Formal and Informal Channels of        Communication           Nina Kummer          Carola Carstens        Seminar: Talk a...
Communication                                           Behavior in Organizations, p.289Formal and Informal Channels of Co...
The Role of Communication inOrganizationskey purposes: direct action: to get others to behave in  desired fashion achiev...
Communication   “the social glue … that continues to keep    the organization tied together”   “the essence of organizat...
Organizational Structure:Directing the Flow of MessagesOrganizational structure: the formally prescribed pattern of  inte...
Organizational Charts                                                Source: Skript BWL IIFormal and Informal Channels of ...
Formal Communication   the process of sharing official information    with others who need to know it,   according to th...
Formal Communication                                                           President                                  ...
Formal Communication   downward communication:         instructions, directions, orders         feedback   upward comm...
Centralized Networks   One central person   Unequal access to information   Central person is at the “crossroads” of   ...
Communication StructuresCentralized                                                YFormal and Informal Channels of Commun...
Communication StructuresCentralized                                                WheelFormal and Informal Channels of Co...
Communication StructuresCentralized ChainFormal and Informal Channels of Communication   11/18/2003
Decentralized Networks   Information can flow freely   No central person   All members play an equal role in the    tra...
Communication StructuresDecentralized                                                CircleFormal and Informal Channels of...
Communication StructuresDecentralized                                                ComconFormal and Informal Channels of...
Communication NetworksFormal and Informal Channels of Communication Behavior in Organizations, p.305               11/18/2...
Network PerformanceFormal and Informal Channels of Communication                 11/18/2003                               ...
GatekeepersFormal and Informal Channels of Communication          11/18/2003                                              ...
Informal CommunicationStructures   Deviation from the planned    communication structure         Direction of the flow o...
Informal Networks                                         E                                                               ...
Network Roles Bridge Liaison Isolate Isolated         Dyad CosmopolitesFormal and Informal Channels of Communication ...
Formal Structure vs InformalNetworks                                        ??? Behavior in Organizations, ch. 15Communiti...
Informal Organization                                                [Buchanan, 2000, p. 463]Formal and Informal Channels ...
Informal Communication      information shared without any formally imposed         obligations or restrictions      if an...
“Grapevine“1.     a secret means of spreading or       receiving information2.     the informal transmission of       (uno...
Grapevine Characteristics   oral  mostly undocumented   open to change   fast (hours instead of days)   crossing orga...
Grapevine Characteristics   inaccuracy:         levelling          deletion of crucial details         sharpening      ...
Grapevine Figures   70% of all organizational communication    occurs at the grapevine level   estimated accuracy rates:...
Factors Influencing GrapevineActivity IAccording to Gordon Allport: importance of the subject for both listener and  spea...
Factors influencing GrapevineActivity IIEmployees rely on the grapevine when: they feel threatened, insecure, under str...
Positive Aspects of the Grapevine   social function   reduction of anxiety   release mechanism for stress   identifica...
Coping or Managing theGrapevine“the grapevine cannot be abolished, rubbed  out, hidden under a basket, chopped  down, tied...
“Tapping“ the Grapevine   identify and make use of key    communicators ( bridgers)   monitor what is happening in the ...
Preventing Rumors   provide information through the formal    system of communication on the issues    important to the e...
Formal Media   Company newsletters   Employee handbooks   Company magazines   Formal meetingsFormal and Informal Chann...
Formal Media   Letters   Flyers and bulletins   Memos   Faxes   All-employees mailingsFormal and Informal Channels of...
Informal Media   Face-to-face discussions   Telephone   Voice messaging (voice mail)   E-mail   Instant messaging (ch...
Informal Dialogues Characteristics:     often no formal opening or closing     first utterance often assumes a common re...
Example DialogueA tracking request made by Maureen to Bina about Ian   (BOffice35, 9secs).    Maureen pops her head over t...
Example Dialogue   An intended interaction leading to unprompted advice (ROffice   66, 28sec of 1min:36sec)         Frank ...
Informal Communication andPhysical Proximity  physical proximity                            trends towards  is crucial for...
The Nature of InformalCommunication I   mostly brief interactions   mainly opportunistic ( coordination,    initiation)...
The Nature of InformalCommunication II   communications in offices more frequent than in    public areas   majority of “...
Literatur I   Ball, Philip (2003): E-mail reveals real leaders. Network analysis maps    companies„ informal structure. N...
Literatur II   Kesten, Ulrike (1998): Informale Organisation und Mitarbeiter-    Lebenszyklus. Wiesbaden: Deutscher Unive...
Literatur III   http://openacademy.mindef.gov.sg/OpenAcademy/Cent    ral/HTML%20Folder/KM/bcp/tools_SocialNetWork.htm#   ...
