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15 Chapter - Communicating CHAPTER 15 COMMUNICATING KEY STUDENT QUESTIONS Students want to know how they can communicate more effectively, and why communications often break down (especially communications between employees and their managers.) Frequently asked questions include: 1. How can I reduce the potential of sending messages that get misinterpreted? 2. Why do some people misread nonverbal communication? 3. What is the best way for me to communicate with my manager? 4. With more people doing business with foreign countries, what is the best way to overcome barriers in communication, when their customs, language, and ways of doing business are different than yours? Answers to Student Questions 1. To reduce the potential of sending messages that will be misinterpreted, the sender has to be aware of the receiver before, during, and after the transmission of the message. As the textbook points out, there are four key steps to reducing misinterpretation: 1) Ensure that the receivers attend to the message they are sending; 2) Consider the other partys frame of reference and attempt to convey the message from that perceptual viewpoint; 3) Take concrete steps to minimize perceptual errors and improper signals in both sending and receiving; and 4) Send consistent messages. 2. People misread nonverbal communication because it is often part of a mixed message - the nonverbal communication may be saying one thing, but the verbal communication is saying something else entirely. Also, people misread non-verbal communication because they dont pay close attention to it - for example, they may look and see that someone is smiling, but not notice that the smile is only on the mouth - not in the eyes. Finally, display rules for emotional expression vary by culture1, so that while people from difference cultures may express emotion in the same way physically (e.g., by smiling), cultures vary about the amount of expression they will display in public. 3. The best way to communicate with your boss is the way he or she prefers. Some bosses like to get information verbally - others would prefer written communications. Find out what your boss likes, and communicate that way. In addition, most bosses prefer regular updates to spur of the moment conversations. So take the time to prepare a brief update every week or two, to keep the boss current on your activities and projects. 4. While it is important to understand cultural differences, it is equally important to understand that labeling a problem as cultural can mask the real issue. Consider, for example, the American marketing executive who was having trouble with an Indian engineer. She lived in New York, and he lived in the Silicon Valley. Finally, things got bad enough that the marketing executive flew to San Jose, to thrash out her differences with the engineer face-to-face. Within an hour they were laughing and talking, and the marketing executive admitted, It has nothing to do with his being from Indian hes an engineer and Im in marketing!2 . 1 2 Matsumoto, David. People: Psychology from a Cultural Perspective. Brooks/Cole, 1994 Van Slyke, Erik J. Listening to Conflict: Finding Constructive Solutions to Workplace Disputes. AMACOM, 1999. 15-1 Chapter 15 - Communicating CLASS PREWORK ASSIGNMENT EXPERIENTIAL EXERCISE 15.1 - NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION Objectives 1. To become more conscious of nonverbal messages. Suggested responses Students will evaluate each of the nonverbal communication media. While each students examples will discuss different messages, most students will mention smiles and facial expressions as key non-verbal behaviors. If your students come from a diverse background, this exercise can be a jumping off point for the differences in non-verbal behavior by culture. TT Teaching Tips: 1. When assigning this exercise, the instructor might review each of the nonverbal communication methods and demonstrate two or three examples of each behavior. 2. This exercise can be used in a classroom setting either by having the students look around the room and observe their peers (their posture, facial expressions, etc.) or by assigning pairs of students to role play a series of situationswith the other students evaluating the participants. The selected students would need to be provided with a short description of how they should act. 3. If you are using this exercise to discuss cultural differences and non-verbal behaviors, group students by the culture of the person they interviewed. Then ask them to look for similarities and differences between the non-verbal behaviors of the people they interviewed. Students may find that there are more differences and fewer similarities than they think! It is important to point out that just because people are from the same place, they dont necessarily have the same culture. USING THE UNFOLDING CASE CAN JETBLUE WEATHER THE STORM? Show students David Neelemans March message on You Tube. JetBlue faced a storm similar to the February storm the following month. This is Neelemans update to customers on the way the airline handled the second storm. Ask students to analyze two things - 1) how effectively JetBlue responded to the potential crisis, and 2) how effective David Neeleman was in communicating his message to customers. Finally, ask students to imagine that they were one of the passengers stranded on a JetBlue plane for 10 hours on Valentines Day, 2007. To what extent would they be willing to fly with the company again, given Neelemans message on You Tube? 15-2 Chapter 15 - Communicating CLASS ROADMAP I. OBJECTIVE 1. DISCUSS IMPORTANT ADVANTAGES OF TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION. A. Interpersonal Communication 1. Communication is the transmission of information and meaning from one party to another through the use of shared symbols. (Figure 15.1) a. b. c. d. The Sender initiates the process by conveying information to the receiver. The Receiver is the person for whom the message is intended. The receiver decodes the message and attempts to interpret the senders meaning. The receiver may provide feedback to the sender by encoding a message in response to