Organizational Communication

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  • 1. ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION By Trevor Alston, Jonathan Benn, Darren Bircher & Shaun Bent
  • 2. Table of Contents
    • What is Organisational Communication?
    • Communication Networks
      • Chain
      • Star
      • Wheel
      • Etc
    • Mediated Communication
    • Telecommute & Telecommuting
      • Cloud Computing
    • Surveillance & Privacy Concerns
    • Summary
    • Bibliography
  • 3. What is Organizational Communication?
    • Organizational communication, broadly speaking, is: people working together to achieve individual or collective goals.
    • (Miller, 2002)
  • 4. What is Organizational Communication?
    • Managers have traditionally spent the majority of their time communicating
    • More and more employees find that an important part of their work is communication
    • People can only relate to each other through some form of communication
    • An organizations survival depends upon the communication within it
    • Most business schools now offer a communication programme
    • The first communication programs were typically aimed towards speech departments
    • Most business schools now include organizational communication as a key element of study
    • More than just training managers to be effective speakers and to have good people skills
    • All organizations, and workers need to be familiar with all communication types for any business to move forward quickly
  • 5. What is Organizational Communication?
    • Communication is a fundamental part of any organization
    • Neher (1997) identifies the primary functions of organizational communication as:
    • Compliance-gaining
    • Leading, motivating, and influencing
    • Sense-making
    • Problem-solving and decision-making
    • Conflict management, negotiating, and bargaining.
  • 6. What is Organizational Communication?
    • Print media such as:
    • Memos bulletin boards
    • Newsletters
    • Reports
    • Meetings such as:
    • Briefings
    • Staff meetings
    • Project meetings
    • Electronic media such as:
    • E-mail
    • Intranet
    • Internet
    • Teleconference
    • Things changed in the early 90’s
    • Work is more complex and requires greater coordination and interaction among workers
    • The pace of work is faster
    • Workers are more distributed
    • Knowledge and innovation are more critical to an organization’s competitive advantage
    • Communication technologies and networks are increasingly essential to an organization’s
    • structure and strategy.
  • 7. Network Topologies
    • Network topology is the study of the arrangement or mapping of the elements(links,
    • nodes, etc.) of a network, especially the physical (real) and logical (virtual)
    • interconnections between nodes. A local area network (LAN) is one example of a
    • network that exhibits both a physical topology and a logical topology.
    • Any particular network topology is determined only by the graphical mapping of the
    • configuration of physical and/or logical connections between nodes. LAN Network
    • Topology is, therefore, technically a part of graph theory. Distances between nodes,
    • physical interconnections, transmission rates, and/or signal types may differ in two
    • networks and yet their topologies may be identical.
  • 8. Network Topologies
    • Basic types of topologies
    • There are six basic types of topology in networks:
    • Bus, Star, Ring, Mesh, Tree and Hybrid topology
    • Some of which will be discussed in later slides.
    • Classification of network topologies
    • There are also three basic categories of network topologies:
    • Physical, Signal and Logical topologies
  • 9. Chain Communication Networks
    • The Chain can readily be seen to represent the hierarchical pattern that characterizes strictly formal information flow, "from the top down," in military and some types of business organizations.
    • 1 person repeats info to the relevant person and it will continue.
    • It usually ends up being hopelessly garbled. 
    • By itself it is very unreliable. 
    • Sometimes it is hard to distinguish network communication from rumours.
    D C B A
  • 10. Wheel Communication Networks
    • The Wheel can be compared with a typical autocratic organization, meaning one-man rule and limited employee participation
    • Formal Networks The wheel relies on the leader to act as the central conduit for all the group’s communication.
    • In 'hub and wheel' communication, one person sits in the centre and sends messages out individually to others around him.  The 'hub' acts as a 'gatekeeper' by controlling the flow of information.  There are two problems with this.  One is information overload at the hub.  The other is it blocks lateral and network communication.
    B A C D E
  • 11. The Star Pattern of Communication
    • A star network consists of one hub or computer, which acts as a conduit to transmit messages
    • The person represented by the central dot in the Star handles all messages in the group
    • The Star is similar to the basic formal structure of many organizations
  • 12. The Star Pattern of Communication
    • Individuals who occupy stations at the edges of the pattern handle fewer messages and have little or no control over the flow of information.
    • These "peripheral" individuals can communicate with only one or two other persons and must depend entirely on others to relay their messages if they wish to extend their range.
    • In patterns with positions located centrally, an organization quickly develops around the people occupying these central positions.
