Managing Organizational Communication

Communication is a vital management component to any organization. Whether the purpose is to update employees on new policies, to prepare for a weather disaster, to ensure safety throughout the organization or to listen to the attitudes. To be successful, organizations should have comprehensive policies and strategies for communicating.

The impact of effective communication

Effective communication may contribute to organizational success in many ways. It:

· Builds employee morale, satisfaction and engagement.

· Helps employees understand terms and conditions of their employment and drives their commitment and loyalty.

· Educates employees on the merits of remaining union-free (if that is the organization’s goal).

· Gives employees a voice—an increasingly meaningful component of improving employees’ satisfaction with their employer.

· Helps to lessen the chances for misunderstandings and potentially reduces grievances and lawsuits.

· Improves processes and procedures and ultimately creates greater efficiencies and reduces costs.

The impact of ineffective communication

Ineffective communication may increase the chances for misunderstandings, damage relationships, break trust, and increase anger and hostility. Ineffective communication may stem from a poorly aligned strategy, a failure to execute the strategy, use of the wrong communication vehicle, bad timing, and even nuances such as word choice or tone of voice.

All communication is either up, down or horizontal. Downward communication – this would be your boss telling you something, or your line manager’s line manager passing something down the chain to you. Upward communication – this would be you talking to your line manager, for example, a shop assistant passing a customer complaint to a store manager.

Lateral or horizontal communication: This type of communication can be seen taking place between persons operating at the same level or working under the same executive. Functional managers operating at the same level, in different departments, through their communication, present a good example of lateral communication. The main use of this dimension of communication is to maintain coordination and review activities assigned to various subordinates.

Communicating “up”

While much of a communication strategy is focused on imparting information to employees, another central component is permitting employees to have a voice with members of senior management. Having a voice is a critical employee relations issue that affects satisfaction and engagement.

Vehicles and Approaches 

With so many choices, such as face-to-face communication, electronic media, meetings, printed materials and webinars, the decision becomes quite complex.

When selecting the best communication vehicle, organizational leaders should consider:

· Timing. The timing of the information may be imperative, such as in emergency situations.

· Location. Employees’ location may affect this selection. Are all employees in one building, at multiple sites or situated globally? Do they work virtually?

· Message. Another issue that affects the decision is the sensitivity of the information. For layoff or termination information, most professionals agree that face-to-face meetings trump any other means of communication, but some issues may make these meetings impossible due to the geographic location of the employees, the number of employees affected and other factors.

Organizational leaders have many options, including the following, when selecting a communication vehicle.

E-mail

Electronic communication is a fast and easy way to reach many employees at once. It may be best used when information is urgent, such as in emergencies. E-mail communication presents some difficulties because the tone of voice and inflection are absent, making an ironic or sarcastic remark appear rude or harsh, which may not be the intended message.

Face-to-face meetings

Face-to-face meetings with employees are one of the best ways to relay sensitive information. During layoffs or restructurings or when handling employee performance issues, face-to-face communication is generally preferred.

Telephone

The telephone is another way to communicate information to employees. Whether it is used in the traditional sense when face-to-face communication is not physically possible or in more state-of-the-art communication via webinars or voice mail blasts, the telephone is a staple in communication vehicles.

Surveys/polls

Two-way communication is vital to any effective communication strategy, and developing formal tactics to listen to employees is essential. Employers can elicit fast feedback through surveys and polls about specific issues (like a new benefit or policy) or general concerns.

Virtual team meetings

Organizations may have employees located across the city or across the globe and may need to rely on virtual team meetings to get work done. Setting expectations and establishing protocols are vital steps in ensuring that communication will be effective. Since written communication, whether in print or in electronic format, can hide the tone of voice, inflection and other nuances of communication, many work teams rely on videoconferences and Internet-based technologies to make virtual meetings more productive.

The “grapevine”

One of the most used and undermanaged tools for employee communication is the proverbial grapevine. Watercooler discussions are still a mechanism for employees to hear the latest news unfiltered by management, and they continue to be a source for employees in learning the inside story. Employers must be mindful that whatever formal communication strategy is used, the grapevine still exists and will be tapped by employees at all levels.

Read the article above.  To respond to my questions below, select the Forum link, then click on Create Thread and type in your posting.  You are required to respond to a minimum of 2 classmates’ posts. To reply, to another student first click on one of their postings, read it, and then select REPLY.

1. Managing organizational communication encompasses UpwardDownward, and Horizontal communication the importance of a communication strategy, the role of different communicators within the organization, types of messages and vehicles, training for better communication, and methods for measuring results. What form of communication works best for you toward others in the workplace; what form do you prefer to receive communication from others?  Explain why?

2. Grapevine is informal. an example Give an example of grapevine communication you have received in the workplace? Do you rely on and believe grapevine information at work? Why or why not? What is a Gossip Chain or Cluster Chain?

3. What Constructive Feedback and tips can you share that have worked for you when communicating with others?

4. What type of “messaging ” do they use most in the companies you have experienced?  What type of messaging works best for you and why? Give an example.

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