3Learning Objectives After Studying Chapter 15, You will know The important advantages of two-way communication.Communication problems to avoid.When and how to use the various communication channels.Ways to become a better “sender” and “receiver” of information.How to improve downward, upward, and horizontal communication.How to work with the company grapevine.The advantages and characteristics of the boundaryless organization.
4Interpersonal Communication Communication is the transmission of information and meaning from one party to another through the use of shared symbolsThe sender initiates the process by conveying information to the receiver—the person for whom the message is intended. The sender has a meaning he or she wishes to communicate and encodes the meaning into symbols (e.g., the words chosen for the message). Then the sender transmits, or sends, the message through some channel, such as a verbal or written medium. The receiver decodes the message (e.g., reads it) and attempts to interpret the sender’s meaning. The receiver may provide feedback to the sender by encoding a message in response to the sender’s message. The communication process often is hampered by noise, or interference in the system, that blocks perfect understanding. Noise could be anything that interferes with accurate communication: ringing telephones, thoughts about other things, or simple fatigue or stress.
5One-Way versus Two-Way One-way communication is a process in which information flows in only one direction – from the sender to the receiver; with no feedback loopOne-way communication is more common because it is easierTwo-way communication is a process in which information flows in two directions – the receiver provides feedback, and the sender is receptive to the feedbackTwo-way communication is more difficult and time consuming than one-way communication
6Communication Pitfalls Errors can occur in all stages of the communication processEncoding errors include the misuse of words, decimal points entered in the wrong place, and ambiguous phrasesDecoding problems include poor listening on the part of the receiver, reading too quickly, and overlooking key pointsGenerally it is the individuals perceptual and filtering processes that create misinterpretationsPerception is the process of receiving and interpreting informationFiltering is the process of withholding, ignoring, or distorting information
7Mixed Signals and Misperception People’s perceptions can undermine attempts to communicatePeople do not pay attention to everything going on around themPeople inadvertently send mixed signals that can undermine the intended messageDifferent people attend to different things, and people interpret the same thing in different ways
8Intercultural Communication If the communication is between people from different cultures, these problems are magnified. Communication “breakdowns” often occur when business transactions take place between people from different countries. Chapter 6 introduced you to the importance of these cultural issues. This table offers suggestions for communicating effectively with someone who speaks a different language.
9Oral and Written Channels Oral communication includes face-to-face discussion, telephone conversations, and formal presentations and speechesAdvantages art that questions can be asked and answered; feedback is immediate and direct; and it is more persuasiveDisadvantages are that it can lead to spontaneous, ill-considered statements; and that there is no permanent recordWritten communication includes memos, letters, reports, computer files, and other written documentsAdvantages are that the message can be revised several times, there is a permanent record, the receiver has more time to analyze the message, and the it stays the same even if relayed through many peopleDisadvantages are that the sender has no control over where, when or if the message is read; no immediate feedback, and the message must be longer
10Electronic MediaElectronic media allows managers to use computers not only to gather and distribute quantitative data but to talk with others electronicallyTeleconferencing allows groups of people in different locations to interact over phone lines, and perhaps also to see one another on monitors during discussions, instant messaging, and blogging are other types of electronic mediaMost companies use instant messaging, although most people do it without their boss’s consent, and many put it to personal use. Some companies hope and pretend that employees don’t use it (they’re wrong, of course), and some ban it outright. Nonetheless, IMing will soon surpass ing. Blogging—posting text to a Web site—also has arrived in the business world. Jonathan Schwartz, president and CEO of Sun Microsystems, may have been the first top executive to embrace blogging and encourage it among his employees. He thinks managers need both and blogs to be effective.
