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Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice HallChapter Managing Communication and Information Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice HallLearning Outcomes After studying this chapter, you will be able to: Describe what managers need to know about communicating effectively. Explain how technology affects managerial communication. Discuss contemporary issues in communication. After studying this chapter, you will be able to: Describe what managers need to know about communicating effectively Explain how technology affects managerial communication, and Discuss contemporary issues in communication. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Effective CommunicationCommunication – A process or flow that transfers understanding and meaning from one person to another The importance of effective communication for managers cannot be overemphasized—for one specific reason: Everything a manager does involves communication. Communication can be thought of as a process or flow that transfers understanding and meaning from one person to another. Before communication can take place, a purpose, expressed as a message to be conveyed, is needed. The message passes between the sender and a receiver. The message is converted to symbolic form—such as a television commercial—and is passed by way of some channel of communication to the receiver, who decodes the message. Let’s take a closer look at how this happens. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
The Communication ProcessExhibit 13-1 depicts the seven-part communication process of transferring and understanding meaning: (1) the communication source or sender; (2) encoding; (3) the message; (4) the channel; (5) decoding; (6) the receiver; and (7) feedback. The sender is the source of the communication. Encoding means converting a message into symbolic form. The message is the purpose to be conveyed in the communication. The channel is the medium by which a message travels. Decoding means translating a received message. The receiver is the recipient of the communication. Feedback is checking to see how successfully a message has been transferred. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Factors Influencing CommunicationEncoded message affected by sender’s: Skill Attitudes Knowledge Social cultural system The source initiates a message by encoding a thought. Four conditions affect the encoded message: skill, attitudes, knowledge, and social cultural system. Skill determines a person’s total communicative success and includes speaking, reading, listening, and reasoning skills. Attitudes influence our behavior. Knowledge of the subject matters allows us to communicate more clearly or, if our knowledge is quite extensive, to confuse our receiver with overly complex information. Finally, our position in our social cultural system—our beliefs and values—influences each of us as a communicative source. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Factors Influencing Communication (cont.)Communication channels: Formal Informal The source selects either a formal or informal channel through which the message travels. Formal channels are established by the organization, transmit job-related messages, and traditionally follow the authority network within the organization. Personal or social messages follow the informal channels in the organization. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Factors Influencing Communication (cont.)Decoded message is affected by receiver’s: Skill Attitudes Knowledge Social cultural system Feedback checks success of message transfer. Note that just as the skills, attitudes, knowledge, and social culture of the sender affect the sender’s ability to encode a message, the skills, attitudes, knowledge, and social culture of the receiver to whom the message is directed affect his or her ability to decode the message. The final link in the communication process is a feedback loop, which checks how successfully we’ve transferred our messages and whether we have achieved understanding. Given the cultural diversity of today’s workforce, effective feedback is critical. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Written and Verbal CommunicationWritten communication: Tangible and verifiable Creates a more permanent record Better thought out, logical, and clear More time consuming Lack of feedback Written communications include memos, letters, , and other forms of digital communication, organizational periodicals, bulletin boards, or any other device that transmits written words or symbols. Some of the pros of choosing written communication are: It is tangible and verifiable. It creates a more permanent record for both sender and receiver than a verbal exchange does. The message can be stored for an indefinite period of time so the content is physically available for later reference, which is particularly important for complex or lengthy communications. Generally, more care is taken with the written word than with the spoken word so it’s more likely to be well thought out, logical, and clear. Two drawbacks to written communication are that it’s time consuming and that it does not lend itself to feedback like oral communication does. Unlike written communication, oral communication allows receivers to respond rapidly to what they thought they heard or to verbally summarize what they understood the sender said. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice HallThe Grapevine Good information travels fast; bad information travels even faster! The grapevine is the unofficial way that communications take place in an organization and it’s neither authorized nor supported by the organization. In the grapevine, information is spread by word of mouth—and even through electronic means. Good information travels quickly, but bad information travels even more quickly. The biggest issue about grapevines is the accuracy of the information that is communicated. Research shows that in an organization characterized by openness, the grapevine may be extremely accurate. However, in an authoritative culture, the rumor mill may be inaccurate but still contain some element of truth. So while details may not be accurate, the reports that something is about to happen are probably on target. