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Management and Organizational Studies 2181A/B Final: MOS 2181 – Exam #3 Review

Management and Organizational Studies
Course Code
MOS 2181A/B
Sarah Ross
Study Guide

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MOS 2181 EXAM 3
Communication: 11 questions (1 from additional reading)
Team Characteristics & Processes: 20 questions (1 from additional reading)
Power, Influence & Negotiation: 13 questions
Leadership Styles & Behaviours: 16 questions (2 from additional reading)
Organizational Structure: 14 questions
Organizational Culture & Change: 18 questions (1 from additional reading)
Communication process by which
is transferred from sender to receiver
- Effective communication in organizational settings is important, especially when highly interdependent activities are performed by 2 or more
- Plays a central role in virtually all topics covered thus far
The Communication Process
- Encoding preparing message to be sent e.g., writing an email, thinking in your head
- Decoding interpreting the message e.g., processing the message in your mind
- Sender source of information
o E.g. a team member who wants to let another person know that the team has to work more quickly to reach a difficult performance
- Sender needs to translate (
) idea into verbal, written or nonverbal message
o E.g. arm and hand movements to convey idea that team needs to work faster
- Encoded
is transmitted to
who needs to interpret (
) message to form understanding of information it contains
o E.g. message is transmitted visually because members are face to face
o Messages can be transmitted in written form, electronically, or indirectly through others
Face-to-Face Communication
- The exchange of information + meaning when one or more individuals are physically present and where communication occurs without aid of any
mediating technology
- Natural, immediate, real time
qualities =
rich information source
gold standard of communication
tends to engage more human senses than mediated communication
- Vast majority of information we process face to face is based on nonverbal cues
revealed almost 70% of managers said their organizations would be more
if leaders communicated
in person
more often
1. Verbal communication messages are sent and received using written and spoken language
o E.g. reading, writing, speaking, listening
o Primary way organizational members communicate with each other, and with individuals and groups outside of organization
o Vehicle for obtaining, transferring and storing information and knowledge within organization
Written communication conveys what is important:
E.g. written policies and rules, a company’s mission statement, corporate goals and values, annual report, shorter-term and
longer-term plans,
Written communication conveys how and why things are done:
E.g. written job descriptions, explicit and standardized work procedures, training and operational manuals, contracts,
performance appraisals, meeting agendas
Oral communication
is probably more prevalent than written communication in organizational settings:
Formal and structured
e.g. job interviews, team meetings, formal presentations
Informal and spontaneous
e.g. relationship-building chitchat, casual exchanges
2. Nonverbal communication any form of information exchange that doesn’t involve spoken or written words
o One’s deliberate or unconscious use of body language to convey information
o E.g. inflection, tone, volume of voice; hand gestures and facial expression; body posture and stance; eye contact and movements;
smell; dress and appearance
o Effective communication involves more than what is said or read
o Researchers estimated that 70-90% of message’s meaning is conveyed, not by words, but by body language and nonverbal body
language seems to have universal relevance for virtually all types of face-to-face interactions
- Research finds that we tend to evaluate and judge the quality of our relationships on the basis of nonverbal instead of verbal cues
o E.g. how might you interpret a weak, almost timid handshake? Or someone who squeezes your hand too hard while maintaining an
intense stare? Or by someone who, after shaking hands, reaches out and offers a warm hug?
