Kevin Ruck’s research

Kevin Ruck and Heather Yaxley‘s paper on the history of internal communication was presented at the International History of PR Conference in Bournemouth in the UK in June 2013. The paper identifies the earliest employee publications, dating back to 1840.

This study examines historical development of internal communication. It found the roots of modern day practice lie in 19th century publications originally written by and for employees that were subsequently edited by former journalists, who became known as industrial editors in the 20th century. Their desire for journalistic freedom involved gaining management support at the expense of employee involvement. Periods of industrial unrest saw publications used predominantly for propaganda and persuasion. Although dominance of this journalistic approach was challenged at several points, the importance of the employee voice was not recognised until the mid-1990s, with emergence of social media and a return to valuing personal communication. Professionalism in internal communication has shifted from the industrial editor to the qualified practitioner. Rather than progressive phases, the paper found a resistance to change but argues practitioners need to be agents of change rather than reactive reporters of news.

Tracking the rise and rise of internal communication from the 1980s

Internal Communication Diploma Projects

Internal Communication Diploma students undertake a small scale research project based on a topic of their choice.

Some of the best papers are published here to share knowledge and best practice. In some cases the author is anonymous in order to respect the request for confidentiality for the organisation that is the subject of the study.

If you are interested in studying the Diploma there is more information here.

Beyond the Usual Suspects – An investigation into encouraging Spectators and Inactives to engage with Internal Social Media
Stella St David-Smith

The hot topic of internal social media is investigated in this project with a focus on social technographics. Existing models of technographics are discussed  and nudge theory is highlighted as a possible way to develop greater participation in discussions on internal social media platforms. The project includes research conducted in the public sector using a questionnaire. Findings reveal the top barriers to using internal social media and an alternative technographics model dedicated to internal social media is proposed.

What communication content do staff want during an organisational change programme, and to what extent are these expectations being met?

This project explores change communication for a new IT system in a health care organisation with 9000 employees. It reviews the core themes established in the literature for change communication and tests them in a survey of champions and super users of the new system. The top three communication needs were found to be; 1) Why the organisation needs to move to the new system, 2) What training and support will be available to help me be ready, and 3) The timetable for the change programme.

Exploring the role of internal communication in supporting line managers

This paper explores line manager communication. It includes research conducted through six semi-structured interviews in a UK university. Line managers tend to communicate largely in an informal way, either face-to-face or by forwarding emails and information and respondents felt they had sufficient support to communicate. However, further probing revealed various ways in which internal communications could provide additional help, suggesting that line managers are not aware of the possibilities and benefits that additional communications support could provide.

Engaging Managers, communicative competencies and the role that IC professionals could play
Gloria Lombardi

This project investigates the specific communication competencies required by line managers after exploring their linkage with other managerial competencies necessary for employee engagement. Based on the literature review, twelve line manager communicative competencies were identified. The research includes a survey that was completed by 100 internal communication practitioners. The findings suggest that the most essential competencies are Listening, Informing, Explaining, Feedback, Valuing and Involving.

Time for change – Exploring whether an informed employee voice can enable change

This paper explores how employee voice is linked to change communication. It includes research conducted through five semi-structured interviews in a local authority. It concludes that employees at the local authority think it’s important they have the opportunity to have their say about what goes on. And to a certain degree the council does not ignore voice but more could be done to encourage it. However the leadership team needs to become more open and accessible and demonstrate it is listening and acting upon employee opinions. They must learn to feedback to employees otherwise they could be viewed as untrustworthy. Employees need to know where their views count.