the senders message. e. The communication process is often hampered by noise or interference in the system that blocks perfect understanding. t Example: Ask the class to draw a picture of a flower. Dont give any instruction except Draw a flower, even if the class pressures you to do so. You will get many different types of drawings - walk around the room and hand chalk to five or six people so they can put their drawings on the chalkboard. Now show the class a picture or drawing of the flower you had in mind when you gave the instruction, and ask them why their drawings dont match that picture. The class will quickly inform you that there is something wrong with the communication process. Use this as a starting point to describe the model - you, the sender, encoded a picture of a flower, and transmitted it to your class - the receivers. They, in turn, decoded what you said and gave you feedback (their drawings.) However, the communication process was likely to be hindered by noise (the class might have been hungry, sleepy or distracted, and people from different places have different ideas of what flowers look like.) Talk about how using a different communication medium (such as showing the class a picture, and saying draw this) might have changed the outcome of the process. . Student Discussion Question 1: Think of an occasion when you faced a miscommunication problem. What do you think caused the problem? How do you think it should have been handled better? B. One-way versus two-way communication 1. One-way communication is a process in which information flows in only one directionfrom the sender to the receiver, with no feedback loop. 2. Two-way communication is a process in which information flows in two directions the receiver provides feedback and the sender is receptive to the feedback. t Student Discussion Question 3: Think back to discussions you have heard or participated in. Consider the differences between one-way and two-way communication. How can two one-ways be turned into a true two way? 15-3 Chapter 15 - Communicating II. OBJECTIVE 2. IDENTIFY COMMUNICATION PROBLEMS TO AVOID A. Errors can occur in all stages of the communication process. 1. Encoding stage words can be misused, decimal points typed in wrong, facts left out, or ambiguous phrases inserted. 2. Transmission stage memos get lost, words on overhead are too small to read from far away, or words are spoken with ambiguous inflections. 3. Decoding problems arise when the receiver doesnt listen carefully or reads too quickly and overlooks a key point. a. Receivers can misinterpret the message. . . Student Discussion Question 2: Have you ever NOT given someone information or opinions that perhaps you should have? Why? Was it the right thing to do? Why or why not? What would cause you to be glad that you provided (or withheld) negative or difficult information? What would cause you to regret providing/withholding it? Example: Albert Fernandez, a State Department official, was interview on AlJazeera television late in 2006. In that interview, he said, in Arabic, "History will decide what role the United States played. And God willing, we tried to do our best in Iraq. But I think there is a big possibility (inaudible) for extreme criticism and because undoubtedly there was arrogance and stupidity from the United States in Iraq."3 The statement caused an uproar in U.S. government circles, where it was perceived as being critical of U.S. foreign policy. However, a CNN interview with Fernandez offered a different interpretation. Fernandez told CNN he was replying to a question about how people will assess the United States in the future, and he said he thought that was how the country would be judged. He was defending U.S. policy in a region where everyone dislikes the United States, he said, and was doing so in an aggressive way that was faithful to U.S. policy, and trying to put it in the best light. Fernandez said he was "not dissing U.S. policy." "I know what the policy is and what the red lines are, and nothing I said hasn't been said before by senior officials," the diplomat told CNN. "Nothing I said during this interview broke new ground." TT 3 What went wrong in this communication process? Teaching Tip: Have your students enter the word misspoke into Google or another search engine. What kinds of stories and examples come up? Ask them to pick three and bring them to class. Then put them in groups and ask them to classify the problems in the stories and, as a group, discuss what could have been done to avoid the communication problems they see. B. Problems caused by perceptual and filtering processes. From CNN website: 15-4 Chapter 15 - Communicating 1. Perception is the process of receiving and interpreting information. 2. Filtering is the process of withholding, ignoring, or distorting information. 15-5 Chapter 15 - Communicating C. Mixed signals and misperception 1. People dont pay attention to everything going on around them. 2. Communication between people from different cultures presents communication breakdowns. . Student Discussion Question 5: Report examples of mixed signals you have received (or sent). How can you reduce the potential for misunderstanding and misinterpretation as you communication with others? Management Close-Up Questions: Good communication may be even more important during a crisis than during normal times. How might communication pitfalls have changed the course for JetBlue? What did the firm do right? and After the crisis, David Neeleman argued that federal regulations limiting wait times for planes already on the tarmac was a bad idea. He argued that it hampered airlines flexibility to respond to changing conditions. What signals does this send? 3. Problems could be avoided if people took the time to: (Table 15.1) a. Ensure that the receivers attend to the message they are sending b. Consider the other partys frame of reference and attempt to convey the message from that perceptual viewpoint c. Take concrete steps to minimize perceptual errors and improper signals in both sending and receiving d. Send consistent messages. III. OBJECTIVE 3. DESCRIBE WHEN AND HOW TO USE THE VARIOUS COMMUNICATION CHANNELS A. Oral and written channels 1. Oral communication includes: a. Face-to-face discussion b. Telephone conversations c. Formal presentations and speeches. 