An Example of Effective Organizational Communication
Hobby Lobby is an American chain of retail arts and crafts stores based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA. The company is also known as Hobby Lobby Creative Centers as it was its previous name. The main point that distinguishes Hobby Lobby among many other companies is its religious views promoted by owners, David and Barbara Green. Due to their religious principles and beliefs, the company has received a special organizational communication.
An unpleasant situation has occurred between Hobby Lobby and Burwell. The issue was represented by the Health and Human Service Mandate. It also involved Barbara and David Green who were required to implement and facilitate four potentially life-terminating devices and drugs in their health insurance plan. They were expected to do it although their religious convictions and views banned it. In such a case, the family had to pay serious fines. The spouses stated that by burdening their religious views and beliefs, the company violated the federal law entitled the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The argument resulted positively for Hobby Lobby since the Supreme Court acknowledged the Greens’ religious liberty. One of the explanations for such a decision was that no person can be obliged to refuse their religious views and beliefs when they start a business.
The organizational communication of the company helped its owners achieve the desired results. Otherwise, they would have to pay severe fines for refusing to provide all the necessary medications. The successful organizational communication style of Hobby Lobby helped the company overcome the challenges that it faced and prove that firm and stable communication principles were able to save the company from the unnecessary spending.
The Impact of the Organizational Communication
Hobby Lobby is a unique example when the owners of the company demonstrate deep religious views and interpret them to their business. As a result, the company’s leadership style, orgaizational communication, code of conduct, and other aspects have been much influenced by the religious convictions. However, communication has probably adopted more changes than any other of the introduced aspects. The owners of Hobby Lobby have a certain perception of the world where they live and the way they behave. This image concerns also the communication style, and they wanted to share their communication principles with their employees.
For many businesspeople, running a company and obeying strict religious canons are two incompatible phenomena. Business predetermines the ability to make necessary decisions which may sometimes contradict certain religious views (Eisenberg, Goodall & Trethewey, 2014). Hobby Lobby’s owners did not want to live a double life being ‘decent’ Christians and ambitious businesspeople at the same time. Therefore, it was decided to create a specific leadership style which would embrace religious principles and business needs.
This approach had both advantages and disadvantages for the company’s development. The positive effect of introduction of religious convictions in a company’s communication style is the sharing of common beliefs. The majority of Americans are very religious people; therefore, creating the environment where the communication style is based mostly on these principles is a big advantage. Employees will believe that they are tied not by business relationships but something more spiritual like faith. Another advantage is the promotion of an adequate style of communication. Many companies today are motivated only by profit, and the entire business is being developed in the way that will effectively satisfy this goal (Eisenberg, Goodall &Trethewey, 2014). As a result, communication style becomes a tool for the achievement of business goals rather than the promotion of adequate relationship between employees. The role of the religion in the communication style guarantees that it will not be used to violate the employees’ rights because it will be based on some essential principles which will be clearly described and shared by every employee.
In the global context, the communication style whicch is very much influenced by religious beliefs will unite all employees better than any leadership style because all workers will have the same culture that will be promoted by the company (Barker & Angelopulo, 2006). As a result, it will have a positive impact on the company’s productivity due to the reduction of conflicts and their consequences on the work process. The failure of many companies consists in ignoring of such an important aspect as the company’s culture. Employees who cannot find a common language are not able to work in a team and demonstrate a high level of performance. However, if they all will be connected by the same idea, which is not the promotion, career growth, or profit but something that belongs to their everyday life like religion, they will feel more comfortable in the business environment, knowing that there are other people who share the same views on life.
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Among the disadvantages of the impact of religion on the communication style, one should mention the fact that there are some people who do not share religious views, but they are still well-qualified professionals who are required by Hobby Lobby. They may not demonstrate any negative attitude to Christianity or religion in general, but their life principles are not based on religious beliefs. In this case, the company would face a dilemma because these people have fewer chances of becoming a part of the team where they work. Therefore, it is necessary to implement some changes to the company’s communication style which will be more tolerable to those people who have different religious views or do not believe in any religion at all (Zaremba, 2010). The best solution in this case is to use religious principles in communication as well as adopt them to the business environment, thus making them less religious. In this way, one will preserve the religious background and make the company’s principles more neutral for those who do not share the implementation of religion beliefs in the company’s management system. Hence, the company should continue developing its communication style in accordance with the religious beliefs but not introduce them openly.