Communicating in Networks


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Communicating in Networks for my Organizational Communications class.

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  • -Contemporary organizational communication has shifted rapidly from a singular emphasis on face-to-face teams to virtual networks of people across multiple locales organized for a common purpose.-Networks are emergent, informal, and somewhat less interdependent than teams.-Networks matter because regular contact between identifiable groups of people can play an important role in establishing access to information and in the quality and direction of decision making.
  • -Early research on communication structure focused on examining small-group communication style networks (groups of five people).-Four groups of small-communication networks were typically studied: Circle, wheel, chain, and all-channel
  • -The most powerful group within organizations are those that emerge from formal and informal communication among people who work together.-The current focus on communication networks in organizations stems from a general acceptance of systems theories, which emphasize the connections between people and the relationships that constitute an organization.-Early research on emergent communication networks investigated the so-called organizational “grapevine.”-This term has since come to mean the persistent informal network within an organization, sometimes referred to disparagingly by management as the “rumor mill.”
  • -Informal communication in organizations is fluid and in a constant state of change.-Whereas formal reorganizations may occur only infrequently, informal reorganizations occur continuously.-In studying emergent communication networks, we are concerned mainly with overall patterns of interaction, communication network roles, and the content of communication networks.
  • -A number of informal groups or cliques emerge as a result of communication among people in organizations.-Communication networks vary widely in density, which is determined by dividing the number of communication links (reported communication contacts) that exist among organizational members by the number of possible links if everyone knew everyone else.-Research suggests that the density of organizational networks has considerable influence over whether other employees adopt a new idea or technology.-Extraorganizational networks may be particularly important resources for employees in historically marginalized groups who have difficulty finding mentors and other supports in positions of power within the organizations.
  • -Communication network roles affect one’s experience of work and one’s degree of influence on others.-Well-connected individuals in an organization tend to be the most influential and the least likely to leave.-Four types of communication roles occur in networks: the isolate, group member, bridge, liaison.
  • -Emergent communication networks develop around specific topics, or content areas, or communication.-The content of communication networks takes on added significance when we consider it in terms of the sense-making process.-Individuals who are in the mainstream with regard to employee values and beliefs would be group members; those holding radically different interpretations would be isolates.
  • -Interorganizational communication networks are the enduring transactions, flows and linkages that occur among or between organizations.-Such networks vary in terms of their openness, density, and interdependence.-Two organizations are said to be vertically integrated when one builds parts or provides services that the other needs for its delivery of a product or service.-Interestingly, one efficient way of sharing information across organizational lines is not through overt communication but by hiring employees from other companies.
  • -In the contemporary economic environment, organizations are most likely to turn to strategic alliances—such as mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures—to enhance their financial status and political power.-Like multidisciplinary groups, interorganizational communication networks are potential sites of dialogue.
  • -Within only a few years, our understanding of what constitutes a network has changed considerably, from the connections among people within a single organization to the connections among people in a global society.-Global communication networks have been transformed by online communication. Significant changes in communication behaviors have been noted, especially in information seeking and relational development.-Thousands of virtual gathering places provide continuous updates on activities, as well as the ability to stay in regular touch with a vastly expanded collection of contacts who may or may not be properly classified as “friends.”
  • -Some critics mourn the demise of local communities, whereas others envision an electronic global village that provides people with instantaneous access to information and other people worldwide.-With potentially disastrous consequences, terrorist organizations have turned to online communication as a means of recruiting and staying connected with new members.
  • Communicating in Networks

    1. 1. Communicating in Networks<br />Brendan Sullivan<br />
    2. 2. Introduction<br />Shift from face-to-face to virtual networks<br />Emergent, informal, and interdependent<br />Networks are crucial for communication<br />
    3. 3. Small-Group Communication Networks<br />Groups of five people<br />Four types of small-group communication:<br />Circle<br />Wheel<br />Chain<br />All-Channel<br />
    4. 4. Small Group Communication Networks<br />B<br />B<br />C<br />A<br />A<br />C<br />Wheel<br />Circle<br />D<br />E<br />D<br />E<br />B<br />Chain<br />A<br />C<br />A<br />B<br />C<br />D<br />E<br />All-Channel<br />E<br />D<br />
    5. 5. Emergent Communication Networks<br />Grow from formal/informal communication<br />Emphasis on connections between people<br />So-called organizational “grapevine”<br />Referred to as the “rumor mill”<br />
    6. 6. Analyzing Communication Networks<br />Informal communication is fluid<br />Formal communication is infrequent<br />Emergent communication concerns<br />Overall patterns of interaction<br />Communication network roles<br />Content of communication networks<br />
    7. 7. Analyzing Communication Networks<br />Patterns of Interaction<br />Cliques emerge as a result of communication<br />Communication networks vary widely in density<br />Density influences employees<br />Extraorganizational networks<br />Contacts from the industry or community<br />
    8. 8. Analyzing Communication Networks<br />Communication Network Roles<br />Affects one’s experience of work<br />The more connected, the more secure<br />Four types of communication roles in networks:<br />The isolate<br />Group member<br />Bridge<br />Liaison<br />
    9. 9. Analyzing Communication Networks<br />Content of Communication Networks<br />Develop around specific topics of communication<br />Important in terms of sense-making process<br />Group members are in the mainstream<br />The isolates hold radically different interpretations<br />
    10. 10. Interorganizational Communication Networks<br />Enduring transactions, flows, and linkages<br />Vary in openness, density, interdependence<br />Sensitive to environmental jolts<br />Affecting the entire company<br />One company provides service<br />The other provides delivery of a product<br />Communication can occur through inter-company hiring<br />
    11. 11. Interorganizational Communication Networks<br />Organizations are likely to turn to alliances<br />Mergers<br />Acquisitions<br />Joint ventures<br />Interorganizational groups are great for dialogue<br />
    12. 12. The Networked Society<br />Definition of “network” is always changing<br />Global communication is now online<br />Information seeking<br />Relational development<br />Thousands of virtual gathering places<br />MySpace, Facebook, Twitter<br />
    13. 13. The Networked Society<br />The bad side…<br />Critics mourn the demise of local communities<br />Potentially disastrous consequences<br />Online terrorism<br />Recruiting<br />Staying connected with new members<br />
    14. 14. Networks and the NWSF<br />The NWSF needed network communication<br />Facebook/Twitter<br />Allows reach to a larger audience<br />Globally<br />Demographically<br />