- Another finding is that during face-to-face exchanges, receivers tend to see nonverbal messages as more credible, believable and trustworthy
sources of information especially true when there is a discrepancy between verbal and nonverbal messages
- Better communicators need to not only pay attention to nonverbal cues (i.e. what isn’t being said) but contexts in which this information is shared
o E.g. In Canada, degree of eye contact is often used as a sign of the other person’s interest and engagement but in Japanese heritage,
avoiding looking a supervisor in eyes is polite, respectful and appropriate
Computer-Mediated Communication
- The exchange of information and meaning using an electronic, digital medium
- Enhances engagement and verbal exchanges, but doesn’t easily allow for nonverbal communication
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- Lacks information richness, lack nonverbal cues, likelihood of misunderstandings/conflict, information overload, informal, messages hard to
- Web 2.0 describes websites and applications through which users actively interact, create, collaborate and communicate
o E.g. corporate wikis, social networking tools YouTube, Facebook, Wikipedia
- E-Mail popular method of exchanging written digital messages from an author to one or more recipients
o Preferred way to communicate with co-workers, customers, and other colleagues
o Lacks same richness as face-to-face conversation or even telephone call immediacy and informal nature encourages senders to
construct messages hard to interpret
o When e-mail messages are used to communicate emotional content, it lacks nonverbal cues (i.e. facial expressions, tone of voice)
needed to convey feelings
E.g. intended tone of an email may have been empathy and caring but one inferred by employee might be frustration and
o Likelihood of conflicts and misunderstandings increases among those who are limited to e-mail communication
o Extensive reliance on-email can be shown to adversely impact personal relationships:
of faculty and staff within a university found that as level of e-mail use increased
all other forms of communication
left employees feeling less connected to each other
o Another concern is sheer volume of e-mails (and spam messages) transmitted every day contributing to information overload
- Videoconferencing communication medium that permits real-time, live interaction and discussion between remote individuals or groups via
satellite or Internet
o Cost-efficient and more task-oriented than typical face-to-face interactions
o Works well for tasks that require simple information exchanges, cooperative problem solving or making routine decisions
o Level of interaction prevents users from making eye contact with other participants which reduces general awareness of social dynamics
within group
o Limits some of the natural, informal nonverbal messaging that facilitates communication process less effective for tasks that require
more “communication bandwidth”
E.g. bargaining, conflict resolution, negotiation or getting to know people
- Wiki highly flexible Web 2.0 application that allows people to quickly exchange verbal information and collaboratively solve problems, learn,
manage projects and create knowledge
o Tend to be controlled by one or more “owners”
o Owners can be assigned by company or informally emerge around topic of interest within a community of users
E.g. individual steps forward + sets up a wiki to coordinate volunteer opportunities
o Owners’ role define purpose of wiki and establish access privileges
o Design features (open access, transparency in terms of who contributes what, peer-based management) allow owners to track relative
contribution of users
o Study at IBM revealed wiki owners and users experienced 2 competing motives when deciding how to participate in wiki-related
Engineers in study reported the opportunity to collaborate/communicate with others was exciting and engaging but also
seemed aware of risks which called for more cautious approach, e.g. exposing incompetence, looking foolish in front of peers
Reveled enthusiastic yet somewhat restrained participation
- Computer-mediated communication large numbers of employees collaborate, exchange information and coordinate themselves
o These tools can enhance sense of “community” and foster strong vs. weak culture
- A major strength is that it greatly enhances engagement and verbal exchanges
The Communication Process: Potential Issues
1. Communicator Competence ability of communicators to encode and interpret messages
o A skilled communicator should be able to process nonverbal information and extract intended meaning
Communication process
if participants lack communication competence
o Emotions can impact how people express themselves and cloud their interpretation of information they receive from others
o Communicators’ ability to
regulate their emotions
understand emotions
of others results in clearer communications, less prone
to misunderstanding
2. Noise disturbing or distracting stimuli that block or interfere with transmission of a message
o Face-to-face communication is particularly
to presence/absence of noise
E.g. difficulty holding a conversation with someone at a party because of blaring music
o Noise increases
communicators need to exert to make communication process work
3. Information richness amount and depth of information transmitted in a message
o Face-to-face messages have
highest level of richness
Senders can convey meaning through words, body language, facial expressions and tone of voice
Provides opportunity to get feedback, verify and ensure messages are received and interpreted correctly
o Computer-generated reports consisting largely of
lowest level of richness
o A personal written note has a
moderate level of information richness
Limited to words on the page but choice of words and punctuation can add meaning beyond words themselves
Although recipients of e-mail messages do try to interpret emotions of sender from content, they unfortunately often perceive
emotion as negative when it’s not
o Higher levels of information richness are
to lower levels complex and difficult to understand tasks
More cues available to receiver = more likely the message will be understood the way sender intended it to be
o Higher levels of information richness
communication process simple and straightforward tasks
