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Middle management communication and interaction practices and their influence on employee satisfaction and motivation

Dissertation
Author: Pamela Armstrong Arons
Abstract:
This quantitative study examined managerial communication and interaction practices and the influence of the practices on employees' sense of work motivation and job satisfaction. Strong managerial communication skills and interactions are essential leadership behaviors, yet despite an explosion in communication mechanisms available, employees have continued to experience increased separation from management because of ineffective communication practices. This study surveyed 95 participants, 71 employees and 24 managers. The findings are important to organizations, as they may enable management to understand the importance of effective management practices on job satisfaction and organizational success. The results demonstrated that: (a) managerial communication and interaction practices influenced employees' sense of job satisfaction; (b) managerial communication and interaction practices did not influence employees' sense of work motivation; (c) female employees did not report higher influence of managerial practices on work motivation or job satisfaction; (d) employees' years of service did not contribute to sense of work motivation or job satisfaction; (e) managers and supervisors believed they had greater influence on employees' sense of work motivation and job satisfaction than employees reported; and (f) a stable work setting had no appreciable effect on managers or employees when compared with the same groups within a business environment undergoing constant change. Other significant findings showed that (a) 14.5% of the variability in job satisfaction can be predicted by the linear combination of managerial communication and interaction practices, and (b) in terms of work motivation and job satisfaction, there were nearly identical outcomes in the employees with less than 5 years of service and employees with more than 5 years.

iv TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES ...............................................................................................................x LIST OF FIGURES .......................................................................................................... xii CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................1 Internal Business Communication .......................................................................................3 Management Communication ..............................................................................................4 Statement of the Problem ...................................................................................................11 Purpose of the Study ..........................................................................................................12 Significance of the Problem ...............................................................................................14 Payne Research Model ...........................................................................................17 Middle Management Practices ...............................................................................20 Veteran Employees ................................................................................................21 Nature of the Population ....................................................................................................24 Nature of the Study ............................................................................................................29 Research Questions ............................................................................................................30 Hypotheses .........................................................................................................................32 Theoretical Framework ......................................................................................................35 Definitions of Terms ..........................................................................................................37 Baby Boomers Generation .....................................................................................37 Change ...................................................................................................................37 Change agent ..........................................................................................................38 Communication ......................................................................................................38 Communication competence ..................................................................................39

v Communication satisfaction...................................................................................40 Culture or organizational culture ...........................................................................40 Engagement............................................................................................................41 Interaction(s) ..........................................................................................................42 Leadership ..............................................................................................................42 Long-term employee ..............................................................................................44 Managers and supervisors—viewed as middle management ................................44 Member, membership, or employee membership ..................................................46 Motivation ..............................................................................................................47 Organizational change ...........................................................................................47 Organizational culture ............................................................................................47 Organizational commitment...................................................................................47 Relationship-building and relationships ................................................................48 Satisfaction .............................................................................................................48 Veteran employee ..................................................................................................49 Workplace relationships.........................................................................................49 Assumptions .......................................................................................................................49 Scope, Limitations, and Delimitations ...............................................................................50 Limitations .........................................................................................................................57 Delimitations ......................................................................................................................61 Summary ............................................................................................................................62 Conclusion .........................................................................................................................64

vi CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ............................................................66 Leadership and Adult Learning Theories ..........................................................................71 Key Role of the Manager and Supervisor ..............................................................77 Internal Communication ....................................................................................................91 Managers and Supervisors as Communicators ......................................................96 Employees ............................................................................................................103 Surveying Employees ..........................................................................................108 Dependent Variables of Job Satisfaction and Motivation....................................109 Contextual Review ...........................................................................................................115 Industry Research .....................................................................................................115 Contextual Research .................................................................................................118 Supervisory Education and Leadership Effectiveness .........................................119 Northern Ireland Electrical Utility .......................................................................120 Power Generation Plants ......................................................................................121 Workforce management and communication ......................................................124 Internal Organizational Communication..............................................................127 Summary ..........................................................................................................................134 Conclusion .......................................................................................................................134 CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHOD ...........................................................................135 Research Design...............................................................................................................136 Survey Research Method .................................................................................................137 Appropriateness of the Design .........................................................................................142 Research Questions ..........................................................................................................143

