Molyko, Southwest Region - Buea, Cameroon


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This study examined the influence of communication on employee performance in selected
businesses in Buea. This study was conducted using three objectives, namely: to establish the
influence of upward communication on employee performance, to determine the influence of
downward communication on employee performance and to examine the influence of
horizontal communication on employee performance of selected businesses in Buea, The
target population for this study was the employees of the selected businesses in Buea. For the
quantitative aspects of this study, 40 employees were selected using purpose sampling
technique. Data was collected using structured questionnaires. The collected quantitative data
was analyzed using both the descriptive (frequency tables, percentages, mean and standard
deviation) and inferential statistical analysis (regression and ANOVA) methods. The study
findings show that there is statistically significant relationship between upward
communication and employee performance, downward communication structure and
employee performance, as well as horizontal communication structure and employee

Therefore, the study concluded that communication structure have direct
influence on employee performance in the selected businesses in Buea. The overall finding of
the study also shows that there is a statistically significant relationship between
organizational communication and employee performance in the selected businesses in Buea
with a correlation coefficient of (r= 0.735) . Hence, the research finding is able to provide
insights and important information to the property development firms to better understand the
importance of communication among employees in enhancing employee performance. For
this to happen, management may focus on the development of soft skills to increase the
ability to express and communicate among the employees. Management should also organize
more activities such as inter-departmental meetings to create quality bonding among
superiors and subordinates. Proper training and development plan should be established to
realize effective communication in the organization.
KEYWORDS: Upward Communication, Downward Communication, Horizontal
Communication and Employees Performance

1.0 General Introduction
The study focuses on communication as a key important instrument for the maintenance of
the betterment and the continuity of an organisation for the achievement of the organisational
goals. For an organisation to achieve these goals, there is the need for human resource
management , and for this resources to be better utilise employees must be well informed so
as to bring out the best in them there by making the organisational goals a priority.
Communication help to broaden the skills of an employee, moreover, if an employee is well
informed he/she turn to be satisfied with his job this however will lead to increase in job
satisfaction and when employees are satisfied with their job, productivity turn to increased.
Communication is a means of bringing about change. It is the mainstream of any organisation
growth. There is need form interaction and understanding of management-employee relations
this will bring about increased performance of all parties involved in the communication
process or chain. According to Banihashemi (2011), communication as a medium, a means to
performance ends, or as constitutive, as the end in itself. Communication is a process of
transmitting information from one person to another. According to Stephen (2011),
communication is a critical factor in directing and mobilising the workforce towards the
accomplishment of the organisational goals or objectives. By creating understanding it
enhances co-operation and promote effective performance. According to Williams (2007)
smart managers understand that the end effective, straight forward communication between
managers and employees is essential for success. However, this chapter introduces the study
by looking at the background of the study, statement of the problem, research questions,
research objectives, research hypothesis, significance of the study, scope of the study and
definition of terms.

1.1 Background to the Study
In today’s age, information is becoming the vital asset of an organisation (Higson & Waltho,
2010). It is the basic means of production in any organisation in addition to the traditional
ones: land, capital and labor (Druker, 1993). Choo (1998) stated that “information is an
intrinsic component of nearly everything that an organization does so much so that its
function has become transparent and productive.” Eadie (2009) noted that useful and timely
information is the life blood of employees that is decisive for employees to make important

choices in organising their activities and executing their tasks. This means that organisations
should encourage the flow of information across the entire organisation for better
achievements. Information must be exchanged among employees in the organisation so that
they can carry out their organisational activities so efficiently and effectively. This is because
it is through the exchange of information (communication) that the overall goals and
objectives of the organisation can be achieved. Employees should communicate the right
information at the right time using the right medium in order to execute their tasks (Crown,
2013). Therefore, information is a resource and is part of the communication process
(Madden 2000).

In today’s organisations, communication has become an important factor for the overall
functioning and success of an organization (Rajhans, 2012). Communication takes place
when employees share or exchange meaningful and understandable information with one
another. In organisational communication, good communication is the foundation upon which
an organisation system is developed and maintained in order to get information, idea, or
message exchanged across to others in order to achieve the intended performance. Without
organisational communication, organisational excellence and performance would not exist
and the various parts of an organisation would not be bound together for common goals
(Researchcage, 2013).

Further, according to Duncan and Moiety (as cited in Femi, 2014),
employees relate with each other using means of communication. Therefore, communication
binds employees together in an organization (Femi, 2014). For instance, according to Duncan
and Moriaty (as cited in Femi, 2014), traditionally, managers spent the majority of their time
communicating with employees and stakeholders in one form or another (face-to-face
discussion, memos, notice boards, mass meeting, employees hand book, and public lectures)
but, today, every worker finds out that communication is an important aspect of their work
and leads them to effective and efficient work performance.
Communication in business organizations has also its own role in achieving the intended
business goals, which is in turn achieved through employee’s performance. Harris and Nelson
(as cited in Rajhans, 2012) pointed out that organisational communication is one of the most
dominant and important activities in business organisations. Fundamentally, the functioning
and survival of businesses organisations is based on effective communication among
employees. In addition, Jones et al. (as cited in Rajhans, 2012) stated that “organisational
capabilities are developed and enacted through intensely social and communicative
processes. Communication helps individuals and groups carry out activities to achieve goals.”

