ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND INTERNAL COMMUNICATION AS ANTECEDENTS OF EMPLOYEE-ORGANIZATION RELATIONSHIPS IN THE CONTEXT OF ORGANIZATIONAL JUSTICE: A MULTILEVEL ANALYSIS
Kim, Hyo Sook
Grunig, James E.
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One research direction that is needed but has not been fully exploited in studies of organization-public relationships is research on the antecedents of relationships. The antecedents of relationships are the first stage of the relationship framework, for they are what cause specific relationships between an organization and its publics to develop. The purpose of this study was to explore possible antecedents of internal relationships in organizations. I examined the direct and indirect influences of organizational structure and internal communication on employee-organization relationships using organizational justice as a mediating factor. Organizational justice is a relatively recently developed but widely used concept in organizational studies that refers to the extent to which people perceive organizational events as being fair. This study was a typical example of multilevel research in that it gathered and summarized individual-level data to operationalize organizational-level constructs such as organizational structure and internal communication. The multilevel nature of the main constructs of this study was addressed by using the multilevel analysis method. Data were collected by conducting a survey of about 1,200 employees in 31 Korean organizations. I used hierarchical linear modeling (HLM), which is a type of random coefficient model and is specifically designed to accommodate nested or multilevel data structure, to test the cross-level hypotheses of this study. The findings suggested that organizational structure and the system of internal communication were associated with employee-organization relationships, playing the role of antecedents of internal relationships. More specifically, asymmetrical communication was negatively related to employees' commitment, trust, and satisfaction. Also it was shown that symmetrical communication was associated positively with communal relationships. Lastly, organic structure was negatively related to exchange relationships and positively related to trust and control mutuality. On the other hand, organizational justice was associated with organizational structure and internal communication as well as with employee-organization relationships. Organizational justice also mediated the effects of symmetrical communication and organizational structure on communal relationships and four relationship outcomes (control mutuality, trust, commitment, and satisfaction), implying that symmetrical communication and organic structure can contribute to building quality relationships when they are combined with fair behavior by management.