Friday, June 22, 2012

June Winding Down

Research Project Status

Since my last post, more completed surveys trickled in, providing us with a total of more than 1,400 surveys for this project.  Along with the six focus groups, that must place it among the larger employee communication projects conducted.  Thanks to a small group of incredible students from the Poznań University of Economics, all survey data has now been transferred to Excel spreadsheets, and those files forwarded to my colleagues Dr. Jaehee Cho and graduate student Nick Woods at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  They are transferring the data to high-level statistical software for detailed analysis.  Dr. Cho has already provided descriptive statistics for the first partner company, allowing me to complete the initial report we will provide to company leaders within the next two weeks.  Dr. Cho is now working on an analysis for the second company so I can complete that report as well.

Most of the completed 9-page surveys -- 300 more surveys
have not yet come back from the students entering the
data into the Excel spreadsheet, though I have the
Excel files.

Qualitative and quantitative data have allowed us to provide each participating company with a detailed profile of the communication health within their organizations.  Internal/employee communication is considered by many to be the most important component of an organization’s communication efforts and responsibilities, and this recognition has rapidly risen in recent years. Researchers consistently find a clear association between effective internal communication and management communication competence on the one hand and employee job satisfaction and organizational communication satisfaction on the other. Further, there is strong, research-based support for the claim that internal communication, as an instrument of trust building, contributes significantly to employee commitment and innovation. Employees are the organization’s most consequential stakeholders and are often the most direct connection between the organization and its relevant external constituencies: the communities in which it operates (local, regional, national and global); government agencies and officials that monitor and regulate the organization’s operational activities; media; customers and clients; vendors; investors; etc. An organization will not long survive if it fails to communicate effectively with its employees.

My wife, Robin (far left), and I hosted a pizza party to
thank all the fantastic students who helped by
transferring survey data from the surveys themselves
to Excel spreadsheets -- an incredibly tedious task
involving 1,400+ surveys.  They did a flawless job.

Bucket List

I can now check several items off my bucket list:
  • Sitting on a beautiful summer day in a floating cafe on the bank of the Vistula River sipping a draught Polish pivo.
  • Similarly, sitting on the steps of a 16th century Polish cathedral munching a grilled kiełbasa purchased from an outdoor vendor.
  • On the banks of the Warta River in Poznań at 11 p.m., being in the midst of an attempt to set a new Guiness record for the number of illuminated lanterns released into the night sky.
  • Surrounded by enthusiastic (to put it mildly) football (soccer) fans from Ireland, Croatia, Italy and Poland in the Poznań Fanzone, watching EURO 2012 matches on giant screens.
Let me explain.  On Monday and Tuesday of this week, Robin and I made a brief visit to Toruń, a city about two hours by train from Poznań.  Many say it's the most beautiful city in Poland, and I would not dispute that.  The weather cooperated fully, and we enjoyed seeing sights such as the many magnificent cathedrals, the ruins of what must have been a seriously impressive Teutonic castle, an extensive collection of Gothic art and artifacts in the old City Hall, and the Copernicus Museum (Toruń was the astronomer's hometown).  Toruń is yet another great reason to spend time in Poland.  That accounts for the first two bucket list items.

One corner of the ruins of the Teutonic castle in
Toruń, Poland, on the bank of the Vistula River.

Throughout Toruń, there were many school groups
benefitting from the deep history that is so well
preserved in the city. Here we are inside the Teutonic
castle ruins.

A view of Toruń from the bell tower of St. John's Cathedral.

The ornate interior of one of the Toruń cathedrals.

The breakfast buffet in our Toruń hotel.

Visiting the Copernicus museum (perhaps in the home in
which he lived -- they can't say with certainty) was
especially moving to me as a former U.S. Air Force
navigator.  I used to perform celestial navigation
(before GPS and computers), relying on the concepts
that Copernicus conceived and developed.

The third item on the bucket list involves floating lanterns released from the banks of the Warta River, which flows through Poznań.  This happened last evening from around 10:30 p.m. until 11:45 p.m.  It seems this is an annual event here, with the intent each time to establish a new Guiness record for number of lanterns released.  To be in the midst of thousands of people releasing the lanterns they had purchased for the occasion is a phenomenal experience.  The best way to understand the ethereal beauty of the spectacle is to view a video of last year's event.  Here's a good YouTube link:  From that video you can link to many others of the same event -- mesmerizing. 

The fourth bucket list item refers to the Fanzone here in Poznań, which I described in my previous blog post.  Robin and I have reveled in the infectious fan enthusiasm surrounding EURO 2012.  Poland, unfortunately, did not go through to the second round, but the young team acquitted themselves impressively.  The Fanzone continues to function here, but most of the international fans have moved on.  It was quite a week nevertheless as tens of thousands of fans, primarily from Ireland, Croatia and Italy, flocked to the city. 

Supporters of various EURO 2012 teams gather in the
Fanzone to watch a match.

In addition to the largest screen, smaller screens elsewhere
in the Fanzone permitted fans to be seated during the

Outside the Fanzone, many additional fans enjoyed the matches
and time between in the many outdoor cafes and bars,
especially in the Stary Rynek (Old Market Square).

The Fanzone included an enclosed VIP area.

Quite a few fans purchased the recyclable folding chairs --
the design that won the contest I reported on in an
earlier blog entry.


Report on the Weather and Upcoming Activities

As a final note, I know my friends back in Charlotte and elsewhere in the U.S. are enduring unusually hot temperatures.  I can assure you that is not the case here.  We've had just two or three days in the last three weeks that were genuinely pleasant.  For the past several days, for example, the temperature as seldom risen above the 50's (Fahrenheit), with a combination of steady rain, drizzle, mist, or simply bleak grayness.  Here's hoping for a significant improvement in the days ahead.

In a couple weeks, we will travel to Lake Bled, Slovenia, to attend BledCom 2012 (, among the most important annual public relations conferences.  I will serve on a panel during the symposium along with my colleague Dr. Ryszard Ławniczak of the Poznań University of Econonomics.  Many Europeans say Lake Bled is the most beautiful spot in all Europe. 

Later in July, we will travel for several days to Gdańsk, Poland, on the Baltic Sea.  We will be meeting, at least for one day, one of my childhood friends (who happens to be of Polish descent) and his wife as they stop in Gdańsk during a Baltic cruise. 

In the meantime, I will be working diligently on the reports for our research partner companies as we are slated to present our reports formally to company leaders within the next two weeks.

That brings you up to date.  Please leave your comments on my blog below -- I very much appreciate hearing from you.  Dziękuję i do widzenia!


  1. Hi Alan, I found your blog by googling the fan zone "chairs.". I need to read your others post about the contest. I'll offer one small correction, my volunteer colleagues in the fan zone are passing them out gratis. We were also at the lantern lighting. how did we miss you? ;-)

  2. I stand corrected. We've searched for the source of the recyclable chairs without success. I'll keep looking.

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  4. Thanks for a very interesting and informative blog! My husband will be taking up the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in East European Studies in Warsaw in October and we've got a couple of questions about your experience--could we correspond by email? Mine is

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