This means that effective communication is mandatory for achieving intended performances
in businesses organisations. Thus, efficient and effective communication practices have
become more important in all business organisations for greater employee’s performance
(Rajhans, 2012).
In relation to product and service rendering businesses, just like any other business
organisation, businesses use communication as a tool to carry out their daily activities. In
practice, there is no organisation without communication including the micro and small
businesses (Spaho, 2011). Thus, employees of the micro and small businesses have to
communicate to each other in order to have an understanding of their work and exchange
needed information that is pertinent to their specific work so that they can achieve the desired
level of performance. In addition, Rajhans (2012) pointed out that for effective production
processes to produce the intended products require greater collaboration among employees in
different functional units, which is achieved through effective communication. This means
that employee performance could be enhanced with effective communication or interactions
among employees in the businesses (Nwata, Umoh, & Amah, 2016). Further, Guo and
Sanchez (as cited in Ergen, 2010) noted that there is a strong relationship between
communication and the efficient and effective performance of the organisation, which is the
result of employee’s performance. This is an indication that ocommunication is still one of
the factors that affect employee’s performance in businesses including the micro and small
businesses in Buea.
In relation to product and service businesses, just like in any other organisation,
communication has important aspects that need to be considered since it determines the
effectiveness of communication in the businesses. According to Spaho (2012), the
organisational communication aspects are the communication patterns, communication
structure, communication medium (methods). In addition, according to Pace (2014),
communication climate is another aspect of communication. Communication patterns refer to
the flow of information in the organisation. It deals with how information flows in the
organisation for smooth and better functioning of the business. In any organisation,
information flows through formal and informal communication patterns. Thus, employees
share information with each other through formal and informal patterns of communication.
The formal pattern of communication follows the hierarchical management structure of the
organisation or the chain of commands whereas the informal pattern of communication
follows the grapevine” (Rogers, 2013). Informal communication is based on friendship,

relationship, proximity and shared interests between coworkers. Therefore, communication
patterns deal with the formal and informal communication among employees within the
organization in order to get work done and thus it has its own effect on employee’s
performance in the micro and small businesses (Rogers, 2013).
Also, product and service businesses, communication flows through certain communication
structures (directions).

According to Kovacic and Luzar (2011) structure is one of the features
of the communication network characteristics because each communication network has its
own structure representing patterned communication flows in an organisation. Therefore,
according to Atambo and Momanyi (2016), the three important communication structures are
the downward, upward, and horizontal (lateral) communication. Additionally, diagonal
communication is another communication structure in an organisation (Wilson 1992). It takes
place between employees that are in different organisational levels and are not in direct
relationship in the organisational structure (Spaho, 2012). These vertical (downward and
upward), horizontal, and diagonal communication structures interconnect employees in the
micro and small businesses and affect employee performance (Kovacic & Luzar, 2011).
Therefore, it is relevant to consider communication structures in this study.

Another important aspect of communication is the communication medium. According to
Johns (as cited in Owusu-Boateng & Jeduah, 2014), organisational communication involves a
medium in order to transfer information from the sender to the receiver. This medium could
be through a telephone call, a paper; as in a letter or a memo and any other desired means
such as face-to-face, email, intranet, etc. This indicates that communication medium plays a
role in communication because it supports effective communication to occur in an
organisation. Welch (as cited in Men & Hung-Baesecke, 2015) noted that effective
communication depends on suitable messages delivered in forms that are acceptable and
functional to employees. The medium must be fit and with a capacity to transmit the message
appropriately from the sender to receiver. This indicates that employees are required to
choose the right communication medium in order to make any message understood and
In addition to the above aspects, communication climate has its own role for effective
communication and employee performance. Communication climate refers to the
environment in which communication occurs. According to Pace (as cited in Nordin et al.,
2014), “communication climate conceptually consists of employees’ perceptions of the

information flow and the climate in which the communication occurs.” Communication
climate can be seen either in open or closed climate. In an open climate, information flows
freely but it is blocked in a closed communication climate (Nordin, 2014). As Rosenberg and
Rosestein (as cited in Nordin et al., 2014) stated that “open communication enhances
productivity as well as profitability towards an organization whereas closed communication
can weaken productivity.” This is because an open communication climate enables
employees to exchange or share pertinent information in order to execute their tasks, which is
not possible in a closed communication climate.
According to Nwata, Umoh and Amah (2016), an integrated communication is needed for
sustainable employee performance to be achieved because the inadequacy in organisational
communication leads to poor employee performance. In the current economy and business
competition, effective communication is becoming more important now than ever before in
order to increase employees performance in micro and small businesses (Nwata et al., 2016).
Roberts and O’Reilly (as cited in Jain, 2016) also notified that if communication is good in an
organisation, an organisation’s performance, which is a sum of employees performance, will
also be good.

Therefore, an integrated communication that constitutes of the communication
patterns, communication structure, communication medium, and communication climate can
have an influence on employee performance in micro and small businesses.
In relation to employee’s performance, according to Balyan (as cited in Nwata et al., 2016),
organisations are set up to accomplish specific goals. For these goals to be accomplished, the
performance of employees in executing tasks becomes very crucial. However, employee
performance must be subject to performance measurement. According to the Research Team,
Development of Accountability System for Performance Government (as cited in Hikmah,
2015), “performance is the degree of effectiveness and efficiency” and hence, employee’s
performance is measured using work effectiveness and efficiency in producing the intended

In the small and medium business sector, work effectiveness and efficiency are
further characterized with the quality and quantity of work achieved by an employee in
accordance with the task given to the employee respectively (Hikmah, 2015). However, as
Olamigoke (as cited in Nwata, et al., 2016) described that employee’s performance couldn’t
be enhanced without communication with one another because communication permits
employees in an organisation to give and receive information. Therefore, it is relevant to
consider employee performance as dependent variable to communication as the independent
variable in this study. Therefore, since employee performance cannot be enhanced without
effective communication in these businesses (Nwata, et al., 2016), it is important to examine
the influence of communication on employee performance in selected businesses in Buea.
1.2 Statement of the Problem


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