Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Anthony Lolas

Abstract

The need for clear and organizationally effective communications is necessary to maintain sustainability as competition increases. Current research has not addressed problems associated with senior managers' clarity and intent and the misinterpretation by midlevel managers of that intent, causing division managers to misinterpret the company plans. Unresolved miscommunications may lead to destructive subculture development. This mixed methods design focused on how to minimize the confusion that manifests between senior and midlevel management within diverse and decentralized decision support structures. The secondary purpose was to advocate for the identification of divisional misalignment and provide information for a tool to help senior level managers identify possible misalignment. Leader-member exchange theory and decision theory guided the research design associated with the study of middle-level managers (N = 220) whose companies were members of the local Rotary clubs and selected individual businesses in South Carolina. Results were analyzed with correlations, ANOVA, and regression. Results indicated that the independent variables of clarity, information delivery tools, mental frame, and the form of message did not statistically affect the decision-making processes of middle level managers in similar-sized businesses. However, the qualitative results suggested that the senior manager's clarity is related directly to the distinction between FYI and FYA forms of communication. Positive social change may result from the findings. The results could be used to improve decision makers' ability to communicate their organizational strategy to other managers, thus promoting sustained businesses success and employment in a community.