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Chapter 10

Lecture 17 - Ch. 10. Communcation.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
David Scallen

BU288 Lecture 17 Ch. 10. Communication Tues. Nov. 13. 2012. COMMUNICATION • Communication: the process by which info is exchanged between a sender and receiver • Interpersonal communication: exchange of info between people  simplest prototype is a 1-to-1 exchange between 2 individuals. • The sender must encode his thoughts into some form (ex: writing, speech) that can be transmitted to the receiver. The receiver must perceive the message and accurately decode it to achieve accurate understanding. To provide feedback, it involves another communication episode that tells the original sender that the receiver received/understood the message. • A poor email system can lead to ineffective transmission; typos lead to improper encoding • Encoding and decoding may be prone to more error when the message is inherently ambiguous or emotional, because the 2 parties may have different perceptions of the “facts” at hand • Effective communication: the right people receive the right info in a timely manner o *must assume that both people in a conversation are cooperating from a shared set of rules o *Conversational norms: rules followed by speakers, that listeners assume speakers follow 1) Don’t lie 2) Don’t say things for which you have no evidence 3) Don’t say too little/much  we often assume people tell us everything we need to know 4) IMPORTANT: what you say should be relevant to the conversation 5) Avoid obscurity (use words the listener understands) & ambiguity 6) Be brief (quick) and orderly (logical/ chronological sequence) o *We also assume people know what knowledge we have about an event/object/person o *When a conversational norm is violated by a speaker, misunderstanding may occur, but we understand why the norm was violated and that conveys additional meaning o *flouting a norm: we do this to convey additional meaning (sarcasm), or we deliberately violate a norm (lie), or inadvertently violate a norm (wrongly assume stuff about what someone knows) o *if you flout a norm, it’s the best test for shared beliefs/values because if the listener get what you’re implying, you find that you have a common understanding of the world • ***Indirect speech: conveys meaning beyond the literal meaning of the words o Used to discuss taboo/uncomfortable subjects without offending  helps make things brief o Used to save face for the speaker/listener  ex: bribing a police to not give a ticket o Effectiveness depends on a shared understandingf • Thinking  encoding  transmitting  perceiving  decoding  understanding BASICS OF ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATON Communication by Strict Chain of Command • Chain of command: lines of authority & formal reporting relationships  manager over supervisors, over production workers, etc. under this system, 3 forms of communication can be accomplished: • Downward communication: info that flows from top to bottom of organization • Upward communication: info that flows from bottom toward top of organization  ex: chemical engineer may conceive a new plastic formula, pass this onto research manager, who informs VP BU288 Lecture 17 Ch. 10. Communication Tues. Nov. 13. 2012. • Horizontal communication: info that flows between departments or functional units, usually as a means of coordinating effort. Within a strict chain of command, such communication would flow up to and down from a common manager. • Directives and instructions usually pass downward through the chain of command, and ideas & suggestions pass upward. • Formal chain of command is an incomplete/ineffective path of communication. Deficiencies in the Chain of Command • Managers recognize that sticking strictly to the chain of command is ineffective • Informal communication: chain of command fails to consider this. Informal communication can help people accomplish jobs more effectively. It can also spread unsavory, inaccurate rumours. • Filtering: tendency for a message to be watered down or stopped during transmission. o Double edged sword: on one hand, workers must filter info. But too much filtering will preclude the right people from getting the right information and the organization will suffer. o Filtering occurs when workers are afraid that their boss will use info against them o Downward filtering is due to time pressure, or to maintain authority because “info is power” o Potential for filtering rises with number of links in communication chain  so organizations establish channels on top of those revealed in the formal chain of command o Open door policy: opportunity for workers to communicate directly with a manager without going through the chain of command  decreases upward filtering if workers trust the system • Slowness: chain of command can transmits info faithfully but slowly, especially for horizontal communication not good for reacting quickly to customers. Cross-functional teams and employee empowerment can improve communication in these areas by short- circuiting the chain of command. • Informal communication and recognition of filtering/slowness allow development of channels of communication beyond the strict chain of command MANAGER-EMPLOYEE COMMUNICATION • Such exchange should enable the boss to instruct the employee in proper task performance, provide social-emotional support, and should permit workers to ask questions about their role. • Perceptions that managers are good communicators tend to be correlated positively with organizational performance. • Managers and workers differ in perceptions, which lead to lack of openness in communication, which may lead to role conflict/ambiguity. It can also reduce worker job satisfaction. 