This paper examines the impact of managerial communication styles on employees’ attitudes and behaviours. Through the lens of social exchange theory and organisation support theory, it examines the passive, aggressive, and assertive styles of managers/supervisors that influence perceived supervisory support and tests whether the support increases employees’ satisfaction with the communication of supervisors and their organisation-based self-esteem. It also assesses whether employees’ communication satisfaction and their self-esteem influence employees’ performance, commitment and absenteeism. Four hundred employees from 10 manufacturing firms in India were studied through questionnaire survey. Standard instruments were used to assess the constructs. Only a scale was developed to measure the communication style of managers and a single item to assess absenteeism. At the time of collection of filled-in questionnaires, 8 employees were requested to recall situations at the workplace in which they had good and/or bad experiences. Results revealed that assertive style of communication lends maximum support to employees. Perceived supervisory support at the workplace enhances employees’ satisfaction with communication of supervisors and organisation-based self-esteem. Satisfaction with communication fosters a strong emotional bond with organisations and the emotional bond with organisations reduces employees’ absenteeism. Employees’ organisation-based self-esteem increases their job performance. Employees' narrations of their experinces at the workplace revealed that employees prefer to work and stay in organisations where supervisors communicate openly with subordinates, treat them with respect/recognition, minimise the difference between superior-subordinate relationships, and create a congenial environment in which subordinates/employees can develop and use their abilities. The narrations of the employees support the findings of the quantitative study. Though the study provides useful insights, it has certain limitations. First, data have been collected through self-reported questionnaire that are likely to be tainted with social desirability effects. Employees reporting daily to their supervisors might have overassessed their superiors and also their own attitudes and behaviours. Second, the observations made were limited to descriptions of what happened in private organisations in a few states in India. So caution should be exercised in generalising the findings to public sectors in the same or other states. Organisations can conduct training programs to develop assertive communication style in their managers/supervisors to increase the support to subordinates, thereby its positive consequences will follow in increasing employees’ performance and commitment and reducing absenteeism. The study aims to understand the effects of the human aspects of communication on employees’ attitudes and behaviours. It attempts to establish a link between the effective managerial communication styles and development of positive supervisor-subordinate relationships.
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