Fundamentals of Organizational Communication Knowledge, Sensitivity, Skills, Values,

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					Fundamentals of Organizational
      Communication

   Participating in Organizations:
  Developing Critical Organizational
   Communication Competencies

            Chapter Eight
Participating in Organizations
• It is fair to say that decision
  making, problem solving,
  interpersonal and small-group
  interactions, and presentations
  can be described a guiding
  processes for all organizational
  functioning.
 Defining Decision Making
   and Problem Solving
• Decision making - process of
  choosing from among several
  alternatives.
• Problem solving - multistage
  process of moving an issue,
  situation, or state from an
  undesirable to a more desirable
  condition.
 Defining Decision Making
   and Problem Solving
• Decision making depends on
  individuals and groups choosing
  from among known alternatives.
• Problem solving is the process
  by which individuals and groups
  generate alternatives and
  evaluate those alternatives in
  light of the identified problem.
 Defining Decision Making
   and Problem Solving
• All decision making and problem
  solving involve a level of risk.
• Decisions are desired courses of
  action before the results of the
  action are known.
• Unknown results represent risk.
 Defining Decision Making
   and Problem Solving
• A good decision-making
  process will not guarantee
  success, but a poor process
  will almost certainly
  contribute to failure.
  Influences for Decision
 Making & Problem Solving
• Four primary factors influence
  individual and group decision
  making and problem solving
  – Organizational culture
  – Decision/problem issues
  – Technical competencies
  – Communication competencies
  Influences for Decision
 Making & Problem Solving
• Organizational culture
  – Organizing can be seen as a
    conscious limitation of alternatives
    and therefore decision making.
  – It is this limitation of alternatives
    (decisions) that becomes the
    shared realities of the organization
    or its culture
  Influences for Decision
 Making & Problem Solving
• Organizational culture
  – Organizational cultures influence
    the methods of decision making.
  – It is appropriate to conclude that
    the methods and levels of
    participation desired for decision
    making and problem solving are
    reflections of organizational values
    and culture.
  Influences for Decision
 Making & Problem Solving
• Decision/Problem Issue
 –Complexity, resources,
  importance, and previous
  experience concerning
  problems all influence how
  individuals and organizations
  approach decisions.
 Influences for Decision
Making & Problem Solving
• Communication Competency
 –Our perceptions of our
  personal competencies and
  our predispositions for
  communication help determine
  how and when we engage in
  individual and group decision
  making.
 Influences for Decision
Making & Problem Solving
• Communication Competency
 –Our interpersonal
  effectiveness contributes to
  whether we can influence
  others during problem solving.
 Influences for Decision
Making & Problem Solving
• Communication Competency
 –Because decision making and
  problem solving occur through
  human communication, the
  ability and willingness of all
  involved to engage in quality
  participation influence the
  ultimate quality of decisions.
  Influences for Decision
 Making & Problem Solving
• Technical Competency
 –Excellence in decision making
  requires a communication
  process that supports
  excellence and appropriate
  technical backgrounds or
  information.
      Methods for Decision
    Making & Problem Solving
•   Individual Approach
•   Leader Mandate
•   Majority Rule
•   Powerful Minority
•   Consensus
   Methods for Decision
 Making & Problem Solving
• It is important to note that in
  the twenty-first century, the
  emphasis on decision making
  and problem solving is
  rapidly shifting from an
  individual to a group or team
  responsibility.
   Methods for Decision
 Making & Problem Solving
• The emphasis on group/team
  problem solving and decision
  making increasingly asks
  those who will actually
  implement a decision to make
  that decision.
   Methods for Decision
 Making & Problem Solving
• Individual Approach
 –Individuals make decisions
  with a range of involvement
  from others.
 –Individual decision makers
  have the option to consider
  their alternatives alone or with
  others.
   Methods for Decision
 Making & Problem Solving
• Leader Mandate
 – Leader-made decisions - leader of
   a group makes a decision and
   announces the decision to the
   group.
 – Leader-made decisions frequently
   have less group commitment than
   decisions in which members are
   more actively involved.
   Methods for Decision
 Making & Problem Solving
• Majority Rule
  – When more than 50 percent of a group
    agree, a decision is reached.
  – The majority rule may not adequately
    account for the views of the minority.
  – Majority-rule decisions can be high in
    quality, but they can also ignore central
    issues of concern.
   Methods for Decision
 Making & Problem Solving
• Powerful Minority
 – When group membership is
   characterized by unequal
   distribution of power among
   members, those members who
   have the most power (although in
   numerical minority) are in a
   position to assume decision-
   making responsibility.
   Methods for Decision
 Making & Problem Solving
• Powerful Minority
 – This method can be effective when
   the minority members have the
   best information on which to base
   the decision.
   Methods for Decision
 Making & Problem Solving
• Consensus
 – Results in a decision all members can
   agree is best and all can support.
 – It may take more time than other
   methods.
 – All will usually support the decision
   even though it is not the decision some
   might have preferred.
 Barriers to Effective Decision
 Making and Problem Solving

