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Organizational communication. Organization Definition: a collection, or system, of individuals who commonly, through a hierarchy of ranks and division.

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Presentation on theme: "Organizational communication. Organization Definition: a collection, or system, of individuals who commonly, through a hierarchy of ranks and division."— Presentation transcript:

1 Organizational communication

2 Organization Definition: a collection, or system, of individuals who commonly, through a hierarchy of ranks and division of labor, seek to achieve a predetermined goal.

3 Division of labor Craftsman produces entire product. Early in the industrial revolution it was found that organization could produce more by allowing individuals to specialize through a division of labor than by making each person produce entire product.

4 Span of control Specialized functions require individual supervision. This requirement results in the concept of span of control in organizations - that is, a limit on the authority of the individual supervisor. Span of control is often determined by the number of people who can effectively be managed by one supervisor. As more workers are added to the organization, more supervisors are needed and more upper-level managers are required to oversee their activities. Pyramid of control - hierarchy

5 Chain of command Chain of command - the formal communication system in an organization. Orders are sent down through the formal system. People in the organization may also communicate informally - outside the channels indicated on the organization chart. Both types of communication - formal and informal - help organization to move toward achieving its goals. System of formal organizational communication also requires members to act in certain expected roles.

6 Industrial versus Postindustrial Society Two the most important changes : (1) Nature of jobs is changing (2) The type of employees is changing.

7 (1) Nature of jobs is changing Bell (1976) “ An industrial society is a game against fabricated nature, in which Man has used energy to make large machines that add to his power to transform his word. But a post-industrial society is a game between persons, between teacher and student, doctor and patient, research team members, and so forth.”

8 (1) Nature of jobs is changing Primary industrial society manufactures goods. Postindustrial society provides services. More people hold white-collars jobs than blue-collar jobs. White-collars jobs involve providing services such as trade, finance, real estate, transportation, education, health, research, government, and so on. KA service industry, to a great extent, is based more on a person-to person relation rather than a man- to-machine relation. Information society.

9 (2) The type of employees is changing These changes are dramatically influencing organizational communication. Historically, organizations have been owerwhelmingly male. Those males were native. It will become increasingly necessary to learn to communicate within a context of cultural diversity. The study of human communication in organizations is more relevant today than ever before.

10 Importance of communication When managers and other responsible person in business organization are asked how much of the work day spent in communication, the replies range about 85 to 99 percent (Zelko and Dance,1965) Relationship between communication and employee productivity: Urban hospitals (Jain,1973) - the quality of supervisory communication (as perceived by subordinates) correlated highly with quality od superordinates’ performance. Automative manufacturing plants (Hain and Widgerz,1973, Hain and Tubbs,1975) - the quality of supervisory communication correlated highly with high employee performance, high product quality, low absenteeism, and low job turnover.

11 Researchers have also discovered that communication skills are rated higher than technical skills in some fields. It was shown that in evaluating job performance, engineering supervisors rated engineers more heavily on their communication abilities than on their engineering skills. Importance of communication abilities in personal careers: Schein (1978) studied the stages of people’s careers in organizations and emphasized the Importance of communication abilities at every one of those stages. Jennings (1971) says that when a corporate president gets fired, it is usually because of deficient communication skills.

12 Japanese management practices - factors associated with the Japanese economical successes –Lifetime employment –Slow evaluation and promotion –Nonspecialized career paths –Implicit control mechanism –Collective decision making –Collective responsibility –Wholistic concern

13 Three functions of communication in an organization Conrad (1985) Conrad, C. (1985). Strategic Organizational Communications: Cultures, Situations, and Adaptation. N.Y., Holt, Rinehart and Winston. (1) The command function (2) The relational function (3) The ambiguity-management function

14 1. The command function Communication allows members of the organization to issue, receive, interpret, and act on commands. Two types of communication that make up this function are –directions –feedback The goal is the succesful influence of other members of the organization. The outcome is coordination among the many interdependent members of the organization.

15 2. The relational function Communication allows members of the organization to create and maintain productive business and personal relationships with other members of the organization. Relationships on the job affect job performance in many ways, e.g. job satisfaction, the flow of communication both down and up the organizational hierarchy.

