Health Communication

Health Communication
• Scientists have found that many factors affect our health,
including our ability to communicate
Fairly new to the field
Increasingly important area of study
Topics of study:
– Physician/Patient relationships
– Social drinking
– Stress
Organizational Communication
I. Approaches to Organizational Comm.
1. Classical Management Approach
• Formal, written, downward messages
• Began in 1800s with the Industrial Revolution (factories)
• Goal was to make employees efficient machines
• Employees were controlled and had no input
• Too constraining; discourages creativity
2. Human Relations Approach
• must consider informal communication and input
• Began around 1930s (depression, WWII, study of
• Focuses on employee satisfaction (Hawthorn studies)
• Employees become leaders and make decisions
• Organization is the sum of relationships
• Causes false openness; abuse of trust and/or honesty;
equates employee happiness with efficiency or
productivity; employee decision making is limited by
3. Human Resources Approach
• Built upon Human Relations
• Values the role of upward comm. and the employee’s voice
in decision making
• More concerned with the total organization climate as well
as with how an organization can encourage employee
• Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
• Physiological (food, clothing)
• Safety (shelter, security, employment)
• Love (belonging, affection, respect by colleagues)
• Self-Esteem (salary, rank, status, opportunities,
4. Systems Approach
• Emerged from the information revolution (1950s)
• All members of the environment must be aware of what is
• The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
• Dynamic systems of of interacting components
• Employees as biological organisms with interdependent
collection of processes that interact over time
• Must work in and with environments to be successful.
• Gives more emphasis to comm. to develop meaning
through human interaction
• Info. flows transactionally with feedback
5. Cultural Approach
• Popular in 1970s
• Complex processes and relationship within an organization
revealed by the culture’s symbols.
• Culture is reflected by:
– Norms
– Values
– Rituals (orientation, group meetings, annual celebrations,
promotions, layoffs
– Stories
– Special
language (jargon, jokes, rumors, gossip)
– Artifacts (objects, logos, employee handbook, awards,
work space)
1. Critical Approach
• Use listening often, give people an opportunity and
responsibility to voice their opinions
• Concerned with the exercise and abuse of power.
• Views the division between higher management and
employees as unfair and will eventually lead to overthrown
• Gained popularity in 1980s
• More resources were given to big business in the hopes it
would “trickle down” to the average individual.
• New info. Technologies caused downsizing and mergers
where hierarchies are replaced by faster responding teambased organizations
• Favors individual creativity over constraints on behavior
• Work-hate narratives
– support among employees
– How individuals are affected by organizational change
• Pro-people or Pro-profits? (organizations oppressing
– Companies criticized for one stand or another
– People believe they have freedom of choice even though
their options are quite limited.
• Brings us from modern to postmodern organization
The Experience of Work
• Assimilation—process where people learn the rules, norms, and
expectations of a culture over time and become members of that
• Organizational turning points or exits
• Job satisfaction
• Job involvement
• Organizational identification—overlaps in personal and
organizational values
• Employee empowerment and innovation
• Worker productivity
• Recurrent training
– Stress and burnout (workload, role uncertainty, job design,
personal life)
– Social support
Work Relationships
1. Supervisor/Subordinate
• Supervisors spend about 1/3 to 2/3 of their time
communicating w/ subordinates (most verbally)
• Each hold different perceptions of issues
• Upward distortion—when info reflects negatively on
• Effective comm. w/ subordinates:
– Openness
– Supportiveness
– Motivation
– Empowerment
2. Communicating w/ peers
– Within groups
– Cross-functional comm. (across departments)
– Unstructured comm.—informal
3. Communicating with customers/suppliers
4. Intimacy in Work Relationships
– Most research on powerful men and less powerful women
– Sexual harassment—inappropriate:
• Verbal comments
• Nonverbal gestures
• Visual displays or objects
• Terms of endearment
• Physical acts
• Submission to sexual advances
• Fear of retaliation for reporting instances
• See in-class handouts