2. Written communication includes: a. Memos b. Letters c. Reports d. Computer files 3. Electronic media a. Advantages: i. Sharing more information ii. Speed and efficiency in delivering routine messages to large numbers of people across vast geographic areas. iii. Inexpensive b. Disadvantages: i. Difficulty of solving complex problems ii. Inability to pick up subtle, nonverbal, or inflectional clues about what the communicator is thinking or conveying. iii. The virtual office is mobile, in which people can work anywhere, as long as they have the tools to communicate with customers and colleagues. 15-6 Chapter 15 - Communicating iv. Managing the electronic load 15-7 Chapter 15 - Communicating . . B. The Virtual Office Example: Dan Brown, author of the bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code, wrote an earlier book titled The Digital Fortress. On his website,, he lists several surprising lawsuits involving privacy in the workplace, especially as it applies to electronic communications. Lawsuits include Shoars vs. Epson where an employee was fired for not agreeing to monitor employee e-mail; Bourke vs. Nissan Motors Corp. where an employee was fired for sending personal messages on company e-mail; and Smythe vs. The Pillsbury Co. where an employee was fired after making inappropriate comments to his supervisor in an e-mail. In all three of the above cases, courts ruled that employees do not have a right to privacy when using corporate electronic communications. Student Discussion Question 4: Share with the class some of your experiences - both good and bad - with electronic media. 1. A mobile office in which people can work anywhere, as long as they have the tools to communicate with customers and colleagues. 2. Long term impact on productivity may be mixed: a. Positives i. Able to close branch offices ii. Salespeople can spend more time with customers iii. Most people like the flexibility b. Negatives i. Loss of human moments ii. Some people hate being forced to work at home iii. Long hours can cause burnout iv. Direct supervision may be necessary to maintain quality of work. . INFORMATION. Student Discussion Question 9: Refer to the section on The Virtual Office. What do you think will be the long-term impact of the mobile office on job satisfaction and performance? If you were a manager, how would you maximize the benefits and minimize the drawback? If you worked in this environment, how would you manage yourself to maximize your performance and avoid burnout? C. Communications networks 1. Media richness is the amount of information a medium conveys. 2. Send difficult and unusual messages through rich media, more routine messages through poorer media. (Tables 15.2 and 15.3) IV. OBJECTIVE 4. SUMMARIZE WAYS TO BECOME A BETTER SENDER AND RECEIVER OF A. Improving sender skills 1. Presentation and persuasion skills (Table 15.4) 2. Writing skills 15-8 Chapter 15 - Communicating 3. Language 15-9 Chapter 15 - Communicating . B. Nonverbal skills 1. 2. 3. 4. C. Improving receiver skills Student Discussion Question 10: Have you ever made or seen mistakes due to people not speaking a common language well? How do you or will you deal with others who do not speak the same language as you? Use time appropriately Office arrangement should be conducive to open communication Body language Nonverbal signals in different countries 1. Listening (Table 15.5) a. Reflection is a process by which a person states what he or she believes the other person is saying. t Student Discussion Question 6: What makes you want to say to someone, Youre not listening!? . EXERCISE 15.2 - LISTENING SKILLS SURVEY Objectives 1. To measure your skills as a listener. 2. To gain insight into factors that determine good listening habits. 3. To demonstrate how you can become a better listener. Suggested responses Student responses will vary. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10 . I tend to be patient with the speaker, making sure she or he is finished speaking before I respond in any fashion. When listening I dont doodle or fiddle with papers and things that might distract me from the speaker. I attempt to understand the speakers point of view I try not to put the speaker on the defensive by arguing or criticizing. When I listen, I focus on the speakers feelings. I let a speakers annoying mannerisms distract me. While the speaker is talking, I watch carefully for facial expressions and other types of body language. I never talk when the other person is trying to say something. During a conversation, a period of silence seems awkward to me. I want people to just give me the facts and allow me to make up my own mind. 5 5 4 5 5 3 4 4 4 5 15-10 Chapter 15 - Communicating 11 . When the speaker is finished, I respond to his or her feelings. 4 15-11 Chapter 15 - Communicating 12 . 13 . 14 . 15 . 16 . 17 . 18 . 19 . 20 . 21 . I dont evaluate the speakers words until she or he is finished talking. 3 I formulate my response while the speaker is still talking. 1 I never pretend that Im listening when Im not. 4 I can focus on message content even if the delivery is poor. 4 I encourage the speaker with frequent nods, smiles, and other forms of body language. Sometimes I can predict what someone is going say before she or he says it. Even if a speaker makes me angry, I hold my temper. 5 I maintain good eye contact with the speaker. 5 I try to focus on the speakers message, not his or her delivery. 5 If I am confused by a statement someone makes, I never respond until I have asked for and received adequate clarification. 4 4 4 Suggested Responses to Discussion Questions 1. In what ways did students responses on the survey agree or disagree? Student responses will vary and therefore may they may agree or disagree with various statements depending on how they rate themselves as listeners. 2. What do you think accounts for the differences? How well a person listens accounts for the differences in the survey scores. I good listener may have higher scores than a poor listener. 