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Organizational Communication


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This is a student presentation researched and designed by Organizational Communication graduate Lynette Clower during her senior year. The portfolio discusses the portrayed image and identiy of a UCO campus department over a five month period.
Organizational Communication is:
A dynamic area of expertise which encompasses the foundations of communication theories, policy and practice, and human understanding.

Published in: Business, Technology

Organizational Communication

  1. 1. Organizational Communication
  2. 2. <ul><li>Lynette F. Clower </li></ul><ul><li>Department of Mass Communication </li></ul><ul><li>University of Central Oklahoma </li></ul><ul><li>December 1, 2008 </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Organizational Communication at the University of Central Oklahoma </li></ul><ul><li>Analyzing the Image and Identity of Healthy Campus </li></ul>
  4. 4. An organization is commonly defined as: “An administrative and functional structure (as a business or a political party)” With these two definitions in mind, Organizational Communication could be defined as: “ A process by which information is exchanged between individuals belonging to an organization through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior.” What is Organizational Communication? During the transformational process of acquiring an Organizational Communication degree, many have asked, “What is Organizational Communication?” Communication is defined as: “A process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior.”
  5. 5. Organizational Communication: Organizational Communication encompasses core communication dimensions of Interpersonal, Nonverbal, Intercultural, Small Group, Health, Crisis, Gender…. which are then applied in an organizational setting. Organizational Communication is more than just the simple flow of information within an organization.
  6. 6. Org Com is a Social Science: Like other social sciences such as Anthropology, Sociology, And Psychology, Organizational communication scholars utilize empirical methods to study human behavior-specifically the communicative aspects of human interactions in an organizational setting.
  7. 7. Careers with Organizational Communication: <ul><li>Some careers a degree in Organizational Communication prepares graduates for are: </li></ul><ul><li>sales representative </li></ul><ul><li>public speaking </li></ul><ul><li>community relations </li></ul><ul><li>labor relations </li></ul><ul><li>human resource </li></ul><ul><li>communication training </li></ul><ul><li>organizational analysis </li></ul><ul><li>conflict management </li></ul><ul><li>training and development </li></ul><ul><li>executive management </li></ul>human relations critical thinking problem solving oral presentation written communication understanding the communicative structure of an organization Org Com scholars are skilled in:
  8. 8. <ul><li>Competing </li></ul><ul><li>Values </li></ul><ul><li>Framework </li></ul>
  9. 9. Organizational Communication at the University of Central Oklahoma: <ul><li>The University of Central Oklahoma’s Organizational Communication scholars are experienced in analyzing the communication process of an organization as described by the </li></ul><ul><li>Competing Values Framework of Belasen (2008). </li></ul><ul><li>Through the CVF, Org Com scholars are capable of identifying barriers to effective communication within organizations then making applicable recommendations to improve communication based on their analyses. </li></ul>
  10. 10. “ Each man…could feel only the part of the elephant in their proximity - the trunk, tail, or belly - yet none possessed the full pachydermal perspective – l’essence de l’elephant.” (2008, Xxii) <ul><li>Belasen (2008) explains organizations by referring to the fable of the three blind men and the elephant . </li></ul>
  11. 11. The basic design of the CVF: <ul><li>Human Relations Open Systems Model </li></ul><ul><li>Culture, Shared Beliefs, Flexibility, Branding, Expansion, </li></ul><ul><li> Morale, Cohesion Adaptation, Readiness </li></ul><ul><li>Human Resource Management Reputation Management </li></ul><ul><li>Internal Process Rational Goal </li></ul><ul><li>Stability, Compliance, Control, Profitability, Productivity, Planning, </li></ul><ul><li> Uniformity, Formal Comm. Goal Strategy, Top Down </li></ul><ul><li>Information Management Performance Management </li></ul><ul><li>In addition, the CVF acknowledges the Internal and External divide of an organization. </li></ul><ul><li>Internal External </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on well being Focus on well being </li></ul><ul><li>and development of and development of </li></ul><ul><li>people in the organization the organization </li></ul>The CVF explains the dynamic nature of an organization by displaying the correspondence between the interdependent parts of the “elephant”. (Belasen, 2008, Xxii).
  12. 12. Dimensions and Roles: CVF also addresses the Dimensions and Roles members of an organization fall into. These roles are highlighted red within the center of the CVF model shown below. Flexibility Internal Consistency Stability External Adaptation Perform Reform Transform Innovation Open Systems CVFCC Conform Human Relations Process Management Internal Process Market Leadership Rational Goal Open Systems Relational Promotional Hierarchical Innovator Producer Broker Mentor Facilitator Monitor Coordinator Director T E A M W ORK P E R F O R M A N C E C H A N G E C O N T R O L Decentralized Centralized I M A G E I D E N T I T Y
  13. 13. Organizational Communication: Through the CVF, Org Com acknowledges that corporate communication goes beyond simply training managers to have good interpersonal skills, but also envelops the communication needs and challenges of the organization as a whole. Organizational Communication is: A dynamic area of expertise which encompasses the foundations of communication theories, policy and practice, and human understanding.
