Organizational Communication

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last updated 9/20/2016

Why Use a Cultural View
Lee McGaan

A Cultural Definition of Organization:  "An organization is the organizing activities of its members" (as created and reflected in Communication).

Managers who use a cultural view hope to resolve the central dilemma by accomplishing the organization's need for coordination and control through shared meanings, goals, and commonly understood values and procedures. A shared, strong culture allows individual members to coordinate actions through shared understandings while making their own decisions (meeting their own needs) about how to accomplish the organizations goals.


  1. Organizational membership consists of those in a social collectivity who identify themselves as members or participants
  2. Organizational structure consists of the communicative relationships established by membership. The "shape" is continually evolving
  3. Since organization = communication, the organization is a communication event built on communicative behaviors/acts which produce both the sense of membership, the organizational structure, and the means by which members interact.
  4. The "meaning" of an organization is the sum of its communicative transactions and the organizational environment.
  • Neither organizational structure nor "cultural" practices (behaviors and meanings) come first the social dialectic brings both into existence simultaneously.

  Why use the cultural view? 

  • It accesses the meanings of the organization in terms of the people who are the organization. Organizational culture focuses on communication.
  • It focuses on both everyday/ informal and formal communication
  • It goes beyond the rational actor model of business management
  • It allows insights into individuals' understandings of things at all levels