Formal organizational communication is not an easily defined term. Because of the nature of communication, organizational communication is a complicated phenomenon that has no clear boundaries. Several definitions attempt to conceptualize the abstract nature of organizational communication. The study of organizational communication involves the intersection of two complex and dynamic concepts: organizations and communication. An organization has three primary characteristics:

  • Social collectivity (a group of people)
  • Coordinated activities (structure)
  • Goal-oriented activities (both individual and collective)

In defining communication, most scholars agree that communication is a process that is transactional (involving two or more people interacting in context) and symbolic (placing meaning and abstractions on things). To formalize organizational communication means to understand how the context of the organization influences communication processes and how the symbolic nature of communication differentiates ...

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