3. How can the results of this survey be put to practical uses? Students with low scores may want to take corrective measures to become better listeners. TT Teaching Tips: 1. This survey can provoke some negative feelings and defensive reactions on the part of some students. Poor listeners may be especially irritated by the survey questions and the issues they provoke. The instructor may wish to ask students, before they start, whether or not they think they are good listeners. 2. After the group spokespersons have made their presentations, the class might brainstorm ways to become good listeners. . 15-12 Chapter 15 - Communicating EXERCISE 15.3 - ACTIVE LISTENING Purpose: To practice techniques for effective listening Time: 30-50 min. 15-13 Chapter 15 - Communicating Resources/Set-up: Need groups of three, copy of the observation rating form (in chapter), list of potential topics to be used (see chapter) Activity Instructions: See chapter Discussion/Debrief: See questions in the text. Some points worth emphasizing relative to these questions include: 1. 2. Behaviors that lead to effective communication and problem resolution. The list of hindering factors should reinforce barriers to effective listening. 3. & 4. If the assigned position was opposite the student's actual position, some might note the difficulty of being persuasive. Others might note how taking the opposite position enabled them to put themselves in the other's shoes more easilya kind of forced empathy. It's also possible that if the topic was uninteresting or didn't resonate for the student/s, there may have been no discernible difference on which position was taken. This question can be discussed in small groups or as a large class discussion. 2. Reading 3. Observing D. Effective Supervision V. OBJECTIVE 5. EXPLAIN HOW TO IMPROVE DOWNWARD, UPWARD, AND HORIZONTAL COMMUNICATION A. Downward communication 1. Information overload a. Information loss (Figure 15.2) 2. Lack of openness 3. Filtering a. Coaching is dialogue with a goal of helping another be more effective and achieve his or her full potential on the job. . Student Discussion Question 11: Have you ever tried to coach someone? What did you do well, and what mistakes did you make? How can you become a better coach? Student Discussion Question 12: Have you ever been coached by someone? What did he or she do well? and what mistakes were made? How was it for you to be on the receiving end of the coaching, and how did you respond? What is required to be successful as the receiver of someone elses coaching attempts? b. Downward communication in difficult times. c. Open-book management is the practice of sharing with employees at all levels of the organization vital information previously meant for managements eyes-only. 15-14 Chapter 15 - Communicating . Student Discussion Question 7: What do you think about the practice of open-book management? What would you think about it if you were running your own company? Management Close-Up Questions: Describe JetBlues organizational communication during difficult times. What channels did it use and how well did it do? Could the firm have done anything better? and Good horizontal communication is crucial among top managers at JetBlue as the firm undergoes a transformation. Describe steps these managers can take to improve upward and downward communication as well. B. Upward communication travels from lower to higher ranks in the hierarchy. 1. Managing upward communication. a. Managers should facilitate upward communication. b. Managers should motivate people to provide valid information. t Example Transportation companies invest millions of dollars in the purchase and maintenance of their equipment; they may not be making the necessary investment in employees states Chuck Udell of Essential Action Design Group. To address this problem Mr. Udell feels every company should communicate three clarities to employees: companys direction focus on goals, where the company is headed, and the companys gross profit goal. In this way employees will know how they contribute to profitability, understand their responsibilities and have a clear measurement of expectations and quantitative analysis. To promote open communication, companies must practice open book management.4 C. Horizontal communication is information shared among people on the same hierarchical level. 1. It allows sharing of information, coordination, and problem solving among units. 2. It helps solve conflicts. 3. It provides social and emotional support to people, by allowing interaction among peers. VI. OBJECTIVE 6. SUMMARIZE HOW TO WORK WITH THE COMPANY GRAPEVINE. A. Formal communications 1. Official, organization-sanctioned episodes of information transmission. B. Informal communication is 1. More unofficial. 2. Gossip 3. Rumors t Student Discussion Question 8: Discuss organizational rumors you have heard: what they were about, how they got started, how accurate they were, and how people reacted to them. What lessons can you learn from these episodes? C. Managing informal communication 1. Managers should talk to the key people involved to get the facts and their perspectives. 4 Trailer Body Builders. Employee Retention. July 1, 2007. pg. 317. 15-15 Chapter 15 - Communicating 2. Suggestions for preventing rumors from starting include: a. Explaining things that are important but have not been explained b. Dispel uncertainties by providing facts c. Work to establish open communications and trust over time. d. Neutralize rumors once they have started. t Example: Managers can and do take steps to prevent rumors about the company. Yarde Metals, under the direction of Craig Yarde, the companys founder, decided to move to an open-book management style in 1996. After going through a financially difficult year, employees who were accustomed to receiving some type of annual bonus didnt get anything. Employees had a mistrust of the company, thinking the company was holding back. Upon speaking with employees and realizing most employees had no clue how much the company made in annual profit, he opened the books.5 . VII. Student Discussion Question 13: Think about how companies communicate with Wall Street and the media, and how analysts on TV communicate with viewers. What concepts from the chapter apply, and how can you become