The study surveyed 506 employees in the United States to test the effect of internal communication (i.e., corporate-level symmetrical and leadership-level responsive communications) on fostering a positive emotional culture characterized by companionate love, joy, pride, and gratitude. In addition, we tested the interplay between corporate internal communication and a positive emotional culture and its influence on supportive employee behaviors, specifically, organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and employee advocacy. Results indicated that symmetrical communication and responsive leadership communication cultivated a positive emotional culture in organizations. Such culture also fostered employee OCB and advocacy. Moreover, corporate symmetrical communication directly and positively influenced employee OCB. Finally, this study found that employee OCB positively affected employee advocacy. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings for public relations scholars and practitioners were discussed.
Emotional culture, compared with cognitive culture, affects organizational behaviors in a different way (Robinson, Watkins, & Harmon-Jones, 2013). Unlike cognitive culture, which guides how organizational members think and behave, emotional culture sets the tone for how organizational members feel. Despite the increasing recognition of the importance of how employees feel and what emotions they experience within their respective organizations, limited scholarly attention has been given to the emotional aspect of organizational culture. Specifically, the current study examines a positive emotional culture, characterized by companionate love, joy, pride, and gratitude, its antecedents, and its employee outcomes. Companionate love comprises feelings of affection, caring, compassion, and tenderness for others (Barsade & O’Neill, 2016). A joyous workplace makes employees smile and think creatively (Karl & Peluchette, 2006). Pride arises when employees are immersed in a positive, encouraging work environment and when they develop a sense of identification with their organization. In this work, we also examine gratitude, which is generated when a positive outcome related to oneself is attributed to the contributions of others (Michie, 2009). The role of internal communication in shaping organizational culture has been widely recognized by management communication and public relations scholars and practitioners (e.g., Men & Bowen, 2017; Grunig, Grunig, & Dozier, 2002; Sriramesh, Grunig, & Dozier, 1996). To expand the theoretical knowledge of internal communication and emotional culture, the primary purpose of the present study is to investigate whether and how corporate symmetrical communication and responsive leadership communication can induce a positive emotional culture. As the normative model of how public relations should be practiced, symmetrical communication model advocates a dialogue between organizations and stakeholders in search of mutually agreeable solutions.