HomeMSEUF Research Studiesvol. 12 no. 1 (2010)

Communication and Organizational Culture in a Private University

Claudia Odette J. Ayala



My research sought to understand communication and organizational culture as constructed by members of a private educational institution. I specifically examined existing metaphors, rituals/practices, symbols, and artifacts of communication in XYZ University to identify underlying meaning or themes that reflect organizational culture.


I utilized interpretive approach, textual analysis, ethnography and naturalistic inquiry to identify the social constructs among middle level administrators (deans, directors, department heads), faculty, and employees of a private school. I also employed observational methods, document analyses, interviews, and interpretation of brochures, logos, bulletins, memos, and other symbolic outputs.


Social constructs of the members of the organization revealed a search for excellence, sense of pride, consensus-dissensus, compromising culture vs. multiple realities, entrepreneurial culture, familial and competitive nature, argumentativeness and rhetorical sensitivity, and humor orientation. Faculty room layout shows a friendly character and openness of the organization, while office layout reflects recognition of authority and delegation of responsibilities. However, other symbolic outputs such as the façade, closing, logo, and architectural style failed to project a sense of the organization’s self-image.


The main contribution of my study is methodical as it provided a new/uncharted approach in studying organizational communication and culture. This interpretive approach to organizational communication helped to identify culturally reinforcing and destabilizing factors that could have implications on organizational success.