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UNIT 1

COMMUNICATION IN THE WORK PLACE

Your effectiveness depends on your ability to reach others through the spoken or written word. Peter Drucker 1.1 Introduction Managers have traditionally spent the majority of their time communicating in one form or another (meetings, face-to-face discussions, memos, letters, e-mails, reports, etc.). Today, however, more and more employees find that an important part of their work is communication, especially now that service workers outnumber production workers and research as well as production processes emphasize greater collaboration and teamwork among workers in different functional groups. Moreover, a sea-change in communication technologies has contributed to the transformation of both work and organizational structure. For these reasons, communication practices and technologies have become more important in all organizations, but they are perhaps most important in knowledgeintensive organizations and sectors and, as such, are of great significance to science organizations and to public science management. Communication is the life source of organizations because organizations involve people. People cannot interact with each other without communication. In the absence of communication, everything would grind to a halt. For example; if the workers in an organization would not know the organizations objectives they would not strive to achieve the organizations objectives. Similarly if the workers in an organization would not know what their roles and responsibilities were, they would not be able to carry out their daily tasks and duties. The managers would not be able to train their workers if the workers did not possess the skills they needed to carry out their jobs. The managers would not be able to inform workers of changes and the list is endless.. On the whole, people are able to communicate with each other as this is a basic human function. However successful organizations strive not only for communication but for effective communication. In this chapter we will cover the basic process of communication and then we will cover some of the most difficult communication issues managers face in-providing constructive and effective feedback and performance appraisal.

1.2 LEARNING OBJECTIVES Identify the importance of communication skills. Describe the process of communication. Describe the barriers to effective communication and methods to overcoming those barriers. Discuss various communication systems in an organization. Discuss how information technology affects organizations. List the guidelines to be followed to achieve successful communication.

1.3 WHAT IS COMMUNICATION? How do we define communication? Communication is something so simple and difficult that we can never put it in simple words says C.S.Mathew. Communication may be defined as giving, receiving or exchanging information, opinions or ideas by writing, speech or visual means, so that the material communicated is completely understood by everyone concerned. According to W.H.Newman and C.F. Summer Jr: communication is exchange of facts, ideas, opinions, or emotions by two or more persons. William Scott defined communication as a process: Administrative communication is a process which involves the transmission and accurate replication of ideas insured by feedback for the purpose of eliciting actions which will accomplish organizational goals. This definition emphasizes four important points: 1. 2. 3. 4. The process of communication involves the communication of ideas The ideas should be accurately replicated in the receivers mind. The transmitter is assured of the accurate replication of the idea by feedback. The purpose of idea is to elicit action. The term business communication includes all communication that occurs in a business context. Knowledge of business communication presupposes an understanding of both business and communication. Business communication draws on information derived from a wide variety of other disciplines, including linguistics (the study of language), semantics (the branch of linguistics most concerned with meaning), rhetoric (the art of using words in speech or writing effectively), psychology (the study of mental processes and behavior), sociology (the study of social relations and societal change), graphic design (the use of visual images and typography to create special effects), management (the study of controlling and directing operations and personnel), marketing (the study of moving goods and services from producer to consumer, including everything from advertising, to packaging, to sales), economics (the study of the production, distribution, and consumption of wealth), and information technology (the study of the ways in which technology can be used to create, locate, store, retrieve, and transmit information).

For this reason, different authors typically select specific aspects of communication in business on which to focus. The following related areas of study have evolved over time: Managerial Communication: The term, managerial communication, usually refers to an emphasis on communication strategies for setting and achieving specific organizational objectives. Organizational Communication: Organizational communication usually refers to established communication networks and the communication flow within organizations and an organizations communication climate. Human Relations and Team Building: Over the past 30 years or so, business and industry have increasingly recognized the importance of good interpersonal communication between and among those who work together. Such skills are also important to the success of customer relations programs and strategic alliances. By whatever name, courses on these topics typically cover the fundamentals of understanding other people, differences in perception, differences in motivation and other common behavioral strategies, establishing rapport, developing mutual respect, and reaching consensus. Sales Communication: Sales communication includes all communication specifically designed to produce sales, from media-based advertising, to telephone solicitation, to direct-mail advertising and direct (face-to-face) sales. Report Writing: As the term suggests, report writing focuses on written reports, typically including everything from short, informational memos to letter reports (basically long letters that include headings and other report-writing techniques), to complete analytical reports. Books on this subject often include the fundamentals of primary and secondary research, techniques for data analysis, and analytical and presentation graphics. Communication Technology and Electronic Communication: Whether word processing, page layout and graphic design, electronic mail (email), electronic conferencing, Internet-based services, audio or video conferencing, or multimedia presentations, the technology we use to communicateinformation technologyhas changed radically over the past few years.

These changes, especially since the advent of the computer, have altered the way we think about communication, and we have yet to see the end of these changes. The ways in which information (computer) technologies and other communication technologies, such as enhanced telephone services, are becoming increasingly interdependent is typically referred to as digital convergence or technological convergence. Car phones, cell phones, and pagers help ensure that one can communicate from virtually anywhere to virtually anywhere else at any time, and email has recently

become the principal means of exchanging written communication in organizations. As the volume of communication increases, the chance of information overload also increases, which not only reduces the impact of individual messages but also increases the need for effective communication skills, including listening, speaking, reading, and writing. International Communication: International communication, also referred to as intercultural communication, focuses on the ways in which cultural differences influence communication expectations and behavior, including the length of time it takes to establish business and personal relationships, differences in the conception of time itself, differences in nonverbal communication, and differences in perceptions as they are influenced by language and culture.