11Electronic Media Advantages include: Disadvantages include: More information is shared with greater speed and efficiencyReduces time spent raveling, talking, and photocopyingReduces costsCan improve decision makingDisadvantages include:Difficulty solving complex problems that require more extended face-to-face interactionInability to pick up subtle, nonverbal, or inflectional clues about what the communicator is thinkingInformation leaksLost time from private use of and instant messaging
12Managing the Electronic Load Even though electronic communication media may seem essential and people wonder how they ever worked without it, the sheer volume of electronic communication can be overwhelmingTo manage the amount of electronic communication managers should:Separate the truly important form the routing; prioritize your time around truly important goalsMake sure IM’s and s are not sent to the wrong personDon’t think of as privateDon’t hit ‘reply to all’ when you should only hit replygolden rule: don’t hit send unless you’d be comfortable having the contents on the front page of a newspaper
13The Virtual OfficeThe virtual office is a mobile office in which people can work anywhere, as long as they have the tools to communicate with customers and colleaguesBased on the philosophy that management’s focus should be on what people do not where they areMany entrepreneurs conduct business via open “offices” on the Internet, working off their computers from wherever they happen to be. Similarly, major companies like IBM, GE, and Chiat/Day are slashing office space and giving people laptops or powerful notebook computers, telecommunications software, voice mail, and other communications technologies so they can work virtually anywhere, anytime. One observer calls the virtual office “the most radical redefinition of the workplace since the Industrial Revolution.”
14Media RichnessMedia richness refers to the amount of information a medium can conveyThe more information or cues a medium sends to the receiver, the ‘richer’ the medium is
15Improving Communication Skills: Improving Sender Skills Honest, direct, straight talk is important but all too rarePeople should be able to identify your perspective, your reasoning, and your intentionsEffective writing is more than correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar (although these help!)Good writing requires clear, logical thinkingStrive for clarity organization, readability, and brevityIn recent years, employers have been dismayed by college graduates’ poor communication skills. A demonstrated ability to communicate effectively makes a job candidate more attractive and distinguishes him or her from others.
16Improving Sender Skills When called upon to present a persuasive message your attitude is very importantPersuasion is a process of learning from each other and negotiating a shared solutionEffective persuasion is an attempt to find an emotional connection with the other personThe most powerful and persuasive messages are simple and informative, are told with stories and anecdotes, and convey excitementRemember that word choice can enhance or interfere with the communication processConsider the other person’s backgroundAvoid jargon and slang
18Non Verbal SkillsNonverbal messages can support or undermine the stated messageYou should give nonverbal signals that express warmth, respect, concern, a feeling of equality, and a willingness to listenNegative nonverbal signals show coolness, disrespect, lack of interest, and a feeling of superioritySuggestions for sending the right nonverbal cues includeUse time appropriatelyMake your office arrangement conducive to open communicationRemember your body language
19Nonverbal Skills in Other Countries Nodding the head up and down Bulgaria means noThe American A-OK gesture is vulgar in Brazil, Singapore, Russia, and ParaguayIn Buddhist cultures never touch someone’s head because it is sacredNever touch or eat anything with the left hand in Muslim cultures because I is uncleanJenna Bush was innocently gesturing the sign of love for the University of Texas Longhorns, but in Norway the gesture carries a different meaning. To the Norwegians this symbol is a sign for Satan.
20Improving Receiver Skills In today’s demanding work environment, managers need better listening skillsReflection is a process by which a person states what he or she believes the other person is sayingListening begins with personal contactReading mistakes are common and costlyRead thins as soon as possibleNote important pointsRead materials that fall outside your immediate concernsOnce you become effective at sending oral, written, and nonverbal messages, you arehalfway home toward becoming a complete communicator. However, you must alsodevelop adequate receiving capabilities. Receivers need good listening, reading, andobservational skills.
21Improving Receiver Skills Effective communicators are also capable of observing and interpreting nonverbal communicationsA vital source of useful observations comes from personally visiting people, plants, and other locations to get a firsthand viewYou must accurately interpret what you observe
22Downward Communication Downward communication refers to the flow of information from higher to lower levels in the organization’s hierarchyProblems with downward communication include:Information overloadLack of openness between managers and employeesFiltering information as it moves through the organization’s hierarchyBeing a skilled communicator is essential to being a good manager and team leader. But communication must also be managed throughout the organization. Every minute of every day, countless bits of information are transmitted through an organization.
23Downward Communication Filtering poses serious problems in organizations. As messages are communicated downward through many organizational levels, much information is lost. The data in this figure suggest that by the time messages reach the people for whom they are intended, the receivers may get very little useful information. The fewer the number of authority levels through which communications must pass, the less information will be lost or distorted. Flatter organization offers the advantage of fewer problems caused by filtering of information as it cascades through many layers.