1) How employees should/do allocate time 2) How long it takes to learn a job 3) Importance employees attach to pay 4) Amount of authority the worker has 5) The worker’s skills/abilities 6) Worker’s performance and obstacles to good performance 7) Manager’s leadership style BU288 Lecture 17 Ch. 10. Communication Tues. Nov. 13. 2012. Barriers to Effective Manager-Employee Communication • Conflicting role demands: leadership role requires mangers to attend both task and social- emotional functions. This is difficult.  ex: congratulating an employee for being named Sales Rep, and then going on to saying “I hope you can bring some new accounts into the company” may offend the worker because it may imply that he has not been doing enough for the company. In this case, 2 separate communiques may be more effective. • Mum effect: tendency to avoid communicating unfavourable news to others  more likely when sender is responsible for the bad news, but also possible when someone else caused the bad news. o Workers with strong aspirations for upward mobility are likely to encounter communication difficulties due to the mum effect: the want to impress their bosses to achieve promotion o Also applies to bosses; managers avoid communicating bad news for which they’re partly responsible (ex: communicating good performance ratings to good workers, and not to the bad • ***Bypassing: assigning the same meaning to different things, or different meanings to same thing The Grapevine • Grapevine: An organization’s informal communication network; cuts across formal lines of communication that are recognized by management (info can travel fast). Features: o Word of mouth, written notes, emails, fax messages contribute to transmission of info o Firm can have several grapevine systems, which may be loosely coordinated ex: secretary (part of “office grapevine”) may send info to a mail carrier, who passes it to “warehouse grapevine”. o Can transmit info relevant to the performance of the organization as well as personal gossip • At least 75% of the non-controversial organization-related info are carried by grapevine is correct. Personal info and emotionally charged info are most likely to be distorted. • Does not run through firm in a neat chain (A to B to C). Only a proportion of those who receive grapevine news pass it on, with the net effect that more know than tell. • Extraverts may be more likely to pass on info than introverts; also, the insecure may pass info that may give them a personal advantage  the nature of the info passed influences the person to talk • Physical location of the organizational members affects the likelihood of involvement in the vine.  Mail carriers, jobs that require movement throughout organization • PROS: 1) Keep employees informed about important organizational matters (ex: job security) 2) Provides a test of employee reactions to proposed changes without making formal commitments  managers “leaking” ideas to prove their potential acceptance 3) When grapevine info extends outside organization, it can be a potent informal recruiting source • CONS: when it becomes a pipeline for rumours: unverified belief that’s in general circulation o although a rumour may be true, it’s unlikely to remain true as it runs through the grapevine o rumours spread the fastest & farthest when info is ambiguous, when content is important to those involved, when rumour seems credible, and when recipient is anxious BU288 Lecture 17 Ch. 10. Communication Tues. Nov. 13. 2012. o global competition, staff reductions, and restructuring placed a premium on rumour control • blogs are an example; they can be good or bad depending on what the employees write about their employers, either anonymously or as themselves. THE VERBAL LANGUAGE OF WORK • jargon: specialized language used by job holders / members of particular occupations/organizations • COMVOC = common vocabulary: facilitates communication among workers. COMVOC provides a common basis for interaction among virtual strangers • Jargon can be efficient when communicating with peers & provide status to those who have mastered it, it can also be a barrier to communication  local jargon may prevent clear communication between departments like sales & engineering • Jargon also is a problem to those outside the organization/profession THE NON-VERVAL LANGUAGE OF WORK • Non-verbal communication: transmission of messages by some medium other than speech/writing • Powerful in that they convey the REAL STUFF, while words = smoke screen  body language • showing our true feelings, editing our feelings, or trying to actively deceive others • used to repeat the message your words are saying, contradict what you’re saying, substitute your verbal message (shrug), add meaning to the message (gesturing), make message stronger (stomp) • difficult to regulate non-verbal behaviour when we feel strong emotions Body Language • Body language: non-verbal communication by means of a sender’s bodily motions, facial expressions, or physical location  2 important messages conveyed (A and B): A) The extent to which the sender likes/is interested in the receiver; communicated when senders: 1) Position themselves physically close to the receiver o *intimate space is < 18inches; personal space is 18inches – 4 feet; social space is 4 -12 feet 2) Touch the receiver during the interaction 3) Maintain eye contact with the receiver 4) Lean forward during the interaction 5) Direct the torso toward the receiver B) Sender’s views concerning relative status of the sender& receiver. Senders who feel themselves as higher status than the receiver act more relaxed than those in lower status. Relaxation is shown by: 1) The casual, asymmetrical placement of arms and legs 2) A reclining, non-erect seating position 3) Lack of fidgeting and nervous activity • Most people are good at non-verbal posing, like looking relaxed when they aren’t. Observers have some capacity to detect such posing. • *emblems: nonverbal movements that substitute words (ex: thumbs up = “good”) • *illustrators: nonverbal movements that accompany/reinforce verbal messages (ex: gesture) BU288 Lecture 17 Ch. 10. Communication Tues. Nov. 13. 