchange that occurs within the organization. The communication process also entails the receiving, sending, storing and processing of information within an organization.  In this light, the use of information technology is important in making communication effective in various settings.

The different understanding of the communication process brings forth various forms of the organizational communication process in a setting such as Fort Hood.

Bureaucratic communication. It entails the flow of official information. The military is coordinated through the ranks of superiority. Through the bureaucratic communication, superiors are able to engage their subordinates in activities such as giving commands, instructions and guidelines (Farahbod et al., 2013).

Manipulative communication. In this approach, only accurate information is offered. Subsequently, some details are hidden or changed. For instance, the information offered to senior officials in the army is different from what their subordinates receive.

Democratic communication. In this context, all the information can be delivered communally in an impartial approach. It entails a two-way flow of information such as all parties involved can offer and receive feedback (Farahbod et al., 2013).

Disproportionate communication. It is a form of organizational communication where all the required information is not conveyed, or the acquired information is partially used. Subsequently, it represents the failed systems that make it difficult for organizations to function effectively.

The above aspects of communication highlight that communication can be vertical, horizontal or diagonal. The vertical approach is the communication that occurs from superiors to their subordinates or vice versa. The horizontal communication entails flow of information across individuals or departments at the same level. The diagonal communication entails flow of information among individuals in different levels of hierarchy and units. There is no doubt that people within an organization develop networks that facilitate communication. The networks that emerge can be specific to the whole organization or might be different in different parts of the organization (Farahbod et al., 2013). In the wheel model, the decisions are made by a single or few individuals in authority, and the flow of information must follow a chain of command. Suggestively, this is effective in the military setting where there is a need for effective execution of commands in different levels of authority. Open communication process facilitates the flow of information in a more democratic way, where there is increased participation of all parties in making critical decisions.

Job satisfaction alludes to an individual’s level of commitment to their occupation. Various reviews show that job satisfaction is a multidimensional psychological engagement to an individual’s job. From this perspective, job satisfaction is influenced by various aspects of the environment they work in, as well as the personal beliefs and ideologies people have (Kosteas, 2011). The importance of job satisfaction cannot be underestimated because it affects the employee productivity and organizational performance. Subsequently, many studies have been committed to investigating job satisfaction in the business settings. The key attributes of these studies can be extended to organizations such as the military, which employ similar measures in managing workers. The link of job satisfaction to job performance makes it an area of interest, considering the fact that the military is expected to deliver effectively in all undertakings. When the workers are not engaged and there are low levels of satisfaction, the organization is likely to face challenges that include increased turnover, slowness among the workers, strikes, and ineffective performance that leads to increased costs and compromised organizational performance.

Communication plays a fundamental role in the level of job satisfaction. An accumulating body of evidence has proved that effective communication strategies boost the levels of job satisfaction within an organization (Kosteas, 2011). In this context, it is evident that improved transmission and reception of information makes executives and leaders in the organization to be strongly motivated and satisfied with the performance of their subordinates. People who join the military are often focused on performing under good leadership, and they show dedication and will to serve their country. Resultantly, people at Fort Hood can be perceived as individuals who are deeply involved in their jobs. A review of Porter and Roberts work in 1993 shows that the quality of communication within an organization can have a tremendous effect on employees who are deeply involved in their occupation. Reflecting on the characteristics portrayed by soldiers at Fort Hood such as commitment to serving the country, there is no doubt that the job satisfaction levels are affected by communication. Further reviews of communication and the job performance show that the level of satisfaction in the information received from supervisors is high when face-to-face communication and other information-rich mediums such as videos or pictorial representations are used. For the soldiers, these factors come to play during operations such as training and planning, which require accurate delivery of details to ensure that there is effective performance. Additionally, when communication from top management uses lean media such as newsletters or emails, there is less satisfaction in the workplace (Pandey & Khare, 2012). Furthermore, these mediums can be compromised, and important information can be lost or manipulated, leading to disproportionate communication. Although centralized network approaches and the use of social networks can work in other forms of organizations, it is less appropriate for the military. The official communication is often classified and requires utmost levels of security and loyalty due to its sensitivity in military operations (Proctor, 2014). How these communication channels are used, and the information conveyed through them also influences the levels of satisfaction. For instance, a military operation cannot be planned and executed between different departments via social media. Such acts can jeopardize the mission and the security of the people involved. Insecurity in the workplace makes it difficult for workers to perform well and the consequences are low levels of job satisfaction. In this light, a soldier’s level of satisfaction is linked to the perception they have on the supervisor’s communication style, credibility, content and the communication system used by the organization

