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Chapter. 15. Communications. Introduction. Every organization should have both discussion and dialogue discussion - discourse in which each person attempts to win a debate by having her/his view accepted by the group

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Chapter

15

Communications


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Introduction

  • Every organization should have both discussion and dialogue

    • discussion - discourse in which each person attempts to win a debate by having her/his view accepted by the group

    • dialogue - members explore complex issues from many viewpoints in order to come to a common, deeper understanding


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Interpersonal Communication

  • Communication

    • the transmission of information and meaning from one party to another through the use of shared symbols

    • sender - initiates the process by conveying information

      • has a meaning s/he wishes to communicate

      • encodes the meaning into symbols

      • transmits the message through some channel

    • receiver - person for whom the message is intended

      • decodes the messages

      • attempts to interpret the sender’s meaning

      • may provide feedback by encoding a message in response

    • noise- interference in the system that blocks understanding


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Person A

Person B

3. Communication

channel

Sender

1. Intended meaning

2. Encoding

Receiver

4. Decoding

5. Perceived meaning

10. Intended meaning

9. Decoding

(receiver)

Sender

6. Intended meaning

7. Encoding

8. Communication

channel

Two-way

communication

if B sends

feedback to A

One-way

communication

A Model Of The Communication Process


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Interpersonal Communication (cont.)

  • One-way communication

    • process in which information flows in only one direction

      • no feedback from the receiver

    • more common than it should be because it is faster and easier for sender

  • Two-way communication

    • process in which information flows in two directions

      • receiver provides feedback

      • sender is receptive to the feedback

    • basis for constructive exchanges

    • more difficult and time consuming, but more accurate


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Interpersonal Communication (cont.)

  • Communication pitfalls

    • errors can occur in all stages of the communication process

    • perceptual and filtering processes create misinterpretations

      • perception - process of receiving and interpreting information

      • filtering - process of withholding, ignoring, or distorting information

      • cannot assume the other person means what you think s/he

        means or understands the intended meanings

        • perceptual differences interfere with achieving a shared consensus

          • e.g., problems arise because men and women differ in communication style


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Interpersonal Communication (cont.)

  • Mixed signals and misperception

    • people do not attend to everything going on around them

    • people inadvertently send mixed signals

    • can avoid these problems by taking the time to:

      • ensure that the receiver attends to the message

      • consider the receiver’s frame of reference and convey the message from that perceptual viewpoint

      • take concrete steps to minimize perceptual errors and improper signals

      • send consistent messages

    • try to predict people’s interpretations of your messages and think in terms of how they could misinterpret them


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Interpersonal Communication (cont.)

  • Oral channel

    • includes face-to-face discussion, telephone conversations, and formal presentations and speeches

    • advantages

      • questions can be asked and answered

      • feedback is immediate and direct

      • receiver can sense the sender’s sincerity

      • more persuasive

    • disadvantages

      • can lead to spontaneous, ill-considered statements

      • there is no permanent record of the communication


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Interpersonal Communication (cont.)

  • Written channel

    • includes memos, letters, reports, and computer files

    • advantages

      • message can be revised

      • provides a permanent record

      • message stays the same when sent to several receivers

      • receiver has more time to analyze the message

    • disadvantages

      • sender has no control over where, when, or if the message is read

      • sender does not receive immediate feedback

      • receiver may not understand parts of the message

      • message must be longer to answer anticipated questions


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Interpersonal Communication (cont.)

  • Electronic media

    • computers ‘talk’ with others electronically

    • teleconferencing - groups of people in different locations interact

      • audioconferencing - using telephone lines

      • videoconferencing - see one another on television monitors

    • advantages

      • sharing of more information

      • speed and efficiency in delivering routine messages

      • inexpensive


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Interpersonal Communication (cont.)

  • Electronic media (cont.)