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice HallNonverbal Cues Some of the most meaningful communications are neither spoken nor written. These nonverbal communications—such as a loud siren, red flashing light, the size of a person’s office and desk, or someone’s clothing—convey messages to others. The best-known areas of nonverbal communication are body language and verbal intonation. Body language refers to gestures, facial configurations, and other movements of the body. Hand motions, facial expressions, and other gestures can communicate emotions or temperaments such as aggression, fear, shyness, arrogance, joy, and anger. Verbal intonation refers to the emphasis someone gives to words or phrases, and can make a statement sound defensive or friendly. The adage “it’s not what you say but how you say it” is something managers should remember as they communicate. In oral communication, the nonverbal component carries the greatest impact. Research indicates that from 65 to 90 percent of the message of every face-to-face conversation is communicated through body language. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Barriers to Effective CommunicationA number of interpersonal and intrapersonal barriers affect why the message decoded by a receiver is often different from what the sender intended. Here we see illustrated some of the more prominent barriers to effective communication. Filtering refers to the way that a sender manipulates information so that it will be seen more favorably by the receiver. For example, when a manager tells his boss what he feels the boss wants to hear, he is filtering information. Also, as information is passed up to senior executives, it is condensed and synthesized by subordinates whose personal interests and perceptions of what’s important shape the communication. The second barrier is selective perception. Receivers in the communication process selectively see and hear based on their needs, motivations, experience, background, and other personal characteristics. Receivers also project their interests and expectations onto communications as they decode them. As we said in Chapter 9, we don’t see reality; rather, we interpret what we see and call it reality. Information overload is the third barrier to effective communication. Individuals have a finite capacity for processing data and the demands of keeping up with , phone calls, faxes, meetings, and professional reading creates an onslaught of data that is nearly impossible to process and assimilate. The result is lost information and less effective communication. Words mean different things to different people. Age, education, and cultural background are three obvious variables that influence the language a person uses and the definitions he or she applies to words. Additionally, specialists in specific fields of work or departments develop their own jargon (or technical language) as do employees spread across different geographic locations. Both genders have distinct communication styles, so individuals must acknowledge these differences and strive for acceptance, understanding, and a commitment to communicate adaptively with each other. Finally, communication differences arise from language: the three different languages that individuals use to communicate and the national culture of which they’re a part. The style of communication also differs for countries that are highly individualistic (like the United States) and those that are collectivist (such as Japan). US managers rely heavily on memoranda, announcements, position papers, and other formal forms of communication to state their positions, whereas the Japanese use face-to-face meetings at which discussion is followed by consensus, at which point a formal document is written. Supervisors in the US may also hoard information to make themselves look good (filtering) and as a way of persuading their employees to accept decisions and plans; lower-level employees may do so to protect themselves. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Overcoming Communication BarriersHere in Exhibit 13-3 we see some suggestions that can help make communication more effective. Because many communication problems are directly attributed to misunderstandings and inaccuracies, a manager can ask questions to determine if the message was understood, can ask the receiver to restate the message in his or her own words, and can be alert to nonverbal cues. A manager should also simplify communication so it’s clear, easily understood, and in language customized to the specific employee or group being addressed. Managers must also practice active listening, which is listening for full meaning without making premature judgments or interpretations. Active listening demands total concentration, and is enhanced by developing empathy with the sender. Active listeners use eye contact, affirmative nods, and appropriate facial expressions; appear attentive and ask questions; avoid interrupting the speaker; and make smooth transitions between being a speaker and a listener. When they are upset managers should control their emotions. Strong emotions make it easier to misconstrue incoming messages and more difficult to communicate outgoing messages clearly and accurately. Because actions speak louder than words, it’s important to make sure your actions align with and reinforce the words you use to ensure that your nonverbal cues convey the desired message. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Technology and CommunicationInformation technology has radically changed the way organizational members communicate, making it possible for: Managers to monitor individual and team performance, Employees to have more complete information to make faster decisions, Providing employees more opportunities for employees to collaborate and share information, and Making employees fully accessible 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, regardless of location. Three developments in information technology have had particularly significant effects on current managerial communication: Networked computer systems Wireless capabilities, and Knowledge management systems. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Network Computer Systems Instant messaging (IM) Voic systems Fax machines In a networked computer system, an organization links its computers through compatible hardware and software, creating an integrated organizational network. Organization members can then communicate with each other and tap into information regardless of their location. is the instantaneous transmission of messages on linked computers. It’s fast, cheap, and can be used to send the same message to many people at the same time. Files can also be attached to messages to enable the receiver to save the document and, if necessary, print a hard copy. Some organization members use instant messaging (IM) to communicate information, which can be an even faster method of communication than . This interactive, real-time communication takes place among computer users who are logged on to the computer network at the same time, a situation that potentially leaves the network open to security breaches. A voic system digitizes a spoken message, transmits it over the network, and stores the message for the receiver to retrieve later. This capability allows information to be transmitted even though a receiver may not be physically present to take the information. Receivers can save, delete, or route the message to other parties. Fax machines transmit documents containing both text and graphics over ordinary telephone lines. A sending fax machine scans and digitizes the document, and a receiving fax machine reads the scanned information and reproduces it in hard-copy form. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Network Computer Systems (cont.)Electronic data interchange (EDI) Teleconferencing and videoconferencing Intranets and extranets Internet-based voice communication Electronic data interchange (EDI) exchanges business transaction documents—such as invoices or purchase orders—using direct computer-to-computer networks. Organizations use EDI with vendors, suppliers, and customers because it saves time and money by transmitting from one organization’s computer system to another through an interorganizational telecommunications network and eliminates the printing, handling, and data entry that paper documents entail. Teleconferencing allows a group of people to confer live using telephone or group communications software. Videoconferencing lets meeting participants see each other over video screens. Teleconferencing and videoconferencing allow work groups of all sizes—regardless of location—can use these communication network tools to collaborate and share information in a cost-effective and timely way. Networked computer systems allow for organizational intranets and extranets. An intranet is an organizational communication network that uses Internet technology but is accessible only to organizational employees. This network allows employees to share information, collaborate on documents and projects, and access company policy manuals and employee-specific materials from different locations. An extranet is an organizational communication network that uses Internet technology and allows authorized users inside the organization to communicate more quickly and conveniently with certain outsiders such as customers or vendors. Finally, organizations are using Internet-based voice communication websites such as Skype, Vonage, and Yahoo!, among others, which let users chat with each other in conference calls or via instant messaging. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Wireless CapabilitiesWhile networked computer systems require organizations and organizational members to be connected by wires, wireless communication doesn’t. Smart phones, tablet computers, notebook computers, and mobile pocket communication devices allow employees to communicate with others in their organization without having to be at their desks with their computers plugged in and turned on. As technology continues to advance in this area, more organization members will use wireless communication as a way to collaborate and share information. At Seattle-based Starbucks Corporation, district managers use mobile technology so they have more time to spend in the company’s eight to ten stores that each services, vastly improving work for its managers and employees. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice HallKnowledge Management Knowledge management involves cultivating a learning culture in which organizational members systematically gather knowledge and share it with others in the organization to achieve better performance. Knowledge management can take place through computer-based applications and through community of interest teams that meet regularly throughout the company. Today’s technologies help improve knowledge management and facilitate organizational communications and decision making. Here we see IBM employees who use an internal social networking site called Beehive, which enables employees to gather knowledge and share it with coworkers. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice HallContemporary Issues Five current communication issues: Communication management in an Internet world Managing the organization’s knowledge resources Communicating with customers Getting employee input Communicating ethically Being an effective communicator in today’s organizations means being connected to not only employees and customers but also to any of the organization’s stakeholders. Let’s take a look at five communication issues that are of particular significance to today’s managers: Communication management in an Internet world Managing the organization’s knowledge resources Communicating with customers Getting employee input, and Communicating ethically. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Communication in an Internet WorldA recent survey found that 20 percent of employees at large companies say they contribute regularly to blogs, social networks, wikis, and other Web services. As a result, managers are learning (and sometimes learning the hard way) that new technology has created two large communication challenges: Legal and security issues, and Lack of personal interaction. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Legal and Security Issues, blogs, tweets, and other forms of online communication can give rise to potential legal problems if they are used inappropriately—especially because electronic information is potentially admissible in court. But security is serious concern as well. A survey addressing outbound and content security found that 26 percent of the companies surveyed saw their businesses affected by the exposure of sensitive or embarrassing information. Managers need to ensure that confidential information is kept confidential. Employee s and blogs should not communicate proprietary information— either inadvertently or purposely. Corporate computer and systems must also be protected against unauthorized users and spam to fully realize the benefits of communication technology. