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Patterns of

Communication means transferring

messages from one to another and it has
several forms such as intrapersonal,
interpersonal, group and mass
While it comes to group communication it
has a certain patterns in its own.
Few patterns are popular in mainstream
communication studies.

Such as:

All communication patterns all have
certain problems with each other.

In circle, Chain and Y patterns all group

members cannot directly communicate
with the group leader.

They can communicate to leader only

through group members.
In Wheel, all the group members can
communicate directly with the group

Group Leader


In Circle pattern, the sender (Group

Leader) can communicate with the
receivers (group members) who
presents next to him/her.
No others group members cannot
receive the senders message
directly and they receive messages
from the other group members who
shares the message from the sender.

In this pattern of communication the

sender messages travels all over the
group through sharing by its
members which will take time to
reach the sender again.

In Chain pattern, the same problems

appears as in the circle pattern.
The worst part in the pattern is the last
member receives the modified
messages from the leader.
In this case the leader cannot find out
whether the last member receives the
correct information or not because there
is no feedback to identify the message

In the Y pattern, its a more

complicated pattern and also has the
communication problem which
appears in both circle and chain
The group is separated into three
and the group members can
communicate with the other
members group through the leader

In Wheel pattern, one of the best

patterns in comparison to the other
three types.
The leader has direct contact with all
the group members and there are no
communication problems, time
issues and feedback from the group
But all the group members cannot
connect with one another.

Formal & informal


Networks - structural means (patterns of

interaction) that allow messages to flow
within organizations.
May include two people, small groups of
people, or large numbers that flow outside
the organization.
Typically people are involved with multiple
organizational networks.

Message Flow Directions

Upward - subordinates to managers.
There is always the tendency of positive
distortion from employees.
No one really wants to make a bad
impression on their supervisors and it is
very human to put a positive spin in issues
even when there is little to offer in that

Downward - managers to subordinates.

Try to provide rationale for decisions
when possible.
Studies show that employees feel better
about the organization when they know
why they are doing things or why
change is occurring.
Horizontal - communication between
employees or departments of the same

This may become overly competitive for

organizational resources like budgets,
awards, recognition and so on.
This may not be a problem but it is top
managements job to ensure the
competition does not become counterproductive.
Formal Networks - Officially sanctioned;
the organizational flow chart; company
newsletters; memos; managers meetings
and so on

Informal Networks - arise due to the

situation employees are in; emerge out of a
need; not permanent structure; may be faster
than formal networks; a spontaneous flow of
information that may or may not be correct.



This is the blue print of how communication
flows within any organization.
Carries task-oriented messages (specific job
instructions; performance reviews)
Carries maintenance-oriented messages
(more generally-based policies and
procedures on how to accomplish tasks)
Carries human messages (keys on employee
needs like new health care benefits; vacation
schedules and so on.)

Network Structures - decentralized

networks tend to be more efficient when
involved in complex tasks; centralized ones
often create higher worker dissatisfaction
(feeling only marginally involved in the
communication process)
Circle, Chain, Y and Wheel previously

Network Roles The communication roles we

perform within organizations.
Liaisons - employees who connect two
groups without belonging to either one of
Often an influential and experienced person.
Bridges - employees who belong to at least
two groups and connect each group to clique
to the other, distortion may occur.

Gatekeepers - employees who control the

information flow.
Secretaries are often key gatekeepers; may
be others who have power to give or
withhold information.
Isolates - employees who have minimal
contact with others; either by choice or
because others try to avoid them.

Boundary Spanners - sometimes called

cosmopolites; those who connect the
organization to its relevant environment.
Common roles are sales and customer service
reps, public relations workers and so on.

Network Descriptors - patterns of

behavior that help reveal how
communication flows within the organization
Dominance - how equal employees are to
one another, High versus Low dominance.
High dominance requires communication
be directed to a single or few key
members who then disseminate
information to others.
Low dominance suggests that employees

Centrality - centralized networks (wheel, Y,

chain) require this; is there a key
employee through whom communication
flows...or not?
Flexibility - how strictly organizations
follow rules for communicating with
High flex - allow variations; low flex would
be very strict on how to communicate.

Reachability - How many people must the

message pass through before reaching its
final destination? Low reachability has
fewer intermediaries; high reachability has
potential for greater distortion since many
people are involved in the process.
Strength - frequency and duration of
communication are the keys.
Strong network would be frequent and
thorough communication with and among
employees; weak network would be rare
and brief communication.

Reciprocity - the degree to which

employees and bosses agree on the nature
of their relationship.
High reciprocity would exist when both see
their relationship essentially the same; low
reciprocity would exist when one perceives
the relationship quite differently than the
Symmetry - the degree of sharing
information between bosses and workers.

When communication flows upward and

downward you have a symmetrical
relationship; just downward would be
Openness - how open or connected the
organization is to the outside environment.
Some businesses are very dependent to
the outside environment; others less so.

People networks; unpredictable in how
they operate; the communication is often
spontaneous and situationally derived;
employees may choose to use these or
Whether we do or not is often dependent
upon (a) our proximity to the sender; and
(b) whether we think the person is reliable
and knowledgeable (do we trust them?).

