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Chapter 7

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University of British Columbia
COMM 292
Angela Kelleher

Chapter 7: Communication The Communication Process - Poor communication is probably the most frequently cited source of interpersonal conflict - Communicating includes, writing, reading, speaking, listening - Communication is a foundation of things in the workplace: motivating, providing information, controlling behavior, expressing emotion - Transfer and understanding of a message between two or more people - The model indicates that both the sender and the receiver are part of the communication process, with the sender establishing a message, encoding the message, and choosing the channel to send it, and the receiver decoding the message and providing feedback to the sender - Communication problems occur when something disrupts the flow - Communication is both an interactive and iterative process Encoding and Decoding - Messages are encoded by a sender and decoded by a receiver - Encoding: Converting a message to symbolic form - Decoding: Interpreting a sender’s message Factors that Affect Message Encoding and Decoding Skill Our success in communicating depends on our writing skills and reading skills, as well as speaking, listening, and reasoning skills Attitudes The attitudes of the sender and receiver toward each other will affect how the message is transmitted and how it is received Knowledge The amount of knowledge the source and receiver hold about the subject will affect the clarity of the message that is transferred Socio-Cultural System Our rank in any hierarchy in which we operate affects our ability to successfully engage in communication. Messages sent and received by people of equal rank are sometimes interpreted differently than messages sent and received by people in very different ranks The Message - The actual physical product from the source after it is encoded - When we speak the speech is the message, when we write, the writing is the message, when we paint the painting is the message, our gestures and body language is the message - Our message is affected by the code, or group of symbols, we use to transfer meaning; the content of the message itself; and the decisions that we make in selecting and arranging both codes and content The Channel - The medium through which a message travels - Formal channels are established by the organization and transmit messages that pertain to job-related activities - Informal channels are personal or social messages - Channel can distort a communication if a poor one is selected - Communication Apprehension: the undue tension and anxiety about oral communication, written communication, or both - Channel richness: amount of information that can be transmitted during a communication episode - Channels are rich when they have the ability to: 1) Handle multiple cues simultaneously 2) Facilitate rapid feedback 3) Be very personal - Routine messages tend to be straightforward and have minimum ambiguity - Nonroutine messages are more complicated and have potential for misunderstanding The Feedback Loop - The final link in the communication process; it puts the message back into the system as a check against misunderstandings - Two way communications involve both talking and listening The Context - All communication takes place within a context, and violations of that context may create additional problems in sending and receiving messages - The context of a workplace presents different expectations about how to interact with people than does the context of a bus stop Barriers to Effective Communication Filtering - A sender manipulates information so that the receiver will view it more favorably - As information pass up to senior executives, employees must condense and synthesize so that people on top don’t become overloaded with information Selective Perception - Receivers in the communication process selectively see and hear based on their needs, motivations, experience, background, and other personal characteristics Defensiveness - When people feel they are threatened, they tend to reduce their ability to achieve mutual understanding - Verbally attacking others, making sarcastic remarks, being overly judgmental, and questioning others’ motives Information Overload - The state of having more information than one can process, information overload can result in lost information and less effective communication Language - Words mean different things to different people, each individuals in each locale will use terms and phrases that are unique to their area, operative employees may be unfamiliar with management jargon Communicating under Stress - Speak clearly, be aware of nonverbal part of communicating, think carefully about how you state things Organizational Communication Downward - Communication that flows from one level of a organization to a lower level - They use this approach to assign goals, provide job instructions, inform employees of policies and procedures, identify problems that need attention, and offer feedback about performance - Better to be explain reasons because employees are more committed to changes when the reason behind them were fully explained Upward - Communication flows to a higher level in the organization - Provide feedback to higher-ups, inform them of progress towards goals, relay current problems - Managers will be aware of how employees feel about their jobs, co-workers, and the organization in general - To communicate to managers, employees should meet in a conference room to reduce distractions and communicate in headlines and not paragraphs and support the headlines with actionable items (prepare agenda) Lateral - Communications occur among members of the same work group - It can be efficient when it avoids the formal vertical structure of communication - It can create conflicts with formal vertical channels are branched, when employees go above or around their managers to get things done, when employers find out that actions have been taken or decisions made without their knowledge Small-Group Networks - Communication networks define the channels by which information flows - Formal networks are task-related communications that follow the authority chain Chain Rigidly follows the Best if accuracy is most formal chain of important command Wheel Relies on the leader to Facilitates the act as the central emergence of a leader conduit for all the group’s communication All-Channel Permits all group Best if high member members to