Communication audits and the effects of increased information: a follow-up study.
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Communication audits have now featured in the literature for 50 years, and many audit approaches have been evaluated. However, follow-up studies designed to chart the actual impact that an audit makes upon communication performance have not been reported. Rather, audits are typically presented as one-shot events, whose impact is not measured. It is as if the audit is an end in itself rather than part of a process of measurement and performance improvement. This paper is therefore timely, since it employs a follow-up audit to track the effects of an initial audit upon a major health care organization. The findings do not support the view that the frequently expressed desire of staff for greater communication is a metamyth, and that an increased flow of information simply produces a demand for more. Rather, and consistent with the precepts of Uncertainty Reduction Theory, the provision of information reduced uncertainty and generated increased satisfaction with communication processes. The results from this study also illustrate how the audit can play a useful role in an organization’s communication strategy.