a more astute consumer of such information? OBJECTIVE 7. DESCRIBE THE BOUNDARYLESS ORGANIZATION AND ITS ADVANTAGES. A. Boundaryless organizations have no barriers to information flow. 1. As a result, information gets where its needed quickly B. Four kinds of boundaries 1. Floors and ceilings - separate organizational levels 2. Walls that separate rooms - separate different units and departments 3. External walls - separate the organization from external stakeholders 4. Global boundaries - separate domestic from global operations C. Techniques for breaking boundaries at GE 1. Workout program - meetings across multiple hierarchical levels 2. Benchmarking competitors 3. Placing different functions together physically 4. Sharing services across different units 5. Sharing physical locations with customers t Example: In their book The Boundaryless Organization, Noel Tichy and his coauthors describe several different boundaryless organizations, including General Re, a large reinsurer which uses marketers as customer advocates, and SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, which involved over one hundred people in a discussion about how its support system for worldwide sales should be reorganized. 6 5 Marquez, Jessica. Opening up the books to win workers trust. Workforce Management. June 25, 2007, pg. 45. 6 Ashkenas, Ronald N., Ulrich, Dave, Prahalad, C.K., Jick, Todd. The Boundaryless Organization: Breaking the Chains of Organizational Structure. Jossey Bass, 2002. 15-16 Chapter 15 - Communicating CONCLUDING CASE: ROCK ON Case Summary: . The band Rock On wants to make it big in the music industry. This four-member group is fairly popular in a variety of venues. They play mostly original music and have a genuine love for entertaining others with their talents. However, this group has consistently failed to achieve their 10-year aspiration of making it big within the industry. The members are now afraid that soon they will be too old to ever achieve their dream. In an attempt to gain a better position in the industry, the group has made themselves well known in Boston, Hartford, and New Haven. The band members are also well networked throughout the entire surrounding metropolitan areas. Even though most music connoisseurs agree the group is great and plays excellent music, achievement of industry fame has continued to elude them. Inspired by younger, less talented groups making it to the top, these four band members are determined to give this last chance for success their best effort. Chapter Topics Related to the Case: Discuss the concept of communication Identify the importance of having effective communication skills Describe various communication problems that a group like the Rock-n-Roll Idiots may encounter Identify various communication channels a music group like the Idiots may engage Identify and discuss methods to improve communication Case Discussion Questions: 1. What specific communication techniques from the text should this group begin to incorporate into their activities, both on and off stage? Suggested Response: Suggested responses may identify such techniques as avoiding sending mixed signals when they are performing or are off stage, develop and utilize effective nonverbal communication skills, work to become better senders and receivers of information, and learn to listen well and hear what others are actually saying. 2. Effective communication with the right people could lead this group to the achievement of its goals. Once these meetings and opportunities are established, how would you recommend that the group proceed? Suggested Response: Suggested responses to this question may include information such as the following. The group members would need to display effective listening skills and have an appropriate command of non-verbal communication skills. They need to hear and clearly understand what is being told to them. This is heading them into new territory, so to speak, and it is in their own best interests not to misinterpret what is stated to them. Effective use of non-verbal language can convey to others that this group is confident and ready for the big time. 15-17 Chapter 15 - Communicating 15-18 Chapter 15 - Communicating 3. What forms of non-verbal communication should this group incorporate into its efforts to achieve success? Suggested Response: People send and interpret signals other than those that are spoken or written. Nonverbal messages can support or undermine the stated message. This group may want to incorporate the following non-verbal communication forms into its efforts: (1) use positive nonverbal signals that express warmth, respect, concern, a feeling of equality, and a willingness to listen such as smiling and nodding of the head, (2) use time appropriately, and (3) use appropriate body language during the conversation. Additional Discussion Questions: 1. As the case study indicates, there appears to be a lack of two-way communication occurring between the Rock-n-Roll Idiots and their fans. The group performs, attempts to make a few sales of their recordings to the spectators, and then the band members go back to their everyday lives. Identify the advantages achieved from using an effective two-way communication process versus only a one-way process. Suggested Response: One-way communication flows from the sender to the receiver with no feedback loop. In two-way communication on the other hand, each person is both a sender and a receiver as both parties provide and react to information. One-way communication is faster and easier but less accurate than two-way. Two-way communication is more accurate and usually results in better performance. 