Research Papers

Communication Implications Research Paper

A summary for each of the perspectives described in Unit 1 appears below — accompanied by a statement clarifying the implications for training and development. Read through each and then think about a communication problem you experienced at work that would fit within each perspective. Provide a specific example that reflects each organizational communication perspective in operation. Be specific in demonstrating how your example illustrates the basic tenets or features of the perspective.

1. The Classical Management Perspective
Summary: Work is segmented. Division of labor and standardization are paramount. Communication is top-down, task-centered and formal.

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T&D Implication: Appropriate when examining the transfer of information in traditionally structured/bureaucratic organizations. How accurate is task information? How clear are the downward channels of communication?

Example from your work experience (use as much space as necessary):
At a marketing agency, the different roles and functions were clearly defined. Each employer worked within his or her division and job description. For instance, while the account director managed the agency’s relationship with clients, a brand strategist set the direction a brand or service would take. The communication flowed up and down the firm’s structure. As a relationship manager, I had to communicate my business review outcomes with department manager and relay the division’s goals to its staff. Additionally, I was required to collect essential contacts with potential clients and deliver customer complaints to top-level management. Therefore, this communication model satisfied the classical management perspective since all information relayed from the top to the bottom levels of the organization helped to uphold the accuracy of tasks performed.

2. The Human Relations Perspective
Summary: Communication is task-centered but also meets social needs. It is not merely downward, but multi-directional. And it is informal more than formal. Yet consent is important and necessary; achieved through persuasion and incentives.

T&D Implication: Appropriate when examining discrepancies between informal and formal communication and disconnects between management expectations and employee needs/motives/goals, etc.

Example from your work experience (use as much space as necessary):
While at a departmental store, I was involved in interpersonal relations among the staff members. For example, I was supposed to monitor interactions between management and employees by determining the best ways to improve their collaboration in advancing the company’s objectives. In avoiding the inevitable conflict in the workplace, I interacted with the entire staff to understand arising issues and the best way to resolve them. Further, I had to connect with line management to facilitate investigations on employee misconduct and initiate mediation between rivaling personnel. The position gave me confidence in documenting employees’ decisions and actions for comparison to the goals and needs of the departmental store. While socializing with the staff members corresponded to informal interaction, reporting their performance, complaints, and suggestions to top-level managers represented formal communication.

3. The Human Resources Perspective
Summary: Both task and social communication exist as well as innovative communication. Communication flows in all directions and between members in participative arrangements.

T&D Implication: Appropriate for examining how employee communication could benefit an organization. What obstacles are preventing management from receiving or hearing effective upward communication? Or preventing employees from directing suggestions toward management?

Example from your work experience (use as much space as necessary):
As a sales representative of a fast food store, I was entrusted with motivating my colleagues to cultivate interaction among ourselves and improve feedback to top-level management. The store encouraged us to consider ourselves as critical members of the sales team. For example, staff members were free to meet and brainstorm on any agenda that would benefit the team’s interaction with the management. This way, I was required to devise the best communication strategies, including official and social events. Mostly, the conventions aimed at developing better methods of interacting with each other at the departmental level and with our managers. Besides eliminating communication barriers up and down the company’s structure, this approach was useful in helping the store to achieve its organizational goals by encouraging suggestions from the front-line employees.

4. The Systems Perspective
Summary: Communication is patterned. Patterns occur with regularity, are observable and routine. Communication networks can be formal or informal and vary in terms of size and density.

T&D Implication: Appropriate for identifying the lack of information transfer through a formal organizational system or the content of informal organizational systems. What is preventing accurate and timely communication between parties? What content is present in informal networks that is not apparent in formal networks? Does this content signal employee concerns, low morale, etc. How widespread is such commentary?

Example from your work experience (use as much space as necessary):
In the marketing agency, the systems perspective corresponded to departmental and organizational briefings. In the former, various departments, such as human resources, finance, and account planning, were allowed to conduct meetings to evaluate the existing communication structures and types of information content relayed through the models. For example, they were required to examine the kind of content that the departmental staff exchanged, which could be difficult to transmit through official structures. On the contrary, organizational briefs aimed at explaining the existing and new communication structures that everyone could use to express their concerns and suggestions to the management. For instance, the briefs encouraged employees to confidentially communicate their grievances to top-level management. Overall, the two were essential in identifying reasons for the lack of information transfer through formal and informal organizational structures.

5. The Cultural-Interpretive Perspective
Summary: Communication is the building block of organizational culture, achieved through have rites, rituals, ceremonies and the telling of stories. Employees learn and perform culture communicatively.

T&D Implication: Appropriate for examining how both formal (e.g., mission statements, awards ceremonies, etc.) and informal communication are contributing to or detracting from organizational culture.