vii Hypotheses .......................................................................................................................144 Population ........................................................................................................................147 Informed Consent.............................................................................................................149 Sampling Frame ...............................................................................................................150 Confidentiality .................................................................................................................152 Research Setting...............................................................................................................152 Instrumentation ................................................................................................................155 Employee and Manager-Supervisor Surveys: Part I ............................................157 Employee and Manager-Supervisor Surveys: Part II...........................................160 Employee and Manager-Supervisory Surveys: Part III .......................................161 Data Collection ................................................................................................................161 Data Analysis ...................................................................................................................164 Validity and Reliability ....................................................................................................170 Independent Variables .....................................................................................................175 Dependent Variables ........................................................................................................176 Summary ..........................................................................................................................176 Conclusion .......................................................................................................................178 CHAPTER 4: FINDINGS ...............................................................................................179 Research Questions ..........................................................................................................182 Findings............................................................................................................................187 Demographic Information ....................................................................................187 Research Results for the Hypotheses ...................................................................190 Hypothesis 0...................................................................................................190

viii Hypothesis 1...................................................................................................192 Hypothesis 2...................................................................................................193 Hypothesis 3...................................................................................................195 Hypothesis 4...................................................................................................199 Hypothesis 5...................................................................................................200 Hypotheses .......................................................................................................................202 Hypothesis 0.........................................................................................................202 Hypothesis 1.........................................................................................................203 Hypothesis 2.........................................................................................................204 Hypothesis 3.........................................................................................................205 Hypothesis 4.........................................................................................................206 Hypothesis 5.........................................................................................................207 Hypothesis 6.........................................................................................................207 Summary ..........................................................................................................................207 Conclusion .......................................................................................................................211 CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ...................................213 Overview of Chapters 1–4 ...............................................................................................214 Research Questions and Hypotheses ...............................................................................217 Conclusion of the Research Findings ..............................................................................222 Implications for the Research Literature ..........................................................................226 Research Findings and the Utility Industry .........................................................230 The Two Utilities and the Surveys’ Research ......................................................235 Limitations .......................................................................................................................236

ix Social Significance of the Research .................................................................................238 Discussions of the Hypotheses.........................................................................................243 Hypotheses H2o and H2a .....................................................................................244 Hypotheses H3o and H3a .....................................................................................247 Hypotheses H4o and H4a .....................................................................................248 Hypotheses H5o and H5a .....................................................................................250 Hypotheses H6o and H6a .....................................................................................252 Recommendations for Further Research ..........................................................................253 Conclusion .......................................................................................................................257 REFERENCES ................................................................................................................264 APPENDIX A: PERMISSION TO USE AN EXISTING SURVEY ..............................313 APPENDIX B: SURVEY INSTRUMENTS ...................................................................314 APPENDIX C: AGREEMENTS WITH NATIONAL GRID AND UNITED ILLUMINATING ......................................................................................................334 APPENDIX D: INFORMED CONSENT: PARTICIPANTS 18 YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER.............................................................................................................337

x LIST OF TABLES Table 1 Sample situations used in the employee and manager-supervisor surveys ........158 Table 2 Summary of Research Questions, Variables, and Type of Analysis to be Used .166 Table 3 Means and Standard Deviations for Demographic Variables............................188 Table 4 Frequency and Percent of Gender for Employees and Managers and Supervisors ...........................................................................................................189 Table 5 Frequency and Percent on Highest Education Level Completed .......................189 Table 6 Summary of Multiple Regression Analysis on Sense of Work Motivation as Predicted by Managerial Communication and Interaction Practices .................191 Table 7 Summary of Multiple Regression Analysis on Job Satisfaction as Predicted by Managerial Communication and Interaction Practices .................................191 Table 8 Summary of Multiple Regression Analysis on Sense of Work Motivation for Employees with 5 or More Years of Service as Predicted by Managerial Communication and Interaction Practices for Employees ..................................192 Table 9 Summary of Multiple Regression Analysis on Job Satisfaction for Employees with 5 or More Years of Service as Predicted by Managerial Communication and Interaction Practices for Employees .............................................................193 Table 10 Summary of Multiple Regression Analysis on Sense of Work Motivation for Employees with Fewer Than 5 Years of Service as Predicted by Managerial Communication and Interaction Practices for Employees ..................................194 Table 11 Summary of Multiple Regression Analysis on Job Satisfaction for Employees with Fewer Than 5 Years of Service as Predicted by Managerial Communication and Interaction Practices for Employees ..................................195