    • This makes organizations more stable and errors in performance are lower than in patterns having no central point.
    • The central position is clearly more central than all the other nodes, which makes clear who the leader is.
  • 13. All Channel Network
    • The All-Channel network has no central leadership and no key point node whose removal might disrupt the entire organization
    • This network is completely decentralized
    • It is an elaboration of Bavelas's Circle used by Guetzkow
    • The all-channel network is one of the most difficult to maintain as it requires a strong communications capacity to maintain ties between nodes
  • 14. All Channel Network
    • Similar to the free-flow of communication in a group that encourages all of its members to become involved in group decision processes
    • It may be compared to some of the informal communication networks like………………
    • This form of organization has only recently become feasible on a greater scale with the dawn of the information age
  • 15. Circle
    • Each node connects to exactly two other nodes, forming a single continuous pathway for signals through each node
    • A node failure or cable break will cause the whole network to go down
    • This will also prevent the network from communicating together
    Some basic types of topology in networks:
  • 16. Organizational Communication
    • What is organizational communication?
    • Broadly speaking, Organizational Communication is: people working together to achieve individual or collective goals.
    • Virtual Teams
    • Real-time conferencing, virtual whiteboards,
    • Telecommuting
  • 17. Virtual Teams
    • A Virtual Team — also known as a Geographically Dispersed Team (GDT) is a group of individuals who work across time, space, and organizational boundaries with links strengthened by webs of communication technology.
    • They have complementary skills and are committed to a common purpose, have interdependent performance goals, and share an approach to work for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.
    • Geographically dispersed teams allow organizations to hire and retain the best people regardless of location. Members of virtual teams communicate electronically, so they may never meet face to face. However, most teams will meet at some point in time.
    • A virtual team does not always mean steelworker. Teleworkers are defined as individuals who work from home. Many virtual teams in today's organizations consist of employees both working at home and small groups in the office but in different geographic locations.
  • 18. Why use Virtual Teams?
    • Best employees may be located anywhere in the world.
    • Workers demand personal flexibility.
    • Workers demand increasing technological sophistication.
    • A flexible organization is more competitive and responsive to the marketplace.
    • Workers tend to be more productive; i.e., they spend less time on commuting and travel
    • The increasing globalization of trade and corporate activity.
    • The global workday is 24 vs. 8 hours.
    • The emergence of environments which require inter-organizational cooperation as well as competition.
    • Changes in workers' expectations of organizational participation.
    • A continued shift from production to service/knowledge work environments.
    • Increasing horizontal organization structures characterized by structurally and geographically distributed human resources.
    • Proliferation of fibre optic technology has significantly increased the scope of off-site communication.
  • 19. Benefits to Virtual Teams
    • Some members of virtual teams do not need to come in to the workplace, therefore the company will not need to offer those workers office or parking space.
    • Reduces travelling expenses for employees.
    • It allows more people to be included in the labour pool.
    • It decreases both air pollution and congestion because there is less commuting.
    • It allows workers in organizations to be more flexible.
    • By working in virtual teams, physical handicaps are not a concern.
    • Allows companies to procure the best talent without geographical restrictions.
  • 20. Downfalls to Virtual Teams
    • Difficulty in managing the performance of the team.
    • Misunderstanding in communications is the leading complaint among members of virtual teams.
    • Working on a project over the virtual workspace causes lack of project visibility.
    • Difficulty contacting other members. (i.e. email, instant messaging, etc.)
    • Differences in time zones.
    • It can be difficult for team members to fully comprehend the meaning of text-based messages.
    • Building trust may be challenging because mechanisms different from those used in face-to-face teams are required to build trust
    • Members fail to take 'ownership' of project
    • Specific nuances such as facial expressions and other subtle gestures can also be missed through virtual communication as opposed to meeting face to face.
  • 21. Real-Time Conferencing
    • A Video-Conference (also known as a Video-Teleconference ) is a set of interactive telecommunication technologies which allow two or more locations to interact via two-way video and audio transmissions simultaneously.
    • It has also been called visual collaboration and is a type of groupware. It differs from videophone in that it is designed to serve as a conference rather than individuals.