1.4 METHODS OF COMMUNICATION Technology has rapidly expanded the types of internal and external communication available to organizations. The diagram illustrates the vast array of internal and external communication methods available. Combined together internal and external types of communications allow various sectors of the local, national and international community to interact, liaise and conduct business.

1.4.1 Choosing the means of communication

The medium chosen for communicating any message will depends on various factors such as: COST Consider how much the communication will cost in terms of the results expected. Can internal message be handwritten or is a printed copy important? Is the postal service satisfactory, or is email or fax justified? CONFIDENTIALITY Email or fax may be appropriate. A telephone call could be overheard. An internal memo may need to be enclosed in an envelope. SAFETY AND SECURITY Should a special Post Office service be used, registered or recorded delivery? Would a courier service be justified? INFLUENCE To convey a certain impression, would a congratulatory telegram or invitation be suitable? Multi coloured letterheads on quality paper convey good image of a company. URGENCY Choose the method which will produce the desired results in the time available. Perhaps the higher cost of a fax will be justified by the results obtained through its speed. DISTANCE Is communication with in the building, the same town, or the other side of the world? TIME OF THE DAY This is particularly important when communicating with overseas countries. RESOURCES Consider the equipment and staff available WRITTEN RECORD Written communication carries more authority and proof of a transaction. RECEIPIENT

Consider who is sending/receiving the message. Personal contact may be appropriate on certain occasions. Verbal communication will not be appropriate where complex information or bad news is conveyed. Choose language appropriately, considering the situation and the relationship between sender/recipient. EXERCISE Which communication method would you use in each of the following situations? a. b. c. d. e. Congratulating an employee on promotion to higher position. Informing employees about annual get together. Displaying the past five years sales figures and net profit. Describing the location of the hotel where the company is hosting a seminar. Sending an urgent message to an overseas client.

1.5 Communication Process This is defined as communication between two or more people and involves the transfer of information (or message) from one person to the other(s). The person transferring the information is called the sender or transmitter. The people receiving the message are known as receivers. The transmitter will need to send the information in a format that the receiver(s) will understand. Converting the information into a format that the receivers will understand is known as Encoding. Messages can be encoded into a variety of formats oral, written or visual. After encoding the message is transferred via a medium called a channel, for example a letter, fax, phone call, or e-mail. After transference the information will need to be interpreted by the receiver. This process of interpretation is known as decoding. Finally the receiver will send a message back to the transmitter confirming whether the information sent has been understood. This back check is known as feedback. The communication process involves seven key elements as illustrated in the diagram below.

To be an effective communicator and to get your point across without misunderstanding and confusion, your goal should be to lessen the frequency of these problems at each stage of this process with clear, concise, accurate, well-planned communications. We follow the process through below: 1.5.1 Sender conceives the idea. The process of communication begins when the person with whom the message originates the sender has an idea. The form of the idea will be influenced by complex factors surrounding the sender: mood, frame of reference, background, culture and physical makeup, as well as the context of the situation and many other factors. The way you greet people on campus, for example depends a lot on how you feel, whom you are addressing (a classmate, a professor, a campus worker), and what your culture has trained you to say (Hi, or Good morning) To establish yourself as an effective communicator, you must first establish credibility. In the business arena, this involves displaying knowledge of the subject, the audience and the context in which the message is delivered. You must also know your audience/recipient (individuals or groups to which you are delivering your message). Failure to understand who you are communicating with will result in delivering messages that are misunderstood. 1.5.2 Sender Encodes Idea in Message This stage involves putting the information into an appropriate form suitable to both the sender, the recipient and the aim. This means converting the idea into words or gestures that will convey meaning. A major problem in communicating any message verbally is that words have different meanings for different people. When misunderstandings result from missed meanings, it is called bypassing. Recognizing how easy it is to be misunderstood, skilled communicators choose familiar words with concrete meanings on which both senders and receivers agree. In selecting proper symbols, senders must alter to the receivers communication skills, attitudes, background, experiences, and culture.

1.5.3 Message Travels over Channel How will the selected words affect the receiver? For example, a Dr.Pepper Cola promotion failed miserably in Great Britain because American managers were failed to understand the audience. They had to change their I m a Pepper slogan after learning that pepper is British slang for prostitute. Because the sender initiates a communication transaction, he or she may have primary responsibility for its success or failure. Choosing appropriate words or symbols is the first step. Messages also have intellectual and emotional components, with intellect allowing us the ability to reason out and emotion allowing us to present motivational appeals, ultimately changing minds and actions. The medium over which the message is physically transmitted is the channel. Messages may be delivered by computer, telephone, letter, memorandum, report, picture, spoken word, fax, pager, or through some other channel. Different channels have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, it's not particularly effective to give a long list of directions verbally, while you'll quickly cause problems if you criticize someone strongly by email. Communication channel delivers both verbal and non verbal messages; senders must choose the channel and shape the message carefully. For example a company may use its annual report to deliver many messages to stock holders. The verbal message lies in the reports financial or organizational news. But non verbal messages, though, are conveyed by the reporters appearance, layout, and tone. 1.5.4 NOISE Anything that interrupts the transmission of a message in the communication process is called noise. Channel noise ranges from the static one that disrupts a telephone conversion to typographical errors in a letter or e-mail message. Such errors damage the credibility of the sender. Channel noise will even include the annoyance a receiver feels when the sender chooses an improper medium for sending a message, such as an announcing of loan rejection via postcard or firing an employee by circular. 1.5.6 Decodes the message The individual for whom the message is intended is the receiver. Translating the message from its symbol form into meaning involves decoding. Only when the receiver understands the meaning intended by the sender does communication take place. Such success, however, is difficult to achieve because no two people share the same life experiences and because many barriers can disrupt the process.