Example from your work experience (use as much space as necessary):
The departmental store proprietors would organize team-building events for all workers in summer and during Christmas. While everyone looked forward to the activities as an opportunity to rewind and show off their skills, the events were also favorable platforms for employees to form friendships and have fun. The primary benefit of staff bonding was to help boost innovation and efficiency by giving everyone a platform for enhancing their abilities. For instance, social events encouraged free communication through stories and plays. Team-building activities accurately reflected the company’s strategic mission of delivering while offering its employees the best workplace environment. Moreover, social events set a favorable example of how employees should treat clients. Finally, they reflected the firm’s commitment to corporate social responsibility, which is essential for building brand image.

6. The Critical Perspective
Summary: Communication builds and protects dominant power interests within organizations, giving preference to certain interpretations of reality over others. Power, then, is the struggle over meaning and is found in normal and routine organizational practices. Communication functions both as a means of enacting power as well as a means for resisting or contesting power.

T&D Implication: Appropriate for uncovering how power functions in a given organization, particularly beyond the stipulated hierarchical relationships. Which groups control resources? Why? How? Also appropriate for examining how employees communicatively resist power. Is their dissent or resistance?

Example from your work experience (use as much space as necessary):

At the fast-food store, the manager requested me to motivate the members of the sales department to communicate amongst themselves and with the management. However, he did not require me to make and implement any decision on his behalf. For example, I could not arrange meetings or execute any suggestion by sales representatives. Instead, I was only required to relay the manager’s communication ideas to the sales team and report to him all responses from the staff. Similarly, all the other employees could not adopt their ideas without consulting the manager. As a result, this scenario exposed the sources of employee dissent or resistance to organizational bureaucracy. This arrangement was designed to show how power functions in an organization.

7. The Discursive Perspective
Summary: Talk and discourse are fundamental to reflecting organizational features and outcomes, shaping organizational reality, and anchoring organizational experience.

T&D Implication: Appropriate for examining how communication shapes people’s experience of organizational processes and practices. How does communication shape people’s reality? For example, does talk about the performance evaluation process convince employees that it is inherently unfair or flawed? Why?

Example from your work experience (use as much space as necessary):
All of the organizations that I worked for encouraged customer inquiries and feedback about the desired and purchased products and services. Some of them also had in place performance appraisals for their employees. For example, pre-purchase inquiries offered clients an opportunity to seek as many details about a product as possible for comparison with similar offers in the market. Additionally, this provision enabled them to set standards for comparison with the outcome of their purchase. On the contrary, the feedback was designed to help buyers to express their opinions about the real results of the acquired product or service. Finally, performance appraisals helped to encourage workers and convince them that the firms were fairly recognizing individual efforts in the business’ success.

8. The Identity Perspective
Summary: Communication is fundamental to shaping our varied and fluctuating identities tied to being a professional, employee, and organizational member, as well as to the type of work we perform.

T&D Implication: Appropriate for understanding which identities are important to employees in an organization and how those may compete and conflict, as well as the consequences or challenges that arise when identities are challenged or threatened.

Example from your work experience (use as much space as necessary):

Organizations, including my former workplaces, host people of different values that could affect their identities at work. Values are intricately connected to identity formation as professionals, employees, and organizational members. For this reason, companies develop communication systems that either foster or discourage identity formation. For example, the option of submitting employee feedback anonymously at the marketing agency was an ideal strategy for preserving the conflicting identities between communicators. Mainly, it permits employees to express themselves freely to the management without feeling intimidated by the management’s identity. Further, this model eliminates potential standoffs between different personnel from different organizational levels. The consequences of challenging identities through communication can be detrimental to business performance, which might adversely affect consumer loyalty.

9. Organizational Sensemaking Perspective
Summary: Communication serves to help us know and understand our organizations and our place within those organizational environments. Communication is the vehicle by which we make sense of unexpected occurrences within organizations. The means for crafting explanations with other coworkers that help explain organizational life.

T&D Implication: Appropriate for examining how organizational members come to understand organizational happenings, how that knowledge feeds back into the larger body of organizational knowledge, and how novel events can disrupt ongoing activities.

Example from your work experience (use as much space as necessary):
While working at the fast-food store, communication helped me to understand organizational happenings. For example, I discovered that foods were delaying in the kitchen, and customers were dissatisfied with the store’s services. By interacting with all staff members, I learned from a companion that one of the workers assigned to operate fryers was causing the delay. Apparently, she had developed a phobia for fryers and broilers after one of the appliances injured her, but she was afraid of losing her job if she raised this issue with the manager. Notably, communication helped to understand organizational happenings and how unexpected occurrences could impact organizational life. Therefore, it is essential for organizational sense-making, and managers and business leaders should foster communication.

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