  • 22. Benefits to Real-Time Conferencing
    • Increases Productivity
    • Improves Communication and Reinforces relationships
    • Reduces travel expenses
    • Allows Multi-point Meetings Across Time Zones & International Boundaries
    • Improves Effectiveness
  • 23. Downfalls to Real-Time Conferencing
    • Some observers argue that two outstanding issues are preventing videoconferencing from becoming a
    • standard form of communication, despite the ubiquity of videoconferencing-capable systems. These
    • issues are:
    • Eye Contact: It is known that eye contact plays a large role in conversational turn-taking, perceived attention and intent, and other aspects of group communication. While traditional telephone conversations give no eye contact cues, videoconferencing systems are arguably worse in that they provide an incorrect impression that the remote interlocutor is avoiding eye contact. Telepresence systems have cameras located in the screens that reduce the amount of parallax observed by the users. This issue is also being addressed through research that generates a synthetic image with eye contact using stereo reconstruction.
    • Appearance Consciousness: A second problem with videoconferencing is that one is on camera, with the video stream possibly even being recorded. The burden of presenting an acceptable on-screen appearance is not present in audio-only communication. Early studies by Alphonse Chapanis found that the addition of video actually impaired communication, possibly because of the consciousness of being on camera.
    • The issue of eye-contact may be solved with advancing technology, and presumably the issue of
    • appearance consciousness will fade as people become accustomed to videoconferencing.
  • 24. Telecommute & Telecommuting
    • Telecommuting is a broader term, referring to substituting telecommunications for any form of work-related travel, thereby eliminating the distance restrictions of telecommuting.
    • (Nilles, 1998)
  • 25. Telecommute & Telecommuting
    • Jack Nillies pioneered the idea of Telecommuting in the 1970’s
    • He literally wrote the book on Telecommuting
    • The Telecommunications-Transportation Tradeoff
    • Since then he has also published several other books on the same topic
    • He has designed Telecommuting Projects for some of the biggest companies in the world
  • 26. Telecommute & Telecommuting
    • Telecommuting is also known as E-work or more commonly working from home (WFH)
    • Gives employees greater flexibility
    • The daily commute to a central place of work is replaced by telecommunication links
    • A frequently repeated motto is that "work is something you do, not something you travel to" (Leonhard, 1995)
  • 27. Telecommuting Technology
    • Facilitated by such tools as Virtual Private Networks, Video Conferencing, and VOIP (Voice Over IP)
    • Local Area Network (Resource Sharing)
    • Laptop Computers
    • Availability Wi-Fi & 3G
    • Increase & Development of Cloud Computing
  • 28. Cloud Computing
    • Store all information on a ‘Cloud’ (Server)
    • Information ‘Pushed’ to all devices
    • Offers synchronised information across several computers and devices
    • Microsoft Exchange
      • Used in large organizations
    • Apple’s Mobile Me
      • "Microsoft Exchange for the rest of us." (Schiller, 2008)
      • Subscription Service
      • Available on Mac & PC
  • 29. Surveillance & Privacy Concerns
    • Employers monitoring employees internet use! Is this right or wrong?
    • 27 millions employees ( 1 / 4 ) have there internet or email use under continuous surveillance
    • Legislations are needed to protect both employers & employees
    • British Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 is one such piece of legislation
  • 30. Privacy as an ethical issue
    • Privacy is an important ethical issue
    • Evidences does suggest employers are right to be concerned about their employees online activities:
      • 64% used the internet for non-work activities (‘Cyberslackers @ work’, 2000)
      • 84% have sent non-work-related emails
      • 90% have looked at recreational website during work hours (Vault, 2000)
    • Out of work hours internet access
  • 31. Summary
    • Organizational Communication is key to the success of any business
    • Telecommuting is on the rise through:
      • Advancements in technology
      • Availability of technology
      • Cost of technology
    • Employees use of the Internet is often monitored
  • 32. Bibliography
    • BURHOLT, Adrain (2008), Managing Remote Workers – Accessed Via:
    • CICCARELLi, P et all (2004) – Networking Foundation . Publisher: John Wiley & Son, p89
    • ‘ Cyberslackers at Work’ (2000), Accessed via Computer-Mediated Communication Book
    • KARRIS, s (2009) – Networks. Publisher: Orchard Publications
    • LEONHARD, Woody (1995), The Underground Guide to Telecommuting , Addison-Wesley
  • 33. Bibliography
    • MILLER, Katherine (2002), Organizational Communication: Approaches and Processes , 4th ed., p. 1.
    • NILLES, Jack M. -
    • NILLES, Jack M. (1998), Managing Telework: Options for Managing the Virtual Workforce , John Wiley & Sons
    • NEHER, William W. (1997), Organizational Communication: Challenges of Change, Diversity, and Continuity
    • SCHILLER, Phil (2008) - WWDC 2008 – Apple Announces Mobile Me
    • VAULT (2000), Internet Usage at Work , Accessed via Computer-Mediated Communication Book