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Communication

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Communication

  1. 1. Formal and Informal Channels of Communication Nina Kummer Carola Carstens Seminar: Talk at Work
  2. 2. Communication Behavior in Organizations, p.289Formal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  3. 3. The Role of Communication inOrganizationskey purposes: direct action: to get others to behave in desired fashion achieve coordinated action systematic sharing of information + interpersonal side with the focus on interpersonal relations between peopleFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  4. 4. Communication “the social glue … that continues to keep the organization tied together” “the essence of organization” a key process underlying all aspects of organizational operations properly managing communication processes is central to organizational functioning Behavior in Organizations, p.289Formal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  5. 5. Organizational Structure:Directing the Flow of MessagesOrganizational structure: the formally prescribed pattern of interrelationships existing between the various units of an organization dictating who may and may not communicate with whom abstract construction depicted in Organizational ChartsFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  6. 6. Organizational Charts Source: Skript BWL IIFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  7. 7. Formal Communication the process of sharing official information with others who need to know it, according to the prescribed patterns depicted in an organization chartFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  8. 8. Formal Communication President Instructions and directivesInformation Vice Vice President President Manager Manager Manager Manager Efforts at coordination Formal and Informal Channels of Communication © Copyright 2002 by Prentice Hall, Inc. 11/18/2003
  9. 9. Formal Communication downward communication:  instructions, directions, orders  feedback upward communication:  data required to complete projects  status reports  suggestions for improvement, new ideas horizontal communication:  coordination of cooperationFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  10. 10. Centralized Networks One central person Unequal access to information Central person is at the “crossroads” of the information flowFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  11. 11. Communication StructuresCentralized YFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  12. 12. Communication StructuresCentralized WheelFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  13. 13. Communication StructuresCentralized ChainFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  14. 14. Decentralized Networks Information can flow freely No central person All members play an equal role in the transmittal of informationFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  15. 15. Communication StructuresDecentralized CircleFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  16. 16. Communication StructuresDecentralized ComconFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  17. 17. Communication NetworksFormal and Informal Channels of Communication Behavior in Organizations, p.305 11/18/2003
  18. 18. Network PerformanceFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003 Behavior in Organizations, p.306
  19. 19. GatekeepersFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003 Behavior in Organizations, p.320
  20. 20. Informal CommunicationStructures Deviation from the planned communication structure  Direction of the flow of information  Leaving out people in the communication line  Integrating people into the communication lineFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  21. 21. Informal Networks E C K H Y G I X F B D J D E G J D F H I B I C C A B J Probability B A K D Gossip C F A Cluster A Chain Formal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003McGraw-Hill © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
  22. 22. Network Roles Bridge Liaison Isolate Isolated Dyad CosmopolitesFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  23. 23. Formal Structure vs InformalNetworks ??? Behavior in Organizations, ch. 15Communities of practice: informal collaborative networks  Text: E-mail reveals real leadersFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  24. 24. Informal Organization [Buchanan, 2000, p. 463]Formal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  25. 25. Informal Communication information shared without any formally imposed obligations or restrictions if an organization’s formal communication represents its skeleton, its informal communication constitutes its central nervous system (Behavior in Organizations, p. 307) eng. “grapevine“  An organization’s informal channels of communication, based mainly on friendship or acquaintance  origin: American Civil War [grapevine telegraphs]Formal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  26. 26. “Grapevine“1. a secret means of spreading or receiving information2. the informal transmission of (unofficial) information, gossip or rumor from person-to-person -> "to hear about s.th. through the grapevine"3. a rumor: unfounded report; hearsayFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  27. 27. Grapevine Characteristics oral  mostly undocumented open to change fast (hours instead of days) crossing organizational boundariesFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  28. 28. Grapevine Characteristics inaccuracy:  levelling deletion of crucial details  sharpening exaggeration of the most dramatic detailswhile the grapevine generally carries the truth it seldom carries the whole truthFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  29. 29. Grapevine Figures 70% of all organizational communication occurs at the grapevine level estimated accuracy rates: 75-90% the incorrect part might change the meaning of the whole message though an estimated 80% of grapevine information is oriented toward the individual while 20% concerns the companyFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  30. 30. Factors Influencing GrapevineActivity IAccording to Gordon Allport: importance of the subject for both listener and speaker ambiguousness of the factsFormula: R=ixa“R“: intensity of the rumor“i“: importance of the rumor to the persons“a“: ambiguity of the facts associated with the rumorFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  31. 