Journal of Intercultural Communication, issue 2, 1999

Bill Ticehurst and Cal W. Downs

Professional Communication in Asia/Pacific Organisations:

A Comparative Study


This paper addresses the role of professional communication in manufacturing organisations in Australia, Thailand and Korea. Professional communication is seen as intentional communication that has the objective of achieving strategic goals within organisational or professional contexts. Within this view, practitioners need to consider communication as a core organisational process, be able to link communication with organisational outcomes and strategies, and assess cultural influences on the ways organisations function effectively.

The research study examines three questions concerning the nature of the relationship between professional communication and other forms of organisational communication; the relationship between professional communication and organisational outcomes such as employees’ job satisfaction; and the consistency of these communication relationships across cultures. Responses of 2046 employees in Australia, Thailand and Korea to the Communication Satisfaction Questionnaire and a measure of job satisfaction were analysed to provide the research findings. Hofstede’s cultural characteristics in the workplace was used to provide a basis for cultural comparisons between the cultural groups.

The findings suggest there is a close relationship between dimensions of professional communication and other aspects of organisational communication. This relationship extends across the cultural groups involved in the study. The study found a number of professional communication dimensions to be significant predictors of job satisfaction in the organisations studied. Personal feedback and organisational integration were found to be the most important predictors across the three cultures.

It is concluded that it is essential that professional communicators understand the holistic nature of communication in organisations, and that they can make the link between communication and strategic goals. As such, there is a need to overcome the treatment of communication as a superficial aspect of organisational life, rather it needs to be seen as a core organisational process with multi-dimensional aspects. It is clear that although professional communication can be defined as a functional concept in organisational setting, its understanding and practice cannot be separated from, and is dependent upon, other communication activities in the organisation.

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