2. This group seems to be handling its communication process ineffectively or at least not as well as some others do. Identify communication problems that should be avoided by individuals engaging in the communication process. Suggested Response: Problems in the communication process can occur at any or all of the stages such as encoding, transmission, decoding, and interpreting. Noise in the communication system serves as a factor contributing to ineffective communication by creating distortion. Feedback may be unavailable or misleading. Also, subjective perceptions and filtering may add to the ineffectiveness of the communication process. SUGGESTED RESPONSES TO THE END-OF-CHAPTER DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. Think of an occasion when you faced a miscommunication problem. What do you think caused the problem? How do you think it should have been handled better? Communication is the transmission of information and meaning from one party to another, and miscommunications can occur in all stages of the process ranging from sender and receiver error to noise and inadequate feedback. Sender error The sender encodes the message incorrectly. He or she knows what message is intended but doesnt use the right words or uses an inappropriate form of transmission. 15-19 Chapter 15 - Communicating Receiver error The receiver receives the message (so communication did occur) but decodes it incorrectly. For example, he or she may read the memo and not understand it, or may filter the message through personal biases and interpret it incorrectly. Noise The reception of the message may be interfered with by surrounding noise (such as the TV set, a barking dog, a dripping faucet, or a group of loud friends). Feedback There may be no feedback at all, or the feedback may not give any indication that miscommunication has occurred. Most miscommunications can be avoided by the sender ensuring that the message is correctly encoded and transmitted in an appropriate and relatively noise free manner to the receiverand that the sender receives feedback that demonstrates that the receiver fully understands the communication. If the sharing of information is essential to achieve a specific goal or objective, it may be necessary to base the compensation of the two parties on the result of their job efforts. In this way, they will see the impact of failing to share the required information. 2. Have you ever not given information someone or opinions that perhaps you should have? Why? Was it the right thing to do? Why or why not? What would cause you to be glad that you provided (or withheld) negative or difficult information? What would cause you to regret providing/with-holding it? Student responses will vary. However, there are times one should not communicate openly because his or her opinion may be from a different culture that could offend someone else. Sometimes the least said is truly the better form of communication. Students must be aware and they must consider the non-verbal communication form. The right thing to do is to understand the receiver of such communication and the meaning of the communication that will be interpreted before anything is said or expressed non-verbally. One could be glad to withhold negative or difficult communication because it would not offend the receiver of such communication. One must understand the risk associated of the communication richness to offend or attack someone else because they may take this information in a personal sense. Communication of this type should be issue-oriented and not taken to attack the personality of the receiver. One may regret withholding communication because the receiver did not benefit or know the result of such information. It must be communicated if it is important and if the benefits outweigh the costs of providing this form of communication. 3. Think back to discussions and dialogues you have heard. Talk about the differences between a discussion and a dialogue. How can a discussion be turned into a constructive dialogue? A discussion consists of two or more individuals essentially making points with regard to an issue. The comments of one individual are often unrelated to those of the previous speaker, and each has the goal of converting the others point of view. By contrast, a dialogue is more of a discussion of ideas. The goal is not to win but to explore complex issues. 15-20 Chapter 15 - Communicating A discussion can be turned into a dialogue by the use of a moderator whose role is to coordinate and direct the discussion. This individual can pick up on one persons comments and, by rephrasing them and turning them into a question, allow the other person to respond and react to the issue rather than introducing a different issue or topic. The moderator can also establish an objective for the dialogue (such as reaching a decision on a specific issue) and thus give a focus to the interaction. He or she can keep pulling the discussants back to the central objective. 4. Share with the class some of your experiencesboth good and badwith electronic media. Electronic media can involve written communications (e-mail and fax machines) and verbal communications (teleconferencing and videoconferencing). The advantages are generally that of speed and efficiency in delivering messages to a large number of people across vast geographic areas. They lead people to interact more frequently and, while e-mail and fax machines provide a written record of the communication, teleconferencing and videoconferencing provide immediate contact and feedback. The disadvantages include the difficulty of solving complex problems (which require more extended, face-to-face, interaction) and the difficult people have in picking up subtle, nonverbal, or inflectional clues about what the communicator is thinking. There is another disadvantage, which is of growing concern, and that is the security issue. Communications, using any form of electronic media, are susceptible to interception and misuse. 