xi Table 12 Summary of Multiple Regression Analysis on Sense of Work Motivation for Female Employees as Predicted by Managerial Communication and Interaction Practices for Employees ....................................................................196 Table 13 Multiple Regression on Job Satisfaction for Female Employees as Predicted by Managerial Communication and Interaction Practices for Employees ............................................................................................................197 Table 14 Summary of Multiple Regression Analysis on Sense of Work Motivation for Male Employees as Predicted by Managerial Communication and Interaction Practices for Employees ......................................................................................198 Table 15 Summary of Multiple Regression Analysis on Job Satisfaction for Male Employees as Predicted by Managerial Communication and Interaction Practices for Employees ......................................................................................198 Table 16 Summary of Independent Samples t-Test Analysis on Job Satisfaction and Work Motivation by Group (Manager/Supervisor vs. Employee) .......................199 Table 17 Summary of Independent Samples t-Test Analysis on Job Satisfaction and Work Motivation by Group (Manager/Supervisor vs. Employee) .......................200 Table 18 Summary of Independent Samples t-Test Analysis on Job Satisfaction and Work Motivation by Group (United Illuminating vs. National Grid) ..................201 Table 19 Summary of Independent Samples t-Test Analysis on Job Satisfaction and Work Motivation by Group (United Illuminating vs. National Grid) ..................201 Table 20 Summary of Independent Samples t-Test Analysis on Manager Perception by Group (United Illuminating vs. National Grid) ..............................................202

xii LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. The D’Aprix Effective Organizational Flow of Information (D’Aprix, 2006, p. 7) ..............................................................................................................21

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CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION Change is an unalterable reality in the current business environment. The external forces of change have resulted in increased technological advancement, heightened global competition, modeled new cultural and political priorities and information, driven financial markets and new product development, and raised consumers’ expectations for superiority in quality, services, and products (Gradwell, 2004; Kane, 2004; Kotter, 2008; Pine, & Gilmore, 2007; Victor & Franckeiss, 2002). The external change forces have elevated organizations’ internal demands on leadership and the workforce (Daft, 2004; Kane, 2004; Meehan, Rigby, & Rogers, 2008; Pitts, 2006). Managers and workers have been required by senior management to increase productivity, provide sharpened responsiveness, create service and product improvements, compete globally, remain consumer grounded, intensify communication, heighten management agility, and intensify financial sensitivity to costs and pricing (Avolio, Bass, & Jung, 1999; Balogun, 2003; Balogun & Johnson, 2004; Bantu-Gomez & Banutu-Gomez, 2007; Bardwick, 2008; Bonabeau, Bodick, & Armstrong, 2008; Kotter & Schlesinger, 2008; Kouzes and Posner, 2002; Pitts, 2006; Sirkin, Keenan, & Jackson, 2005; Sonenshein, 2007). No longer can change be viewed as a discrete event, action, or implementation. Instead, change has become the normal environment in which an organization initiates and nurtures planning, implementation, agility, trust, goals, vision, leadership, relationships, consumers, products and services, knowledge, and communication for the full organizational membership (Bardwick, 2008; Daft, 2004: Hernez-Broome & Hughes, 2004; Prentice, 2004; Sias, 2005). It is essential that management recognize the importance of their leadership of people (Kane, 2004, ¶ 1) in business environments that