    • disadvantages

      • difficulty in solving complex problems

      • e-mail most appropriate for routine messages

      • less suitable for:

        • confidential information

        • resolving conflicts

        • negotiations

      • likely to produce breaches of bureaucratic protocol

        • “flaming” or “nastygrams”

      • e-mail messages are the private property of the system’s owner, not the sender


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Interpersonal Communication (cont.)

  • Virtual office

    • a mobile office in which people can work anywhere, as long as they have the tools to communicate with customers and colleagues

    • substantial benefits in the short run

    • questions remain about long-term effect on productivity and morale

    • direct supervision at the office may be necessary to maintain the quality of work

    • will not replace real offices and face-to-face work


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Interpersonal Communication (cont.)

  • Managing the electronic load

    • sheer volume of communication can be overwhelming

      • reliance on teams promotes increased communication

    • must separate important messages from the routine

    • must discourage people from sending too many e-mail messages

    • some companies have recognized the downsides of electronic media overuse


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Interpersonal Communication (cont.)

  • Communication networks

    • volume of communication received depends on position in the decision-making structure

      • independent, decentralized decision makers have the lowest communication needs

      • centralized decision makers need and are exposed to greater volumes of communication

      • some decentralized decision makers are so interconnected that they require even more information than centralized ones

      • interorganizational collaborations complicate communication networks even further

        • steps can be taken that simplify these networks


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Three Communication Networks

Centralized

decision makers

(commanders)

Independent,

decentralized

decision makers

(cowboys)

Connected,

decentralized

decision makers

(cyber-cowboys)

= places where actions are taken and information is generated

= centralized decision maker


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Complexity In Technology Collaboration And Networks

Internal network

Single partner collaboration

Organization

Internal network and multiple external collaborators

Technology unit


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Interpersonal Communication (cont.)

  • Media richness

    • degree to which a communication channel conveys information

    • the richest media:

      • are more personal than technological

      • provide quick feedback

      • allow lots of descriptive language

      • send different types of cues

    • face-to-face communication is the richest medium

    • richer media should be used for unusual messages

    • routine messages may be sent with less rich media


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Improving Communication Skills

  • Improving sender skills

    • presentation and persuasion skills

      • redundancy - state your viewpoint in a variety of ways

      • powerful messages are simple and informative

    • writing skills - require clear, logical thinking

      • strive for clarity, organization, readability, and brevity

      • first draft rarely is as good as it could be

      • be critical of your own writing

    • language - word choice can enhance or interfere with communications

      • consider the receiver’s background and adjust your language

      • learn something about foreign language for overseas business


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Improving Communication Skills (cont.)

  • Nonverbal skills

    • signals other than those that are spoken or written

    • can support or undermine the stated message

    • nonverbal cues may make a greater impact than other signals

    • can send a positive message with nonverbal signals by:

      • using time appropriately

      • arranging the office to foster open communication

      • remembering your body language

        • facial expression and tone of voice

  • Nonverbal signals in different countries

    • need to correctly interpret the nonverbal signals of others


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Improving Communication Skills (cont.)

  • Improving receiver skills

    • listening - good listening is difficult and not nearly as common as needed

      • reflection - process by which a person states what s/he believes the other person is saying

      • listening begins with personal contact

      • good listening leads to development of trust

      • listening more important for innovation than for routine work

    • reading - reading mistakes are common and costly

      • read memos promptly and carefully

      • note important points for later referral

      • read materials outside of your immediate concerns


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Ten Keys To Effective Listening

1. Find an area of interest

2. Judge content, not delivery

3. Hold your fire

4. Listen for ideas

5. Be flexible

6. Resist distraction

7. Exercise your mind

8. Keep your mind open

9. Capitalize on thought speed

10. Work at listening


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Improving Communication Skills (cont.)

  • Improving receiver skills (cont.)

    • observing

      • effective communicators are able to observe and interpret nonverbal signals

      • personally visiting plants and other locations to get a first-hand view of operations

      • must accurately interpret what is observed


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Improving Communication Skills (cont.)