Management may use the grapevine (even

though we tend to think of it as being an
employees network) to tap into employee
sentiment; to send up trail balloons and
then either distance themselves or embrace
the ideas depending upon employee reactions.
Research suggest that the grapevine is:
fast....very fast!!
generally accurate...though varies from
company to company.
an indicator of employee attitudes or
usually travels by clusters

Grapevine participants - No real gender

differences regarding who uses it more
Secretaries are often key players in the
grapevine - being bridges between
workers and management.
Managers may use the grapevine for trial
balloon or as thermometer, messages
as mentioned earlier.

Effects of grapevine activity on the organization - if

formal networks dont provide employees with
information; the grapevine will step in and rumors
Morale can be affected adversely.
Factors involved in rumor dispersion--why do rumors
exist? What keeps them alive? Such reasons are (a) the
importance of the message; (b) the ambiguity of the
message; (c) the need for information in crisis times; (d)
credibility of the person sending the rumor; (e) who is the
focus of the rumor; and (f) the age of the rumor.

Putman, M. (2014). Formal and

informal communication networks. The
University of Texas Arlington.
Department of Communications

4.Factors that contribute the grapevine message distortion-(a) messages get condensed or shortened; stuff gets left out
(b) certain information gets highlighted; other gets less attention; depends of the needs of the sender
(c) messages may be added to; have gaps filled in as they move along
(d) selective perceptive--we may only hear what we want to hear and disregard the rest

5.Grapevine transmission patterns- (a) single-strand chain--I tell you a rumor and then you pass it along to another person, who then tells another, and on-and-on....
(pretty rare)
(b) gossip chain--I tell the class a rumor and you pass it along to others
(c) cluster transmission--most common; I tell two or more employees and you repeat this transmission process to others.

6.Types of Organizational Rumors- (A) Anxiety rumors--reflect an uneasiness in employees (impending bad news on the horizon)
(B) Wish-fulfillment rumors--good news may be on the horizon (as a group or for an individual)
(C) Wedge-driving rumors--creates dissension; an us vs. them attitude in an organization.
(D) Social rumors--juicy gossip about people; no direct company link.

7.Suggestions for how an organization can manage or control the grapevine-Managers should or could..
(A) be sensitive to employee reactions; respond to high anxiety cases.
(B) be open, honest and quick to respond (when possible) with employees.
(C) seek out key gatekeepers in employee ranks for information dissemination.
(D) take a proactive stance; keep employees updates via bulletins, meetings, newsletters, etc.

(1) Residential analysis--go to the organization and observe activity over an extended period of time. Whats good and bad about

(2) Distribute questionnaires to employees--(how honest do you think employees will be here?)

(3) Communication Diary--(same comment as you speak the truth or tell the researchers what they want to hear?)

(4) ECCO--requires employee assistance in looking for patterns of transmitted messages (how they learned and from whom)


The majority of managerial communication

time is spent speaking and listening, it is clear
that in a leadership role, one must have
excellent interpersonal communication skills.
These are perhaps the most critical leadership
The nurseleader communicates with clients,
colleagues, superiors, and subordinates.
(Marquis & Huston, 2014)

In addition, because nursing practice tends

to be group-oriented, interpersonal
communication among group members is
necessary for continuity and productivity.
The leader is responsible for developing a
cohesive team to meet organizational
To do this, the leader must articulate
issues and concerns so workers will not
become confused about priorities.

The ability to communicate effectively often

determines success as a leadermanager.

(Marquis & Huston, 2014)


Chitty (2001) defines communication as

the complex exchange of thoughts, ideas,
or information on at least two levels:
verbal and nonverbal.
Thus, communication begins the moment
two or more people become aware of each
others presence.

An internal and an external climate also

exist in communication.
(Marquis & Huston, 2014)

The internal climate includes the values,

feelings, temperament, and stress levels
of the sender and the receiver.

Weather conditions, temperature, timing,

and the organizational climate itself are
parts of the external climate.
The external climate also includes status,
power, and authority as barriers to
managersubordinate communication.

Both the sender and the receiver must be

sensitive to the internal and external
climate, because the perception of the
message is altered greatly depending on
the climate that existed at the time the
message was sent or received.
For example, an insecure manager who is
called to meet with superiors during a
period of stringent layoffs will probably view
the message with more trepidation than a
manager who is secure in his or her role.
(Marquis & Huston, 2014)

Source & encoder
What is actually said/written, body
How words are transmitted
Listener decoder perception
of intention
Response Feedback

Verbal Communication
Pace and intonation
Clarity and brevity
Timing and relevance

Non-Verbal Communication
Body language
Gestures, movements, use of touch
Essential skills: observation, interpretation
Personal appearance
Posture and gait
Facial expression of self, others; eye
Cultural component

Variables Affecting Communication

Jackson (1984) identified the following
characteristics of large organizations make
communication particularly problematic:
1. Spatial distance within an organization
can be a barrier to communication.
2. Different subgroups or subcultures within
the organization have their own value
systems and identities.

