410 Term Project

Amanda Walker, Chyanna Segura, Marianne Jimenez, Meghan

For our research project, we decided to interview the scholar Andi Stein. She is currently a professor at Cal State- Fullerton in the Communications department. We decided upon her due to her concentration in Public Relations and testing the effectiveness of communication tools. The study we acquired information from her research done in 2006, “Employee Communications and Community: An Exploratory Study”. This research was conducted as a qualitative research through a survey, due to the high volume of employees that were going to be studied. 

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The project was set to study how employees and employers communicate with one another in the workplace. As well as what tool of communication was more effectived in the departmental, regional, or organizational levels. The five different communications tools that were being observed were: face-to-face, telephone, personal writing, formal writing, and numeric. The study was conducted for the hospital PeaceHealth in the Pacific Northwest. During that time, the use of technology as a tool for communication was still being introduced so PeaceHealth was more than happy to aid Professor Stein in her research. They provided her with the tools and access to conduct this research because they wanted to improve communication within the company. Not just one location, but to also see if they could improve communication between different PeaceHealth locations and be a community as a whole. The study was conducted as a survey sent to the emails of the 7,500 employees at PeaceHealth. They were encouraged to answer and divided upon their answers. 

As students, we wanted to learn about the purpose and methodology of the research conducted by the interviewed researcher. We were interested in understanding the specific research questions that were being addressed, the sample population that was used, and the methods employed to collect and analyze the data. We were also curious about the key findings and implications of the research. What were the most important takeaways from the study, and how could these findings be applied in real-world settings. Additionally, we wanted to understand the limitations of the research, such as any potential biases or confounding factors that may have affected the results.

Furthermore, we were interested in the researcher’s personal experience conducting the study. We wanted to know what challenges they faced during the research process, how they overcame these challenges, and what they learned from the experience. We also wanted to know if there were any unexpected findings or results that emerged during the study, and how these were addressed.Overall, as students, we wanted to gain a comprehensive understanding of the research process and the impact that research can have on real-world organizations and individuals. We hoped to learn about the importance of precise methodology, effective data analysis, and clear communication of results in the field of research.

Our group was interested in the tools Professor Stein used in her research to achieve her results. She studied digital resources at a time where print media was just being segued out for digital to become more common. As mentioned before, the survey issued via email to 7,500 employees of PeaceHealth used a qualitative approach that she was unfamiliar with but learned how to do via her research. Part of what PeaceHealth wanted to test was the viability of the corporate Intranet as a method of maintaining connection and community between different locations of the same company. As the basis for her research, Stein used Daft and Langel’s Richness Theory which posited that different methods of communication would differ in effectiveness depending on the message being delivered. To explain in more detail, this theory found that people preferred face to face communication, but since it was conducted in 1984, the addition of email and the internet added a new layer to the study. Surprisingly, Stein did find that people still preferred face-to-face communication, though email was the second most popular option. She expected that print communication would still be preferred to email, but the speed and convenience of digital communication influenced the results. Overall, by utilizing a qualitative survey sent out to the employees of PeaceHealth and basing her research on the Richness Theory of communication, Stein conducted successful research and found the results necessary for her dissertation. 

My group and I were also interested in the overall purpose of Andi Steins research study as well as what her greatest takeaways were. After various questions via our interview with Steins, she informed us of many different insights regarding the world of employee communication. She mentioned that employee communication is constantly changing and evolving within the workplace. Stein was looking to improve employee communication within a company in several different locations. This interested her due to a lot of change in communication methods in the late 1990s and early 2000s as a result of the invention of the internet. 

The study comparing digital vs. print communication and what the future holds for communication sparked Andi Stein’s interest. Within her research study regarding employee communication, Stein stressed the fact that it is important to ask employees what they think is working and what is not working within their workplace. She stressed the importance of every member of the company being valued and respected whenever they needed something of importance to be communicated. Whether that be within their day to day work or within the entire company as a whole. For example, older managers could be wanting to use emails as a way of communication, but younger employees would prefer to communicate via text message. This small insight proves that ways of communication have changed very drastically in such a short period of time due to the vast advancements in technology.

My group and I also asked Stein what she found most surprising during her research process. She told us that her most surprising discovery was that face to face communication is the most preferred method while the second most preferred method was email. This intrigued her because she assumed Email was the quickest way to contact someone, but to her surprise, people preferred an in person interaction. I believe this can tell us that although technology is always improving, you are never going to be able to replace meaningful human interaction with online ways of communication. 

Please see below for our visuals and interview

Image from survey results of the effectiveness of each communication tool by department at PeaceHealth (2006).

The organization And Stein conducted her research with https://www.sanjuanjournal.com/life/peacehealth-san-juan-ems-collaborate-to-continue-community-paramedicine-program/

The Link below is our interview with And Stein

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