2012. • *affect displaces: nonvermal movements of the face/body used to show emotion (ex: smile) • Body language is especially important when being interviewed, as interviewers may look for non-verbal cues if they think these are less censored.  right amount of smiling and eye contact, etc. ***Vocal Cues*** • Pitch: the highness or lowness of your voice • Rate: how rapidly or slowly you speak • Inflection: the variety or changes in pitch • Volume: the loudness or softness of your voice • Quality: the unique resonance of your voice, such as huskiness, nasality, raspiness, or whininess • Nonword sounds: “ahh,” “huh”; pauses or the absence of sound used for effect in speaking • Silence: the lack of sound Props, Artifacts, and Costumes • Office décor and arrangement: tells visitors a little about the occupant. Students feel more welcome in a professor’s office if the office is 1) Tidy  signals organization and that the prof has time to talk to the student 2) Decorated with posters and plants  signals “I am human” 3) Desk was against the wall instead of between the professor and student o Study found that strangers can accurately infer certain Big Five personality traits of the occupants of business offices  how conscientious and open to experience the occupant is  neatness is a cue for conscientiousness, and distincitve décor signals opennness • Clothing: clothing signals something about competence, seriousness, and promotability  receivers unconsciously attach stereotypes to clothing and then treat the wearer accordingly o Ex: Molloy says a black raincoat is the kiss of death for a male executive (vs. beige) o Although proper clothing may not make up for a lack of ambition or intelligence, wrong clothing may prevent others from detecting such qualities. BU288 Lecture 17 Ch. 10. Communication Tues. Nov. 13. 2012. o Research: even at ages 10-12, children associate brands of jeans with personality traits. This persists into adulthood. More masculinely dressed women are more likely to be selected as execs (as long as it’s not too masculine). o Proper clothing may significantly enhance self-esteem and confidence of the wearer  students who dress formally to interviews may feel like they made a better impression than the casual GENDER DIFFERENCES IN COMMUNICATION • Gender differences in communication have their origin in childhood • Girls see conversations as a way to develop relationships and networks of connection/intimacy • Boys view conversations as a way to achieve status within groups and maintain independence • Ex: woman comes up with great idea, male spends more time talking about it & gets credit • Gender communication differences revolve around One Up, One Down position. Men are more sensitive to power dynamics, and will use communication to position themselves in a one-up situation. Women focus on rapport building, and communicate to avoid putting others down. Hence, women put themselves in a one-down position  negative effect on the rewards they receive. • Tannen found differences in gender communication styles that place women in 1down position: 1) Getting credit: men are more likely to blow their own horn about something good they’ve done 2) Confidence and boasting: men are more boastful and minimize doubts compared to women (who downplay their certainty). Hence, men are often seen as more confident. 3) Asking questions: men don’t like asking directions when they’re lost, because this puts them in a 1down position and reflect negatively on them. Women are more likely to ask questions. 4) Apologies: women apologize to express concern when you have bad days. Men see this as weakness. 5) Feedback: women buffer criticism by beginning with praise to save face for the person receiving the criticism and avoid putting them in a 1down position. Men are more blunt & straightforward  may lead to misunderstandings, as when a man interprets a women’s praise as the main message 6) Compliments: women are more likely to compliment “how was my presentation?” than men, who interpret the question literally and provide a critique. 7) Ritual opposition: men often use this to communicate and exchange ideas by attacking others’ POV, challenging them in public & being argumentative. Women see this as personal attack & avoid it. 8) Managing up and down: many women think that, to be recognized and rewarded, what matters most is doing a good job. This isn’t always the case, because communication and discussion topics matter as well. Men spend more time communicating with superiors about achievements. Women downplay their superiority, leading others to believe they can’t project their authority. 9) Indirectness: women tend to be indirect when giving orders (“how would you feel about …”)  suggests lack of demeanor or confidence • The communication styles that women are accustomed to are most appropriate when comm
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