Increases chance that some of cues will seem contradictory and receivers may feel they’re given mixed messages
o In summary:
the greater the complexity of the work, the more likely the benefits of information richness will outweigh its cost
4. Gender differences different ways men and women tend to process and interpret information and communicate with others
Men’s style of communication
helps them achieve and maintain status, power, independence
E.g. showing off their ability or knowledge within a team meeting, telling stories or jokes, being direct when asking someone
else to do something, taking credit for something good they have done
Women’s style of communication
sends messages that build and strengthen their relationships
E.g. showing concern and support, asking questions, asking for help and feedback, buffering criticism with praise, using
compliments to build relationships, being indirect and subtle when sending messages to others
o Can lead to misunderstandings and often to faulty inferences about each other’s confidence and competence
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o To be effective communicators, people need to be aware of differences and adapt natural communication style to fit demands of
5. Privacy individuals can express themselves freely without being observed, recorded, or disturbed by other, unauthorized individuals or groups
o Federal/provincial governments revised laws and commissions to regulate how personal information is collected, used, and
Government legislation
corporate privacy policies
protects privacy rights but allow us to benefit from new communication channels
o Employers or prospective employers can access personal social networking sites + use this information to make decisions that affect you
E.g. Agrium Inc.’s Employee Privacy Policy has several objectives:
Ensure company and its members comply with privacy legislation
Clarify expectations of privacy
Define what information is personal
Explain why information is collected and how it is used
Describes employee monitoring activities and understandings with respect to notification and consent
o Messages sent via computer-mediated communication channels may be more
than those sent face to face to increase
, but downside is that this mindset may
undermine creative expression
as communicators
seek to reduce
personal risk
What Does It Mean to Be a “Good Communicator”?
- Attending to the fundamental elements of communication process + managing issues that might undermine it
- Mastered both sending and receiving side of equation
- Knowing themselves and others craft and deliver meaning using channels that your intended target will be able to process and understand
- Effective listeners
- Skilled receivers often have to process and integrate different sources of information and confirm with senders that interpretations are accurate
- Able to use skills to discern and resolve difficulties
- The use of technology does necessarily improve the communication process:
o Lack of competence to use these newer means of communication = reluctance or inability to participate fully in collaborative efforts
o Social media reduce an individual’s perceived cost of expressing their ideas + opinions
Could result in an overabundance of information and spread of misinformation and rumours that add “noise” to
E.g. use of Twitter during Haiti earthquake led to rumours that contributed to anxiety and uncertainty of those directly and
indirectly involved
- Appreciate the context in which communication is occurring, e.g. intended purpose of communication, nature of task, implications of messages for
yourself and others
Formal Communication
- Occurs through
information flowing along lines of authority and reporting relationships
o E.g. plant manager has authority over a production supervisor who has authority over production employee
information flowing between people who work at same level but in different functional areas
o E.g. marketing, production
- Channels necessary for coordination as organization grows + tasks become more complex & interdependent
1. Downward Communication flows from top to bottom of vertical channel
o Important purposes of downward communication:
Top-down approach used to relay directives, decisions, plans, goals, and instructions to their
subordinates in hierarchy
Downward communication via written policies, procedures and rules are used to increase level of
E.g. attendance control policies implemented to control level of employee absenteeism
Managers use top-down approach when evaluating subordinates’ job performance
o Concerns associated with it that undermine effectiveness:
Sheer volume of information from top to bottom requires managers at each level to process + filter information they pass
Too much information
subordinates feel overwhelmed and prioritize messages
Too many e-mail memos
from administration encourage people to ignore or discount messages altogether
Excessive filtering
might lead to misunderstandings and information gaps
Notoriously slow due to filtering decisions at each level
2. Upward Communication flows from bottle to top of vertical channel
o Managers at higher levels are informed about relevant activities and outcomes at lower levels unsolved work problems, suggestions for
improvements and how subordinates feel about jobs
o Concerns associated with it that undermine its effectiveness:
Often risk with sending messages to a superior what if manager doesn’t like what I say?
o Approach only effective when people feel like they can trust their superior with open and honest feedback
Can be politically motivated and used as an influence tactic
Best way to improve willingness to communicate upward is enhance quality of downward communication effective
3. Horizontal Communication flows among members of work groups, teams, or functional units who reside at same level in organization
o Used to coordinate effort, solve problems, share information, resolve conflicts, build rapport
o Effectiveness will be closely linked to how well members are able to work together as a team
Formal Networks
Communication networks
refer to the ways members of a team or work unit typically interact and exchange messages
- The more communication flowing through fewer members of the team, the higher the degree of centralization
- Communication Network Structures
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