1.5.7 Feedback Travels to Sender The verbal and non verbal responses of the receiver create feedback, a vital part of the communication process. Feedback helps the sender to know that the message received was understood. If, as a receiver, you hear a message How are you your feedback must consist of words (Im fine) or body language (a smile or a wave of the hand). Sender can encourage feedback by asking questions such as, am I myself clear? AND is there anything you dont understand? Senders can further improve the feedback by timing the delivery appropriately and by providing only as much information as the receiver can handle. 1.5.8 Context The situation in which your message is delivered is the context. This may include the surrounding environment or broader culture (i.e. corporate culture, international cultures, etc.).

1.6 RESEARCH ON THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS Much of the research on the communication process in work environment has focused on factors that can increase or decrease its effectiveness. Among the factors that can affect the flow of communication from sender to receiver are source factors, channel factors and audience factors. 1.6.1 Source factors: These are the characteristics of the sender. One such factor is status. Generally, the higher the organizational status of the sender, the more likely the communication will be listened to and acted upon. Another source factor is credibility. If the source is trusted, it is more likely that the message will receive attention A final factor is the encoding skill of the sender. These skills include the ability to speak and write clearly and to select the appropriate channel for transmitting the information. 1.6.2 Channel factors: These are the characteristics of the vehicle of transmission of a message that affects communication. Selection of the proper channel can have an important effect on the accurate flow of communication. The channel selected can also affect the impact of the message. For example, a face-toface reprimand from a supervisor might carry more weight than the same reprimand conveyed over the telephone. Whenever possible, using multiple channels to present complicated information will increase the likelihood that it will be attended to and retained

1.6.3 Semantic problems are common channel factors that can lead to a breakdown in communication. These problems may arise because different people may interpret the meanings of words differently. Semantic problems may arise because of the use of technical language or jargon, the special language that develops within a specific work environment. Jargon is typically filled with abbreviated words, acronyms and slang. While jargon serves the purpose of speeding up communication between those who speak the language, it can create problems when the receiver is not fluent in its use. The use of jargon can also present problems when a team of workers is from different professional disciplines, all of which may use different jargons. The choice of channel can affect important work-related outcomes like job-satisfaction. Muchinsky (1977) conducted a survey using questionnaires in a number of workplaces in America and found that the frequency of face-to-face communication between supervisors and subordinates was positively related to the workers job satisfaction, while the frequently written communications was negatively correlated with satisfaction. 1.6.4 Audience factors: These are elements related to the receiver, such as the attention span and perceptual abilities. For example. it is essential that training information is presented at a level that matches the audiences ability to understand it. Moreover, it may be critical to consider the attention span of the target audience. All-day training sessions may be appropriate for management trainees who are used to long sessions, but the attention of assembly-line workers may be lost after an hour because of their unfamiliarity with the format. The relationship to the sender may also affect the communication process. For example, if the receiver is subordinate to the sender, the message may be better attended to because people are supposed to listen to their bosses. Finally, decoding skills may influence the effectiveness of communication. Research has shown that effective managers have good decoding skills in listening and responding to the needs and concerns of their subordinates. In fact, because most of the communication in work settings involves spoken communications, oral decoding skills, often referred to as listening skills, are considered to be the most effective decoding skills of all. EXERCISE Now imagine that you are the boss in an organization where youve worked and you wish to announce a new policy that aimed at improving customer service. Examine the entire communication process from sender to feedback. How will the message be encoded? What assumptions must you make about your audience? How should you announce the new policy? How can you encourage feedback? What noise may interfere with transmission? What barriers should you expect? How can you overcome them?

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1.7 BARRIERS TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION There are a wide number of sources of noise or interference that can enter into the communication process. This can occur when people know each other very well and should understand the sources of error. In a work- setting, it is even more common since interactions involve people who not only don't have years of experience with each other, but communication is complicated by the complex and often conflict relationships that exist at work. Recognizing barriers to effective communication is a first step in improving communication style. Do you recognize these barriers from your own personal and professional experience? 1.7.1 Encoding Barriers. The process of selecting and organizing symbols to represent a message requires skill and knowledge. Obstacles listed below can interfere with an effective message. 1. Lack of Sensitivity to Receiver. A breakdown in communication may result when a message is not adapted to its receiver. Recognizing the receivers needs, status, knowledge of the subject, and language skills assists the sender in preparing a successful message. If a customer is angry, for example, an effective response may be just to listen to the person vent for awhile. 2. Lack of Basic Communication Skills. The receiver is less likely to understand the message if the sender has trouble choosing the precise words needed and arranging those words in a grammatically-correct sentence. 3. Insufficient Knowledge of the Subject. If the sender lacks specific information about something, the receiver will likely receive an unclear or mixed message. Have you shopped for an item such as a computer, and experienced how some salespeople can explain complicated terms and ideas in a simple way? Others cannot. 4. Information Overload. If you receive a message with too much information, you may tend to put up a barrier because the amount of information is coming so fast that you may have difficulty comfortably interpreting that information. If you are selling an item with twenty-five terrific features, pick two or three important features to emphasize instead of overwhelming your receiver (ho-hum) with an information avalanche. 5. Emotional Interference. An emotional individual may not be able to communicate well. If someone is angry, hostile, resentful, joyful, or fearful, that person may be too preoccupied with emotions to receive the intended message. If you dont like someone, for example, you may have trouble hearing them. 1.7.2 Transmitting Barriers: Things that get in the way of message transmission are sometimes called noise. Communication may be difficult because of noise and some of these problems:

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1. Physical Distractions. A bad cellular phone line or a noisy restaurant can destroy communication. If an E-mail message or letter is not formatted properly, or if it contains grammatical and spelling errors, the receiver may not be able to concentrate on the message because the physical appearance of the letter or E-mail is sloppy and unprofessional. 2. Conflicting Messages. Messages that cause a conflict in perception for the receiver may result in incomplete communication. For example, if a person constantly uses jargon or slang to communicate with someone from another country who has never heard such expressions, mixed messages are sure to result. Another example of conflicting messages might be if a supervisor requests a report immediately without giving the report writer enough time to gather the proper information. Does the report writer emphasize speed in writing the report, or accuracy in gathering the data? 3. Channel Barriers. If the sender chooses an inappropriate channel of communication, communication may cease. Detailed instructions presented over the telephone, for example, may be frustrating for both communicators. If you are on a computer technical support help line discussing a problem, it would be helpful for you to be sitting in front of a computer, as opposed to taking notes 4. Long Communication Chain. The longer the communication chain, the greater the chance for error. If a message is passed through too many receivers, the message often becomes distorted. If a person starts a message at one end of a communication chain of ten people, for example, the message that eventually returns is usually liberally altered. 1.7.3 Decoding Barriers. The communication cycle may break down at the receiving end for some of these reasons: 1. Lack of Interest. If a message reaches a reader who is not interested in the message, the reader may read the message hurriedly or listen to the message carelessly. Miscommunication may result in both cases. 2. Lack of Knowledge. If a receiver is unable to understand a message filled with technical information, communication will break down. Unless a computer user knows something about the Windows environment, for example, the user may have difficulty organizing files if given technical instructions. 3. Lack of Communication Skills. Those who have weak reading and listening skills make ineffective receivers. On the other hand, those who have a good professional vocabulary and who concentrate on listening, have less trouble hearing and interpreting good communication. Many people tune out who is talking and mentally rehearse what they are going to say in return. . 4. Emotional Distractions. If emotions interfere with the creation and transmission of a message, they can also disrupt reception. If you receive a report from your supervisor regarding proposed changes in work procedures and you do not particularly like your supervisor, you may have trouble even reading the report objectively. You may read, not

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objectively, but to find fault. You may misinterpret words and read negative impressions between the lines. Consequently, you are likely to misunderstand part or all of the report. 5. Physical Distractions. If a receiver of a communication works in an area with bright lights, glare on computer screens, loud noises, excessively hot or cold work spaces, or physical ailments, that receiver will probably experience communication breakdowns on a regular basis. 1.7.4 Responding BarriersThe communication cycle may be broken if the feedback is unsuccessful. 1. No Provision for Feedback. Since communication is a two-way process, the sender must search for a means of getting a response from the receiver. If a team leader does not permit any interruptions nor questions while discussing projects, he may find that team members may not completely understand what they are to do. Face-to-face oral communication is considered the best type of communication since feedback can be both verbal and nonverbal. When two communicators are separated, care must be taken to ask for meaningful feedback. 1. Inadequate Feedback. Delayed or judgmental feedback can interfere with good communication. If your supervisor gives you instructions in long, compoundcomplex sentences without giving you a chance to speak, you may pretend to understand the instructions just so you can leave the stress of the conversation. Because you may have not fully understood the intended instructions, your performance may suffer. 1.8 Over coming obstacles Careful communication can conquer barriers in a number of ways. Half the battle in communicating successfully lies in recognising the fact that the entire communication process is sensitive and susceptible to breakdown. Like a defensive driver anticipating problems in encoding, transmitting, and decoding a message. Effective communicators also focus on the recivers environment and frame of reference. They ask themselves questions such as, How is that individual likely to react to my message? Does the reciver know as much about the subject as I do? A large part of suceesful communication is listening. Management advisor Peter Drucker observed too many executives think they are wonderful with people because they talk well. They dont realise that being wonderful with people means listening well. Overcoming the interpersonal barriers often involves questioning your preconceptions. Successful communicators continually examine their personal assumptions, biases, and prejudices. An American software company, for example failed unnecessarily in Japan because it simply translated its glossy brochure from English into Japanese. The American didnt realize that in Japan such bruchures are associated with low priced

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consumer products. The software producer wrongly assumed that since glossy was upscale in America, it would be similarly perceived in Japan. Finally, effective communicators create an environment for useful feedback. In oral communication this means asking questions such as Do you understand? And what questions do you have? as well as encouraging listeners to repeat instructions or paraphrase ideas. To a listener, it means providing feedback that describes rather than evaluates. And in written communication it means asking questions and providing access: Do you have my telephone number in case you have questions? EXERCISE Communication is not successful unless the receiver understands the message as the sender meant it. Analyze the following examples of communication failures. What went wrong? a. A supervisor issued the following announcement: Effective immediately the charge for copying services in Repro will be raised 1 to 2 rupees each . Receivers scratched their heads. b. The pilot of a military airplane about to land decided that the runway was too short. He shouted to his engineer, Takeoff power!. The engineer turned off the engines; the plane crashed. 1.9 Tips for sucessful communication 1. Read. Extend your knowledge of language by reading. 2. listen intelligently. Communication is a two way process. Listening is just as important as speaking. 3. Think and plan. Think before you speak or write. Plan all your communications carefully, whether oral or written. 4. Use appropriate language. Use clear, simple language, and appreciate the same used by others. 5. Be open minded. Consider other peoples viewpoints, be willing to adapt and change methods or procedures if necessary. 6. Select appropriate media. Consider carefully the method to be used for communicating your message. 7. Time your communication appropriately. Consider the best time for communication. 8. Use appropriate language. Use words which are relevant to the topic and which will be understood by the recipient. 9. Obtain feedback. Obtain feedback to ensure that the communication was effective. 10. Aim high. Set and maintain high standards in all your methods of communication, both in terms of language and presentation.