satisfaction is most communicate actively important with each other The Grapevine - Informal networks: communications that flow along social and relational lines, grapevine is the organization’s most common informal network 1) To structure and reduce anxiety 2) To make sense of limited or fragmented information 3) To serve as a vehicle to organize group members, and possibly outsiders, into coalitions 4) To signal a sender’s status (“I’m an insider and, with respect to this rumor, you’re an outsider”) or power (“I have the power to make you into an insider) - The secrecy and competition that typically prevail in large organizations around such issues as the appointment of new senior managers, the relocation of offices, and the realignment of work assignments create conditions that encourage and sustain rumors on the grapevine. - A rumor will persist until the wants and expectations creating the uncertainty underlying the rumor are fulfilled or until the anxiety is reduced Grapevine Patterns - In the probability pattern, individuals are randomly told information, with no apparent pattern - In the cluster pattern, individuals selectively choose individuals to whom they will relay information 1) Grapevine is not controlled by management 2) It is perceived by most employees as being more believable and reliable than formal communiqués issued by top management 3) It is largely used to serve the self-interests of the people within it - It acts as a filter and feedback mechanism, picking up the issues that employees consider relevant. Managers can reduce the negative consequence of rumors by explaining decisions and openly discussing worse-case possibilities Electronic Communications Email - We tend to misinterpret the message in emails - It’s bad to communicate negative messages through email because it will receive negative criticisms - Email also tend to be overused, most people encounter email overload - Email emoticons are also a problem, people can get carried away when they write their emails because they tend to say things they usually won’t be able to in public - Email also has privacy concerns, because they can be monitored, and you cannot always trust the recipient of your email to keep it confidential Instant Messaging and Text Messaging - IM and TM represent fast and inexpensive ways for managers to stay in touch with employees and for employees to stay in touch with each other - Cannot replace emails, not good for conveying long messages - Their existence can make it hard for employees to concentrate or stay focused Other Issues in Communication - Nonverbal Communication – messages conveyed through body movements, facial expressions, and the physical distance between the sender and receiver - Kinesics – the study of body motions, such as gestures, facial configurations, and other movements of the body - The two most important messages that body language conveys are 1) The extent to which an individual likes another and is interested in his or her views 2) The relative perceived status between a sender and receiver (When you feel that you are of higher status than another, you are more likely to display body movements, such as crossed legs or a slouched seated position- that reflect a casual and relaxed manner - Body language adds more meaning to verbal communications - Proxemics – the study of physical space in interpersonal relationships - If someone stands closer to you than expected according to your cultural norms, you may interpret the action as an expression of aggressiveness or sexual interest. However, if the person stands farther away than you expect, you might think he or she is displeased with you or uninterested. Someone whose cultural norms differ from yours might be very surprised by your interpretation - Environmental factors such as seating arrangements or the conditions of the room can also send intended or unintended messages - It’s common for people to express one emotion verbally and another nonverbally. These contradictions often suggest that actions speak louder (and more accurately) than words - We should also care non-verbal language. We would assume that people who cross their arms in front of their chest are showing resistance to a message, however they might just do this because they’re cold Silence as Communication - Silence is used to represent inaction or nonbehavior, however, silence can be a power form of communication - It can mean someone is thinking or contemplating a response to a question. It can mean a person is anxious and fearful of speaking. It can signal agreement, dissent, frustration, or anger - Silence is a critical element of groupthink, in which it implies agreement with the majority - It can be a way for employees to express dissatisfaction, when they “suffer in silence” - It can be a sigh that someone is upset, as when a typically talkative person suddenly says nothing. “What’s the matter with him? Is he all right?” - It’s a powerful tool used by individuals to signal disfavor by shunning or ongoing someone with “silent insults.” As well, it is a crucial element of group decision making, allowing individuals to think over and contemplate what others have said - Astute communicators watch for gaps, pauses, and hesitations. They hear and interpret silence. They treat pauses, for instance, as analogous to a flashing yellow light at an intersection – they pay attention to what comes next. Is the person thinking, deciding how to frame an answer. Is the person suffering from communication apprehension? Sometimes the real message in a communication is buried in the silence Communication Barriers between Women and Men Men Women Use talk to emphasize status Women use it to create connection Men speak and hear a language of status Women speak and hear a language of and independence connection and intimacy Men use conversations to preserve Women use conversations like independence and main status in a negotiations for closeness in which hierarchical social order people try to seek and give confirmation and support Men frequently assert their desire for Women view telling a problem as a independence and control by offering means to promote closeness solutions Mutual understanding is asymmetrical Mutual understanding is symmetrical for for men women Men tend to be more direct and assert Women tend to be more indirect when their opinions directly approach points of conflict Men criticize women for apologizing all However women use sorry for a means the time, they see it as a weakness to express empathy Cross-Cultural Communication Cultural