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have and continue to undergo changes driven by external forces and internal changes. Stanley (2005) described business organizations as “dynamic social units” (¶ 3), in which supervisors and managers must work to build and sustain relationships with employees through continual interactions and effective communication. Management and business success pivots on managerial-employee communication and interactions that successfully direct, align, inspire, motivate, and grow the individuals and the organization. The effective management and development of employee relationships within the climate of “turmoil and flux inherent in today’s world” (Daft, 2004, p.8) provides the resilience to embrace change and sustain the organization. Communication plays an integral role in the effective process and success of continual change within the business organization (Bardwick, 2008; Daft, 2004; Hill, 2003; Longenecker & Neubert, 2003; Sias, 2005). While the reasons for communication are manifold (among them collaboration, development, challenges, support, goal sharing, and understanding), communication has always implied a two-pronged activity that requires reaching out to speak as well as to listen (Eisenberg & Goodall, 2004; Sias, 2005). Industry analysts consistently have cited effective communication as a required function of leadership and as a membership need (Hernez-Broome & Hughes, 2004; Prentice, 2004; Sias, 2005). Evidence has grown that employees have experienced increased separation from all management levels because there is little interaction, relationship-building, and collaboration, that are the result of ineffective internal communication practices (Argenti, 2006; Avolio, Bass, & Jung, 1999; Balogun & Johnson, 2004; Bardwick, 2008; Caldwell, 2003; Osterman, 2009; Payne, 2003, 2005).

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Argenti (2006) attributed part of the managerial separation to increased mobility of employees and management’s increased use of electronic equipment for communication to employees. Further, Argenti reported that the increased ability to access information electronically has allowed employees to go to the informational resource rather than the traditional communication source, the manager, and Argenti believed that this has contributed to the further separation of managerial interaction and genuine communication. To address the gap in communication between leadership and membership, it is important to understand how management communication and interactions with the workforce influences employees’ motivation and job satisfaction. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the purpose of the current study and a discussion on the perceptions, practices, and influences of managerial communication and interaction with employees. Chapter 2 reviews the literature that is pertinent to the present study, and Chapter 3 presents the methodology and research design that were selected and implemented for the quantitative study. The survey results and research analysis discussion are presented in Chapter 4. Chapter 5 addresses the conclusions and recommendations based on the current research conducted in the study. Internal Business Communication Three primary themes related to the separation between management and the workforce emerged from the research on organizational communication and management: (a) management’s practices in communicating with the workforce, (b) communication as an influencer and persuader in the relationship between employees and their managers/supervisors, and (c) the influence of management communication on employees’ motivation and work skills (Hernez-Broome & Hughes, 2004; Hill, 2003;

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Payne, 2003, 2005; Porter, 2006; Prentice, 2004; Sias, 2005). The three themes are impacted further by organizations’ decision-making and practices that modify their human resource structures through reorganization. For example, as the number of mid- level management positions have declined due to downsizing, reorganization, competition, and/or corporate agility efforts, all remaining managers have needed to commit to a greater role in leading and communicating actively with their respective personnel (Balogun & Johnson, 2004; Oxman & Smith, 2003; Payne, 2003, 2005). The Hay Group (2005a) reported that communicating was an essential role of managers in imparting the organization’s direction and goals and the knowledge and interaction also nurtured motivational engagement and job performance. Supervisors and middle managers must communicate effectively and interact well with employees in order to influence and develop relationships that provide information, connect employees to the organization’s vision and goals, and link each individual to each other and to the organization as a whole (D’Aprix, 2006; Hernez-Broome & Hughes, 2004; Hill, 2003; O’Connell, 2004; Payne, 2005; Porter, 2006; Prentice, 2004). Further, Cooren (2006) emphasized that, in the study of management and employment communication, there is also the need to view “how organizational interaction” (p. 337) contributes to the functioning and practices within the organization. Management Communication Middle managers have a crucial role as change agents within the organization and this essential responsibility will escalate in importance as businesses move through the complexities, challenges, and changes (Balogun & Johnson, 2004, ¶ 3) in the 21 st

century. The pivotal role of the manager requires that further study focus on the

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importance of this management level, middle managers’ relationships with employees, and managers’ communication and relational influence upon employees (Chilgren, 2008; Huy, 2001; Payne, 2003, 2005; Pitts, 2006). Researchers reported that middle management serves as an organization’s connection to all levels of the membership, and that middle management is an especially sensitive and crucial field of study, with so many organizations de-layering, outsourcing, restructuring, and undergoing continual change (Balogun & Johnson, 2004; Leavitt, 2004; Oxman & Smith, 2003; Payne, 2003, 2005). The value of the manager is essential to the organization when acknowledging the increasing disconnect between the workforce and all levels of management due to ineffective internal communication practices (Aviolo, Bass, & Jung, 1999; Payne, 2003, 2005). In a changing business environment, management must effectively use vertical as well as lateral and diagonal communication channels and opportunities on an ongoing basis to deliver organizational direction, strengthen employee knowledge, and underpin organizational relationships and achievement (Balogun & Johnson, 2004). The most essential of these communication channels is lateral communication, whereby managers work to remove ambiguity, provide understanding or sense-making, and/or help shape the clarity of moving forward for the employee membership (Balogun & Johnson, 2004). Sirota, Mischkind, and Meltzer (2006c) identified the importance of management and supervisory relationships in building and sustaining a motivated workforce. Their research revealed that managers must work consistently to meet three goals in developing their relationships with employees: (a) achievement: purpose, coaching, trust building, and recognition; (b) equity: open communication, performance feedback, and respect;