31. Factors influencing GrapevineActivity IIEmployees rely on the grapevine when: they feel threatened, insecure, under stress when there is pending change when communication from management is limitedFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  32. 32. Positive Aspects of the Grapevine social function reduction of anxiety release mechanism for stress identification of pending problems early warning system for organizational change vehicle for creating a common organizational culture desired information can be circulated quickly to a large group of subordinates (inofficially!)Formal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  33. 33. Coping or Managing theGrapevine“the grapevine cannot be abolished, rubbed out, hidden under a basket, chopped down, tied up, or stopped“ (Managing the Grapevine, p.222) don„t try to control or restrict it use it to supplement formal channelsFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  34. 34. “Tapping“ the Grapevine identify and make use of key communicators ( bridgers) monitor what is happening in the organization use the grapevine to give new ideas a “trial run“Formal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  35. 35. Preventing Rumors provide information through the formal system of communication on the issues important to the employees supply employees with a steady flow of clear, accurate and timely information present full facts keep formal communication lines open and the process as short as possibleFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  36. 36. Formal Media Company newsletters Employee handbooks Company magazines Formal meetingsFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  37. 37. Formal Media Letters Flyers and bulletins Memos Faxes All-employees mailingsFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  38. 38. Informal Media Face-to-face discussions Telephone Voice messaging (voice mail) E-mail Instant messaging (chat)Formal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  39. 39. Informal Dialogues Characteristics:  often no formal opening or closing  first utterance often assumes a common reference to a previous interaction or issue  conversations generally last only a few minutes Formal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  40. 40. Example DialogueA tracking request made by Maureen to Bina about Ian (BOffice35, 9secs). Maureen pops her head over the wall of Binas cubicle. 1 M: Bina you dont know when Ians due- oh heres Jane now- know when Ians back? 2 B: Tomorrow I expect 3 M: Ahh 4 B: Oh yeah hes out today yeahFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  41. 41. Example Dialogue An intended interaction leading to unprompted advice (ROffice 66, 28sec of 1min:36sec) Frank is on the phone across the office from Richard. Frank puts down phone. 1 R: Is he alright? 2 F: Yeah 3 R: Which ones hes got? theres a restaurant 4 F: I said that Ill do this one initially and then further afield 5 R: Which ones that? 6 F: Thats: eighty two whiteladies road its the offices 7 R: Oh, yeah we act for the landlord on that one. I did a rent review against him on that 8 F: Right () 9 R: His shop it might be worth checking out hes got a sub-tenant 10 downstairs whos got a clothes shop 11 F: Yeah 12 R: Might be worth trying to get in with them as well 13 F: Yeah alrightFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  42. 42. Informal Communication andPhysical Proximity physical proximity trends towards is crucial for telework, mobile informal work and the communication globalisation of business are geographically separating workersCan long distance informal communication be supported by technology?Formal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  43. 43. The Nature of InformalCommunication I mostly brief interactions mainly opportunistic ( coordination, initiation) often time-lags between informal interactions ( maintenance and re- establishment of context) occur between frequent interactants who often share large amounts of background knowledgeFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  44. 44. The Nature of InformalCommunication II communications in offices more frequent than in public areas majority of “roaming“ interactions self-initiated interruptability (importance of prior activity) interactions are very often terminated by a third party joining an existing conversation role of deixis documents involved in 53% of all Own Office interactionsFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  45. 45. Literatur I Ball, Philip (2003): E-mail reveals real leaders. Network analysis maps companies„ informal structure. Nature News Service/Macmillan Magazines Ltd, 20 March 2003. http://www.nature.com/nsu/030317/030317-5.html Beger, Rudolf, Gärtner, Hans-Dieter, Mathes, Rainer (1989):Unternehmenskommunikation. Wiesbaden:Gabler, Frankfurt(Main):Frankfurter Allgemeine. Böhle, Fritz, Bolte, Annegret (2002): Die Entdeckung des Informellen. München: ISF. Buchanan, David; Huczynski, Andrzej (2000): Organizational Behaviour. An introductory text. London : Prentice Hall. Crampton, Suzanne M.; Hodge, John W.; Mishra, Jitendra M. (1998): The Informal Communication Network: Factors Influencing Grapevine Activity. Public Personnel Management, Vol. 27, No. 4, Winter 1998. Greenberg, Gerald; Baron, Robert A. (1997): Behavior in Organizations. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.Formal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  46. 46. Literatur II Kesten, Ulrike (1998): Informale Organisation und Mitarbeiter- Lebenszyklus. Wiesbaden: Deutscher Universitäts-Verlag. Kraut, Robert E., Fish, Robert S., Root, Robert W., Chalfonte, Barbara L. (1990): Informal Communication in Organizations: Form, Function and Technology. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications. Mishra, Jitendra (1990): Managing the Grapevine. Public Personnel Management, Vol. 19, No. 2, Summer 1990. Whittaker, Steve; Frohlich, David; Daly-Jones, Owen (1994): Informal Workplace Communication: What is it like and how might we support it? Human Factors in Computing Systems, Boston, Massachusets, USA.Formal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003
  47. 47. Literatur III http://openacademy.mindef.gov.sg/OpenAcademy/Cent ral/HTML%20Folder/KM/bcp/tools_SocialNetWork.htm# Top http://www.izix.com/pro/lightweight/video.php http://www.utexas.edu/courses/speclass/courses/350/n otes/struc350.html http://www.affordableemployeehandbook.com/SampleE mployeeHandbook.cfm http://www.revisionguru.co.uk/business/communication 3.htm http://highered.mcgraw- hill.com/sites/0072400722/student_view0/chapter1/cha pter_overview.htmlFormal and Informal Channels of Communication 11/18/2003

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