Roger H. Hug

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Green, Gerald G.||Novak, Ralph S.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Business Administration


Communication in industrial relations


Purpose of the Study Communication has long been acknowledged as a major problem in Industry. The upward flow of communication was the focal point of the present research study. Th# major problems posed for investigation were: 1. The methods of upward communication used in the manufacturing industry, 2. The prominence of the superior-subordinate relationship in respect to the total picture, 3. The relevance of company size to the methods of upward communication used, 4. The importance assigned to various upward communication sources by top executives. The study was designed to provide incite into the total picture of upward communications. The results should prove particularly valuable to the small expanding manufacturing firm. Large firms were included primarily for comparative purposes. Summary and Conclusion The study unveiled many significant discoveries. The superior-subordinate relationship was continually acclaimed throughout the study. Only interviewing was used by more companies as an upward communication source. Supervisory contact was considered the most effective source of upward communication. An interesting correlation was provided between company size and the extent of upward communication. From the findings, one may deduce that the superior-subordinate relationship lessens in dominance as the firm Increases in size. The importance of supervisory contact does not decrease appreciably but rather the need for other supporting sources increases. The average usage of direct formal methods of upward communication was 41.5 per cent in small firms, 46.7 in small-large and 60.7 in large firms. The small expanding firm would do well to recognize the need for expanding communication sources as growth continues. The indirect methods of upward communication proved, in most cases, to be considered more effective than the direct formal methods. The direct informal sources (supervisory contact, informal group discussions, and company sponsored recreational activities) were rated high in all size firms. The small firms considered supervisory personnel and informal group discussions necessary in more cases than the other two-sub-classifications. Company sponsored recreational activities were used least in small firms. Explanation for the inconsistency may be found in the need for a more structured approach to a recreational program. Unstructured superior-subordinate relationships; such as, supervisory contact and informal group meetings lend themselves more naturally to the small uncomplicated organizational arrangement of the small company. The opinions of top executives surveyed gave support to the relationships already expressed. The small and small-large firms leaders felt the need for upward communication should be resolved by way of direct informal contacts. Very little support was given any other source. Large companies presented an altogether different picture. The opinions were quite varied. Of the 14 responses, 9 different opinions were expressed. Suggestion boxes were mentioned three times. Supervisory personnel, informal group meetings and company papers were all mentioned twice. The greater divergence of upward communication methods used in large industries could account for the wide scope of opinions. Once again, small growing firms should look ahead and plan for the future. As the company increases in size so does the need for direct formal supportive methods of upward communication.


Includes bibliographical references.


98 pages




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