  14. 14. Research Project: Applying Organizational Skills
  15. 15. To demonstrate an Organizational Communication scholar’s competency in examining the complex communicative behaviors which occur in a corporate setting, I will apply the competing values framework to the Healthy Campus initiative at the University of Central Oklahoma. Applying Organizational Skills Methods In order to analyze the communication aspects of Healthy Campus, I created interview guides and surveys for students, staff, and committee chairs. I also compiled information through participant observation and researched the organization’s promotional material. Participants <ul><li>I utilized participants by: </li></ul><ul><li>Conducting student focus groups and </li></ul><ul><li>walk-up interviews performed around campus. </li></ul><ul><li>Performing staff interviews consisting of </li></ul><ul><li>personnel who allowed me to walk-in </li></ul><ul><li>during their business hours and interview them. </li></ul><ul><li>Attending appointments where I individually </li></ul><ul><li>interviewed each of the workgroup chair </li></ul><ul><li>members in their office for a taped session. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Instruments Department Questionnaire Designed to explore the chair member’s perceived image and identity concerning his/her group. External Image/Internal Identity Designed to insure the chair member’s perception of image and identity matched mine. Transformative Learning Designed to insure the chair member was familiar with the aspects of transformative learning. Student and Faculty Questionnaire Designed to explore the portrayed image of Healthy Campus to the UCO community in regards to the new Educational Resource Space being designed for the University’s main building. Transformative Learning at Healthy Campus Survey Designed to explore the student experiences of individuals involved through coursework integration and workgroup participation. A copy of each instrument appears behind the blue tab.
  17. 17. Materials <ul><li>Materials gathered during my research consist of: </li></ul><ul><li>Healthy Campus Promotional Index Card </li></ul><ul><li>UCOSA Tobacco Ban Flyer </li></ul><ul><li>Tobacco Letter of Intent </li></ul><ul><li>Tobacco Free Pamphlet </li></ul><ul><li>Healthy Campus Logic Models </li></ul><ul><li>UCO Health Report Rough Draft </li></ul><ul><li>A copy of these materials appear behind the blue tab. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Research Project: Healthy Campus Image and Identity
  19. 19. Healthy Campus The purpose and mission of Healthy Campus is to “ Promote a campus environment supportive of the development and maintenance of a healthy body, mind, and spirit for all members of the UCO community.” Healthy Campus is a faculty, staff, student, and community initiative. The initiative was created by members of UCO to help meet the transformational learning needs of the University. <ul><li>Discipline Knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Problem Solving </li></ul><ul><li>Service Learning and Civic Engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Global and Cultural Competencies </li></ul><ul><li>Health and Wellness </li></ul>UCO’s “Central Six” tenets of transformative learning
  20. 20. Through Org Com, the internal and external aspects of Healthy Campus can be analyzed from a broader bird’s-eye perspective in order to assist the initiative in consistency of image, identity, and the promotion of a unified organization. <ul><li>External Image: </li></ul><ul><li>The complete perception of the way an organization presents itself either deliberately or accidentally. </li></ul><ul><li>Helps the organization differentiate itself from other organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Promotes external presentation of security and productiveness in an organization </li></ul><ul><li>Aligns with “Transform” of the CVF “Products, Markets, Branding” </li></ul><ul><li>Aligns with “Perform” of the CVF ”Goals, Strategies” </li></ul><ul><li>Internal Identity: </li></ul><ul><li>An organization’s presentation of itself to its stakeholders. </li></ul><ul><li>The outward presentation of an organization created by internal functions. </li></ul><ul><li>Tells internal and external stakeholders what the organization is about, what it does, and which strategies it adopts. </li></ul><ul><li>Aligns with “Conform” of the CVF “Coordination, Symbolic Convergence” </li></ul><ul><li>Aligns with “Reform” of the CVF “Culture, Core values, Shared beliefs” </li></ul>In order to understand an organization’s external image and internal identity, one must acquire knowledge of the interactions within and between departments functioning in the four quadrants of the CVF model.
  21. 21. Healthy Campus Relational Involvement The Healthy Campus initiative consists of five separate workgroups directed by Committee Chairs of faculty and university staff. Each of these five workgroups, through their involvement and departmental responsibilities, functions within the four quadrants of the CVF model. Employee Relations Investor Relations Government Relations Media Relations Employee Wellness Humanism, Employee Relations Focuses on promoting health and well being to UCO employee’s and addressing the barriers employees have to being active Communications/PR Structuralism, All Relations Focuses toward different areas of HC by creating ways to enhance public image, maintain public relations, create positive public awareness Programming Interpretivism, Employee Relations Researches, designs and schedules events relating toward HC goals. Coordinates and utilizes information from other groups to meet the needs of the UCO community. Policy Interpretivism, Government Relations Focuses toward insuring policies presented for approval are researched and match the demand of the community Data Analysis Functionalism, Investor Relations Researches the UCO community health related data. Provides accurate information to the workgroups for collaboration on selected projects.
