Employees as advocates or adversaries during a corporate crisis. The role of perceived authenticity and employee empowerment
Keywords:internal communication; employee communication behavior; megaphoning; perceived authenticity; empowerment; internal crisis communication
Purpose of the paper: this study investigates the impact of organization perceived authentic behaviors, employee empowerment and quality of organization-employee relationship on employees’ positive megaphoning during crisis situations, i.e. the voluntary information forwarded regarding organizational accomplishments.
Methodology: a survey was administered on 306 current employees who are working full-time in a semiconductor company in Italy (LFoundry, Avezzano, AQ-Italy), where a corporate crisis was ongoing by the time the research was conducted.
Results: results suggest that both organizations’ authentic behavior and employee empowerment increased the likelihood of positive megaphoning and reduced intentions of negative megaphoning regarding a corporate crisis. Furthermore, it was found a significant mediation impact of the organization-employee relationship on employee behaviors regarding an organizational crisis.
Research limitations: the study is a single organization one, therefore further research is required to confirm findings in different countries and companies.
Practical implications: companies should invest on the levers of interpersonal relationships, empowerment and the authenticity of the organization not only because they allow to improve the organizational climate in a moment of ordinary organizational life, but especially because they encourage the employees’ active alliance in the event of crises. In a crisis situation, organizations’ authentic actions are likely to be more powerful than their words, or even individuals’ intrinsic motivation.
Originality of the paper: this paper contributes to theory development in the field of internal crisis communication, showing that during crisis situations, organizational effort and perceived organizational authenticity are a better predictor of positive megaphoning than employee empowerment and intrinsic motivation.
BACCARANI C., GOLINELLI G. (2015), “The non-existent firm: relations between corporate image and strategy”, Sinergie Italian Journal of Management, vol. 33, n. 97, pp. 313-323 (first published in issue n. 29, 1992).
BOTHA A., BUSSIN M., DE SWARDT L. (2011), “An employer brand predictive model for talent attraction and retention: original research”, SA Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 9, n. 1, pp. 1-12.
BUDD J.W., GOLLAN P.J., WILKINSON A. (2010), “New approaches to employee voice and participation in organizations”, Human Relations, vol. 63, n. 3, pp. 303-310.
BUNDY J., PFARRER M.D., SHORT C.E., COOMBS W.T. (2017), “Crises and crisis management: Integration, interpretation, and research development”, Journal of Management, vol. 43, n. 6, pp. 1661-1692.
CONGER J.A., KANUNGO R. N. (1988), “The Empowerment Process: Integrating Theory and Practice”, Academy of Management Review, vol. 13, n. 3, pp. 471-482.
COOMBS W.T. (2000), “Crisis management: Advantages of a relational perspective”, in Ledingham J.A., Bruning S.D. (eds.), Public relations as relationship management: a relational approach to public relations, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah (NJ).
CORDING M., HARRISON J.S., HOSKISSON R.E. (2012), “Organizational Authenticity during Post-Merger Integration, Employee Productivity and Performance”, Academy of Management Proceedings, vol. 2012, n. 1 (Published Online:16 Nov 2018 https://doi.org/10.5465/AMBPP.2012.10865).
CRANT J.M. (2000), “Proactive behavior in organizations”, Journal of Management, vol. 26, n. 3, pp. 435-462.
DAVID G. (2011), “Internal communication-essential component of crisis communication”, Journal of Media Research, vol. 2, n. 10, pp. 72-81.
FRANDSEN F., JOHANSEN W. (2011), “The study of internal crisis communication: towards an integrative framework”, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 16, n. 4, pp. 347-361.
GRANT A.M., ASHFORD S.J. (2008), “The dynamics of proactivity at work”, Research in Organizational Behavior, vol. 28, pp. 3-34.
JOHANSEN W., AGGERHOLM H.K., FRANDSEN F. (2012), “Entering new territory: A study of internal crisis management and crisis communication in organizations”, Public Relations Review, vol. 38, n. 2, pp. 270-279.
HEGER B.K. (2007), “Linking the Employment Value Proposition (EVP) to Employee Engagement and Business Outcomes: Preliminary Findings from a Linkage Research Pilot Study”, Organization Development Journal, vol. 25, n. 2, pp. 121-132.
