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COMM 4170-01: Applied Organizational Communication
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COMM 4170-01: Applied Organizational Communication

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  1. COMM 4170-01:Applied Organizational Communication Instructor: Dan Lair Day Five: Classical/HR Approaches to Organizational Communication September 12, 2005

  2. Today’s Agenda • Group project check-in/Brief group meetings • Overview of major theoretical approaches • Intro to Classical/HR theories • Discussion: • Kanter, “The New Workforce” • Case study: “A Matter of Perspective”

  3. Management Trends Scientific Management (1900-1950) Human Relations Movement (1930-1965) Human Resources Management (1960-1985) “Theory Z” (1975-1990) “Toyotism” (1975-1995) Total Quality Management (1980 – present) Reingineering (1985 – present) Theoretical Perspectives Classical (1900-1930) HR(s) (1930-1965) Systems Theory (1960-1980) Cultural (1980 -- ) Critical (1985 -- ) Major Trends/Perspectives in Management Thinking: 1900-2005

  4. Lessons from the History of Management Theories/Perspectives • Schools of thought do not “replace” one another • Perspectives can co-exist and are often combined. • Perspectives are “ideal types” more than accurate descriptions

  5. General Assumptions “Scientific” approaches to organizational design and management Organizations need to control resources Rational-economic motivation for workers. Examples: Taylor and Scientific Management Weber and the study of bureaucracy View of Communication: Managerial tool for command and control Focused on production and maintenance Formal, hierarchical, downward Other forms of communication (informal, horizontal, etc.) must be avoided Classical Approaches: 1900-1930

  6. Human Relations Worker happiness = productivity Organizations should be more democratic Informal communication happens – and is useful Examples: Hawthorne studies Communication “climate” Human Resources Worker motivation comes from combination of factors (economic, social, self) Workers are a resource, wasted by most organizations. Individual and organizational goals can be pursued together Participation increases performance Examples: MacGregor’s Theory X and Y Likert’s management systems Human Relations/Resources Approaches: 1930-1965

  7. Human Relations/Resources:Conception of Communication • Tool to coordinate activities, boost morale, and develop worker’s abilities/resources • Still focused on production and maintenance (in an expanded sense), but encourages some innovation • Formal and informal, hierarchical (but not as strictly), largely downward, but encouraging some upward and horizontal communication. • Question: Why combine Classical and HR approaches together? What similarities do you see?

  8. Questions on Kanter, “The New Workforce” • Given what we’ve just discussed about classical/HR approaches, why do you think we’ve included Kanter to support this approach? In what ways might her perspective differ or stray from a classical/HR approach? • On p. 99, Kanter argues that “each problem solved also creates new “strains.” What does she mean? Later, on manager describes (at least some) of these strains as “paradoxes.” What is the difference between a strain and a paradox? What strains/paradoxes does Kanter see arising?

  9. Case Study:“A Matter of Perspective” • In your theory specialization groups, work through this case study in the following four steps: • Describe the case in general, from your theoretical perspective • Diagnose the central communication problem in the case, based on your “reading” of both broad patterns and specific details. • Suggest potential solutions for that problem, based on the Classical/HR perspective. • Assess the appropriateness of the Classical/HR perspective for this particular case. Are there weaknesses/blind spots that hinder your ability to suggest adequate solutions? • Be prepared to return to the full class to discuss the case in-depth, based upon the conclusions you have reached as a group.