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1.10 FORMAL VERSUS INFORMAL COMMUNICATION Communication within an organization is often described as formal or informal. Formal communication refers to communication that follows the official chain of command or is part of the communication required to do ones job. For example, when a manager asks an employee to complete a task, he or she is communicating formally. So is the employee who brings a problem to the attention of his or her manager. Any communication that takes place within prescribed organizational work arrangements would be classified as formal. Informal communication is organizational communication that is not defined by the organizations structural hierarchy. When employees talk with each other in the lunch room, as they pass in hallways, or as theyre working out at the company exercise facility, thats informal communication. Employees form friendships and communicate with each other. The informal communication system fulfills two purposes in organizations: (1) It permits employees to satisfy their need for social interaction, and (2) it can improve an organizations performance by creating an alternative, and frequently faster and more efficient, channels of communication. 1.11 DIRECTION OF COMMUNICAT I O N F LOW Organizational communication can flow downward, upward, laterally, or diagonally. Lets look at each type. 1.11.1 Downward communication This consists of messages sent from superiors to subordinates. Most commonly they are: 1. Instructions or directions concerning job-performance 2. Information about organizational procedures and policies. 3. Feedback to the subordinates concerning job performance 4. Information to assist in the co-ordination of work tasks. While much formal communication in organizations is downward, research indicates that most organizations still do not have enough of this communication. A number of studies indicate that workers would like more information from their superiors about work procedures and about what is happening elsewhere in the organization. It also appears that certain types of downward communication may be particularly limited, such as feedback concerning work performance. This is especially true in companies that fail to conduct regular performance appraisals. 1.11.2 Upward communication. This is the flow of messages from the lower levels of the organization to the upper levels. It most typically consists of information managers need to perform their jobs, such as feedback concerning the status of lower-level operations, which could include reports of 15

production output or information about any problems. The upward flow of information is critical for managers, who must use this information to make important work-related decisions. Upward communication can also involve complaints and suggestions for improvement from lower-level workers and is significant because it gives subordinates some input into the functioning of the organization. 1.11.3 Lateral communication This is the flow of communication between people who are on the same level in an organization, and is particularly important when co-workers must co-ordinate their activities in order to accomplish a goal. Lateral communication can also occur between two or more departments in an organization e.g. between the production and qualitycontrol departments. Lateral communication allows the sharing of news and information and helps in developing interpersonal relationships. But too much of socializing on the job can detract from effective job performance. 1.12 COMMUNICATION NETWORKS The vertical and horizontal flows of organizational communication can be combined into a variety of patterns called communication networks. There are three common communication networks. Types of Communication Networks In the chain network, communication flows according to the formal chain of command, both downward and upward. The wheel network represents communication flowing between a clearly identifiable and strong leader and others in a work group or team. The leader serves as the hub through whom all communication passes. Finally, in the allchannel network, communication flows freely among all members of a work team. As a manager, which network should you use? The answer depends on your goal. The effectiveness of the various networks according to four criteria: speed, accuracy, the probability that a leader will emerge, and the importance of member satisfaction. One observation is immediately apparent: No single network is best for all situations. If you are concerned with high member satisfaction, the all-channel network is best; if having a strong and identifiable leader is important, the wheel facilitates this; and if accuracy is most important, the chain and wheel networks work best. The Grapevine We cant leave our discussion of communication networks without discussing the grapevinethe informal organizational communication network. The grapevine is active in almost every organization. Is it an important source of information? One survey reported that 75 percent of employees hear about organizational matters first through rumours on the grapevine.

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What are the implications for managers? Certainly, the grapevine is an important part of any group or organization communication network and well worth understanding. It identifies for managers those bewildering issues that employees consider mportant and anxiety prone. It acts as both a filter and a feedback mechanism, picking up on the issues employees consider relevant. More importantly, from a managerial point of view, it is possible to analyze what is happening on the grapevine -what information is being passed, how information seems to flow along the grapevine, and which individuals seem to be key conduits of information on the grapevine. By being aware of the grapevines flow and patterns, managers can stay on top of issues that concern employees and, in turn, can use the grapevine to disseminate important information. Since the grapevine cant be eliminated, managers should manage it as an important information network Rumours that flow along the grapevine also can never be eliminated entirely. What managers can do, however, is minimize the negative consequences of rumours by limiting their range and impact. How? By communicating openly, fully, and honestly with employees, particularly in situations in which employees may not like proposed or actual managerial decisions or actions. HOW TECHNOLOGY AFFECTS MANAGERIALCOMMUNICATION Technology, and more specifically Information technology, has radically changed the way organizational members communicate. For example, it has significantly improved a managers ability to monitor individual or team performance, it has allowed employees to have more complete information to make faster decisions, and it has provided employees more opportunities to collaborate and share information. In addition, information technology has made it possible for people in organizations to be fully accessible, any time, regardless of where they are. Employees dont have to be at their desk with their computer turned on in order to communicate with others in the organization. Two developments in information technology seem to be having the most significant impact on current managerial communication: networked computer systems and wireless capabilities. 1.13.1 Networked Computer Systems In a networked computer system, an organization links its computers together through compatible hardware and software, creating an organizational network. Organizational members can then communicate with each other and tap into information whether theyre down the hall, across town, or halfway across the world. Although we wont get into the mechanics of how a network system works, we will address some of its communication applications including e-mail, instant messaging, voice mail, fax, electronic data interchange, teleconferencing and videoconferencing, intranets and extranets, and the talking Internet. E-mail is the instantaneous transmission of written messages on computers that are linked together. E-mail is fast and cheap and can be used to send the same message to numerous people at the same time. Its a quick and convenient way for organizational members to share information and communicate. Some organizational members who find 17

