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Chapter 10 Notes

Management (MGH)
Course Code
Ted Mock

of 8
Lecture Notes
Chapter Ten
Communication – the process by which information is exchanged between sender and
A simple model of communication:
Communication errors can occur at any point in this model
Effective communication – the right people receive the right information in a timely
Chain of command – the lines of authority and formal reporting relationships.
(Remember Max Weber and bureaucracy) On an organization chart, these are shown
as solid lines. Informal or secondary reporting relationships are often shown as a dotted
Downward communication – information that flows down from the top of the
organization – directions, commands, vision
Upward communication – information that flows from the bottom towards the top of
the organization – ideas, suggestions, feedback
Horizontal communication – information that flows between departments or functions,
usually as a coordinating effort – may have to flow up before it flows across – depends
upon the communication culture of the organization
Deficiencies in chain of command communication:
Informal channels – chain of command model does not consider informal
communications – personal networks that may not follow the strict chain of command.
May provide a “short cut “ for employee communication.
Filtering – the tendency for the message to be watered down, distorted or stopped
altogether at some point. Since “information is power”, individuals might withhold
information for personal or political reasons. The number of links in the chain increases
the likelihood of filtering. Companies try to avoid downward filtering by
communicating directly with the target audience. Firms attempt to avoid upward
filtering through the use of an “open door” policy that allows employees to
communicate directly with higher level managers without going through a chain of
Slowness – the chain of command can be a slow method of communication –
information may take days rather than minutes to be relayed. Firms have tried to speed
up communication with cross-functional teams and employee empowerment.
Remember, the issue here is “who” an employee is allowed to communicate with – not
the “method” of communication eg. Email
Manager-Employee Communications
The one-on-one exchange of information between boss and subordinate is the key to
upward and downward communications. This communication is vital to:
Instruct on task performance
Clarify performance expectations
Discuss reward contingencies
Provide socio-emotional support
Permit employees to ask questions
Permit employees to make suggestions
The effectiveness of manager’s communications is positively correlated with
organizational performance.
The lack of openness in communication reduces employee job satisfaction.
Barriers to effective manager-employee communications
Conflicting role demands – the leadership role requires managers to attend to both
the task and socio-emotional aspects of employees
The mum effect – the tendency to avoid communication unfavourable news to others.
People can be reluctant to communicate even when they are not responsible for the bad
news and even more reluctant when they are responsible. The mum effect works both
up and down the organization.
The Grapevine – the informal communication network of an organization. Various
parts of the organization may have their own grapevine. The grapevine may carry
personal as well as business related information. Business related, non-controversial
information is usually 75% accurate on the grapevine. Personal or emotionally charged
information are most likely to be distorted.
Only a portion of those who receive information pass it on – there are many more
receivers than senders. Extraverts are more likely than introverts to be senders. Those
who lack self-esteem might pass along information that gives them a person advantage.
The nature of the information will affect the path of the information – serious business
information versus juicy gossip. The physical location – the ‘water cooler’ or people
whose job requires them to travel through the facilities.
What about email – is it used for grapevine communications or is it stifled by company
Pro’s and Con’s of the Grapevine
Test employee reactions by ‘leaking’ ideas into the grapevine
Adds interest and diversion to the work setting
Can be a problem when:
It is a constant pipeline for rumours (an unverified belief that is in general
circulation) – subject to severe distortion as it runs through the grapevine
Rumours spead farther and faster when the information is ambiguous, when it’s
important information, when it seems credible and when the recipient is anxious
The Verbal Language of work
Jargon – specialized language used by job-holders or members of particular
occupations, departments or organizations
Jargon may be efficient for use with peers or others in the loop but it can lead to
communication problems between departments, can be intimidating for newcomers and
a barrier to those outside the organization – including family
The Non-Verbal Language of work
Non-verbal communications – the transmission of messages by some other medium
than speech or writing
Body Language – the message that is communicated through the sender’s bodily
motions, facial expressions, or location in the room relative to the receiver
Senders communicate liking and interest in the receiver when they:
Position themselves close to the receiver
Touch the receiver during interaction
Maintain eye contact
Lean forward during the interaction
Direct the torso toward the receiver