Communicating in Organizations


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Communicating in Organizations

  1. 1. Communicating in Organizations
  2. 2. Important Exam type questions: 1. Define organization. Differentiate between formal and informal organization. What are the characteristics of formal and informal organizations? 2. An organization does not exist in a vacuum. It takes its influence from the environment and in turn influences the environment. Discuss organization as an open system.
  3. 3. 3. What are different directions of information flow in an organization? Describe each direction and the type of information type used in this direction. 4. What types of information would have downward flow in an organization? What are potential problems of downwards communication? How downwards communication can be improved?
  4. 4. 5. What types of information would have upward flow in an organization? What are potential problems of upwards communication? How upwards communication can be improved? 6. What types of information would have horizontal flow in an organization? What are potential problems of horizontal communication? How horizontal communication can be improved?
  5. 5. 7. What do you understand by informal communication? Discuss some aspects of informal communication that may exist in an organization.
  6. 6. Answer to Q 1:  A group of people working together to achieve a certain set of objectives viz profit, growth, CSR, sales, customer satisfaction etc.  Formal organization  Social unit deliberately constructed to seek specific goals  Informal organization  A social unit arising spontaneously as a result of shared interest and/or circumstances
  7. 7. Characteristics: Formal Organization: 1. Planned division of responsibility 2. Explicit and well defined structure 3. Rules and procedures guiding conduct Informal Organization: 1. Membership gained consciously or unconsciously 2. Loosely structured 3. Flexible and spontaneous
  8. 8. Answer to Q 2: Systems approach (Open vs Closed) 1. Organization as an open system 2. Inputs, processes, outputs 3. Opportunities & threats 4. INPUTS: Customers needs, competitors’ action, new legislation, public opinion, labor market, stakeholders’ expectations, suppliers, distributers 5. OUTPUTS: Goods and services, information, satisfied customer, trained workforce, financial benefits, brand image
  9. 9. Answer to Q 3:  Formal flow of information in three directions: Downwards, Upwards, Horizontal  Downwards:  Delegation of work: objectives, job instructions  Induction: procedures & practices  Job rationale: linking job with organizational objectives  Appraisal: informing about work performance  Indoctrination: culture
  10. 10.  Upwards:  Employee: performance, problems  Employee: others and their problems  Progress: what has been done  Suggestion: what should be done  Feedback: workplace improvements (3 M example)
  11. 11.  Horizontal:  Same level of hierarchy  Coordinate functions  Managers to Managers  Supervisors to supervisors  Operatives to operatives
  12. 12. Answer to Q 4:  Problems:  Management attitude: employees not interested in larger issues, may not understand  Information not available  Manager’s or individual skills in communicating may be poor  Undermining authority by sharing information  Fear of redundancy, equal relationship  Information may fall into wrong hands
  13. 13.  Improvement:  Establishing systems: meetings, interviews, procedures, newsletters, intra net  Management by example  Good communication skills for employee selection  Encouraging communication culture  Espousing team spirit  Training  Rewarding effective communicators  Policies and procedures on communication
  14. 14. Answer to Q 18:  Problems:  Subordinates feeling about management: problems not understood, little interest  Managers too busy  Managers may not understand their concerns  Shoot the messenger fear  Fear of rejection  Fear of disappointing the superior  Peer pressure
  15. 15. Improving upward communication 1. Organizing meetings between managers and subordinates frequently. 2. Organizing brainstorming sessions for employees and teams. 3. Setting up quality circles. 4. Encouraging input and suggestions from employees. 5. Open door policy by managers.
  16. 16. Answer to Q 5: Problems: 1. Encroaching functional boundaries 2. Resisting authority of non experts 3. Efforts for larger share of resources 4. Interpersonal or personality differences
  17. 17. Improving horizontal communication 1. Regular meetings between managers to discuss issues related to their departments and organization. 2. Inter-departmental meetings and teams. 3. Job rotation. 4. Sharing information with other departments through newsletters/circulars.
  18. 18. Answer to Q 6:  Informal communication  Social needs: organization is above all social  Cafeteria, gym, on the way to work/home, telephone  Dangers: malicious, inaccurate rumors, wild speculations, gossip  Mistrust, bad feeling, conflict  Grapevine or bush telegraph  Word gets around through informal channels, especially by those interested  Rumor and gossip travel through grapevine, further distortion in retelling  Much of information negative, co-exists with formal channel  Management need to accept it, use it for betterment of the organization, counter rumor
  19. 19. Organization as open system  Organizations do not exist in vacuum but operate in a particular environment which exerts its social, legal, technical, economic and political influence on them. According to open system theory an organization’s boundaries are permeable and external environment serves as a source of input. For example money, materials, information and workforce serve as input for an organization and after organizational processes can result into profit or loss, products or service sales, new products and behavioral learning.
  20. 20. Organization as open system  The open system can be viewed as: Input – transformation process - output
  21. 21. Informal Communication  Informal channels of communication include grapevine, rumour and gossip. These are referred to as informal and are likely to flourish when down ward communication is not proper or when there are communication gaps. Uncertain situation, animosity and new information give rise to this channel of communication.
  22. 22. Identify five general purposes of superior-subordinate communication.  to give specific task directives about job instructions  to give information about organizational procedures and practices  to provide information about the rationale of the job  to tell subordinates about their performance  to indoctrinate ideology; achievement of objectives
  23. 23. Describe the four most important reasons for lateral communication  Functional managers or groups working at the same level in the organization have to communicate with one another in order to run affairs of the organization efficiently and effectively. This is achieved by lateral or horizontal communication. Four of the most important reasons for lateral communication are discussed below:  task co-ordination – functional managers or section heads may meet to discuss how they are collectively contributing to the organization’s overall objective.  Problem-solving – members may meet to sort out problems. A budget cut in one department may be sorted out by holding meeting with the other which is having a larger share.
  24. 24. Describe the four most important reasons for lateral communication  Information sharing – members of one wing can share information with the other in order to make tasks easy and attainable.  Conflict resolution – members of two or more departments may meet to discuss overlapping of activities.
  25. 25. What are the consequences of a lack of upward communication?  Undoubtedly communication is the lifeblood of an organization. Without effective and efficient communication channels organizations can hardly survive. If information is not sent upward the organization may have to bear the brunt of it. Few of the consequences that may ensue lack of upward communication include:  Management remains unaware about activities of the workforce  Proper feed back is not given  Trouble areas are not brought into the notice of the management
  26. 26. What are the consequences of a lack of upward communication?  Employees do not actively participate  There is an ever widening gap between the management and the workforce  Control is difficult as well as change