HEIDE M., SIMONSSON C. (2015), “Struggling with internal crisis communication: a balancing act between paradoxical tensions”, Public Relations Inquiry, vol. 4, n. 2, pp. 223-255.
HELM S. (2011), “Employees’ awareness of their impact on corporate reputation”, Journal of Business Research, vol. 64, n. 7, pp. 657-663.
HENDERSON J.E., BROOKHART S.M. (1996), “Leader authenticity: key to organizational climate, health and perceived leader effectiveness”, Journal of Leadership Studies, vol. 3, n. 4, pp. 87-103.
HON L.C., GRUNIG J.E. (1999), Guidelines for measuring relationships in public relations, Institute for Public Relations, Gainesville (FL).
KANG M., SUNG M. (2017), “How symmetrical employee communication leads to employee engagement and positive employee communication behaviors”, Journal of Communication Management, vol. 21, n. 1, pp. 82-102.
KIM J.N., GRUNIG J.E. (2011), “Problem solving and communicative action: a situational theory of problem solving”, Journal of Communication, vol. 61, n. 1, pp. 120-149.
KIM J.N., RHEE Y. (2011), “Strategic thinking about employee communication behavior (ECB) in public relations: testing the models of megaphoning and scouting effects in Korea”, Journal of Public Relations Research, vol. 23, n. 3, pp. 243-268.
KLAAS B.S., OLSON BUCHANAN J.B., WARD A.K. (2012), “The determinants of alternative forms of workplace voice an integrative perspective”, Journal of Management, vol. 38, n. 1, pp. 314-345.
KLINE R.B. (2011), Principles and practice of structural equation modeling, Guilford Press, New York.
KNOLL M., VAN DICK R. (2013), “Authenticity, employee silence, prohibitive voice, and the moderating effect of organizational identification”, The Journal of Positive Psychology, vol. 8, n. 4, pp. 346-360.
LAVELLE J., GUNNIGLE P., MCDONNELL A. (2010), “Patterning employee voice in multinational companies”, Human Relations, vol. 63, n. 3, pp. 395-418.
LEE Y., KIM J.N. (2017), “Authentic enterprise, organization-employee relationship, and employee-generated managerial assets”, Journal of Communication Management, vol. 21, n. 3, pp. 1-20.
LIDEN R.C., WAYNE S.J., SPARROWE R.T. (2000), “An examination of the mediating role of psychological empowerment on the relations between the job, interpersonal relationships, and work outcomes”, The Journal of Applied Psychology, vol. 85, n. 3, pp. 407-416.
LUTHANS F., AVOLIO B.J. (2003), “Authentic leadership: a positive developmental approach”, in Cameron K.S., Dutton J.E., Quinn R.E., (Eds.), Positive Organizational Scholarship: Foundations of a New Discipline, Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco.
MANDELLI A. (2012), “Branding and control in markets as mediated conversations”, Sinergie, n. 89, pp. 147-165.
MAYER R.C., GAVIN M.B. (2005), “Trust in management and performance: who minds the shop while the employees watch the boss?”, The Academy of Management Journal, vol. 48, n. 5, pp. 874-888.
MAZZEI A., KIM J.N., DELL’ORO C. (2012), “Strategic value of employee relationships and communicative actions: overcoming corporate crisis with quality internal communication”, International Journal of Strategic Communication, vol. 6, n. 1, pp. 31-44.
MAZZEI A. (2014), “Internal communication for employee enablement: Strategies in American and Italian companies”, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 19, n. 1, pp. 82-95.
MAZZEI A., RAVAZZANI S. (2015), “Internal crisis communication strategies to protect trust relationships”, International Journal of Business Communication, vol. 52, n. 3, pp. 319-337.
MAZZEI A., KIM J.N., LEE Y., (2017), “Organizational Perceived Authenticity and Employee Empowerment to Sustain Positive Megaphoning for Brand Co-creation”, Convegno Sinergie - Sima 2017 “Value co-creation: le sfide di management per le imprese e per la società”, 15-16 giugno 2017 - Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Conference Proceedings.
MEN R.L. (2011), “How employee empowerment influences organization-employee relationship in China”, Public Relations Review, vol. 37, n. 4, pp. 435-437.
MEN R.L., STACKS D.W. (2013), “The impact of leadership style and employee empowerment on perceived organizational reputation”, Journal of Communication Management, vol. 17, n. 2, pp. 171-192.