In exploring the factors that affect job satisfaction, communication and interpersonal relations as well as task-related factors play a key role in the employee productivity and organizational performance. A report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) (2012) that investigated job satisfaction and engagement among different US based organizations focused on thirty-five aspects of job satisfaction. The findings showed that 81% of workers in the country indicated they were satisfied with their occupations. Additionally, the report highlighted that there were various factors, both internal and external that influenced the levels of job satisfaction and they varied over time and were attributed to changes experienced in the economy, demography and society. Among the factors that contributed to job satisfaction, communication between the workers and their seniors was found to contribute to 57%, while the communication with the immediate supervisor contributed to 54%. The statistics show that communication between subordinates and the managers is an important factor in increasing job engagement and satisfaction. Additionally, the SHRM report states this component was critical for workers who had worked for the organization between 11 to 15 years (SHRM, 2012). Fifty-nine percent of the workforce stated that they were satisfied with how senior managers engaged in the communicative process. Additionally, workers in executive and middle-management positions valued autonomy and independence to be a critical factor of job satisfaction (SHRM, 2012). Nevertheless, the Military communicative process lacks these provisions in most cases. The phenomenon can be attributed to the fact that most communication trickles from the senior positions to the autonomy in a top-down approach. Consequently, there is a lack of autonomy and independence in communication.

Job satisfaction is also affected by the employee’s attitude due to individual perceptions and feelings people have on various aspects of communication. The nature of the work is likely to have an impact on the cognitive aspects of an individual. Matching the employees with their skills and competencies is effective in increasing job satisfaction in this context. The ideology highlights the importance of supportive supervision in the military, where the senior delegate responsibilities to others according to their capabilities. Such undertakings not only make the workers comfortable, but promotes the communication process since people communicate from experience and they can offer credible information in problem-solving processes (Jiang et al., 2012). Interesting work coupled with good wages also increase job satisfaction. Notably, effective communication is the cornerstone of making work interesting because ideas can be shared to boost performance.

Workplace Organization Impacts on Job Satisfaction

Satisfactory and effective communication in the workplace enhances the organizational performance by ensuring that workers have a good attitude towards their responsibilities and stakeholders are satisfied. From this perspective, communication offers a means of improving commitment and motivation to employees, enabling them to achieve the organizational objectives. The leadership in any organization plays a fundamental role in ensuring that the workplace setting is appropriate for high levels of job satisfaction (Darijani, Soltani, & Pourroostaei, 2014). The situation is no different in the military base. Furthermore, the work done by soldiers has a significant impact on their personal lives, and this can be alleviated by ensuring that they enjoy their work.

Supportive supervision is key for the military personnel to be satisfied in the work setting. It entails helping the workers to improve their work performance on a continuous basis. In this light, it should be respectful and non-authoritarian by using the supervisory role as an opportunity for them to improve knowledge and skills. The supportive supervision strategy allows an open and two-way communication (World Health Organization, 2008).  Additionally, it entails teamwork that facilitates effective problem-solving and appropriate monitoring techniques to ensure that goals are met. Also, follow-ups with the staff are made to ensure that the new tasks are being executed appropriately.  The use of supportive supervision leads to a healthy work environment, improved and sustained satisfaction level, increased organizational performance and high employee productivity.

Supportive supervision is supported by three key aspects in the workplace. First, there is need to have the right supervisors who are well trained to offer support on technical issues. Additionally, they should offer updated information and skills on fundamental issues. For the military, having the right supervisor is key to the ultimate performance of the team. The second key aspect of supportive supervision is having the right tools (World Health Organization, 2008). Fort Hood is a large institution that possesses numerous tools that facilitate training and military operations. Lastly is sufficient resources. These include the funding and time allocated for the supervision activities. A workplace that exhibits supportive supervision contributes to the benefits of the organization and the employee as well. When the workforce is empowered to perform well, there are high levels of job satisfaction.