email slow and cumbersome are using instant messaging (IM). This is interactive realtime communication that takes place among computer users who are logged onto the computer network at the same time. IM first became popular among teens and preteens who wanted to communicate with their friends online. Now, its moving to the workplace. With IM, theres no waiting around for a colleague to read e-mail. Whatever information needs to be communicated can be done so instantaneously. However, there are a couple of drawbacks to instant messaging. It requires groups of users to be logged on to the organizations computer network at the same time. This leaves the network open to security breaches. A voice-mail system digitizes a spoken message, transmits it over the network, and stores the message on disk 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 choose to save the message for future use, delete it, The speed and convenience of e-mail has changed business communication forever. Along with the enormous growth of intranets (internal electronic communications webs) and other forms of electronic communication, the market for e-mail monitoring systems has doubled in the last year and continues to surge. Fax machines allow the transmission of documents containing both text and graphics over ordinary telephone lines. A sending fax machine scans and digitizes the document. A receiving fax machine reads the scanned information and reproduces it in hard copy form. Information that is best viewed in printed form can be easily and quickly shared by organizational members. 1.13.2
EDI

Electronic data interchange (EDI)

is a way for organizations to exchange standard business transaction documents, such as invoices or purchase orders, using direct computer-to-computer networks. Organizations often use EDI with vendors, suppliers, and customers because it saves time and money. How? Information on transactions is transmitted from one organizations computer system to another through a telecommunications network. The printing and handling of paper documents at one organization are eliminated as is the inputting of data at the other organization. Meetingsone-to-one, team, divisional, or organization-widehave always been one way to share information. In the absence of technology meetings took place among people in the same physical location, but thats no longer the case any more. Teleconferencing allows a group of people to confer simultaneously using telephone or e-mail group communications software. If meeting participants can see each other over video screens, the simultaneous conference is called videoconferencing. Work groups, large and small, which might be in different locations, can use these communication network tools to collaborate and share information. Networked computer systems have allowed the development of organizational intranets and extranets. An intranet is an organizational communication network that uses Internet technology and is accessible only by organizational employees. Many organizations are using intranets as ways for employees to share information 18

and collaborate on documents and projects from different locations. An extranet is an organizational communication network that uses Internet technology and allows authorized users inside the organization to communicate with certain outsiders such as customers or vendors. Finally, we are all aware of the tremendous impact that the Internet has had and continues to have on organizations. Now, instead of being a communication medium just for text, colourful graphics, and the occasional music and video clipping, the Internet is being used for voice communication. Popular email providers such as Yahoo! allows users chat verbally with each other. Many companies are also moving to Internet-based voice communication. For instance, in the headquarters of Merrill Lynch & Co., 6500 Internet phones have been installed for employees to use in conference calls or for instant messaging communication. On Compaq Computer Corporations Web site, visitors can click on an icon and speak live to a company representative. Wireless Capabilities While the communication possibilities for a manager in a networked world are exciting, the real potential is yet to come! Networked computer systems require organizations (and organizational employees) to be connected by wires. Wireless communication depends on signals sent through air or space without any physical connection using things such as microwave signals, satellites, radio waves and radio antennas, or infrared light rays. Wireless smart phones, notebook computers, and other pocket communication devices have spawned a whole new way for managers to keep in touch. In Japan and Europe, over nine million users have wireless technology that allows them to send and receive information from anywhere. Employees dont have to be at their desks with their computers plugged in and turned on in order to communicate with others in the organization. 1.13.3 HOW I NFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AFFECTS ORGANIZATIONS Employeesworking in teams or as individualsneed information to make decisions and do their work. Its clear that technology can significantly affect the way that organizational members communicate, share information, and do their work. Communications and the exchange of information among organizational members are no longer constrained by geography or time. Collaborative work efforts among widely dispersed individuals and teams, sharing of information, and integration of decisions and work throughout an entire organization have the potential to increase organizational efficiency and effectiveness. And while the economic benefits of information technology are obvious, managers must not forget to address the psychological drawbacks. For instance, what is the psychological cost of an employee being constantly accessible? Will there be increased pressure for employees to check in even during their off-hours? How important is it for employees to separate their work lives and their personal lives? While there are no easy answers to these questions, they are issues that managers will have to face.

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1.14 KEY FUNCTIONS OF COMMUNICATION The literature on communication generally acknowledges that the basic function of communication is to affect receiver knowledge or behavior by informing, directing, regulating, socializing, and persuading. Neher (1997) identifies the primary functions of organizational communication as: Compliance-gaining Leading, motivating, and influencing Sense-making Problem-solving and decision-making Conflict management, negotiating, and bargaining.