Barriers Barriers caused by semantics Words mean different things in different cultures, some words does not translate into the English language, some English words does not translate into other languages (“sisu” means “dogged persistence” in Finish, the word does not translate to English, “efficiency”, “free market”, and “regulation” cannot be translated into Russian) Barriers caused by word connotations Words imply different meanings in different languages (“hai” means “yes I’m listening” in Japanese, while yes means agreeing in western cultures) Barriers caused by tone differences In some cultures, the tone changes depending on the context: people speak differently at home, in social situations, and at work, using a personal tone in the work place can be offensive Barriers caused by differences among People speak different languages view perceptions the world differently. The Inuit perceive snow differently; they have many words for it. They perceive no differently, because they have no such word in their vocabulary. Cultural Context - High-context cultures – cultures that rely heavily on nonverbal and subtle situational cues in communication - Low-context cultures – cultures that rely heavily on words to convey meaning in communication - What may appear, to an outsider, as a casual and insignificant conversation is important because it reflects the desire to build a relationship and create trust? Oral agreements imply strong commitments in high-context cultures. Also, who you are – your age, seniority, rank in the organization – are highly valued and heavily influence your credibility. But in low-context cultures, enforceable contracts will tend to be in writing, precisely worded, and highly legalistic. Similarly, low-context cultures value directness. Managers are expected to be explicit and precise in conveying intended meaning. It’s quite different in high-context cultures, where managers tend to “make suggestions” rather than give orders Chinese High Context Korean Strong social bonds Japanese Social hierarchy governs Vietnamese communication Arab Communication builds connection Greek Avoidance of direct confrontation Spanish Low Context High individualism Italian English Little social hierarchy observed North American Communication is explicit and Scandinavian impersonal Comfortable with open Swiss confrontation German Overcoming Cross-Cultural Difficulties - Assume differences until similarity is proven. You are far less likely to make an error if you assume others are different from you, rather than assuming similarity until difference is proven - Emphasize description rather than interpretation or evaluation Delay judgment until you have had sufficient time to observe and interpret the situation form the differing perspectives of all the cultures involved - Be emphatic Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes. What are his or her values, experiences, and frames of reference? - Treat your interpretations as a working hypothesis Once you have developed an explanation for a new situation and can empathize with that person treat your interpretation as a hypothesis that needs further testing Chapter 8: Power and Politics A Definition of Power - Power refers to a capacity that A has to influence the behavior of B, so that B acts in accordance with A’s wishes. This definition implies that here is a potential for power if someone is dependent on another. But one can have power and not impose it - Power is a function of dependency. The more B depends on A, the more power A has in the relationship - It is based on the alternatives that B perceives and the importance that B place on the alternatives that A controls. A person can have power over you only if he or she controls something you desire Bases of Power Coercive Power - Coercive power is dependent on fear. One reacts to this powerbase out of fear of the negative results that might occur of one fails to comply - It rests on the application of physical sanctions such as infliction of pain, the restriction of movement, or controlling by force of basic physiological or safety needs - At the organization level, A has coercive power over B if A can dismiss, suspend or demote B, assuming that B values his or her job. Similarly, if a can assign B work Activities that B finds unpleasant or treat B in a manner that B finds embarrassing. A possess coercive power over B. Reward Power - The opposite of coercive power is reward power. - People will go along with the wishes or directives of another if doing so produces positive benefits; therefore, someone who can distribute rewards that others view as valuable will have power over those others. These rewards can be anything that another person values. - Rewards can be friendliness, acceptance, and praise. - Your ability to give or withhold rewards gives you power over that individual. Legitimate Power - The bases of power is through a person’s structural position - It represents the power a person receives as a result of his or her position in the formal hierarchy of an organization - Have the power to make rules - Legitimate power is broader than the power to coerce and reward Expert Power - The influence based on expertise, special skills, or knowledge. Expertise has become one of the most powerful sources of influence as the world has become more technologically oriented - Expert power relies on trust that all relevant information is given out honestly and completely - The more information is shared, the less expert power a person has, people may try to protect their power by withholding information Referent Power - Develops out of admiration of another a desire to be like that person - It’s like charisma, if you admire someone to the point of modeling your behavior and attitudes after him, then that person possess referent power over you - Referent power explains why celebrities are paid millions of dollars to endorse products in commercials Information Power - Comes from access to and control over information. People in an organization who have data or knowledge those others need can make those others dependent on them. - Managers, because of their access to privileged sales, cost, salary, profit, and similar data, can use this information to control and shape subordinates’ behavior - Departs possess information that is critical to a company’s performance in times of high uncertainty Evaluating the Bases of Power - Commitment. The person is enthusiastic about the request, and shows initiative and persistence in carrying it out - Compliance. The person goes along with