Chapter 16: Information and Communication

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Organizational
Behavior, 8e
Schermerhorn, Hunt, and
Osborn
Prepared by
Michael K. McCuddy
Valparaiso University
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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Chapter 16
Information and Communication
 Study questions.
– What is the nature of the communication
process?
– What are the essentials of interpersonal
communication?
– What barriers interfere with effective
communication?
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Chapter 16
Information and Communication
 Study questions — cont.
– What is organizational communication?
– What forces influence communication in the
high performance workplace?
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What is the nature of the
communication process?
 The communication process.
– A process of sending and receiving messages
with attached meanings.
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What is the nature of the
communication process?
 The communication process.
– Source — encodes an intended meaning into a
message.
– Receiver — decodes the message into
perceived meaning.
– Communication channel — the means by
which the message is transmitted.
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What is the nature of the
communication process?
 The communication process — cont.
– Feedback — the receiver transmits a message
back to the sender.
– Noise — any interference with the
transmission of the message.
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What is the nature of the
communication process?
 Feedback and communication.
– Feedback is the process through which the
receiver communicates with the sender by
returning another message.
– Giving feedback often is associated with one
or more persons communicating an evaluation
of what another person has said or done.
– 360-degree feedback.
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What are the essentials of
interpersonal communication?
 Effective and efficient communication.
– Effective communication.
• The accuracy of communication.
– Efficient communication.
• The cost of communication.
– Effectiveness does not guarantee efficiency or
vice versa.
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What are the essentials of
interpersonal communication?
 Nonverbal communication.
– Takes place through:
• Facial expressions
• Body position.
• Eye contact.
• Other physical gestures.
– Nonverbals give clues to what a person is
really thinking.
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What are the essentials of
interpersonal communication?
 Two important branches of nonverbal
communication.
– Kinesics.
• The study of gestures and body postures.
– Proxemics.
• The study of the way space is utilized.
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What are the essentials of
interpersonal communication?
 Active listening.
– Ability to listen well is a distinct asset.
– Too often people emphasize the telling side
and neglect the listening side of the
communication process.
– Active listening.
• The ability to help the source of a message say
what he or she really means.
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What barriers interfere with
effective communication?
 Common sources of noise in interpersonal
communication.
–
–
–
–
–
–
Physical distractions.
Semantic problems.
Mixed messages.
Cultural differences.
Absence of feedback.
Status effects.
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What barriers interfere with
effective communication?
 Physical distractions.
– Any aspect of the physical setting in which
communication takes place.
– Can interfere with communication
effectiveness.
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What barriers interfere with
effective communication?
 Semantic problems.
– Involves a poor choice or use of words.
– Use the KISS principle of communication.
• “Keep it short and simple.”
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What barriers interfere with
effective communication?
 Mixed messages.
– Occur when a person’s words communicate
one thing while body language communicates
another.
– Body language adds important insights in
face-to-face meetings.
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What barriers interfere with
effective communication?
 Cultural differences.
– Ethnocentrism.
• The tendency to believe that one’s culture and it
values are superiors to those of others.
• Often linked to an unwillingness to understand
alternative points of view.
– Other cross-cultural communication
challenges.
• Language differences.
• Use of gestures.
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What barriers interfere with
effective communication?
 Absence of feedback.
– As compared to one-way communication, two-
way communication is:
• More accurate.
• More effective.
• More costly.
• More time consuming.
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What barriers interfere with
effective communication?
 Status effects.
– Status differences create potential communication
barriers.
• Managers may do more telling than listening.
• Subordinates may filter information.
– MUM effect
• Occurs when people are reluctant to transmit bad news.
– Management by wandering around (MBWA).
• Getting out of the office to directly communicate with others.
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What is organizational communication?
 Organizational communication is the
specific process through which information
moves and is exchanged throughout an
organization.
 Information flows:
– Through formal and informal structures.
– Downward, upward, and laterally.
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What is organizational communication?
 Channel richness.
– The capacity of a communication channel to convey
information effectively.
– Richest channels — face-to-face communication.
– Moderately rich channels — telephone, electronic chat
rooms, E-mail, written memos, and letters.
– Leanest channels — posted notices and bulletins.
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What is organizational communication?
 Formal and informal communication
channels.
– Formal channels follow the chain of command
established by the hierarchy of authority.
– Informal channels do not adhere to the
hierarchy of authority.
• The grapevine is an informal channel through
which rumors and unofficial information pass.
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What is organizational communication?
 Communication flows and directions.
– Downward communication.
– Upward communication.
– Lateral communication.
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What is organizational communication?
 Downward communication.
– The flow of information follows the chain of
command from top to bottom.
– Downward communication informs lower level
personnel about the higher level managers’:
• Strategies.
• Objectives.
• Instructions.
• Policies.
• Feedback.
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What is organizational communication?
 Upward communication.
– The flow of information from lower to higher levels of
the organization.
– Upward communication informs higher level
personnel about lower level workers’:
• Problems.
• Results.
• Suggestions.
• Questions.
• Needs.
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What is organizational communication?
 Lateral communication.
– The flow of information across persons or
work units at the same hierarchical level.
– Lateral communication enables persons and
work units to coordinate:
•
•
•
•
Problems.
Needs.
Advice.
Feedback.
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What is organizational communication?
 Lateral communication — cont.
– Very important in high performance
organizations.
• Serving external customers.
• Serving internal customers.
– Organizational ecology.
• The study of how building design may influence
communication and productivity by improving
lateral communication.
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What is organizational communication?
 Types of communication networks.
– Decentralized communication network.
– Centralized communication network.
– Restricted communication network.
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What is organizational communication?
 Decentralized communication network.
– All group members communicate directly and
share information with one another.
– Sometimes called an all-channel or star
network.
– Involve interacting groups.
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What is organizational communication?
 Centralized communication network.
– Information flows to a central person and is
redistributed.
– Sometimes called a wheel or chain network.
– Involve coacting groups.
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What is organizational communication?
 Restricted communication network.
– Limited and possibly biased communication
due to polarized subgroups contesting each
other’s positions and maintaining sometimes
antagonistic relationships.
– Involve counteracting groups.
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What forces influence communication
in the high performance workplace?
 The explosion of new communication
technologies is one of the greatest
contemporary challenges.
 Effective communication skills are
essential for career success.
 Everyone must stay current on information
technologies and organizational
communication issues.
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What forces influence communication
in the high performance workplace?
 Advances in information technologies enable
organizations to:
– Distribute information much faster.
– Make more information available.
– Allow broader and more immediate access to
information.
– Encourage participation in the sharing and use of
information.
– Integrate systems and functions, and use information
to link with the environment.
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What forces influence communication
in the high performance workplace?
 Potential disadvantages of electronic
communications.
– Technologies are impersonal.
– Nonverbal communication is removed from
situation.
– Can unduly influence the emotional aspects of
communication.
– Information overload.
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What forces influence communication
in the high performance workplace?
 Complex social context.
– Mean and women are socialized into different
communication styles.
• Women are socialized to be more sensitive to
interpersonal relationships in communication.
• Men are socialized to be competitive, aggressive,
and individualistic, which may cause
communication problems.
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What forces influence communication
in the high performance workplace?
 Complex social context — cont.
– Privacy of employee communications and
electronic eavesdropping
• Progressive organizations are developing internal
privacy policies.
• Is gaining the attention of some legislators.
– Political correctness of communications in the
workplace.
• Eliminates communication overtones of intolerance
and insensitivity.
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