  • Effective supervision

    • effective supervisors exhibit the following characteristics:

      • communicate more information

      • prefer asking and persuading to telling and demanding

      • sensitive to people’s feelings and needs

      • willing, empathic listeners

    • effective managers are “communication minded”


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Organizational Communication

  • Downward communication

    • information that flows from higher to lower levels in the organization’s hierarchy

    • problems:

      • information overload

      • lack of openness - withhold information even if sharing is important

      • filtering - some information is left out of a message

        • message can be distorted by adding personal interpretation

        • the fewer the number of authority levels through which communication must pass, the less information will be lost or distorted


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100%

Board

63%

Vice presidents

56%

General managers

40%

Plant managers

30%

Supervisors

20%

Workers

Information Loss In Downward Communication


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Organizational Communication (cont.)

  • Downward communication (cont.)

    • coaching - important form of downward communication

      • dialogue with a goal of helping another be more effective and achieve her/his full potential on the job

        • a true dialog between two committed people engaged in joint problem solving

      • used to deal with performance problems or to help person change behavior

      • coaches for executives sometimes hired from outside the firm

      • often incumbent on managers to coach themselves

      • requires honesty, calmness, and supportiveness


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Organizational Communication (cont.)

  • Downward communication (cont.)

    • downward communication in difficult times

      • communication important during mergers and acquisitions

      • full communication helps employees deal with anxiety

        • signals care and concern for employees

        • may cause some employees to quit their jobs too early

    • open-book management

      • controversial practice of sharing with all employees vital information previously meant for management’s eyes only

      • done properly, complete communications system makes sense to people on the shop floor just as it does to the top executives

      • potentially impacts motivation and care for business results


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Principles Of Open-Book Management

1. Make management of a business a game that employees can win

2. Open the books and share financial and operating information with

employees

3. Teach employees to understand the financial statements of the

company

4. Show employees how their work influences financial results

5. Link nonfinancial measures to financial results

6. Target priority areas and empower employees to make

improvements

7. Review results together and keep employees accountable

8. Post results and celebrate successes

9. Distribute bonus awards based on employee contributions to

financial outcomes

10. Share the ownership of the company with employees


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Organizational Communication (cont.)

  • Upward communication

    • information that flows from lower to higher levels in the organization hierarchy

    • important for several reasons

      • managers learn what is going on

      • employees gain from the opportunity to communicate upward

      • facilitates downward communication

    • problems similar to those for downward communication

      • managers may neglect or miss information due to the amount of communication they receive

      • employees may filter information directed at their bosses

        • managers may not learn about important problems


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Organizational Communication (cont.)

  • Upward communication (cont.)

    • managing upward communication

      • managers should facilitate upward communication

      • managers must motivate people to provide valid information

      • upward communication can use informal channels

      • management by wandering around (MBWA)


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Organizational Communication (cont.)

  • Horizontal communication

    • information sharing among people on the same hierarchical level

      • may involve people outside of the organization

    • has several important functions

      • allows sharing of information among units

      • helps solve conflicts

      • provides social and emotional support to people

    • managing horizontal communication

      • direct contact among managers at conferences and meetings

      • transfer of people from one business unit to another

      • create a culture of openness, honesty, trust, and mutual obligation


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Organizational Communication (cont.)

  • Formal and informal communication

    • formal communication - official, organization-sanctioned episodes of information transmission

    • informal communication - more unofficial

      • grapevine - the social network of informal communications

        • helps people to interpret the organization

        • conveys information that the formal system leaves unsaid

    • managing informal communication

      • managers need to work with the grapevine

      • talk to the key people

      • prevent rumors from starting

      • neutralize rumors once they have started


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Organizational Communication (cont.)

  • Boundarylessness

    • boundaryless organization - organization in which there are no barriers to information flow

      • ideas and information move to where they are most needed

        • information available as needed

      • concept promoted and implemented by General Electric