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice HallPersonal Interaction Even though one of the most popular types of technology is called “social” media, one critical communication challenge posed by the Internet age is the lack of personal interaction. Therefore, some companies have banned on certain days and others have simply encouraged employees to collaborate more in person. When you think about how difficult even face-to-face communication can be, it can be even more challenging to achieve understanding and collaboration on work when communication takes place in a virtual environment. However, in some situations personal interaction isn’t physically possible. In these situations, real-time collaboration software (such as private workplace wikis, blogs, instant messengers, and other types of groupware) may be a more efficient and effective communication choice than . Some companies have created their own in-house social networks such as Starcom MediaVest Group, whose employees tap into SMG Connected to find colleague profiles. These profiles outline their jobs, list the brands they admire, and describe their values. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Managing Knowledge ResourcesOne way organizations can manage knowledge resources is to build online information databases so employees can communicate, access research, and learn from other staff how to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. Another tool for managing knowledge is to create communities of practice, which are groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in that area by interacting on an ongoing basis. To make these “communities of practice” work, however, it’s important to maintain strong human interactions by using tools such as interactive websites, , and videoconferencing. Of course, these groups face the same communication problems that individuals face—such as filtering, emotions, defensiveness, overdocumentation, and so forth— and they can resolve these issues by trying the suggestions discussed earlier. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Communication and Customer ServiceWithin the realm of customer service, what communication takes place and how it takes place has a huge impact on a customer’s satisfaction with the service and the likelihood of the customer’s repeat business. Managers must ensure that employees communicate appropriately and effectively with customers by recognizing the three components in any service delivery process: the customer, the service organization, and the individual service provider. While managers don’t have control over what or how the customer communicates, they can influence the other two processes. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Customer Needs and ExpectationsAn organization with a strong service culture already values taking care of customers — finding out what their needs are, meeting those needs, and following up to make sure that their needs were met satisfactorily. Each of these activities involves communication, whether face-to-face, by phone or , or through other channels. An organization with a strong service culture finds out what their customers’ needs are, meets those needs, and follows up to make sure that their needs were met satisfactorily. Each of these activities involves communication, whether face-to-face, by phone or , or through other channels. Communication is also a part of specific customer service strategies the organization pursues and the individual service provider who is on the front line. The individual provider is often the first to hear about or notice service failures or breakdowns. In these cases, the individual provider must decide how and what to communicate, must listen actively, and must communicate appropriately so the situation is resolved to the customer’s satisfaction. The individual service provider must also have the information necessary to deal with customers efficiently and effectively or be able to access it easily and promptly. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Getting Employee InputIn today’s challenging environment, companies need to get input from their employees, and effective managers mine such potentially valuable information. Here in Exhibit 13-4, we see several suggestions for letting employees know that their opinions matter, such as providing employees with current information—good and bad—and analyzing problems together. Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Communicating EthicallyJeff Smisek, CEO of the United Continental, established clear guidelines for ethical communication during the merger. It’s particularly important today that a company’s communication efforts be ethical. This means that the communication includes all relevant information, is true in every sense, and is not deceptive in any way. Unethical communication often distorts the truth or manipulates audiences—for example, by omitting essential information, selectively misquoting, misrepresenting numbers, distorting visuals, or failing to respect privacy or information security needs. Managers encourage ethical communication by establishing clear ethical guidelines for behavior and business communication. In a global survey by the International Association of Business Communicators, 70 percent of communication professionals said their companies clearly define what is considered ethical and unethical behavior. Here we see Jeff Smisek, CEO of the United Continental, who established clear guidelines for ethical communication among management, employees, and customers during the companies’ merger. If no clear ethical guidelines exist, apply the following questions to help you think through your communication choices and consequences: Has the situation been defined fairly and accurately? Why is the message being communicated? How will the people who may be affected by the message or who receive the message be impacted? Does the message help achieve the greatest possible good while minimizing possible harm? Will this decision that appears to be ethical now seem so in the future? How comfortable are you with your communication effort? What would a person you respect think of it? Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Copyright ©2013 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
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