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Organizational Communication. UHS 2062 LECTURES at UTM Prepared by Siti Rokiah Siwok Let me begin with a question:. What do you want in life?. What do you want in life?. Consider this : Some facts of life….

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organizational communication

Organizational Communication


Prepared by SitiRokiahSiwok

let me begin with a question

Let me begin with a question:

What do you want in life?

consider this some facts of life
Consider this : Some facts of life…
  • Whatever you want to achieve in life..communication is VITAL to achieve what you want to achieve.
  • Happiness is will not be meaningful if you have nobody to share your feelings with.
  • Business is about your ability to “market” your ideas and convincing the other party to “agree” with you.
  • How much you learn depends on how much you listen and interact with the people who teach you.
  • Your ability to “change for the better” depends how much you “know” about yourself..this take intra personal communication.
and this too
..and this too.
  • Medical researchers identified that a whole range of health threats can result from the lack of close relationships:
    • A lack of social relationships jeopardizes physical wellbeing to a degree similar to cigarette smoking, high blood pressure etc
    • Socially isolated people are 2-3 times more likely to die earlier than those with strong social ties ( marriage, friendship, religious and community ties all seem to increase longevity).
    • Poor communication can contribute to coronary heart disease
do you know that
Do you know that…..?
  • Communication is the way for us to survive?
    • As our sense of identity comes from the way we interact with people around us.
    • Deprived of communication, there will be no sense of identity.
    • The case of the “The wild boy of Aveyron”
communication a social need
Communication : A social need
  • We communicate for :
    • Pleasure (“to have fun”, “to have a good time” etc)
    • Affection (“to help others” , “ to let others know that I care” etc)
    • Inclusion ( “because I need somebody to talk to..” etc)
    • Relaxing ( “helps me to unwind/feel less stressful”..)
    • Fulfilling a need (“ I want it to be done today” ….)
    • Fulfillment of a practical goals( “ I need a hair cut”!....)
some definitions of communication
Some Definitions of Communication
  • It is the transfer of a message through a medium, from one individual to another individual.
  • The process of sending and receiving of messages between individuals, with feedbacks and effects.
  • It is the process of sharing of information, ideas and feelings
some definitions of communication1
Some definitions of communication
  • It is the simultaneous sharing and creating of meaning through symbolic interaction ( Seiler and Beall, 2008)
  • A transmission of information from one person or group to another person or group ( Riggio, 2008)
functions of communications
Functions of Communications
  • Communication is a social process to :
    • Seek information
    • To disseminate information
    • To educate
    • To persuade
    • To entertain
some functions of communication
Some functions of communication
  • To inform
  • To share
  • To influence
  • To persuade
  • To discover information
  • To uncover information
  • etc
organizational communication1
Organizational Communication
  • One of the main characteristics of effective employers and employees is to be able to communicate effectively.
  • Ideas, visions, knowledge, opinions or complains will not get anywhere without communicating them to relevant others.
what is organizational communication
What is organizational communication?
  • Organizational communication is the ability of an individual or group within a collective establishment to transmit and receive information within that collective establishment. Usually organizational communication is premised on common set goals that the collective establishment attempts to execute

( )

