Understanding the impacts of issue types and employee–organization relationships on employees’ problem perceptions and communicative behaviors

Yeunjae Lee, Katie Haejung Kim, Jeong Nam Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of different types of corporate issues and employee–organization relationships (EORs) on employees’ perceptions of the issues and on their communicative actions. Specifically, this study investigates how employees who have experienced an internal or an external issue within their organizations differently perceive the organizational issue and engage in positive and/or negative communicative behaviors. Design/methodology/approach: An online survey was conducted with 363 full-time employees in large-sized companies in the USA who have experienced any internal or external issues within the past six months. Findings: Employees are more cognitively aware of and feel more involved and less constrained in solving an internal company issue than an external one. Experiencing internal issues has led employees to share negative information about their organization externally. The quality of EORs pre-issue significantly increases employees’ involvement and positive communication behavior and decreases constraint levels and negative communication behaviors regarding an issue. Practical implications: Corporate communication and public relations practitioners should incorporate strategic internal communication strategies to preemptively manage internal issues and to avoid them from evolving into internal crises. Originality/value: This study is among the first to distinguish internal and external issues perceived by internal stakeholders and to examine their impacts on employees’ issue-specific perceptions and communicative behaviors. This study also provides significant practical guidelines for corporate communication practitioners and leaders by explicating the strategic role of issue type and employee behaviors in issue management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-568
Number of pages16
JournalCorporate Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 31 2019


  • Employee communication behaviours
  • Employee-organization relationship
  • Internal issue management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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