16 3. The ambiguity-management function Choices in an organizational setting are often made in highly ambiguous circumstances - e.g. –multiple motivations exists since choices affect coworkers and the organization, as well as oneself, – the organizations’ objectives may not be clear etc.. etc. –context within which the choice needs to be made may be unclear. Communication is the means for coping with and reducing the ambiguity inherent in the organization: Members talk with each others in an effort to make sense of new situations, which entails gaining and sharing information.

17 Five factors considered by members of organization to be of prime importance in communicating (1) Superior to subordinate communication (2) Downward communication (3) Superiors' perceptions of communication with subordinates (4) Upward communication (5) Reliability of information

18 1. Superior to subordinate communication Superior to subordinate communication: As measured by such questions as, to what extent does: –Your superior make you feel free to talk to him or her? –Your superior listen to you when you tell him or her about things that are bothering you? –Your superior encourage you to let him or her know when things are going wrong on the job?

19 2. Downward communication: Downward communication: As measured by such questions as: –Do people in top management say what they mean and mean what they say? –Is top management providing you with the kinds of information you really want and need? –Are you satisfied with explanations you get from top management about why things are done as they are?

20 3. Superiors' perceptions of communication with subordinates Superiors' perceptions of communication with subordinates: As measured by such questions as: –Do you believe your subordinates are frank and candid with you? –Do you believe your colleagues (coworkers) are really frank and candid with you? –Do you believe that your subordinates think that you understand their problems?

21 4. Upward communication Upward communication: As measured by such questions as: –Do your opinions make a difference in the day- to-day decisions that affect your job? –Do you believe your views have any real influence in your organization? –Does your superior let you participate in the planning of your own work?

22 5. Reliability of information Reliability of information: As measured by such questions as: –Do you think that information received from your subordinates is reliable? –Do you think that information received from your colleagues (or coworkers) is reliable?

23 1. Supervisory communication Supervisory communication is considered the most important factor influencing an employee’s communication satisfaction. The effective supervisor is described as supportive. People particularly need confirmation and support from their superiors. A wrong supervisory communication seems to create negative side effect such as increased complaints, absenteeism, employer turnover and even sabotage.

24 A study of General Electric Company (1957) General Eletric Company (1957). The effective Manufacturing Foreman – An Observational Study of the Job Activites of Effective and Ineffective Foremen. N.Y.,G. E. Public and Empoyee Relations Research Service. Better foremen initiated fewer contacts, but spent more time with persons when they did initiate a contact. Better and poorer foremen were contacted by others about the same number of times, but better foremen spent more time in each contact. Lower-rated foremen spent more time seeking information from others, while better foremen spent more time answering request for information. High-rated foremen spent more time in contacts where information was passed voluntarily by either party. Better foremen engaged in more two-way conversations on job-related matters.

25 Self-esteem in leadership Value of self-esteem in leadership and followership. The true leader wants to enhance his/her followers’ levels of self-esteem. Leaders must have a positive self-image.

26 2. Downward communication Such communication is initiated by the organization’s upper management and then filters downward through the “chain of command”. People are limited as to the amount of information they can effectively absorb and react to. Therefore, management must, of necessity, restrict what it communicates to subordinates. Organization implies some restriction of communication. Without restrictions on communication, any organizational member could be buried under an avalanche of incoming messages from all the other members.

27 Information overload Seven ways in which people adapt to information overload (Miller,1964): (1) omission (failing to handle all the information) (2) error (ignoring or failing to correct errors when made) (3) queuing (letting things pile up) (4) filtering (dealing with input in categories ranked according to a priority system) (5) approximation (lowering standard of precision) (6) multiple channels (delegation of information processing to others) (7) escape (refusal to handle the input al all)

28 The effectiveness of different forms of downward communication Research on the effectiveness of different forms of downward communication has shown that using a combination of channels tends to get the test results. In a classic study, Dahle (1954) found that channels were ranked in the following order of effectiveness (from most to least effective): 1. Combined oral and written 2. Oral only 3. Written only 4. Bulletin board 5. Grapevine

29 A combination of written and oral channels gets the best results. Sending the same message through more than one channel creates redundancy. Redundancy seems to be helpful not only in getting messages through but in ensuring that they will be remembered. As the number of memos, meetings, phone calls, and so increases, each person becomes that much busier, since it requires time to attend to each of these messages.

