Organizational Communication Topics

by Karen S. Johnson

According to the University of North Carolina’s Department of Communication Studies, organizational communications “focuses on the various ways individuals influence culture and symbolism, leadership communication, the influence of organizational members’ communication on their ability to participate in organizational life, and critical analysis of organizational communication” You can explore factors that can influence culture and communication, such as diversity and ethics. Examining topics within organizational communications can assist employees and managers with functions such as working on task forces or other small work groups, conducting job interviews, and in successful employee communications.

Formal and Informal Communications

Formal and informal communications is one topic that falls under organizational communications. Formal communication is common in business and similar organizations, and refers to the structure and tone of communications, such as business correspondence, employee manuals, job applications and formal presentations. Informal communications is also present in companies, such as with office grapevines or casual lunches with colleagues. Exploring this topic can provide insight into hierarchies, culture, breaches of etiquette and how that can disrupt the flow or cause negative consequences within the organization, such as sending a business email in an informal or relaxed manner.


You can explore the topic of conflict in detail to include causes of conflict, communication barriers that can lead to conflict, the effects of conflict on an organization’s culture and efficiency, preventing conflicts and conflict resolution. Every organization experiences conflict, but some are more adept at handling it than others. Interviewing human resource managers or other company executives can also provide insight into how organizations deal with conflict.


Organizations are increasingly diverse, bolstering their business by attracting the best talent for competing in global markets. This creates both challenges in organizational communication and increased opportunities for openness. This openness can permeate an organization to create a culture of inclusiveness, and can also enrich employees’ personal lives as well. You might explore whether some types of companies seem more able to assimilate diverse cultures within their organization and what role their organizational communication structure has, if any, in easing that assimilation.

Leadership and the Organizational Culture

Effective organizational communication gains commitment from employees to the overall mission of the company or organization. In this topic area, you might explore various leadership characteristics and how effective leaders might detect inefficiencies in an organizational culture, as well as how they effect change without destroying the positive aspects of the culture. An excellent leader at a Fortune 500 company may fail at a bureaucratic federal agency simply because the cultures are literally as varied as countries on two separate continents.

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