organizational communication2
Organizational Communication
  • Organizational communication may be classified into four types:
    • Upward communication
    • Downward communication
    • Business communication
    • Informal communication
upward communication uc
Upward communication(UC)
  • UC is the communication of subordinates (lower levels ) to superiors or of employees to managers(upper levels).
  • The ideal practice is for employees to speak directly to the management with an “open door policy” .
  • Quality of UC contributes to employees satisfaction.
  • However, it is not be practical if every employee communicates with the manager for several reasons such as : the volume that reaches the management & employees feel threatened by managers.
serial communication
Serial communication
  • In situations when open door policy is not possible, serial communication is adopted, in which message is relayed from an employee to the superiors ( according to hierarchy) until the message reaches the top.
serial communication1
Serial communication
  • Disadvantages of serial communication:
    • The message (content and tone) changes as it moves from person to person.
    • Bad news and complaints are seldom conveyed, partly due to the stress associated with delivering the bad news (McKee &Ptacek, 2001, in Aamodt, 2007). The reluctance to convey bad news is called MUM (minimize unpleasant message ) effect { Rosen & Tesser, 1970 in Aamodt, 2007}.
    • Effectiveness of the communication depends on the physical proximity of the sender and the receiver, especially with informal communication channels. However, proximity does not play a role if the message is being communicated electronically such as the e-mail ( Valacich, Parantia, George &Nunamaker, 1993 in Aamodt, 2007)
serial communication2
Serial communication
  • The MUM effect affects the organization as important information is being kept from the upper levels.
  • For the employees , the MUM effect is a form of survival, i.e nobody has to be the bad news bearer (the one who communicates the bad news to the management).
facilitating upward communication
Facilitating Upward communication
  • To overcome the disadvantages of serial communication, several methods are utilised:
    • Surveys
    • Focus groups
    • Exit Interviews
    • Suggestion boxes
    • Third party Facilitators
  • Surveys are usually conducted annually by an outside consultant who administers questionnaires, asking employees to rate their opinions on factors such as: pay, working conditions, supervisors etc
  • Surveys also give opportunity to employees to give suggestions and to list complaints.
  • The consultant then analyse the responses and then report to the management.
  • Results of the surveys are use to create the action plans for the coming year (Robb ,2004 in Aamodt 2007).
  • Surveys are only useful if the results are being taken seriously by the management.
  • Some organization share the result of the survey with their employees, as an act to increase trust .
focus groups
Focus groups
  • Focus groups are group interviews (Morgan, 1998).
  • A focus is a qualitative research method with a widespread use in various applicative fields (such as market research or NGOs research), and a fairly moderated use in social sciences (mainly sociology and psychology) (Barbour, 1995; Baban, 2002; Boan, 2006; Goldman & MacDonald, 1987; Greenbaum, 1988; Howard, Hubelbank, & Moore, 1989; Powell & Single, 1996).
  • The responses obtained from the focus group is the then passed on to the management, without telling the names of employs who participated in the focus groups.
exit interviews
Exit Interviews
  • Exit interviews are interviews done with employees voluntarily leaving the organization .
  • It is an excellent source of information as the “real” reason/s will be revealed.
suggestion boxes
Suggestion boxes
  • Suggestion or complaints boxes is another method to facilitate UC. (or the toll free numbers ).
  • The greatest advantage of the suggestion or complaints boxes is that employees can immediately communicate their feelings anonymously.
  • Suggestion and complaints boxes work equally well with customers.
  • For the boxes to be beneficial, management must respond to the suggestions and complaints in a timely manner.
suggestion boxes1
Suggestion boxes
  • One way to respond to the suggestions or complains is to place the suggestions and complaints on the bulletin board or to post them on the organization’s intranet along with the management’s responses.
  • Some organizations take suggestions seriously and reward employees who give useful ideas such as money-saving ideas or cost –saving ideas.
third party facilitators
Third party Facilitators
  • The use of third party facilitators, such as liaison and ombudsperson ,is another way to facilitate UC.
  • A third party facilitator takes the complaints and suggestions of the employees and personally work with the management to find solutions .
  • The advantage of this method is the neutrality of the ombudsperson , who works for a solution acceptable to both the employees and the management (Hirshman, 2003 in Aamodt, 2007)
downward communication dc
Downward communication(DC)
  • DC is the communication from superior or management to employees.
  • DC considered a major method in organizational communication to keep employees informed and to convey vital information crucial for the employs to perform their jobs.
methods in downward communication
Methods in downward communication
  • Bulletin boards (electronic and non-electronic)
  • Policy manuals
  • Newsletters
  • Intranets
bulletin board
Bulletin Board
  • A method in DC .
  • The main use is to communicate non-work related opportunities such as scholarship , optional meetings and items for sale.
  • It is not an appropriate place for important information such as change of policy or procedures.
  • Advantage: low cost and wide exposure to employees and visitors, especially placed at strategic places .
  • There is also electronic bulletin boards called “networks” .
policy manuals
Policy Manuals
  • Policy Manuals is the place for posting important changes in policy or procedure.
  • The Policy Manual contains the rules employees must operate; written in highly technical language, although they should be written less technical so that employees feel encouraged to read.
  • The contents of the policy manuals are binding contracts by courts; thus must be updated each time policy changes. This is usually done by sending updated pages to employees so that they can replace the old ones with the new pages.
policy manuals1
Policy Manuals
  • Policy manuals are usually hundreds of pages long and so many employees do not want to read them.
  • To reduce length problems, most organizations have two types of company manual: (1) A policy manual (very specific and lengthy, containing all the rules and policies under which the organization operates) (2) The employee handbook (shorter and contains only the most essential policies and rules, as well as general summaries of less important rules)
  • Newsletter s are designed to bolster employees’ morale by discussing happy or innocous events such as birthdays, births and ballgame scores.
  • A good source of information for celebrating employee successes, providing feedback of how well the organization is doing , introducing new employees and to remind employees of organizational changes .
  • Newsletter can be printed or electronic (sent through email or intranet).
  • Many organizations are using intranets to replace bulletin boards, newsletter and company manuals .
  • Intranets are organization-wide versions of internet.
  • One of the most useful aspects of intranets is the speed , besides its 24-hour availability , paperless and savings on postage and printing.
  • Intranets are common resources for : online employee handbooks, FAQs, activity calendars etc
business communication
Business Communication
  • This is the communication which relates to the business –related information among employees, management and customers.
  • Methods include:
    • Memos
    • Telephone calls and faxes
    • Email and voice mail

Each method has its advantages and disadvantages

informal communication
Informal communication
  • Informal communication happens everywhere including the workplace .
  • Often, informal communication is transmitted through “grapevine”, a term which can be traced back to the Civil War.
  • Informal communication provides information, power and entertainment.
  • Most people consider contents in informal communication to be inaccurate or distorted, research shows that it contains a great deal of truth.
the process of communication
The process of communication
  • Communication is a process
  • Examples of models:
    • Linear
    • Interactional
    • Transactional
    • Communication is not something that we do to others but do WITH them.
    • Communication is mutually influencing one another
it that all
It that all?
  • Of course not, there is a lot more.
  • What about lateral communication?
    • When is lateral communication useful?
    • What are the methods used in lateral communication?
  • Keep on reading…..





  • Aamodt, M.G (2007). Industrial /organizational psychology. An applied approach. Belmont, CA: Thomson
  • Adler , R. B & Towne, N. ( 1996). Looking out /Looking in. Interpersonal Communication (8thed) . Florida: Harcourt Brace.
  • Riggio, R. E. ( 2008). Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology (5thed). New Jersey: Pearson/Prentice Hall.
useful websites
Useful websites
  • Models