Neher (1997) and Rogers and Rogers (1976) emphasize the social and organizational functions of organizational communication as a whole rather than focusing on the functions of specific communication exchanges. Thus they combine the functions of informing, directing, and regulating into the broader category of behavioral compliance. They also give greater emphasis to the role of communication in managing threats to organizational order and control, identifying problem solving and conflict management, negotiation, and bargaining as key functions of organizational communication. Communication also has three primary functions: Coordination and regulation of production activities

This function of communication has changed a lot over time. In traditional bureaucratic views of the organization, prescription clearly communicating behavioral expectations and the behavioral consequences associated with complying or not complying with these expectationsand monitoring are considered to be the basis of organizational order and control. This function of organizational communication was seen as involving fairly proceduralized, rule-oriented, one-way, top-down communication. Tasks in many organizations have become more complex, less routine and repetitive, tightly coupled, and interactive. Production activities of this nature require dynamic, reciprocal, lateral communications between production workers and managers. Communication as a means of coordination and regulation becomes more important, complex, and difficult. Socialization

The socialization function of communication is stressed in the human relations perspective of organizations which asserts that capturing the hearts and minds of organizational members is necessary to effectively coordinate organizational action in pursuit of collective organizational goals. Communication directed at socializing organizational members focuses on articulating and reinforcing organizational values and aligning individual goals with organizational goals. It is directed at establishing an appropriate organizational culture and climate. This form of communication cannot be one-way or top-down. It must occur reciprocally between 20

organizational leaders and organizational members. Innovation

The organizational communication literature is increasingly addressing the importance of communication in promoting innovation as well as control and coordination. Communication to promote innovation is associated with strong communication within and beyond the organization. This approach focuses on the functional goals of organizational communication, rather than on the near-term outcomes of particular acts of communication, such as to make a decision, to persuade, or to resolve a conflict. The more specific functions of specific acts of communication or sets of communication exchange (decision-making, informing, persuading, negotiating, problem-solving) are subsumed into each of the three higher-level functional objectives.
BasedExercise

1.15 Basic Communication Skills Nearly every aspect of management requires that a manager comes in contact with the public -- through group meetings and review sessions, as well as through one-on-one office appointments, writing, and telephone conversations. Though most of these contacts are positive interactions, each has the potential to become adversarial if handled inappropriately. While interpersonal communication skills are rarely part of professional curricula, they are so fundamental to public participation that we begin the description of participation tools with some communication techniques.

One-on-one (interpersonal) skills Success in most professions, depends on effective one-to-one interaction. While there is an entire industry dedicated to interpersonal communication (e.g., Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People"), here we simply outline some fairly obvious objectives. The challenge is to apply these skills, especially when confronted with anxious, impatient, or confrontational clients. Be responsive The first order of business is to be available, accessible, and responsive. While this is often difficult with busy schedules, it is important to serve the client: make time in your schedule to be available, respond to phone calls, e-mails, and other inquiries in a timely manner, develop back-up mechanisms for responding when you are unavailable. Be an active listener. Connecting with the client often takes some work, and it is important to make the effort to focus attention on the request or issues at hand. Paraphrasing and other methods are helpful to assure clients that you hear and are interested in what they say.

Be engaging

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Most often this approach leads to the most effective and efficient outcome. Be pleasant Work should be fun! A smile and some humour go a long way toward breaking the ice, easing anxiety, defusing conflict, and thereby increasingly the channels of communication. Be patient Treat impatient people with patience is one of the most difficult skills in interpersonal communication, but one of the most important for public officials. Often times it is important to give clients the opportunity to vent before trying to get to the root of the problem and find solutions. Be clear Clarity of communication is critical. Active listening and paraphrasing are a critical first step. It is also important to leave the client with a clear idea of where your stand, what to expect, and what next steps to take. Be positive It is easy to look at the dark side of any situation. One of the important skills of interpersonal communication is to look at a situation in a positive light, to empathize with the client, and to seek solutions. Be realistic While it is important to be positive, it is critical to be realistic. If there are difficult or insurmountable problems, the client needs to know. Be a problem solver All of these skills amount to being a problem solver, or one actively involved in trying to resolve a clients concerns. Helping people solve their problems through responsiveness, engagement, patience, clarity, and a positive, empathetic and realistic approach is the best way to perform the role of manager and to win friends and influence people.

Writing Skills Writing skills are critical to many aspects of management, since decisionmaking processes generally involve a variety of reporting methods, and both internal and external forms of correspondence. While writing techniques vary slightly by the type of document produced, the following hints will generally help: Be responsive It is important to acknowledge the receipt of an email message, to confirm a phone conversation or to follow-up on an office visit in a timely fashion --even if there are tasks to be done. This is particularly critical if local rule or state statute places a time limit on the response or final decision. Make sure the reader understands the purpose of and the message in the correspondence in the right way. When possible, keep

Be concise

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Be systematic and orderly

Be professional

Be creative

Be careful!

letters and memos to a single page, and make email messages short (since longer messages will have to be printed). Margins and font sizes can be adjusted to reduce overall length, but remember to be kind to the eyes! Use short paragraphs with bullet statements or numbered lists if multiple points are to be made. On longer documents, use headings and subheadings to lead the reader through the documents structure and content. Each section should be reasonably self-contained, with an introductory statement and a brief summary or transition to the next section. The larger document should begin with an overview of the issue addressed, the purpose of the report, and its organization; it should conclude with a summary, synthesis, discussion, or recommendation that neatly ties up the report. This section should connect back to the purpose of the report. Focus on action rather than information, and avoid first person and passive tense in your writing. Revise, rewrite and proof-read to be certain your message is clear, factually accurate and grammatically correct. Use humour when appropriate, especially for less formal communications such as email. Give credit where credit is due: referencing can be important. The author-date method is perhaps the easiest with an alphabetical list of References Cited at the end of the report), but other referencing conventions are acceptable; quotations should be referenced to a sources page number. Non-text graphics or tables can help break up the text; tables summarizing main points help organize the report, force you to clarify the points, and help the reader focus on the main points at a glance. Make use of cc, bcc, forward and other means for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of correspondence, but be certain you know who will receive the message. Also be mindful of the fact that these are official documents that can be forwarded or copied for broader viewing ..

Presentation Skills Making presentations to small or large groups is another essential task for managers . Like writing skills, presentation skills are honed through practice. Still, there are some strategies that enhance the quality and effectiveness of presentations.

