Communication and Influence

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Copyright © 2012 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
CHAPTER 15
Influencing and Communication
CHAPTER SUMMARY
Influencing is the process of guiding the activities of organizational members through the
performance of six primary management activities: (1) leading, (2) motivating, (3) considering
groups (4) communicating (5) understanding people, and (6) encouraging creativity and
innovation. Emotional intelligence deals with specific skills that enable managers have more of
an influence on others.
Communication is the process of sharing information with others. The communication activities
of a manager involve interpersonal communication which includes three elements: (1) the
source/encoder, (2) the signal, and (3) the decoder/destination. To increase the probability that
communication will be successful a manager should understand the barriers that inhibit
communication. To minimize communication macrobarriers, managers can: (1) limit the amount
of communication transmitted to subordinates; (2) make messages to subordinates as simple as
possible; (3) encourage subordinates to learn and understand foreign languages and cultures;
and (4) encourage managers to recognize that increased demands placed on them limit their own
communication with others . To minimize communication microbarriers, managers can: (1) be
aware of their attitudes toward destination; (2) try to monopolize their subordinates’ attention;
(3) be aware of their attitudes toward the source; (4) make messages specific; and (5) define their
words in messages. Feedback is the decoder/destination's reaction to a message. Feedback can be
either verbal or nonverbal. The “Ten Commandments of Good Communication” can be used to
evaluate personal communication effectiveness. Nonverbal communication may influence the
impact of a message more than verbal communication. Managers must avoid contradictory
verbal and nonverbal messages. Organizational communication is interpersonal communication
within organizations.
In general, there are three types of formal organizational communication: (1) upward, (2)
downward, and (3) lateral. By nature, organizational communication creates patterns of
communication among organizational members. One common pattern is serial transmission.
Informal organizational communication ignores the organization chart. The grapevine is the
network of informal organizational communication. The grapevine usually follows one of four
patterns: (1) the single-strand, (2) the gossip grapevine, (3) the probability grapevine, and (4) the
cluster grapevine. How managers deal with grapevines depends upon the specific organizational
situation in which managers find themselves. Strategies for encouraging formal organizational
communication include listening, sending clear messages, providing access to channels, and
using staff personnel.
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LEARNING OBJECTIVES
1. An understanding of the relationship between influencing and emotional intelligence
2. An understanding of interpersonal communication
3. A knowledge of how to use feedback
4. An appreciation for the importance of nonverbal communication
5. Insights into formal organizational communication
6. An appreciation for the importance of the grapevine
7. Some hints on how to encourage organizational communication
Chapter’s Target Skill
Communication Skill: the ability to share information with other individuals.
CHALLENGE CASE
JETSTAR AIRWAYS SOARS ON COMMUNICATION
As described in the Challenge Case, Jetstar CEO Bruce Buchanan understands the importance of
information flow within the organization. According to the case, Buchanan wants to build Jetstar
into a high-performing organization that processes information efficiently. This chapter
emphasizes the challenge of improving communication within organizations such as Jetstar and
offers some insight into how this challenge can be accomplished.
“See all related teaching notes for Challenge Case in the Management Skill Activities”
EXPLORING YOUR MANAGEMENT SKILL: PART 1
CHAPTER OUTLINE
I.
CHALLENGE CASE: JETSTAR AIRWAYS SOARS ON COMMUNICATION
A.
II.
The introductory case shows the importance that Buchanan attaches to
communication at Jetstar.
FUNDAMENTALS OF INFLUENCING
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A.
B.
C.
III.
Defining Influencing
1. Influencing is the process of guiding the activities of organization members in
appropriate directions, involving six primary management activities: leading,
motivating, considering groups, communicating, encouraging creativity and
innovation and building corporate culture
The Influencing Subsystem (See Figures 15.1, 15.2)
1. The primary purpose of the influencing subsystem is to enhance the attainment
of management objectives by guiding organization members in appropriate
directions.
Emotional Intelligence
1. Emotional intelligence is the capacity of people to recognize their own feelings
and the feelings of others, to motivate themselves, and to manage their own
emotions as well as the emotions in relationships with others.