• Organizational Barriers
  – Only about 50% of organizational
    decisions are ever implemented.
    • No commitment to the decision
    • Lack of resources
  – Organizational Silence
  – Organizational structures and policies
    • Centralization
    • Lack of formal upward feedback mechanisms
 Barriers to Effective Decision
 Making and Problem Solving

• Task Barriers
 –Groups make poor decisions
  when they short-circuit problem
  analysis.
   • Inadequate description of
     problems
 Barriers to Effective Decision
 Making and Problem Solving

• Procedural Barriers
  – Groups also make poor decisions
    when role ambiguity contributes to
    confusion about responsibilities,
    process, or leadership.
  – Lack of agendas, too much or too
    little time for meetings, and a variety
    of other procedural issues are
    related to low-quality decisions.
 Barriers to Effective Decision
 Making and Problem Solving

• Interpersonal Barriers
  – We know from experience that poor
    leadership or a variety of self-
    centered or ego-centered behaviors
    can negatively influence any group.
  – Group cohesion – too much or too
    little - can influence the quality of
    decisions (groupthink).
  Problem Solving Processes

• Processes help individuals and groups
  move from problem identification to
  determination of action appropriate for
  problem needs.
• Processes focus on moving situations,
  issues, or problem from undesirable to
  more desirable states.
  Problem Solving Processes

• Although decision making occurs
  during problem solving, problem-
  solving processes include
  numerous other stages.
• The goal of group-process
  designs is creative decisions that
  will contribute to organizational
  excellence.
    Problem Solving Processes

•   The Standard Agenda
•   Brainstorming
•   The Delphi Technique
•   Nominal Group Process
•   Experientially-Based
    Processes
 Problem Solving Processes

• The Standard Agenda: A Rational
  Model
 – A group application of what John
   Dewey (1910) identified as reflective
   thinking necessary for individual
   problem solving.
   • Diagnostic Phase
   • Solution Phase
 Problem Solving Processes

• The Standard Agenda: A Rational
  Model
 – Diagnostic Phase
   1. Understanding the charge
   2. Understanding and phrasing the
      question
   3. Fact-finding
   4. Setting criteria and limitations
 Problem Solving Processes

• The Standard Agenda: A Rational
  Model
 – Solution Phase
   5. Discovering and selecting solutions
   6. Preparing and presenting the final
      report
   Problem Solving Processes
• Brainstorming
 – This techniques breaks away for
   linear and controlled processes and
   seeks creative thinking based on
   four basic rules:
   •   Criticism is withheld during generation
   •   All ideas are welcome even absurd
   •   Quantity is wanted
   •   Combinations/alternations are sought
   Problem Solving Processes
• Brainstorming
 – Brainstorming has evolved over the
   years to include the use of
   metaphors and fantasy chaining
   • Metaphors are used to stimulate
     innovation and creativity
   • Fantasy chaining is a form of
     brainstorming
   Problem Solving Processes
• Brainstorming
 – Synectics uses both metaphors and
   fantasy chaining
   • Synectics generally refers to a
     facilitated process through which group
     members explore problems in terms of
     what the problem is also like and how it
     can best be described.
   Problem Solving Processes
• The Delphi Technique
 – Designed to balance the influence of
   strong personalities on the problem-
   solving process.
 – This techniques is group problem
   solving conducted through written
   response and critique of situations
   and the responses to those
   situations
   Problem Solving Processes
• The Delphi Technique
 – A group leader, referred to as a
   charging authority, forms the group
   and directs its activities through
   written correspondence.
 – The technique works through the
   centralized direction of the charging
   authority.
   Problem Solving Processes