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and (c) camaraderie: productive relationships and teams (Sirota et al., 2006c, ¶¶ 11-37). The three goals of relationship development link to effective communication practices that flow two ways—between employees and their managers or supervisors and back. Clutterbuck (2005) viewed relationship building as a psychological contract in which employees and employers share “unwritten assumptions … about the appropriateness and value of the social exchange between them” (¶ 5). Such relationships provide greater open communication opportunities that are then reflected in relationships with all stakeholders, including customers, and strengthen loyalty, reputation, and financial benefits to the organization. Business leadership has been increasingly “defined not as what the leader does but rather as a process that engenders and is the result of relationships” (Hernez-Broome & Hughes, 2004, p. 27) in which leaders demonstrate “convincingly the strategic role of people in organizations” (p. 31). Managerial-employee relationships are built through two-way communication and ongoing interaction. Bass (1990) defined effective leadership practice as portraying “open, easy, ready communications” (p. 674) and stated that the benefit of communication is increased personal and organizational effectiveness. Successful two-way communication permits effective inter-employee communication and also contributes to employees’ comfort in accessing their respective managers are their resource for information (p. 674). Failure to open avenues for information and relationship development has strong implications for problems in the individual’s and the organization’s contributions and growth (Hartog & Verburg, 2002; Payne, 2005; Tegarden, Sarason, Childers, & Hatfield, 2005) for “the human element is central to successful change” (O’Connell, 2004, ¶ 24) and to a stronger, flexible organization.

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The review of the literature regarding leadership, organizations, and communication identified a number of communication tools that offer a broad range of message-delivery and listening mechanisms (Aviolo, Bass, & Jung, 1999; Bardwick, 2008; Payne, 2003, 2005). Nevertheless, Fleenor (2003) reported that “today’s leaders are still failing to communicate clearly” (p. 37) and Bruch, Wass, Covey, Kaplan, Oncken, and Ghosal (2007) confirmed this managerial failure, noting that only approximately 10% of managers are effective. The failure to communicate effectively impacts interaction, listening, and speaking sufficiently and effectively with the workforce, which in turns impacts the organization negatively. In an organization with a long-term service workforce, researchers have reported that older employees, in age as well as service to the organization, generally expressed less satisfaction with their work environment and career (Armstrong-Stassen & Cameron, 2005; Lee, 2003); such research findings are important when studying energy utilities where the majority of employees and managers have long-term service to the organization and the majority of the organizational membership are mature in age. The research plan was to study the relationships and communications between managers and their respective non-union employees at two energy utility organizations located in the northeastern United States. One of the two organizations, National Grid, acquired another energy utility in 2007, immediately before the current research was undertaken, and the acquisition positioned National Grid as the country’s second largest energy utility organization (in number of customers served). National Grid serves over 6 million residences and businesses in the northeastern United States. The other energy utility researched was United Illuminating Company, based in Connecticut and servicing