COMMUNICATION
A. Communication is the process of sharing information with other individuals.
B. Interpersonal Communication
1. How Interpersonal Communication Works
a. The source/encoder is the person who originates and encodes information to
be shared with another person.
b. The signal is a message that has been transmitted from one person to another.
c. A message is encoded information that the source/encoder intends to share
with others.
d. The decoder/destination is the person or people with whom the
source/encoder is attempting to share information.
e. Decoding is the process of converting messages back into information.
f. In all interpersonal communication situations, message meaning is a result of
decoding.
C. Successful and Unsuccessful Interpersonal Communication
1. Successful communication occurs when the information the source intends
to share and the meaning the destination derives from the transmitted
message are the same.
2. Unsuccessful communication occurs when the information the source
intends to share and the meaning the destination derives from the
transmitted message are different.
3. Barriers to Successful Interpersonal Communication
a. Macrobarriers
1. Communication macrobarriers are those barriers that hinder
successful communication in a general communication situation.
they include:
a. The increasing need for information
b. The need for increasingly more complex information
c. The reality that individuals in the United States are increasingly
coming into contact with non-English speaking individuals
d. The need for learning decreases time available for communication
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D.
E.
F.
G.
b. Microbarriers
1. Communication microbarriers are factors that hinder successful
communications in a specific communication situation. They
include:
a. The source’s view of the destination
b. Message interference is the stimuli that compete with the
communication message for the attention of the decoder/destination
c. The destination’s view of the source
d. Perception is an individual’s interpretation of the message
e. Multimeaning words
Feedback and Interpersonal Communication
1. Feedback is the destination’s reaction to a message.
a. Gathering and Using Feedback
1. Feedback can be either verbal or nonverbal.
2. To gather nonverbal feedback watch the destination's nonverbal
response to a message.
Achieving Communication Effectiveness
1. Note the "ten" commandments of communications:
a. Seek to clarify ideas before communicating.
b. Examine the true purpose of each communication.
c. Consider the total physical and human setting.
d. Consult with others when planning communications.
e. Be mindful of communication overtones.
f. Take the opportunity to convey something of value to the receiver.
g. Follow up your communication.
h. Communicate for tomorrow as well as today.
i. Make your actions support your communications.
j. Seek to understand, be a good listener.
Verbal and Nonverbal Interpersonal Communication
1. Verbal communication is communication using either spoken or written
words to share information with others.
2. Nonverbal communication is sharing information without using words to
encode thoughts.
3. When both verbal and nonverbal factors are present, nonverbal factors
may have more influence on the total impact of a message than verbal factors.
Interpersonal Communication in Organizations
1. Formal Organizational Communication
a. Types of Formal Organizational Communication
1. Downward organizational communication flows from one point on
an organization chart downward to another point on the chart.
2. Upward organizational communication flows from any point on an
organization chart upward to another point on the chart.
3. Lateral organizational communication flows from any point on an
organizational chart horizontally to another point on the chart.
b. Patterns of Formal Organizational Communication
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1. Serial transmission involves passing information from one individual to
another.
2. Messages tend to become distorted as the length of the serial transmission
increases.
3. Serial transmission can also influence morale, the emergence of a leader,
and the degree to which individuals involved in the transmission are
organized and efficient.
2. Informal Organizational Communication
a. Informal organizational communication is communication that does not
follow the lines of the organizational chart.
CLASS DISCUSSION HIGHLIGHT
Modern Research and Communication Skill
The Impact of Diversity on Organizational Communication in Foreign Subsidiaries1
The authors that their hypothesis was indeed true, in that, diversity discouraged people from
communicating with each other. In particular, the author found that age, gender, and race
were the key diversity variables that prevented effective communication. Interestingly, all the
subjects were employed in sales. One would think that people’s functional loyalty would help
in communication and that fact that they are comfortable with the jargon of their discipline
would help them communicate better. It turns out that age, gender, and race trumps functional
loyalty. So, how would one prepare to communicate better? A key point here is to be aware
that diversity makes communication harder. This awareness should be factored in while
communicating across diverse groups.
3.
Patterns of Informal Organizational Communication
1. The grapevine is the network of informal organizational communication.
2. It springs up and is used irregularly within the organization.
3. It is not controlled by top executives, who may not even be able to
influence it.