• The Delphi Technique
 – The effectiveness of the Delphi
   technique rests largely with the
   leader’s understanding of the issues,
   ability to communicate those issues
   to others, and capability in selecting
   competent group members.
   Problem Solving Processes

• The Delphi Technique
 – The Delphi Technique is designed to
   equalize power among group
   members and minimize the
   importance of oral communication
   skills.
 – Written communication skills,
   however, replace oral skills in
   importance and influence.
  Problem Solving Processes

• Nominal Group Process
 – A combination of individual and
   group idea generation.
 – The process begins with individuals
   silently writing down their ideas and
   then reporting them back to the
   group for discussion and decision.
   Problem Solving Processes

• Experientially-Based Processes
 – “Bounded Rationality” (Simon)
   • Individuals often make organizational
     decisions even though realizing that
     their decisions are based on partial
     information.
     – “satisficing” – good enough if not the best
   • We know that the fully rational or ideal
     solutions often is simply not available
     or possible.
End of Chapter 8a
  Increasing Decision-Making and
   Problem-Solving Effectiveness


• Two types of skills are necessary
  for problem solving:
  – Interaction process skills
  – Fact-finding and evaluation skills
  Increasing Decision-Making and
   Problem-Solving Effectiveness

• Interaction process skills
  – Based on an understanding of the
    communication process; an
    awareness of individual
    predispositions, strategies, and
    tactics in a variety of circumstances;
    and knowledge and sensitivity for
    decision-making and problem-
    solving processes.
  Increasing Decision-Making and
   Problem-Solving Effectiveness


• Interaction process skills
  – Interaction process skills help
    individuals and groups structure
    problem-solving discussions, exhibit
    productive individual behaviors, and
    avoid behaviors destructive to
    effective decision making and
    problem solving.
    Increasing Decision-Making and
     Problem-Solving Effectiveness

•   Interaction process skills
    – Seven General Principles (Brilhart)
      1. Focus on the problem before talking
      2. Begin with a single question
      3. Develop a thorough statement of the problem
         analysis
      4. Group agrees on criteria for evaluation
      5. Resist evaluation when generating ideas
      6. Avoid groupthink
      7. Verbally plan for implementation
    Increasing Decision-Making and
     Problem-Solving Effectiveness

•    Interaction                  • Interaction
     process skills                 process skills
    –   Mind Locks (Oech)           – Mind Locks (Oech)
        1.   The right answer         6. To err is wrong
        2.   That’s not logical       7. Play is frivolous
        3.   Follow the rules         8. That’s not my area
        4.   Be practical             9. Don’t be foolish
        5.   Avoid ambiguity          10. I’m not creative
    Increasing Decision-Making and
     Problem-Solving Effectiveness

•   Interaction process skills
    – Lumsden and Lumsden recommend that
      group interactions be characterized by
      encouraging playfulness; by agreeing not
      to judge people or ideas; by engaging in a
      search for different, even bizarre, idea
      relationships; and by consciously
      breaking down barriers.
  Increasing Decision-Making and
   Problem-Solving Effectiveness


• Fact-Finding and Evaluation Skills
  – The quality of information we bring
    to decision-making and problem-
    solving processes directly
    influences the quality of our
    decisions and solutions.
    Increasing Decision-Making and
     Problem-Solving Effectiveness

•   Fact-Finding and Evaluation Skills
    – Lumsden and Lumsden identify four
      general categories of question we can ask
      as we fact-find and evaluate information
      for problem solving and decision making.
      •   Fact
      •   Value
      •   Policy
      •   Prediction
  Increasing Decision-Making and
   Problem-Solving Effectiveness


• Information Criteria
  – Three characteristics of informaiton
    should be considered in forming our
    decision-making rules (Gouran, 1979)
    • Relevancy
    • Sufficiency
    • Plausibility
    Increasing Decision-Making and
     Problem-Solving Effectiveness

•   Information Criteria
    – Relevancy, sufficiency, and plausibility of
      information affect not only individual
      decisions but also the quality of group
      efforts.
    – The sheer volume of information available
      complicates the fact-finding process and
      makes our ability to locate and evaluate
      data of increasing importance.
     Interviews in Organizations