24Downward Communication Some of the most important downward communication occurs when managers provide performance feedbackCoaching is dialogue with a goal of helping another be more effective and achieve his or her full potential on the jobOpen-book management is the practice of sharing with employees at all levels of the organization vital information previously meant for management’s eyes onlyCoaching is dialogue with a goal of helping another be more effective and achieve his or her full potential on the job. When done properly, coaching develops executives and enhances performance. When people have performance problems, or exhibit behaviors that need to be changed, coaching is often the best way to help a person change and succeed. And coaching is not just for poor performers; as even the greatest athletes know, it is for anyone who is good and aspires to excellence. Although coaches for executives sometimes are hired from the outside, coaches from outside your organization may not understand fully the context in which you are working. So don’t take advice automatically. The best use of coaches is as sounding boards, helping you think through the potential impact of your ideas, generate new options, and learn from experience.Open-book management is the practice of sharing with employees at all levels of the organization vital information previously meant for management’s eyes only. This includes financial goals, income statements, budgets, sales, forecasts, and other relevant data about company performance and prospects. Opening the books, done properly, is a complete communications system that makes sense to people on the shop floor just as it does to the top executives. The basic steps toward open-book management include: (1) provide the information; (2) teach basic finance and the basics of the business; (3) empower people to make decisions based on what they know; and (4) make sure everyone shares directly in the company’s success (and risks), such as through stock ownership and bonuses.
25Upward CommunicationUpward communication travels from lower to higher ranks in the hierarchyUpward communication is important because:Manager’s learn what’s going onEmployees gain from the opportunity to communicate upwardEffective upward communication facilitates downward communication as good listening becomes a two-way street
26Upward CommunicationProblems common in upward communication are similar to those for downward communicationPeople tend to share only good news with their bosses and suppress bad news because they:Want to appear competentMistrust their boss and fear that punishment for their actionsFear the boss will punish the messengerBelieve they are helping their boss if they shield him or her from problems
27Managing Upward Communication Generating useful information from below requires that managers both facilitate and motivate upward communicationUse an open door policyHave lunch with employeesUse surveysPractice MBWA (Management by wandering around)
28Horizontal Communication Horizontal communication is information that is shared among people on the same hierarchical levelHorizontal communication has several important functionsIt allows sharing of information, coordination, and problem solving among unitsHelps solve conflictsProvides social and emotional support to people
29Informal Communication Informal communication is generally unofficial communication between organizational members at all levelsGrapevine is the social network of informal communicationMany times the grapevine will carry rumors and gossip which can be destructiveManagers must work with the grapevine byTalking to the key people involved to get the facts and their perspectivesPreventing rumors from starting through open communicationNeutralizing rumors once they have started
30BoundarylessnessA boundaryless organization is one in which there are no barriers to information flowIt implies information is available as needed moving quickly and easily enough so that the organization functions far better as a whole than its separate partsAs GE’s chief learning officer said to managers, “I bet every one of you goes home at night with stuff in your head that would help the company and you don’t tell your boss” because “it’s awkward or risky. Imagine if you could just unleash the power of the collective knowledge right in this room; imagine the good it would do.” The chief learning officer uses the metaphor of the organization as a house having three kinds of boundaries: the floors and ceilings, the walls that separate the rooms, and the outside walls. These barriers correspond in organizations to the boundaries between different organizational levels, different units and departments, and the organization and its external stakeholders—for example, suppliers and customers. GE adds a fourth wall: global boundaries separating domestic from global operations. GE’s famous Workout program is a series of meetings for business members across multiple hierarchical levels, characterized by extremely frank, tough discussions that break down vertical boundaries. Workout has involved over 222,000 GE people; in any given week thousands may be participating in a Workout program.
31Looking Ahead After Studying Chapter 16, You will know: Why companies develop control systems for employeesHow to design a basic bureaucratic control systemThe purposes for using budgets as a control deviceHow to interpret financial ratios and other financial controlsThe procedures for implementing effective control systemsThe different ways in which market control mechanisms are used by organizationsHow clan control can be approached in an empowered organization