4. It is used largely to serve the self-interests of the people within it.
5. The four most common grapevine patterns are (see Figure 15.8):
a.. Single-strand, tends to distort message most
b.
Gossip, informs everyone on grapevine
c.
Probability, random communication
d.
Cluster, only selected individuals get information
4. Encouraging Formal Organizational Communication
a. Listen attentively to messages that come through formal channels.
(See Table 15.2)
b. Support the flow of clear and concise statements through formal channels.
c. Ensure that all organization members have free access to the use of formal
communications channels.
d. Assign specific communication responsibilities to staff personnel who
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could assist line personnel in spreading important information throughout
the organization.
CHALLENGE CASE AND CHALLENGE CASE SUMMARY
JETSTAR AIRWAYS SOARS ON COMMUNICATION
Jetstar Airways is an independently operated subsidiary of Qantas. It flies to Australia and
Singapore and competes on its low fares.
Communication is key to Jetstar’s CEO Bruce Buchanan. Since two-thirds of the company’s
3,000 employees work outside an office everyday, the company created an intranet called
“dashboard” to keep them informed. The company believes that employees should not learn
about the company from the news media, rather, they should get it first hand from the company’s
“dashboard.” In addition, senior company officials provide a “weekly wrap’ which is an audio
of key company events.
Buchanan clearly understands the importance and intricacies of organizational communication.
He should continually enable communication to flow freely in the organization by removing any
barriers that may prevent it.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. List three problems that could be caused at Jetstar Airways if Buchanan would happen to be
a poor communicator.
Some of the possible problems that students could list include high employee turnover, low
productivity, low morale, high absenteeism, lack of employee support for top management ideas,
and even strikes. External problems could include loss of sales due to adverse corporate image
created by his inability to communicate, and a decline in performance caused by subordinates’
doubts about his leadership skills as a result of his inability to communicate.
2. Explain how the problems you listed in number one can be caused by Buchanan’s inability to
communicate.
The problems listed above could be caused by Buchanan’s perception of his employees as
interchangeable parts, the employees’ perception of Buchanan as uncaring; employees’
perception of the message (connotation versus denotation) and the use of inappropriate
vocabulary that interferes with message reception. The absence of feedback and the poor use of
nonverbal communication techniques are other possible causes. Any of these causes could lead
company stakeholders to view Buchanan as a poor leader. Good communication skills are most
often cited as the one ability most responsible for a manager's success.
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3. Assuming that Buchanan is a good communicator, discuss three ways that he is positively
affecting Jetstar as a result of his communication expertise.
Three ways that Buchanan can positively impact Jetstar as a result of his communication
expertise include: (1) the encouragement of feedback; (2) the encouragement upward,
downward, and lateral communication; and (3) the judicious use of the organizational grapevine
for communication. Students may suggest other possible answers.
MANAGEMENT SKILLS ACTIVITIES
UNDERSTANDING COMMUNICATION CONCEPTS
ESSAY QUESTIONS
1. Discuss the significance of “field of experience” in communication.
To increase the probability that communication will be successful, the message must be
encoded so that the source’s experience of the way a signal should be decoded is equivalent to
the destination’s experience of the way it should be decoded. If these experiences match up, the
probability is high that the destination will interpret the signal as intended by the source. These
overlapping fields of experience ensure successful communication.
2. What is feedback and how should managers use it when communicating?
Feedback is the destination’s reaction to a message. Feedback, whether verbal or nonverbal,
provide managers with some measure of the success of their communications. By determining if
subordinates follow or do not follow instructions can provide managers with feedback.
Managers should encourage feedback whenever possible.
3. How can managers encourage the flow of formal communication in organizations?
There are several ways managers can encourage the flow of formal communication. One way is
to listen attentively to messages received through such channels. Another way is to support the
flow of clear and concise statements through formal channels. Other means available are to
ensure free access for all formal communication channels and to assign staff to specific
communication responsibilities.
4. What is “emotional intelligence” and how does it relate to influencing people in
organizations?
Emotional intelligence is the capacity of people to recognize their own feelings and the feelings
of others, to motivate themselves, and to manage their own emotions as well as the emotions in
relationships with others.