• Informational Interview
  – Interviews are a primary source of
    information.
  – Informational interviews begin with
    careful planning.
  – What we need to know is influenced
    by our ability to define the limits of
    what we do not know.
       Interviews in Organizations

•   Informational Interview
    – When conducting an informational
      interview with another person, the
      interviewer must establish rapport and
      explain the purpose of data collection
      activities.
    – Respondents are more likely to be
      cooperative if fact-finders introduce
      themselves with credentials and establish
      a need for the type of questions to be
      asked.
        Interviews in Organizations

•   Informational Interview
    – Five principles that contribute to success
      during the questioning phase Kahn & Cannell)
      1. Use language appropriate to the respondent.
      2. Be sure the questions are clearly related to the
         purpose of the interview.
      3. Be certain the informant has the information
         you want.
      4. Avoid questions that are overly complex.
      5. Avoid questions that ask the respondent to
         violate a social norm
     Interviews in Organizations

• Informational Interview
  – Effective fact-finders frequently
    close informational interviews by
    asking for any additional information
    the respondent would care to offer.
    Interviews in Organizations

• The Employment Interview
 – Provides an opportunity to
   determine if the match between you
   and a particular job is right.
    Interviews in Organizations

• The Performance-Appraisal
  Interview
 – This interview becomes one of the
   most important communication
   events that contribute to individual
   development and overall
   organizational performance.
       Interviews in Organizations

•   The Performance-Appraisal Interview
    – The general purpose of the performance-
      appraisal interview is to exchange
      between a supervisor/manager and an
      individual contributor information about
      the adequacy of performance and to
      establish needs for development.
    – The effective performance-appraisal
      interview is essential to competency
      development.
    Interviews in Organizations

• The Performance-Appraisal
  Interview
 – When we avoid feedback because of
   our apprehension or lack of
   communication skills, we are limiting
   individual development and
   contributing to overall organizational
   ineffectiveness.
          Interviews in Organizations

•   The Complaint Interview
    – Two general types:
      •    Grievance interview
      •    Disciplinary interview
    – Although difficult in nature, grievance
      interviews can support productive
      problem solving, especially when they are
      conducted shortly after a problem
      becomes troublesome.
       Interviews in Organizations

•   The Complaint Interview
    – The disciplinary interview confronts a
      violation of organizational rules, norms,
      and performance expectations.
    – When conducted effectively, the
      disciplinary interview can improve
      individual performance and in many cases
      prevent more serious action.
    Interviews in Organizations

• The Counseling Interview
 – Involves and individual seeking
   advice and assistance from another
   organizational member or members.
 – People seeking counseling are
   asking others to provide support and
   assistance with problems.
       Interviews in Organizations

•   The Media Interview
    – This involves representing the
      organization or department with
      statements to the press.
    – Media interviews are most successful
      when you can formulate a clear objective
      for your statements with a limited number
      of key assertions.
     Interviews in Organizations

• Increasing Interview Effectiveness
  – Preparation is the key to
    effectiveness for all type of
    interviews.
  – Focus on the Employment Interview
       Interviews in Organizations

•   Presentations in Organizations
    – Organizations in our information society
      depend more than ever before on
      individuals transferring information
      through presentational speaking.
    – Surveys of top management in major
      organizations consistently suggest that
      employees have deficiencies in
      presentation skills.
    Interviews in Organizations

• Presentations in Organizations
 – Organizational presentations are
   characterized by a high degree of
   audience involvement.
 – Most organizational presenters must
   respond to questions and answers
   during and following presentations.
    Interviews in Organizations

• Types of Organizational
  Presentations
 – Training/Educational Presentations
 – Informational Presentations
 – Persuasive Presentations
    Interviews in Organizations

• Increasing Presentation
  Effectiveness
 – Increasing credibility
 – Audience and context analysis
 – Preparation of material
 – Preparation for presenting
 – Handling Participation
    Interviews in Organizations

• Communications Technology in
  Organizations
 – Preparation for communications
   technology
Fundamentals of Organizational
      Communication

   Participating in Organizations:
  Developing Critical Organizational
   Communication Competencies

            Chapter Eight

				
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