Chapter 10

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13 Feb 2011
Chapter 10 Communication
1. What is communication?
Communication: The process by which information is exchanged between a sender and receiver.
(Interpersonal communication – the exchange of information between people)
The sender must encode his or her thoughts into some form that can be transmitted to the
The receiver must perceive the message and accurately decode it to achieve accurate
Feedback involves another communicate episode that tells the original sender that her
assistant received and understood the message.
----Sender: thinking, encoding and transmitting; Receiver: perceiving, decoding and understanding
----The simple communication model points out the complexity of the communication process and
demonstrates points at which errors can occur.
Effective communication:The right people receive the right information in a timely manner.
2. Basics of organizational communication:
Communication by strict chain of command:
Chain of command: lines of authority and formal reporting relationships.
Under this system, three necessary forms of communication can be accomplished:
Downward communication: Information that flows from the top of the organization toward
the bottom.
Upward communication: Information that flows from the bottom of the organization toward
the top.
Horizontal communication: Information that flows between departments or functional units,
usually as a means of coordinating effort.
----Directives and instructions usually pass downward through the chain of command, and ideas
and suggestions pass upward.
Deficiencies in the chain of command:
Informal communication: the chain of command fails to consider informal communication
between members.
Filtering: the tendency for a message to be watered down or stopped during transmission.
----On the one hand, employees are supposed to filter information.
----On the other hand, overzealous filtering will preclude the right people from getting the right
Open door policy: the opportunity for employees to communicate directly with a manager
without going through the chain of command.
----The potential for filtering increases with the number of links in the communication chain.
Slowness: the chain of command can be even slower for horizontal communication between
departments, and it is not a good mechanism for reacting quickly to customer problems.
Cross-functional teams and employee empowerment have been used to improve
communication in these areas by short-circuiting the chain of command.
3. Manager-employee communication: one-to-one exchange of information between a boss and
an employee.
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Perceptual differences result in a lack of openness in communication, which might contribute
too much role conflict and ambiguity on the part of employees. It can also reduce employee
job satisfaction.
Barriers to effective manager-employee communication (What causes communication
Conflicting role demands: The manager tries to take care of both social emotional business
and task business. However, it may cause role demands conflict. Therefore, two separate
communiqués, one emotional one directive will be more effective.
The mum effect: the tendency to avoid communicating unfavorable news to others. The
sender may or may not be responsible for the bad news; employees who desire to impress their
bosses to achieve a promotion. It may also apply to managers.
Research: employees who had good performance ratings were more likely to be informed of those
rating than employees who had bad ratings.
4. The grapevine:
Characteristics of the grapevine:
Grapevine: An organizations informal communication network.
Grapevine communicates information by word of mouth. Written notes, e-mails, and fax
messages can contribute to the transmission of information.
Organizations often have several grapevine systems, some of which may be loosely
The grapevine can transmit information relevant to the performance of the organization as
well as personal gossip.
Research: 75% of the noncontroversial organizationally related information carried by the
grapevine is correct. Personal information and emotionally charged information are most likely to
be distorted.
Who participates in the grapevine:
Personality characteristics may play a role. (Extraverts might be more likely to pass on
information than introverts; those who lack self-esteem might pass on information that fives
them a personal advantage)
The nature of the information.
Physical location of organization members is related to their opportunity to both receive an
transmit news via the vine
Pros and Cons of the grapevine:
It can keep employees informed about important organizational matters.
Grapevine can also provide a test of employee reactions to proposed changes without making
formal commitments.
Participation in the grapevine can add a little interest and diversion to the work setting.
Rumor: an unverified belief that is in general circulation.
----Rumor spread fast when the information is ambiguous and the content of the rumor is
important to those involved, when the rumor seems credible and when the recipient is anxious.
5. The verbal language of work
Jargon: Specialized language used by job holders or members of particular occupations or
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