5. Draw three types of organizational grapevines and explain how communication effectiveness
might be impacted by each type.
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There are more than three types of organization grapevines:
(a) The single-strand grapevine. A tells B, who tells C, who tells D, and so on. This type of
grapevine generally distorts messages more than any other.
(b) The gossip grapevine. A informs everyone else on the grapevine.
(c) The probability grapevine. A communicates randomly. Those A informed continue to
inform others in the same way.
(d) The cluster grapevine. A communicates only to C, D, and F. F selects and tells B and
J. Information travels only to selected individuals in the form of grapevine.
EXPLORING YOUR MANAGEMENT SKILL: PART 2
YOUR MANAGEMENT SKILLS PORTFOLIO
Developing a New Communication Environment
QUESTIONS
1.
What four goals would you set for building the new communication environment at
Ericsson?
Student responses for goals will vary but should cover overlapping fields of experience that
ensure successful communication, incorporate emotional intelligence, encourage feedback,
encourage upward, downward and lateral communication and the judicious use of the
organizational grapevine for communication.
2.
Explain the importance of each goal in hitting the overall target of establishing the new
environment that supports reaching organizational goals.
Based upon student responses in Question 1, the importance of each goal will vary.
3.
List a primary step that you would take in trying to achieve each goal.
Primary steps listed in trying to achieve each goal will depend upon each student’s response.
4.
How long do you think it would take to establish the new communication environment at
Ericsson? Why? Explain fully.
Answers to how long it will take to establish the new communication environment at Ericsson
will vary depending upon the goals students have chosen.
Experiential Exercise: Developing Nonverbal Communication Skills
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Scenario. The purpose of this exercise is to help you develop your nonverbal communication
skills. Apply yourself as much s possible. The more you focus on the exercise, the greater your
chance of developing your skill.
Procedure.
1. Your instructor will divide the class into groups of approximately four members.
2. Each group will have about ten minutes to complete the following task through a group
discussion:
List as many advantages and disadvantages as you can to allowing illegal aliens or
undocumented workers to remain in the United States.
3. Before discussion begins, each group will be given approximately 5 minutes so that
members can work individually to: 1) list 2 feelings that they would like to project
during the group discussion, and 2) list corresponding nonverbal actions that they will
use to express those feelings. For example, one feeling might be anger and the related
nonverbal action could be yelling words. Individual should NOT share their work with
other group members.
4. Once members have finished their individual work in #3, the instructor will indicate that
group discussion will begin.
5. After the discussion, the instructor will allow each group about 5 minutes so that
individuals can tell what feelings they think other individuals were trying to
communicate. All should keep track of how many times their nonverbal messages were
successful in communicating their target feelings..
6. The instructor will open discussion about the exercise by asking questions like:
a. Were you successful in communicating nonverbally? Why?
b. Is it easy for you to communicate nonverbally? Why?
c. What did you learn from this exercise about increasing your managerial skill to
communicate nonverbally?
Experiential Exercise: You and Your Career
John Black is a production supervisor in a low-tech toy company that produces wooden cars and
boats for children 2-4 years of age. John supervises 25 employees and has been performing well
in this same job for five years. In personal reflection, John wants to be promoted, but doesn’t
think he’ll be offered a promotion in the foreseeable future. John doesn’t really understand why,
however. John has 24/7 e-mail access and is “always on” via his wireless technology. In fact,
John is somewhat of a legend at the company for always being on his Blackberry. John not only
has conversations through his Blackberry, but does quite a bit of message texting. John has
always believed that because of the efficiency involved, electronic means of communication are
better than face-to-face communication.
Can John’s personal philosophy about communication affect his career? If yes, why? If no, why
not? If you were John, what personal philosophy about communication would you have to
maximize not only your job success, but also the success of your career?
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The communication medium used should suit the context. While student responses may vary,
they should understand that electronic communication may not always be suitable and that John’s
subordinates or co-workers may prefer other means of communication.
CASES:
HOW EBAY STAYS CONNECTED TO ITS COMMUNITY
1. What macrobarriers and microbarriers might hinder successful communication between Meg
Whitman and eBay users? What do you suggest she do to address these potential barriers?