the request grudgingly, puts in minimal effort, and takes little initiative in carrying out the request - Resistance. The person is opposed to the request and tries to avoid it with such tactics as refusing, stalling, or arguing about it - Coercive power leads to resistance from individuals, decreased satisfaction, and increased mistrust - Reward power results in compliance if the rewards are consistent with what the individuals want as rewards - Legitimate power results in compliance, but it does not generally result in increased commitment, legitimate power does not inspire individuals to act beyond the basic level - Expert and referent powers are the most likely to lead to commitment Dependency: The Key to Power The General Dependency Postulate - The greater B’s dependency on A, the greater the power A has over B - When you possess anything that others require but that you alone control, you make them dependent upon you and, therefore, you gain power over them - If something is plentiful, possession of it will not increase your power What Creates Dependency? Importance - The things you control must be perceived as important - In some places, people who control the budget have a great deal of importance, while in other organizations the knowledge to keep technology working is viewed as important, importance is situational Scarcity - A resource must be perceived as scarce to create dependency - Low ranking employees gain power if they have important knowledge not available to high-ranking employees - Individuals might refuse to show others how to do a job, or might refuse to share information to increase his or her importance Nonsubsitutability - The fewer substitutes there are for a resource, the more power comes from control over that resource - Most people believed that no one other than Steve Jobs is capable of turning the company around and so they accepted many of his suggestions despite their controversy - People often ask for special rewards because they have skills that others do not Influence Tactics Rational persuasion Using facts and data to make a logical or rational presentation of ideas Inspirational appeals Appealing to values, ideals, and goals when making a request Consultation Getting others involved to support one’s objectives Ingratiation Using flattery, creating goodwill, and being friendly prior to making a request Personal appeals Appealing to loyalty and friendship when asking for something Exchange Offering favors or benefits in exchange for support Coalitions Getting the support of other people to provide backing when making a request Pressure Using demands, threats, and reminders to get someone to do something Legitimacy Claiming the authority or right to make a request, or showing that it supports organization goals or policies - Rational persuasion, inspirational appeals, and consultation are the most effective - Pressure tends be backfire, and is the least effective - You can use more than one tactic at the same time or after one another as long as your choices are compatible - Using both ingratiation and legitimacy can lessen the negative reactions - Effectiveness of influence tactics depend on the direction of the influence - Rational persuasion is effective across organizational levels - Inspirational appeals works best downward - Pressure is only to achieve downward influence - Personal appeals and coalitions are effective with lateral influence - Other factors such as sequencing of tactics, a person’s skill in using the tactic, and the culture of the organization affect the effectiveness of the tactic - A combination of tactic is more effective than a single tactic or a combination of hard and soft tactic - Political skill is the ability to influence others in such a way as to enhance one’s objectives, this enables people to use tactics more effectively - Organization environments are very different, warm, relaxed and supportive cultures will like softer tactics Empowerment: Giving Power to Employees Definition of Empowerment - People vary in their definitions of empowerment, some people believe that empowerment is delegating decision making within a set of clear boundaries. Empowerment start at the top, specific goals and tasks are assigned, responsibility would be delegated and people are held accountable for their results - Others believe that empowerment is a process of risk-taking and personal growth. This type starts at the bottom, with considering the employee’s needs, showing them what empowered behavior looks like, building teams, encouraging risk-taking, and demonstrating trust in employee’s ability to perform - Some employees believe that empowerment doesn’t actually exist, where organizations tell employees that they have decision-making responsibility, but not giving them the authority to carry out their decisions - For an employee to be empowered, he or she needs to access the information required to make decision, rewards for acting in responsible ways and the authority to make the necessary decisions - Employees may feel that managers still micromanages their performance - Managers are reluctant to give power because it means reducing their own and it means that employees could deicide to work on things that are not consistent with the organization’s goals - Empowerment may even make employees ill when they don’t have the confidence to handle things Degrees of Empowerment - Job content and job context gives the degrees of empowerment - Job content is the tasks and procedures necessary for a job - Job context is the reason fro doing the job, reflects the organization’s mission, objectives, and setting No discretion - Typical assembly job, highly routine and repetitive - Employees are monitored by a supervisor - Employees operate strictly by the rules and not showing initiative. Participatory empowerment - Autonomous work groups that are given some decision- making authority over job content and job context - Higher satisfaction and productivity Self-Management - Total decision-making power for job content and job context - Employees has as much power as they need - Has faith that the employee will carry out the job in a successful manner that aligns with the goals of the organization - Very rewarding for employees - When employees are empowered they become like the owners of the company - They need to identify themselves with the goals and mission of the organization - There must be a clear definition of the values and mission of the company - The company must help employees a
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