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Chapter 2

CMN2148 Chapter 2: Master Document Chapter 2 Lecture, Key Terms and Summary

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Mary Hawkins

Fundamentals of Organizational Communication CMN2148 B The Functional Tradition • Organizing Messages o Rules and regulations o Organizational policies o Task definition, instruction, and evaluation • Relationship Messages o Individual role definition o Individual/organizational goals o Status symbol o Integration among supervisor/employees, peers • Change Messages o Decision making o Market analysis o New idea processing o Environmental inputs o Employee suggestions o Problem solving Communication Networks • Develop as a result of formal and informal social contact • Organization Charts; map who reports to and in what area of responsibility o Described as blueprints for the way; ▪ decisions are made ▪ how conflicts should be resolved ▪ which groups are responsible for ‘networking’ to reach organizational goals • Formal act of organizing, creates organizational communication networks/ the formal communication system o Formal Networks; interpersonal relationships that develop between individuals in a work group o Informal Networks; interpersonal relationships that develop between individuals and extend beyond the requirements of the work group Meaning-Centered Approach • Way of understanding organizational communication by discovering how organizational reality is generated through human interaction. 1. Process for; ▪ Generating shared realities, ▪ Decisions making ▪ Influence ▪ Culture etc. • Assumptions 1. All ongoing human interaction is communication in one form or another 2. Organizations exist through human interaction; structures and technologies result from the information to which individuals react 3. Shared organizational realities reflect the collective interpretations by organizing members of all organizational activities 4. Organizing and decision making are essentially communication phenomena 5. Sense making combines action and interpretation 6. Identification, socialization, communication rules, and power all are communication processes that reflect how organizational influence occurs 7. Organizing, decision making, and influence processes describe the cultures of organizations by describing how organizations do things and how they talk about how they do things 8. Organizational cultures and subcultures reflect the shared realities in the organizational and how these realities create and shape organizational events 9. Communication climate is the subjective, evaluative reaction of organization members to the organization’s communication events, their reaction to organizational culture Karl Weick (1979) • Organizations are in the process of existing through ongoing human interaction 2 • There is no such thing as an organization; there is only the ongoing interaction among human activities • Organizations do not exist outside of human interaction • Focus on the organizational environment as the communication links and messages • Human reactions ‘enact’ organizational environments through informational exchanges and the active creation of meaning • This creation or enactment of organizational environments differs among individuals, resulting in multiple and divers meaning and interpretations • Organizational Rules are; o Relatively stable procedures or known processes that guide organizational behavior o Used as guidance for most inquiries o Formed when selective communication cycles are successful, retention occurs and the process is stored as an organizational rule o ‘equivocal’ messages are susceptible to varying interpretations Steps to Decision Making 1. Choosing ways to approach the goal 2. Assigning individual responsibilities within the project 3. Deciding what resources the group will need Influence • Creates and changes organizational events • Contributing factors to organizing and decisions making include; o Who we see as influential o Whys people seek to influence others o How people respond to influence o Identification o Socialization o Communication rules o Power Assimilation; Myers & Oetzel (2003) • Organizational assimilation processes occur across six dimensions; o Familiarity/friendships o Acculturation o Recognition 3 o Involvement o Job competency o Role negotiation • Scott and Myers (2010) o A complex membership negotiation (sought via information seeking) along multiple dimensions within organizational social and work systems Metaphors • When culture is used as a metaphor for organizational communication, we attempt to understand communication by understanding; o The uniqueness or shared realities o Language, symbols, jargon, etc. o Behaviors, rituals and rites o General standards and values o Cultural information & Communication activities that shape that culture 21 Century Emerging Perspectives • Communication constitutes organizations (CCO) • Postmodernism • Critical theory • Feminist, race, class theory Stan Deetz (1992) • Communication cannot be reduced to an informational issue where meanings are assumed to be already existing, o It must be seen as a process of meaning development and social production of perceptions, identities social structures, and affective responses o Move beyond functional concerns for message production and transfer from the Meaning-Centered issues of ‘realities’ and cultures to a fundamental view of communication that constitutes or brings about self and social environments • Communication is the processes that literally produces organizing, decision making, and influence 4 James Taylor & Elizabeth Van (2011) • First-ness; actions and events of the organization + • Second-ness; All the people (agents) engaging in these activities = • Third-ness; an abstract representation of what an organization is about and how its ‘authority’ influences present and future actions Critical Theory • Definition; focuses attention to studies of power and abuses of power through communication and organization o ‘the central goal of critical theory in organizational communication studies has been to create a society and workplaces that are free from domination and where all members can contribute equally to produce