Communication is the process of sharing information with other individuals. Macro barriers are
factors that hinder successful communication in a general communication situation. By
understanding some common macrobarriers like the increased need for information or the variety
of languages being used in the United States, Whitman can better respond. Communication
microbarriers are factors that hinder successful communication in a specific communication
situation. Perception is one of the major microbarriers. By being perceived as a good
communicator who is trying to improve eBay communication, Whitman can address that barrier.
2. Do you think the channels of communication in an online business such as eBay differ from
those in a traditional business? Explain.
Student opinion will vary. Of course, there is less face-to-face communication and little
nonverbal communication, but with modern technology, especially with the increase of
teleconferencing many of the traditional business communication can still exist.
3. How would you recommend that new managers at eBay establish rapport with buyers and
sellers?
Student opinion may vary. They should mention the importance of effective listening, if only
online, and responding to the concerns of the buyers and sellers.
VIDEONET EXERCISE
Communication: Zifty.com
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
Zifty.com is a pick-up and delivery service in Atlanta, Georgia. Customers place orders via the
Zifty.com website for food from local restaurants and for DVDs, personal care products,
medicines, etc., stored in the company warehouse. The video features company managers and a
delivery driver who discuss Zifty’s management and communication styles. The video provides
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an excellent discussion of organizational communication. Zifty.com has a very informal
communication system, which encourages internal information to flow upward as well as
downward. The company also demonstrates a program of excellent customer service based on
frequent communication with its customer base.
Discussion Questions
1. Describe the many roles of Zifty.com managers as discussed by Sarah Bellamy and Dylan
Kight in the video.
According to Sarah Bellamy and Dylan Kight, managers at Zifty.com perform many roles.
Managers provide customer service, follow up with online customers to ensure quality, and
work to ensure good relationships with the local restaurants. They also set driver routes,
perform general administrative duties, and enter and track orders. Finally, Zifty.com
managers monitor inventory and operate the cash bank.
2. How do employees at Zifty.com communicate with each other? Is communication formal or
informal? Does information flow only from the top down—from owners to managers to
drivers—or does it flow upward as well?
Employees at Zifty.com communicate with each other via two-way radios (“walkies”),
phone, and e-mail. Their communication system can be classified as informal, probably
because the company is small and the company structure is flat. Zifty.com has an open
communication policy, so information flows both from the top down and from the bottom up.
Owners and managers at Zifty.com place tremendous importance on feedback from the
delivery drivers since they are considered the “face of the company” and deal directly with
the customers.
3. Give some examples of how Zifty.com has adapted to customer requests.
Zifty.com has adapted to customer requests by making changes in product offerings and
adding new restaurants to its mix. They also have made changes in their fee structure as a
result of customer suggestions. They now offer a monthly membership wherein customers pay
a monthly fee instead of fees for individual deliveries. Additionally, they created a customer
rewards program, much like those at other retail companies in the area. Managers believe
that each of these customer-requested adaptations has been successful and has increased
business.
Internet Activity
Browse the Zifty.com site at www.zifty.com. Look at the services offered. Browse the delivery
or pick-up section of the site. Check out the FAQs. What do you think of the Zifty.com business
model? Is this a service that will attract new customers? Managers at Zifty.com believe that they
still have growth potential in the Atlanta market. They feel that people in that area are willing to
pay a premium price for delivery because, after enduring the long commute home, customers
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prefer having items delivered instead of venturing out again themselves. What do you think of
Zifty.com’s outlook for growth and for the future?
Student responses will vary depending on their preference for home delivery. It is certainly
attractive if somebody can deliver snacks, DVDS, personal care items, etc. to one’s home. Their
business model is to be a “personal concierge” to their customers. It is certainly appealing.
More Practice Question
(1)
You attended a Lecture Series on communication and influencing and the
presenter spoke about the six primary management activities at it relates to
influencing. He spoke about Leading, communicating, motivating, considering
groups, encouraging creativity, innovation as well as Building Corporate Culture.
Your colleague that did not study business asked you after the Lecture Series to
explain the six activities for her as she is a little confused.
Explain to her the 6 activities and why they are so important in the area of
influencing.
(2) What are the barriers to communication?
(3) Explain the difference between a formal communication process versus the
Grapevine
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