Members within that subgroup form an

allegiance to their own members.
This results in different translations of
messages from management, depending
on the significance of the message to the
things the subgroup values and is striving
to accomplish.
3. People are structured into different
systems of relationships in organizations.

A work structure exists in which certain

people are expected to complete tasks with
other people.
An authority structure exists when some
workers are in charge of supervising others.
A status structure determines which people
have rights and privileges.
A prestige structure allows some people to
expect deferential treatment from others.

The friendship structure encourages

interpersonal trust.
All of these systems influence who should
communicate with whom and in what
4. Organizations are in a constant state of
Relationships (subgroups or subcultures) and
geographical locations constantly change.

It is difficult to communicate decisions to

all the people who are affected by them
because of this constant state of change.

Gender is also a significant factor in

organizational communication since men
and women communicate and use language
differently (Marquis & Huston, 2014).
A study of gender differences in team
building showed that leadership style was
an extension of communication style.
The study found that when conducting
business meetings, the males were all
business while the females discussed other
personal and social issues with team
members. Rudans (2003)

Complicating the picture further is the

historical need in the healthcare industry
for a predominantly male medical
profession to closely communicate with a
predominantly female nursing profession
(Marquis & Huston, 2014).

Chitty (2001) states that during femaledominated nursing school experiences,

most nurses are encouraged to view
physicians as teammates and to
collaborate with them whenever possible

Male-dominated medical schools, however,

tend to instill in their graduates a hierarchical
model of teamwork with the physician at the
top of the hierarchy.
In addition, the majority of healthcare
administrators continue to be male.
Therefore, male physicians and male
administrators may feel little incentive to seek
a collaborative approach in communication
that female nurses often desire.
(Marquis & Huston, 2014)

These differences in gender and in power

and status continue to affect tremendously
the types and quality of organizational and
unit-level communication.


Although organizational communication is
complex, the following strategies can
increase the likelihood of clear and
complete communication:
1. Managers must assess organizational

Who communicates with whom in the

Is the communication timely?
Does communication within the formal
organization concur with formal lines of
Are there conflicts or disagreements about
What modes of communication are used?

2. Managers must understand the

organizations structure and recognize who
will be affected by decisions that are
Both formal and informal communication
networks need to be considered.
Formal communication networks follow the
formal line of authority in the
organizations hierarchy.

Informal communication networks occur between

people at the same or different levels of the
organizational hierarchy but do not represent
formal lines of authority or responsibility.
For example, an informal communication network
might occur between a hospitals CEO and her
daughter, who is a clerk on a medical wing.
Although there may be a significant exchange of
information about unit or organizational
functioning, this communication network would
not be apparent on the organization chart

It is imperative, then, that managers be very

careful of what they say and to whom until
they have a good understanding of the
formal and informal communication
3. Communication is not a one-way channel.
If other departments or disciplines will be
affected by a message, the manager must
consult with those areas for feedback before
the communication occurs.

4. The communication must be clear,

simple, and precise.
The manager (sender) is responsible for
ensuring the message is understood.
5. Managers should seek feedback
regarding whether their communication
was accurately received.
One way to do this is to ask the receiver to
repeat the communication or instructions.

In addition, the sender should continue

follow-up communication in an effort to
determine if the communication is being
acted upon.
6. Multiple communication methods should
be used when possible if a message is
Using a variety of communication methods
in combination increases the likelihood
that everyone in the organization who
needs to hear the message will.

Communication Modes
In general, the more direct the
communication, the greater the probability
that it will be clear.
The more people involved in filtering the
communication, the greater the chance of
The manager must evaluate each
circumstance individually to determine
which mode or combination of modes is
optimal for each situation.

The manager uses the following modes of

communication most frequently:
Written communication - Written
messages (including electronic mail), allow
for documentation.
They may, however, be open to various
interpretations and generally consume
more managerial time.

Most managers are required to do a

considerable amount of this type of
communication and therefore need to be
able to write clearly.
Face-to-face communication - Oral
communication is rapid but may result in
fewer people receiving the information
than necessary.
Managers communicate verbally upward
and downward and formally and informally.

They also communicate verbally in formal

meetings, with people in peer work groups,
and when making formal presentations.
Non-verbal communication Non-verbal
communication includes facial expression,
body movements, and gestures and is
commonly referred to as body language.
Because nonverbal communication
indicates the emotional component of the
message, it is generally considered more
reliable than verbal communication.

There is significant danger, however, in misinterpreting

nonverbal messages if they are not assessed in context with the
verbal message. Nonverbal communication occurs any time managers are
seen (e.g., messages are transmitted to subordinates every time the manager
communicates verbally or just walks down a hallway).

Telephone communication. A telephone call is

rapid and allows the receiver to
clarify the message at the time it is given. It does not,
however, allow the receipt
of nonverbal messages for either the sender or
receiver of the message. Accents
may be difficult to understand as well in a
multicultural workforce. Because
managers today use the telephone so much, it has
become an important communication
tool, but it does have limits as an effective
communication device