30 The law of diminishing returns An important consideration in organization communication is so-called law of diminishing returns, which states that more is better, up to a point.

31 Lack of accuracy Another characteristics of downward communication is lack of accuracy. Conboy (1976) cites a study that polled 100 industrial managers to determine what per­centage of a message got through to lower organizational levels. Board of directors100% of communication content Vice presidents67% General supervisors56% Plant managers40% Foremen30% Workers20%

32 3. Upward communication Upward communication -the process whereby the ideas, feelings, and perceptions of lower-level employee are communicated to those at higher levels in the organization. Functions: It provides management with needed information for decision making It helps employees relieve the pressures and frustrations of the work situation. It enhances employees’ sense of participation in the enterprise. It serves as a measure of the effectiveness of downward communication.

33 Degree of upward receptivity - willingness to receive messages from subordinates. Degree of upward receptivity is most often associated with so-called open-door policy in business. If a manager has his/her door open, this signals a willingness to communicate with employees

34 Psychological barriers between superior and subordinate. Three principles: 1. If a subordinate believes that disclosure of his /her feelings, opinions, and difficulties may lead a superior to block the achievement of personal goal, he/she will hide or distort them. 2. The more a superior rewards disclosure of feelings, opinions, and difficulties by subordinates, the more likely they will be disclose them. 3. The more a superior discloses his/her own feelings, opinions, and difficulties to subordinates and his/her superior, the more likely subordinates will be to disclose theirs.

35 A special type of upward communication is ingratiation. This is defined by Liden and Mitchell (1988) as “an attempt by individuals to increase their attractiveness in the eyes of others. The authors identify three main forms of ingratiation. The first is flattery. Those who are attempting to "get in good" with others above them will often flatter or compliment the other person (often falsely). The second is self-disclosures and advice requests. lngratiators may reveal personal information or may request the advice of a superior to gain favor. Third is attitude similarity and sincerity. The ingratiator will attempt to stress any similarities between himself or herself and the target person. However, research has shown that any of the ingratiating behaviors mentioned will be effective only if the target person perceives them as sincere.

36 4. Horizontal communication Horizontal communication is the exchanges between and among agencies and personnel on the same level of the organization chart. The survival of a modem organization often depends on the degree to which it specializes. Coordination or integration of diverse units is required to keep the organization running efficiently.

37 Problems in horizontal communication Horizontal communication frequently suffers in organizations because of employee loyality to a given department. The situation is intensified in organizations that reward people and group on a competitive basis. In such situations, each department may consider itself to be at the top of the organization.

38 Four functions of horizontal communication 1. Task coordination: The department heads may meet monthly to discuss how each department is contributing to the systems’ goals. 2. Problem solving: The members of a department may assemble to discuss how they will handle a threatened budged cut. They may employ brainstorming techniques. 3. Information sharing: The members of one department may meet with members of another department to give them some new data. 4. Conflict resolution: Members of one department may meet to discuss a conflict inherent in the department or between departments.

39 Ineffective horizontal communication has been cited as one important factor in the space shuttle Challenger accident in January 1986.

40 Reducing Barriers Some steps can be taken to reduce the barriers to horizontal communication: 1. Relatively greater emphasis given to total organizational effectiveness and the role of departments in contributing to it; departments measured and rewarded on the basis of their contribution to the total effort rather than their individual effectiveness. 2. High interaction and frequent communication stimulated between groups to work on problems of intergroup coordination and help; organizational rewards given partly on the basis of help which groups give to each other.

41 Reducing Barriers (cont.) 3. Frequent rotation of members among groups or departments to stimulate high degree of mutual understanding and empathy for one another's problems. 4. Avoidance of any win-lose situation; groups never put into the position of competing for some organizational reward; emphasis always placed on pooling resources to maximize organizational effectiveness; rewards shared equally with all the groups or departments.

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