An exploratory study of online internal communication within an employee relationship management approach: A Kenyan case study




Employee relationship management, Employee relationship building, Internal communication, Online communication tools, Online internal communication, Public sector organisation, Social exchange theory


The aim of this study was to explore the adoption of online communication tools (OCTs) by employees and managers of a public sector organisation in Kenya in a bid to build relationships in the workplace. Online internal communication (OIC) is gaining more prominence in public sector organisations in Kenya owing to the recognition of its positive effects on sound employee relationships. Strong employee relationships are essential to enhance not only the competitive advantage, but also the productivity of organisations. It is for this reason that public sector organisations in Kenya have increasingly adopted various OCTs and channels to enhance employees’ interactions and engagement. Consequently, a qualitative research approach was adopted. Primary data was collected through focus group discussions and in-depth interviews and analysed in accordance with a well-known qualitative data analysis approach. The key findings in this study identified the lack of training, open communication, involvement, motivation and trust as some of the factors affecting employee relationship management (ERM) in an online setting. The findings provide deeper insight into the degree to which employees are using OCTs for relationship building in a public sector organisation, which could be used as a heuristic for similar organisations.


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