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Research

Prepare

Know your audience and relate your talk to it. Know your time limits and stick to them. Know your context (other speakers and what they are saying). Clarify 3-5 key points: introduce them, discuss them, conclude with them. Use effective audio-visual tools (overheads, slides, Power-Point, handouts) to clarify your main points and to help the audience visualize your message. Rules of thumb for slides: - Limit words to 10-15 per slide - Use several simple slides rather than one complicated one - Dark backgrounds (with white or light lettering) and large type are easier to read Rehearse. Engage your audience (eye contact, personalization, humour); create excitement, challenge traditional thinking. Neither read a presentation, nor deliver it off the cuff. Prepare well so it appears you are simply talking with the audience whether you are working from a prepared text or not. Coordinate your slides with the talk. Dont leave slide on screen after youve covered it. Operate slide controls yourself (if possible).

Present

Facilitation Skills Running and facilitating group meetings is an essential communication skill, and one that often employs a number of participation skills and tools, and especially an understanding group dynamics (see also facilitating (capacity building), public meetings, workshops, focus groups, stakeholder collaboration). [need links to each of these tools] A facilitator works with a group and provides procedural help in moving toward consensus. The facilitator is neutral to the issues or topics under discussion and operates with the consent of the participants. It is helpful if the facilitator is also intimately familiar with the subject matter of the discussion. Since facilitated meetings typically involve representatives from a wide variety of community groups or other stakeholders, these participants are likely to hold different views on the issues under consideration. The facilitator should encourage all participants to share their viewpoints and participate in the discussion. Hypothetical questions sometimes help to get discussion moving. The facilitator elicits both facts and opinions and helps the group distinguish between them.

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Some hints for better facilitation: 1. Watch group vibes: If people seem bored or inattentive, you may have to speed up the pace of the meeting. If people seem tense because of unvoiced disagreements, you may have to bring concerns out into the open. 2. Ask open ended questions: For instance, "We seem to be having trouble resolving the matter. What do you think we should do?" 3. Summarize what others say: For instance, you might say, "It seems we agree that . .. " 4. Make sure everyone gets a chance to speak: One way of ensuring quiet people get a chance to speak is to initiate a round. In a round you move around the table with everyone getting a few minutes to present their views. 5. Inject humour: There a few better ways of overcoming cranky, niggling or petty behavior. 6. Learn to deal with difficult behaviour: Flare-ups: When two members get into a heated discussion summarize the points made by each, then turn the discussion back to the group. Grand standing: Interrupt the one-man show with a statement that gives him credit for his contribution, but ask him to reserve his other points for later. Alternatively, interrupt with, "You have brought up a great many points. Would anyone like to take up one of these points?" Broken recording: When someone keeps repeating the same point, assure them their point has been heard. If necessary ask the group if they want to allow the person to finish making their point. Interrupting: Step in immediately with, "Hold on, let X finish what they have to say." If necessary, ask the person who tends to interrupt to act as the recorder for the meeting. Continual criticizing: Legitimize negative feelings on difficult issues. You might say, "Yes, it will be tough to reduce interpersonal conflicts, but there are successful models we can look at." If necessary, ask the critical person to take on an achievable task. 7. Suggest options when time runs out: Identify areas of partial consensus, suggest tabling the question, or create a small subcommittee to deal with the matter at a time of their choosing. 8. Consider a round at the end of the meeting: Going quickly around the whole group gives people a chance to bring up matters not on the agenda. You can also use a round to evaluate the meeting.

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Facilitation and Facilitators 1. A facilitative individual is one who is easy to work with, a team player, a person aware of individual and group dynamics. He or she is skilled in communication, collaborative problem solving, consensus building, and conflict resolution. 2. A facilitator is an individual who enables groups ad organizations to work more effectively and to collaborate. He or she is a "content neutral" party who by not taking sides during the meeting, can advocate for fair, open, and inclusive discussions to accomplish the group's work. 3. A facilitative leader is one who is aware of group and organizational dynamics; one who creates organization-wide involvement processes which enable members of the organization to more fully utilize their potential to help the organization articulate and achieve its vision and goals. There is a difference between facilitating and leading and facilitative leaders often use facilitators in their organizations. 4. A facilitative group (team, task force, committee) is one in which facilitative mindsets and behaviors are widely distributed among the members. Such a group is minimally dysfunctional, is easy to join, and works well together and with other groups.

To sum up, effective communication is crucial in business. Those who are effective communicators rise quickly in their organizations. As a professional manager your task is to recognize and understand your strength and weaknesses as a communicator. Until you identify those communication tasks at which you are most and least skilled, youll have little opportunities for improvement and advancement.

Review Questions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Define communication and explain its most critical factor. Describe the steps in the process of communication. What are the main functions of organizational communication? How is communication defined? List out any four barriers to communication and state how they can be overcome?

THINKING ABOUT MANAGEMENT ISSUES 1. Which do you think is more important for the manager: speaking accurately or listening actively? Why?

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2. How might managers use the grapevine for their benefit? 3. Is information technology helping managers be more effective and efficient? Explain your answer.
INTERNET-BASEDEXERCISE LogOn:nte net-et-

INTERNET BASED EXERCISE Theres no doubt that managers and organizations need to communicate effectively. Look at the Web sites for some Indian companies you are familiar with. Find an example Of poor communication. What do you think the organization is trying to say in this example and how could they say it more clearly? Now look for an example of good communication on a companys Web site. How are the two different? What makes the one example poor communication, and what makes the other example good communication? Now, find five companies whose primary business is helping organizational employees improve their interpersonal communication skills. What common characteristics, if any, did you find in the programs these companies offer?

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