  22. 22. Research Data Conclusions: Image and Identity of Healthy Campus
  23. 23. Healthy Campus Workgroup’s Internal Identity Programming The Programming group’s identity is volunteer-based, allowing members opportunity to pick projects which interest them. Communication is informal and the workgroup feeds off the enthusiasm of the initiative as a whole for motivation. Data Analysis The identity of the Data Analysis group revolves around insuring accurate, reliable data for the other groups to base their work on. By insuring timely, professional, and cohesive research, the Data Analysis group aspires to present an organized and reliable foundation for the Healthy Campus initiative. In addition to the relational aspects of a workgroup, each section’s internal identity is a primary factor to understanding the system of communication in that group.
  24. 24. Healthy Campus Workgroup’s Internal Identity Employee Wellness I regretfully did not have the opportunity to interview the Committee Chair for the Employee group. However, from my steering committee meetings and the Employee Wellness report, I have developed the following observation of the Internal Identity of the Employee Wellness group. The Employee Wellness workgroup focuses toward its personal goals, generating a disconnected identity with the rest of the workgroups. The group generates information and programs focused toward employees. Communication/PR The Communication workgroup is focused toward community involvement and establishing an influential presence with the other workgroups. The Communication group hopes to lead by example with coursework integration and facilitating teamwork through researching the aspects and challenges of Healthy Campus. The Communication workgroup is attempting to be an involved and idea generating contributor to the initiative. Policy The Policy group attempts to lead by example for other institutions by involving a diverse board of members from across campus with different educational and cultural backgrounds. By encouraging open communication and utilizing Wiki technology, the Policy group sets a diverse communicative atmosphere for all members.
  25. 25. External Image The Healthy Campus workgroups do not feel that a single department is a strong enough source of public notice to justify claiming responsibility of a direct influence on the initiative’s external image. Instead, the workgroups consistently agree that the external image of Healthy Campus is the outcome of the programs, policies and information provided to the UCO community through Healthy Campus.
  26. 26. A bird’s-eye perspective of Healthy Campus shows a newly developed organization with enthusiastic founding members who are experts in their fields. Analysis of the workgroup’s relational aspects with in and between departments allows an Org Com scholar to gain the information needed to create a communication overview of the organization.
  27. 27. Internal Identity Although each workgroup creates a positive culture of shared beliefs and collaborating teamwork, the interactions between workgroups is lacking direction. Some workgroups are easily maintaining relations with corresponding groups by incorporating their research into coursework integration. However, in order for the process of communication to flow between groups, it is advisable for the groups to improve relationships and approachability between workgroup chairs. This will insure that the flow of communication extends across the relational divides of each workgroup and increase overall satisfaction and productivity. External Image Student and staff interviews concerning the initiative’s desire to create an Educational Resource Center located in the university’s main building portrayed an external image of Healthy Campus that is actively involved in the health and wellness of the entire UCO community. Healthy Campus is presenting the image of an organized and dedicated contributor to the culture and lifestyle of the UCO campus by attempting to find ways to involve the community in aspects of health and well being and providing the community with the health tools they desire and need. Putting more focus in public relations and marketing the initiative in a more productive way, Healthy Campus will easily extinguish any negative viewpoints that may arise through controversial issues. Recommendation’s
  28. 28. As demonstrated by my analysis of the University of Central Oklahoma’s Healthy Campus initiative, Org Com scholars competently identify barriers to effective communication within organizations then make applicable recommendations to improve communication based on their analysis. Copies of the instruments and materials used for this research are displayed within the following section of this portfolio. Instruments and Materials Appendix
  29. 29. Picture References <ul><li>Norwegian School of Management Sphere </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Stairway to success, </li></ul><ul><li>Mechanics of Psychology, </li></ul><ul><li>Shadow in the crossroads, </li></ul><ul><li>Three blind men and the elephant, </li></ul><ul><li>Water Sphere, </li></ul><ul><li>Image reflected, </li></ul><ul><li>CVFCC Model, Recreated by Lynette Clower from Belasen, A. T. (2008) The Theory and Practice of Corporate Communication: A Competing Values Perspective. Thousand Oaks, CL: Sage Publications. </li></ul><ul><li>Northern Lights, </li></ul><ul><li>Paratroopers, </li></ul><ul><li>Blue Apple, </li></ul>CVF Reference <ul><li>Belasen, A. T. (2008) The Theory and Practice of Corporate Communication: A Competing Values Perspective. Thousand Oaks, CL: Sage Publications. </li></ul>