Effective communication in the workplace succeeds when employees have support for their leaders and when they know that their efforts will be rewarded (Kosteas, 2011). Additionally, leadership succeeds when leaders show credibility in the communication process (Farahbod et al., 2013). The relationship between the workers’ satisfaction and job performance show that the contributing factors are employee engagement and the relationship that exist between them and the management. Notably, these factors are determined by the type of communication that exists within the organization (Proctor, 2014). People in authority use their leadership skills to influence workers. From this context, how they deliver information to subordinates and employees has a fundamental impact on the job engagement as well as satisfaction. Leaders who inspire their subordinates motivate them to engage at work, and the good results lead to job satisfaction. At the same time, they give workers the potential to enhance their efficiency and achieve the organizational goals. These sentiments highlight the fact that how leaders communicate is as important as how their lead. The military is a disciplined entity that is governed by strict laws and requires them to act morally, follow orders and perform effectively. Leaders in the military are the guiding force, and the leadership styles have to resonate with the followers for higher productivity (Hayase, 2009). Suggestively, military leaders cannot direct something and then end up doing the contrary. The process an organization uses to make the workforce aware of the organizational goals is fundamental because it determines how they engage in achieving them and the role they play in the process. There is high job satisfaction among workers who know what they are supposed to do and who they are supposed to respond to.

Attitude is perhaps the key factor that determines the job satisfaction in the military. The attitude military personnel have on their duties and responsibilities can make or break the team and the force. Happiness and attitude are personal choices, although they can be influenced by external forces. Nevertheless, each person is in charge of their attitude and chooses what makes them happy. These aspects can be attributed to the intrapersonal communication, which is subject to the individuals’ thoughts. Attitude and happiness build on each other and they impact job satisfaction in various ways. Persons who have a positive attitude and learn to react appropriately to life events are happier and more likely to be satisfied in the workplace (Darijani et al., 2014). The happiness impacts their personal and work life, leading to satisfaction in all areas. Nevertheless, soldiers can develop negative attitudes due to the nature of their job. In their operations to serve and protect the country, they might be forced to act in a manner that is contrary to their moral grounds. Some of the things they engage in are traumatizing and can lead to psychological complications and other health issues. Resultantly, some might develop a negative attitude towards their work, limiting their happiness and engagement in the workplace (Proctor, 2014). Fostering a positive attitude is key for such workers in the recruitment and training period. Leaders should communicate effectively with the nature of the work and the consequences associated with it. Such actions prepare the soldier psychologically, contributing to job satisfaction.

Conclusion

The importance of communication in ensuring job satisfaction is obvious, and there is accumulating evidence that supports these sentiments. Additionally, when workers’ needs are met through satisfying communication, there are healthy relationships that are important to the success of a company. The workplace and the leadership styles are also key factors that influence job satisfaction. A workplace that is conducive with the right tools and equipment to facilitate training and operations increase job satisfaction. Good leadership styles enhance motivation and flow of communication, ensuring that subordinates are positioned appropriately based on their capabilities, and they know what is expected of them. Personal attributes also influence job satisfactions. The attitude one has towards their job and the activities involved, is an aspect that is determined by their intrapersonal communication. Fort Hood is a military base with a large population. The structure of command facilitates the flow of information, which in turn affects the job satisfaction. The military has developed a unique communication process that facilitates the effective execution of responsibilities, engagement and contribution to team work. Also, the military is well funded and possess sophisticated information technology systems that facilitate communication in different situations. The availability of these systems and tools to carry out their duties makes the workplace a conducive environment with high levels of job satisfaction. Nevertheless, its personal perspectives such as the attitude some soldiers might have towards their responsibilities thwart their levels of happiness and ultimate satisfaction at work and their personal lives. From this perspective, communication is a key component of the success at Fort Hood. Effective communication can be used to prevent negative attitudes that might jeopardize the performance of the soldiers due to reduced job satisfaction.

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