You may have learned from previous experience that traditional communication strategies and education programs fail to bring about the desired change – at least lasting change. That’s because one-way communication creates awareness but not understanding. Simply stated, organizational communication is the consideration, analysis, and criticism of the role of communication in organizational contexts and has arisen from the fields of business information, business communication, and early mass communication in the 1930s and 50s. Later in the 1990s, organizational communication theories changed under studies performed by Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline, including concepts such as “learning organization” and “systems thinking.” Even as more recent studies include derivations on these theories with increased focus on gender, race, and globalization, Senge’s theories continue to provide the most accepted models in organizational communication strategy.
Senge defines learning organizations as, “organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to learn together.” In essence, they are businesses that facilitate the learning of all members and consciously transform themselves into higher performing entities.
The main benefits of a learning organization, set forth in consequent publications The Learning Company (Pedler, Burgogyne, and Boydell) and The Learning Organization (McHugh, Groves, and Alker) are:
- Maintaining levels of innovation and remaining competitive
- Being better placed to respond to external pressures
- Having the knowledge to better link resources to customer needs
- Improving quality of outputs at all levels
- Improving corporate image by becoming more people oriented
- Increasing the pace of change within the organization
The concepts of “learning organization”, “context”, and “systems thinking” are important elements to consider when developing an organizational communication strategy. As Peter Senge writes, “learning organizations consciously and continually transform themselves and their context” and “systems thinking is based on the belief that the component parts of a system can best be understood in the context of relationships with each other and with other systems.”
ContXt® understands the importance of context and helps you witness and achieve context through organizational communication. ContXt’s® visual communication services create context throughout the organization – accelerating understanding by helping people see the big picture, cross boundaries, and combine disparate pieces into new wholes.