MEN R.L., STACKS D.W. (2014), “The effects of authentic leadership on strategic internal communication and employee-organization relationships”, Journal of Public Relations Research, vol. 26, n. 4, pp. 301-324.
MEN R.L., HUNG-BAESECKE C.F. (2015), “Engaging employees in China: the impact of communication channels, organizational transparency and authenticity”, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 20, n. 4, pp. 448-467.
MENON S. (2001), “Employee empowerment: an integrative psychological approach”, Applied Psychology, vol. 50, n. 1, pp. 153-180.
MORRISON E.W. (2011), “Employee voice behavior: integration and directions for future research”, The Academy of Management Annals, vol. 5, n. 1, pp. 373-412.
MORRISON E.W. (2014), “Employee voice and silence”, Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, vol. 1, pp. 173-197.
ORGAN D.W. (1988), Organizational citizenship behavior: the good soldier syndrome, Lexington Books, Lexington (MA).
PARK S.H., KIM J.N., KRISHNA A. (2014), “Bottom-up building of an innovative organization: motivating employee intrapreneurship and scouting and their strategic value”, Management Communication Quarterly, vol. 28, n. 4, pp. 531-560.
PATTUGLIA S., MINGIONE M. (2017), “Towards a new understanding of brand authenticity: seeing through the lens of Millennials”, Sinergie Italian Journal of Management, vol. 35, n. 103, pp. 35-55.
RICH B.L., LEPINE J.A., CRAWFORD E.R. (2010), “Job engagement: antecedents and effects on job performance”, Academy of Management Journal, vol. 53, n. 3, pp. 617-635.
RHEE Y. (2008), “Risk communication management: a case study on Brookhaven National Laboratory”, Journal of Communication Management, vol. 12, n. 3, pp. 224-242.
RUCK K., WELCH M., MENARA B. (2017), “Employee voice: an antecedent to organisational engagement?”, Public Relations Review, vol. 43, n. 5, pp. 904-914.
SAFARI K., HAGHIGHI A.S., RASTEGAR A., JAMSHIDI A. (2011), “The relationship between psychological empowerment and organizational learning”, Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 30, pp. 1147-1152.
SANTOS-VIJANDE M.L., DEL RÍO-LANZA A.B., SUÁREZ-ÁLVAREZ L., DÍAZ-MARTÍN A.M. (2013), “The brand management system and service firm competitiveness”, Journal of Business Research, vol. 66, n. 2, pp. 148-157.
SHEN H., KIM J.N. (2012), “The authentic enterprise: Another buzz word, or a rue driver of quality relationships?”, Journal of Public Relations Research, vol. 24, n. 4, pp. 371-389.
SIRIANNI N.J., BITNER M.J., BROWN S.W., MANDEL N. (2013), “Branded service encounters: strategically aligning employee behavior with the brand positioning”, Journal of Marketing, vol. 77, n. 6, pp. 108-123.
SPREITZER G.M. (1995), “Psychological empowerment in the workplace: Dimensions, measurement, and validation”, Academy of Management Journal, vol. 38, n. 5, pp. 1442-1465.
STRANDBERG J.M., VIGSØ O. (2016), “Internal crisis communication: an employee perspective on narrative, culture, and sensemaking”, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 21, n. 1, pp. 89-102.
TAYLOR B. (2010), “Brand is culture, culture is brand”, Digital Article, Harvard Business Review, available at http://blogs.hbr.org/taylor/2010/09/brand_is_culture_culture_is_br.html.
VAN DYNE L., ANG S., BOTERO I.C. (2003), “Conceptualizing employee silence and employee voice as multidimensional constructs”, Journal of Management Studies, vol. 40, n. 6, pp. 1359-1392.
WANG D.S., HSIEH C.C. (2013), “The effect of authentic leadership on employee trust and employee engagement”, Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, vol. 41, n. 4, pp. 613-624.
YAGIL D., MEDLER-LIRAZ H. (2014), “Feel Free, Be Yourself: Authentic leadership, emotional expression, and employee authenticity”, Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, vol. 21, n. 1, pp. 59-70.
ZHANG X., BARTOL K.M. (2010), “Linking empowering leadership and employee creativity: the influence of psychological empowerment, intrinsic motivation, and creative process engagement”, Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, vol. 24, n. 5, pp. 107-128.