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approximately 1/5 of the state’s businesses and consumers. The organizations’ non-union workforce studies provided the exploration of communication and interaction between managers and their respective employees and the influence of management practices on employees’ sense of job satisfaction and work motivation. The energy utilities offered the opportunity to study long-term employees and the influence of managerial relationships and communication in the long-termed employed population. The long-term service of the two utilities’ employee populations studied is traditional in the energy delivery business; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2005) reported that the “median age of employees in the U.S. utility industry is 44.7 years, 4.2 years higher than the national median for all industries” (Nicholson, 2005, p. 1). The energy utility industry has an older than average workforce population with a uniquely low employee turnover factor. Strack, Baier, and Fahlander (2008) reported that the U.S. workforce is growing fastest within the 55-64 age group and the fastest growth is within the energy industry segment, where more than 1/3 of the employees are over 50 years of age (¶ 3). After decades of little internal structural change, National Grid was required to divest its profitable assets, its power-generation investments, in 1997 in response to political, large business, and regulatory demands. The change in the industrial model was undertaken to introduce and develop a competitive market in power generation; the political, business, and regulatory expectations were that competition would improve pricing for all consumers and businesses. The business model moved the organization from a vertically-integrated business that included the production and generation of energy and transmission, distribution, and delivery of power to a new business model that

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focused exclusively on transmission, distribution, and delivery in the defined, regulated service territory. To prepare for the impending remodeling of the industry and its anticipated concomitant changes, National Grid undertook department and division structural and personnel reorganization in the 1990s. The process initiated dramatic changes within the organization and within the industry, previously known for its enduring stability. Following internal reorganization, the utility completed two acquisitions of regional utility organizations—a small New England electric utility and a large Northeastern electric and gas utility. In conjunction with the two businesses and workforce expansions, the company was acquired and merged into an overseas-based global power transmission conglomerate, National Grid, and the British ownership change further influenced the evolution of the organization. The National Grid organization underwent its latest acquisition, KeySpan, in August 2007. The KeySpan purchase expanded the National Grid footprint in New York and New England, doubled the National Grid United States employee population, enlarged the gas customer base, and positioned the organization as the second largest United States energy utility. The United Illuminating Company (United Illuminating) was impacted by competitive market and regulatory forces that were active in Connecticut; legislation in 1998 required the previously vertically-integrated utility to sell its generation facilities. Changing the structure and complete monopolistic features of the electric utility industry was viewed by New England regulatory groups, businesses, and politicians as an opportunity to introduce pricing and services’ competition into the power generation field. It was anticipated that competition in power supply would lower electricity costs

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and ease residential customers’ financial burdens, retain existing businesses within the Northeast through the reduction of energy costs, and provide a better business climate that would attract new business and manufacturing companies to the region. The decade of the 1990s found the forces for energy industry change actively in play in California and many of the New England states, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. United Illuminating’s restructuring requirement caused the sale of its power generation assets and the departure of employees who had supported the generation component of the business. The organization’s transmission and distribution divisions remained in tact—in large part because of senior leadership’s commitment to “focus our future investments” (United Illuminating, 2006, ¶ 2) on transmission and distribution. The energy utility customer base consists of over 320,000 homes and business customers—or 21% of Connecticut’s population—and has approximately 1,287 employees, the majority of whom are field force employees. The organization has neither merged with nor been acquired by another energy utility and thus, unlike the customer and geographic growing National Grid, has experienced stability of its customer base, service footprint, and corporate membership and identity. The United Illuminating work setting provided a different environment from that of the acquisition-growth model apparent at National Grid in which to study managerial-employee interaction and communication. The commonalities of the two utilities are: their shared energy industry services, oversight by state and federal regulatory agencies, and the long-term service of their employees. Further, the two Northeastern utilities provided a research opportunity that compared a stable work membership and service territory (United Illuminating) to an

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aggressive acquisition-based business environment that has acquired expanded service territories, increased the respective customer bases, and added the employee populations of the utilities that have been purchased (National Grid). National Grid’s organizational membership spiraled through an ongoing series of announcements of changes in which employees had no direct input. Employees’ reactions during the acquisitions and mergers were typical of organizational and industry changing events: anger and fear. Gill (2003) acknowledged that “change is exciting for those who do it” (¶ 46), but applied change does create alarm among members of the workforce who learn about the changes after the decision-making process has been determined and the organizational direction planned. Fleenor’s (2003) research found a strong linkage between a business culture that is committed to success, planning, and focused on the long-term to the ability of leadership that communicated and interacted effectively (p. 37). Leaders need to “understand the path, communicate the expectations, establish the handholds, and encourage the travelers” (Elrod & Tippett, 2002, ¶ 59) in order to bond employees to the organization and its goals. Further, Pitts (2006) found that employees’ perceptions of the fairness of change and its outcomes were directly influenced by the quality of their respective manager’s communication with them. Statement of the Problem An analysis of the literature revealed that organizations and their employees are experiencing increased disconnection from all management levels because of ineffective communication and interaction practices (Aviolo, Bass, & Jung, 1999; Balogun & Johnson, 2004; Bardwick, 2008; Caldwell, 2003; Martin, 2006b; Payne, 2003, 2005;