5. Report examples of mixed signals you have received (or sent). How can you reduce the potential for misunderstanding and misperception as you communicate with others? Most students will be able to provide examplesboth from their business experiences and personal lives of situations in which they either received mixed signals or were guilty of sending them. The comment drop in when you are in the neighborhood is often found to be a mixed signal. Visitors often find that it was not an open-ended invitation so much as a general interest in getting together at a mutually convenient time. Telling somebody that you love the desert may result in it being provided for every visit when the visitor was merely being polite. A number of steps can be taken to reduce the potential for misunderstanding and misconceptions. In both verbal and written communications, the key step is to make sure that it says exactly what you want to say. Having a friend or colleague act, as a sounding board can be a useful step. Analyzing the communication and deciding exactly what you want to achieve from it can be another effective step. How do you want the receiver to respond to the communication? Do you want the receiver to be enthusiastic or indifferent? Mad or passive? Do you want the receiver to merely be aware of something or do you want action taken? Equally importantly, you need to make sure that the mode of communication is consistent with the objectives. For example, if you are going to fire somebody, a face-to-face meeting is far more appropriate than a telephone call since it allows for greater personal interaction. Firing somebody by letter of fax machine is very cold and impersonal. However, even that is better than having somebody else call the individual and leaving a message on his or her answering machine (a true example). 6. What makes you want to say to someone, Youre not listening!? This phrase can be used in a number of situations if the other person doesnt respond at all to your question or statement or if his or her comment bears absolutely no relationship to your previous statement, you might well say, Youre not listening! However, good manners might suggest that you repeat your previous communication. 15-21 Chapter 15 - Communicating A more common usage of the phrase is when something has been explained a number of times, and the response of the other party indicates that the message is still not understood. Here the meaning is more that the other party is not listening carefully enough, and is failing to pick up on key clues in the conversation. 7. What do you think about the practice of open-book management? What would you think about it if you were running your own company? Open-book management is the concept of allowing all personnel within a company to have access to any informationeven financial information. In its ultimate form, employees are taught to understand revenues and costs, productivity, and strategic priorities. The advantage of this practice is that it creates an environment of honesty and openness that many firms believe leads to greater motivation and productivity. If people really understand the companys situation then they will appreciate their roles and their importance in its success. The disadvantage of this practice is that your competitors can very readily find out everything that they want to know about your company while you know nothing about their operations and plans. This can give them a substantial competitive advantage. Furthermore, providing employees with unlimited information on the companys financial situation and plans may well lead to employee dissatisfaction over compensation, career opportunities, etc. The firm may decide that it has had a very good year and thus can afford to invest in new equipment, the hiring of a consultant, etc. The employees, by contrast, might prefer that the profitability be reflected in their compensation. Similarly, knowing that the company is going to discontinue a specific business may make those individuals in that business area very dissatisfied. From a managerial perspective, students will probably be split on whether or not open-book management is a good idea. However, most will probably indicate that they would prefer to work for such a firm. 8. Discuss organizational rumors you have heard: what they were about, how they got started, how accurate they were, and how people reacted to them. What lessons can you learn from these episodes? Rumors may deal with actions, events, and people and can range from being totally accurate to complete fabrications. They can be started by people reading or hearing a piece of information that they then pass on to others, who pass it on to others, and so on. What may have been an accurate piece of information in the original telling may become badly distorted as it passes down the line. In other instances, rumors start because of information being misread or misunderstood while, in some cases, malicious individuals wishing to cause trouble start them. People generally react emotionally to rumors (which is normally the objective of the individual passing on the rumor) and thus are motivated to pass it on. If the rumor is favorable (such as the department is moving into new office space), their reaction will be favorable if they favor the move and negative if they do not. Very often rumors of unfavorable events can cause considerable harm to the organization. Ideally, individuals should check the validity of information before passing it on. However, they are often not in a position to do so and, in any case, it would spoil the delight associated with passing on the rumor. From a managerial perspective, every attempt should be made to avoid the leakage of information until the company is ready to make a formal announcement. 9. Refer to the section on The Virtual Office. What do you think will be the long-term impact of the mobile office on job satisfaction and performance? If you were a manager, how would you maximize the benefits and minimize the drawbacks? If you worked in this environment, how would you manage yourself to maximize your performance and avoid burnout? 15-22 Chapter 15 - Communicating Different people will probably react differently. Some will enjoy the opportunity of working out of their homes and on the road and will perform at the same or even higher level. These will be those individuals who like the flexibility of working alone, do not rely on a group environment, and are personally well organized. By contrast, other people will find it an extremely unsatisfying environment. They will miss the structured environment of a regular office and the contacts with other people. They will find it hard to apply themselves to daily tasks and probably will be far less productive. For them, the mobile or virtual office will be a distinct change for the worst. A manager, with subordinates working out of virtual offices, can aim to maximize the benefits and minimize the disadvantages by holding regular group meetings with the members of the team (to provide group support and interaction) and spending more time with them on a one-on-one basis (to provide leadership, direction, and assistance). He or she can also contact each of the members of the team on a daily basis just to make sure no one is experiencing a problem. From the individual perspective, you have to structure your day to make it productive. Timemanagement becomes far more important, and you have to maintain a firm schedule of work and avoid being interrupted. You need to ensure that you keep in periodic contact with your superior and colleagues. 