Chapter 01

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Chapter 01

  1. 1. + Chapter One Introducing Organizational Communication Organizational Communication: A Critical Approach ©SAGE Publications 2012
  2. 2. + Chapter Objectives By the end of this chapter you should: 1. Understand the idea of organizations as communicative structures of control 2. Understand the defining elements of organizations 3. Be able to define “organizational communication” 4. Understand the multiple theoretical perspectives in the field of organizational communication Organizational Communication: A Critical Approach ©SAGE Publications 2012
  3. 3. + Organizations as Communicative Structures of Control  Capitalism as dominant economic system  Problem of addressing “human relations” in authoritarian settings  Tensions between individual and organizational goals  Central role of control in resolving tensions  History of management thought as history of development of increasingly complex forms of control Organizational Communication: A Critical Approach ©SAGE Publications 2012
  4. 4. + Organizations as Communicative Structures of Control (Continued)  Organization implies control (Tannenbaum)  But control always implies struggle  Dialectical process of struggle between organizational control mechanisms and employee autonomy and creativity Organizational Communication: A Critical Approach ©SAGE Publications 2012
  5. 5. + Defining “Organizational Communication”  Interdependence  All complex organizations made up of intricate webs of communication activities  No member can function without affecting, or being affected by, other members  Differentiation of Tasks and Functions  Division of labor as defining principle  Adam Smith and manufacturing pins  Goal Orientation Organizational Communication: A Critical Approach ©SAGE Publications 2012
  6. 6. + Defining “Organizational Communication” (Continued)  Control 1. 2. 3. Mechanisms Direct Control  close supervision of employees Technological Control  Controls speed of work  Ford’s moving production line  Both workers and customers subject to technological control Bureaucratic Control  System of rules and formal structures  Defining feature of modern organizations Organizational Communication: A Critical Approach ©SAGE Publications 2012
  7. 7. + Defining “Organizational Communication” (Continued)  Control 4. 5. Mechanisms (Continued) Ideological Control  Identification with beliefs & values  Little direct supervision necessary  “Corporate culture” Disciplinary Control  “Bottom-up” form of control  Focus on “self” as a project  Self as “subject” and “object” of knowledge Organizational Communication: A Critical Approach ©SAGE Publications 2012
  8. 8. + Defining “Organizational Communication” (Continued)  Communication Processes  “Communication constitutes organization”  Definition of communication:  The dynamic, ongoing process of creating and negotiating meanings through interactional symbolic (verbal and nonverbal) practices, including conversation, metaphors, rituals, stories, dress, and space” Organizational Communication: A Critical Approach ©SAGE Publications 2012
  9. 9. + Defining “Organizational Communication” (Continued)  Communication Processes (continued)  Definition of Organizational Communication  The process of creating and negotiating collective, coordinated structures of meaning through symbolic practices oriented towards the achievement of organizational goals Organizational Communication: A Critical Approach ©SAGE Publications 2012
  10. 10. + Framing Theories of Organizational Communication  Develop “Metatheoretical Framework” to make sense of different theoretical perspectives  What assumptions are made about knowledge?  What assumptions are made about communication?  What assumptions are made about reality?  “Crisis of Representation” occurs at 2 levels:  Epistemology (What do we know?)  Voice (Who gets to speak about what we know?) Organizational Communication: A Critical Approach ©SAGE Publications 2012
  11. 11. + Framing Theories of Organizational Communication 1. Functionalism—Discourse of Representation  Focus on process of discovery  Dominant discourse of social sciences  Perspective of most management theory  Predict, control and generalize about human behavior  Conduit model of communication dominates  Communication as information transfer  E.g., Shannon & Weaver Organizational Communication: A Critical Approach ©SAGE Publications 2012
  12. 12. + Framing Theories of Organizational Communication 2. Interpretivism—Discourse of Understanding Social constructionist perspective  Humans create realities collectively as they interact together  Communication does not occur in organizations; communication creates organizations  Research focus on organizational cultures  Use of qualitative methods  Focus on stories, symbols, metaphors, etc.  Study of members’everyday sense-making  Organizational Communication: A Critical Approach ©SAGE Publications 2012
  13. 13. + Framing Theories of Organizational Communication 3. Critical Theory—Discourse of Suspicion  Social constructionist perspective  Focus on power  Organizations as political structures  Critique of how organizations create systems of control  Examination of “corporate colonization” processes (Deetz) Organizational Communication: A Critical Approach ©SAGE Publications 2012
  14. 14. + Framing Theories of Organizational Communication 4. Postmodernism—Discourse of Vulnerability  Rejection of universal truth  Postmodernity=historical period after modernity  Demise of rational planning of modernity Organizational Communication: A Critical Approach ©SAGE Publications 2012
  15. 15. + Framing Theories of Organizational Communication 4. Postmodernism—Discourse of Vulnerability (Continued)  Postmodernism=way of thinking about the world  Challenges idea that science leads to progress  “No foundations”  Challenge to Western canon of knowledge  No single “grand narrative”; many “little stories”  “There is nothing outside the text”  E.g., Paris Hilton/Kim Kardashiam Organizational Communication: A Critical Approach ©SAGE Publications 2012
  16. 16. + Framing Theories of Organizational Communication 4. Postmodernism—Discourse of Vulnerability (Continued)  Study of Organizations as sites of discipline  “Post-Fordist” Organizations (see Ch. 8)  Focus on “culture of enterprise” (self-branding of employees) Organizational Communication: A Critical Approach ©SAGE Publications 2012
  17. 17. + Framing Theories of Organizational Communication 5. Feminism—Discourse of Empowerment Focus on gender and voice  Address traditional exclusion of women’s voices from organizations  Focus on relation of gender, power and organization  Explore how both men and women are “prisoners of gender”  Multiple feminist perspectives (see Ch. 9)  Organizational Communication: A Critical Approach ©SAGE Publications 2012

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