systems that meet human needs and lead to the progressive development of all’ – Deetz 2001 o ‘one of the principal tenets of the critical studies approach is that organizations are not simply neutral sites of meaning formation; rather, they are produced and reproduced in the context of struggles between competing interest groups and systems of representation’ – Mumby (1993) • Critical theory seeks to; o Understand power structures and identify interests served by various types and alignments of power and control o Uncover power abuses in order to contribute to more fulfilling organizations and entire societies o Support both analysis and action, whether stimulating resistance, promoting change, or focusing on emancipating those abused by power structures Patrice Buzzanell (1994) • Feminist Organizational Communication o The moral commitment to investigate the subordinate, to focus on gendered interaction in ordinary lives, and to explore the standpoints of women who have been rendered invisible by their absence in theory and research o Gender is a socially constructed and enacted in organizations, with messages, structures, and practices becoming the contexts for gender construction and negotiation. Organizational communication is therefore the focal process for this construction and negotiation 5 Judi Marshall (1993) • Females in organizations adapt to male norms while being valuated against female stereotypes. • ‘The male domination of cultures goes largely unrecognized in organizational life and in mainstream organizational theory’ ‘Male Principles’ ‘Female Principles’ Self-assertion Interdependence Separation Cooperation Independence Receptivity Control Merging Competition Acceptance Focused perception Awareness of patterns Rationality Awareness of wholeness Clarity Synthesizing Discrimination Activity Alternative Perspective to Feminist Theory; ^ Connie Bulls (1993) • described why its important to consider how socialization practices can construct women as marginalized others • challenged us to think about voices marked as outsiders, unsocialized, uncommitted, disloyal, absentee, unemployable, or dropouts Racial Bias in Organizations; Karen Ashcraft and Brenda Allen (2003) • Organizations are fundamentally gendered & raced • Many of the assumptions in organizations about the contributions of women apply to people of color • Stereotypical expectations related to race, while differing by race, are evidenced in all types of organizational settings o The further inclusion of minorities will decrease discrimination Social Class Bias in Organizations ^ & Karen Lucas (2011) • ‘emotionally charged feelings of dislocation arise when people from blue- collar, working class backgrounds enter the world of white-collar, idle to upper class work. In contrast to all they have gained by upward social mobility, many feel a deep sense of loss’ - Lucas 6 • Social class is constructed through communication. Allen (2011) illustrates how occupational differences create class; o Hourly V salaried work o Educational requirements for promotional mobility o Service V line responsibilities o Private office V open space Institutionalization; Pamela Tolbert & Lynne Zucker (1996), Tim Kuhn (2005) • Organizational communication is fundamental in this description • Begins when an innovation or new understanding enter a field of practice, organization, or related group of organizations • Involves; innovation, • Habitualization, o Sustains the innovation phase o The innovation becomes part of patterned approaches to problem solving usually used by a limited set of individuals who have contact with each other across organizations • Objectification o Characterized by social consensus about the value of the innovation o Often based on limited knowledge about the specifics of the innovation but agreement that based on convincing arguments of merit the innovation has significant potential • Sedimentation o Same as objectification description above 9 Dimensions of Global Culture; House & Hanges & Javidan & Dorfman & Gupta (2004) • 10 year study • 62 societies • 170 social scientists and management scholars from around the world • 17,300 participants • 951 organizations • Conclusion: 9 core dimensions of global cultures 1. Uncertainty avoidance 2. Power distance 3. Institutional collectivism 4. In-group collectivism 5. Gender egalitarianism 7 6. Assertiveness 7. Future orientation 8. Performance orientations 9. Humane orientation Technology and Organizational Communications • Access to and control of technology are powerful communication influences changing the way work is performed, how people relate to each other, how power is exercised, and a host of organizational participation practices • The emergence of these technologies changes fundamental assumptions in all of the theoretical perspective we discussed • Emerging communications technologies influence; o Organizational structure o Processing of information o Newcomer socialization o Interactions among work groups o Interactions with customers o The speed of work o Information security o Individual privacy o Networks for innovation o Problem solving o Decision making, etc. Key Terms • Practical Theory; a set or principles enabling communicators to construct tentative models and approaches relevant to broad ranges of practical situations • Functional Tradition; way of understanding organizational communication by describing what messages do and how they move through organizations o Describes; ▪ How communication produces organizational outcomes ▪ Communication as a complex organizational process that serves organizing, relationship, and change functions ▪ The way messages move through organizations through examining communication networks, channels, message directions, communication load, and distortion 8 ▪ Communication transmits rules, regulations, and information throughout the organization • Organizational Communication System; number of related units that operate together to create and shape organizational events. Informing processing is the primary function of the units o What are the main parts of the system? o What parts work together to create and shape organizational events? o How do
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