Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Access Is Key: Information Adequacy and Flow (Aspects of Culture and Climate, Part 2 of 8)

Shayna Pond, Lindsay Hawkins, Lindsay Williams, Patricia McDaniels-Gomez, Mary Braggs, Mariah Warren | Published: May 4th, 2023 by K20 Center


In order to engage, employees require access to information that helps them meet organizational goals and informs their roles in reaching those goals. In addition, they need to feel supported and heard within the organization. This professional learning session is part of a series that explores the eight aspects of organizational culture and climate measured by K20's research-based survey. Participants look at the research factors that support strong information access and then reflect on the data collected from their school survey in order to create a goal for how to improve information access at their school.

Essential Question

How can I leverage information access to improve organizational climate and culture?

Learning Goals

  • Explore research-based characteristics of information access.

  • Analyze survey constructs and data in the context of their organization.

  • Apply strategies to their role within their team and organization.

Materials List

  • Session Slides (attached)

  • Cards for Mapping (attached)

  • Research Brief (attached)

  • Research Brief with Stop and Jot (attached)

  • WIS/WIM Posters (attached)

  • Chart paper

  • Markers

  • Pens/pencils

  • Sticky notes


20 Minute(s)

Open the presentation on the title slide and introduce the topic for today. Then move on to slide 2. Ask participants to take a few moments to recall or to check their recent messages, emails, etc. and identify what their last five work-related information exchanges were. Then have them write down on five sticky notes the kind of information or general topics that were shared in each of those last five (i.e., meeting information, task or project updates, etc.). Each person should have five different things written down on their stickies. If they find their last five interactions have redundant types of information, invite them to move on to their 6th or 7th exchange.

Once everyone has written on their five stickies, have them share what they wrote down at their table group. As a table, they will use the Affinity Process strategy to group like types of information together. After they have finished grouping, they can name their groups on a new sticky and put that note on the top of the stack.

Next, on a white board or chalk paper, prepare to make a whole group list of information types. Start with one group and have them share the label they gave to their biggest stack of stickies. Then move to the next table and have them share. If the second group’s biggest stack is same as the first, put an asterisk next to the first group’s label and ask the second group to share their next biggest stack.

After all groups have shared their stack labels, move through each item on the list and ask the group to reflect on and discuss the questions in slide 3:

  • Who all is involved in using this information?

  • What is your role in sharing this information?

Then, provide the rationale for this activity. The intention is for the group to bring to mind the kinds of information they share most frequently. Ask them to keep these interactions in mind and take this frame of reference into the following activities.

Move on to slide 4 and read the objectives for today.


12 Minute(s)

Next, hand out a piece of chart paper and a set of the attached Cards for Mapping to each table. Display slide 5 and, using the Concept Card Mapping strategy, ask each table to make an arrangement of these cards on their chart paper that makes sense to them. Inform participants that these are concepts and strategies pulled from the research on information access. There are no wrong answers as long as they can explain their reasoning. Provide about ten minutes for the first card mapping. Then, move to slide 6 and have participants leave their tables to view how some other groups have arranged their cards. Then, provide a couple of minutes for members to share notable similarities and differences they have seen.


15 Minute(s)

Now, display slide 7 and hand out the attached Research Brief with Stop and Jot on information access. Use the Stop and Jot strategy and ask participants to stop after each paragraph and write notes about how this research would influence the way they mapped their cards.

Then, move to slide 8 and have tables discuss as a group the changes they noted during the stop and jot reading activity. Each table should agree on how they want to move things on their card map and may feel free to move cards, make new cards on sticky notes, and draw connections or relationships with markers on their chart paper.

Once revisions are made, take photos of each table’s card sort for future reference. These may help facilitators understand how the group overall understands the big picture for information access.


25 Minute(s)

Next display slide 9 and review your schools survey results. While participants examine the data on their own, hand out a copy of the two attached WIS/WIM Posters to each table. One poster will go to each half of the group.

Display the instructions for the WIS/WIM activity on slide 10. On the top space of their posters under the title, “What I see…”, have participants reflect on the infogram data and select strategies from their card map that reflect strengths within our organization. They can write in the left column their summary of the strategy and how it is a strength in our organization. Then, have them do the same for opportunities.

Next have them move to the bottom portion of their poster under, “What it means…” In the left column they can describe a strategy example that is a strength specifically within their team/role. On the right, they can do the same for one that is an opportunity.

At this point, have each small group trade with the other small group at the table so they can compare what each of them put on their posters. They each have different sub-scale data. They can add any notes or strategies they see fit to their partner group’s poster at this time.


5 Minute(s)

Finally, move to slide 11 and display the essential question, “How can I leverage information access to improve organizational climate and culture? “ This time each person in the group should reflect on themselves and choose a strategy that they can use in their role now to improve information access and our organizational climate and culture. Have them write this strategy on two sticky notes. One of these will go at the very bottom of the WIS/WIM poster under, “What I’ll do…” The other one will go with them. Collect or take a photo of all of the poster/s to talk about with your team at a later date. 

Research Rationale

The climate and culture of an organization is the sum of its parts, and its parts are the employees. Thus, employee engagement sits at the center. When employees are engaged positively, the culture and climate are positive. In order to engage, employees require access to organizational information that helps them meet organizational goals and informs their role in reaching those goals. In addition, they need to feel supported and heard within the organization (Walden et al., 2017). To better understand how information access contributes to a positive work culture, it helps to understand four key facets: (1) channels, (2) adequacy, (3) flow, and (4) interaction resonance


Bashir, H., Nangoli, S., Musaasizi, Y., Nakajubi, F., Basemera, M., & Ayibo, C. (2021). Information adequacy and strategic behavioral change communication as a pandemic management tool: The mediating role of interaction resonance. International Journal of Business Communication, 59(2), 242–268. 

K20 Center. (2020). Affinity process. Strategies.

McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. McGraw-Hill.

Men, L. R., & Jiang, H. (2016). Cultivating quality employee-organization relationships: The interplay among organizational leadership, culture, and Communication. International Journal of Strategic Communication, 10(5), 462–479. 

Mishra, K., Boynton, L., & Mishra, A. (2014). Driving employee engagement. International Journal of Business Communication, 51(2), 183–202. 

??Walden, J., Jung, E. H., & Westerman, C. Y. (2017). Employee communication, job engagement, and organizational commitment: A study of members of the Millennial Generation. Journal of Public Relations Research, 29(2-3), 73–89.