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Stigall, 2005). As organizations continue to reduce the number of their middle-manager positions, the remaining managers and supervisors increasingly need to lead and communicate actively and effectively with other members of the organization (Aviolo, Bass, & Jung, 1999; Payne, 2003, 2005). Harrison (1999) broadened the definition of the role of middle-management leadership to include being persuasive in developing and impacting relationships with members of the organization. Researchers (Byrnes, 2005; Sirota, Mischkind, & Meltzer, 2006c) reported that relationship building was a core factor in the development and strength of the organization and that relationship building and communication have an important impact on a business’ financial achievements. In the Watson/Wyatt’s 2005- 2006 Communication Return-On-Investment study that spanned 2001-2004, the researchers found that organizations with the “most effective communication programs returned 57 percent more to their shareholders” (PR Newswire, 2005, ¶ 1) and that one of the strongest contributors to a successful shareholder and business outcome was the practice of effective managerial communication. The Watson/Wyatt research findings enforced the enormous value that communication and its practices have upon organizational financial success and sustainability. In contrast, ineffective managerial and supervisory communication and minimal leadership interaction contributed negatively to employees’ sense of membership, motivation, and job satisfaction (Corporate Leadership Council, 2004a; Sias, 2005). Purpose of the Study The purpose of this quantitative, descriptive research study was to measure the managerial practices of communication and interaction with employees and to report the

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influence of managerial communication and interactions on employees’ sense of work motivation and job satisfaction at two energy transmission and delivery utility organizations located in the northeastern United States. The study applied two survey instruments that were designed and tested by Payne (2003) and used in research undertaken by Payne (2003, 2005) and Stigall (2005), in their respective communication studies. The Payne research survey instruments (2003) were comprised of a manager and supervisor survey and an employee survey that were implemented at two energy utility organizations, United Illuminating and National Grid. Further, the research reviewed the perspectives of long-term employees regarding the influence of their managers’ practices on their individual job satisfaction and work motivation and employee perspectives by gender were also studied to determine if there were differences in reported perspectives of managerial communication and its influence on individual job satisfaction and work motivation. The present study contributed to the body of knowledge and literature that has addressed the communication and interaction practices that managers have provided to employees and highlighted the vital role that the managers have provided to employees’ perspectives of work satisfaction. The current study furthered the knowledge of long-term employees’ perceptions of managerial communication practices and the practices’ influence on workplace satisfaction and motivation. Lastly, the present research provided the study of gender perspectives regarding managerial communication practices and the practices’ influence on gender-reported job satisfaction and work motivation.

Full document contains 355 pages
Abstract: This quantitative study examined managerial communication and interaction practices and the influence of the practices on employees' sense of work motivation and job satisfaction. Strong managerial communication skills and interactions are essential leadership behaviors, yet despite an explosion in communication mechanisms available, employees have continued to experience increased separation from management because of ineffective communication practices. This study surveyed 95 participants, 71 employees and 24 managers. The findings are important to organizations, as they may enable management to understand the importance of effective management practices on job satisfaction and organizational success. The results demonstrated that: (a) managerial communication and interaction practices influenced employees' sense of job satisfaction; (b) managerial communication and interaction practices did not influence employees' sense of work motivation; (c) female employees did not report higher influence of managerial practices on work motivation or job satisfaction; (d) employees' years of service did not contribute to sense of work motivation or job satisfaction; (e) managers and supervisors believed they had greater influence on employees' sense of work motivation and job satisfaction than employees reported; and (f) a stable work setting had no appreciable effect on managers or employees when compared with the same groups within a business environment undergoing constant change. Other significant findings showed that (a) 14.5% of the variability in job satisfaction can be predicted by the linear combination of managerial communication and interaction practices, and (b) in terms of work motivation and job satisfaction, there were nearly identical outcomes in the employees with less than 5 years of service and employees with more than 5 years.