10. Have you ever made or seen mistakes due to people not speaking a common language well? How do you or will you deal with others who do not speak the same language as you? Cross-cultural communication poses additional challenges in the workplace. A number of strategies can be employed; however, to ease communication between coworkers who do not share a common first language: 1. When there is silence, wait. Do not jump in to fill the silence. The other person is probably just thinking more slowly in the nonnative language. 2. Do not equate poor grammar and mispronunciation with lack of intelligence; it is usually a sign of nonnative language use. 3. Enunciate each word. Do not use colloquial expressions. 4. Repeat each important idea using different words to explain the same concept. 5. Avoid long compound sentences and passive words. 6. Use as many visual restatements as possible, such as pictures, graphs, tables, and slides. 7. Use facial and appropriate hand gestures to emphasize the meaning of words. 8. Act out as many themes as possible. 9. Pause more frequently. 11. Have you ever tried to coach someone? What did you do well, and what mistakes did you make? How can you become a better coach? Students are likely to report a variety of experiences where they attempted to coach someone. Examples might include professional relationships where they were in a supervisory position, sports teams, or even providing a friend or coworker with feedback. When giving coaching to someone it is important to remember the following: 1. Use reflection repeat and clarify what you believe the other person is saying. 2. Listen place a greater emphasis on listening than on talking. When someone really listens, people feel that they and their opinions matter and that their ideas and contributions are valued. 3. Observe nonverbal cues reading body language can help a coach determine how well the discussion is going and to make adjustments. 4. Ask a lot of questions good coaching is a true dialogue between two committed people. 5. Encourage others to think for themselves coaching is about helping people to think through and solve their own problems. 15-23 Chapter 15 - Communicating 12. Have you ever been coached by someone? What did he or she do well, and what mistakes were made? How was it for you to be on the receiving end of the coaching, and how did you respond? What is required to be successful as the receiver of someone elses coaching attempts? Many students are more likely to have been in the role of coachee rather than coach. Their experiences with being on the receiving end of coaching are likely to vary based on the quality of the coaching they received, as well as other factors such as their own personalities and abilities to receive coaching. To be a successful receiver of coaching it is important to remember: 1. The goal of coaching is to help another person be more effective and achieve his or her full potential, not simply to criticize. 2. Being a good listener goes both ways. Not only should the coach be paying attention to the employees concerns, but also the coachee should make every effort to receive the coachs feedback. 3. Use reflection. Repeat back to the coach what you believe he or she to be saying. 13. Think about how companies communicate with Wall Street and the media, and how analysts on TV communicate with viewers. What concepts from the chapter apply, and how can you become a more astute "consumer" of such information. Companies communicate with Wall Street by a formal means of press releases and special requirements that are set forth by the Security Exchange Commission. Formal communication must be created to generate a positive image. Favorable public relations are essential for an organization with its stock traded on Wall Street. The electronic media will perform a pivotal role in generating news releases, creating a favorable ethical and social responsibility of the firm. PART 4 SUPPORTING CASE LEADERSHIP AT AIG: DOES STYLE MATTER? Case Overview This case deals with executive leadership styles. In particular, this case deals with American International Group, the worlds insurance company, and its CEO Maurice Hank Greenberg. Greenberg, an autocratic leader, was recently deposed by his board of directors after problems emerged regarding possible earning manipulation. It describes his leadership style, reasons his two sons (former employees) left the company, and Martin Sullivan, Greenbergs successor. Like his former boss, Sullivan micromanages the organization, but is well liked by employees. Teaching Objectives 1) To show students the impact of autocratic leadership style on employees. 2) To distinguish between micro and participative management in an organization. 3) To introduce the concept of leadership succession and its effects on organizations. Purpose This case presents various leadership styles used by CEOs. It suggests that executives who uses a more participative leadership style are more likely to create an effective employee workplace. 15-24 Chapter 15 - Communicating Relationship to Part 4 The relationship of this case to part 4: leadership and its styles, possible motivation of employees through style, the encouragement of team work and communication. This case can draw on various theories in all four chapters of Part 4. Questions Question 1. AIG Chairman and CEO Maurice Hank Greenberg was considered an autocratic leader and a micromanager by many employees; yet the company grew dramatically during his reign as CEO. Does leadership style matter as long as the company performs well and shareholders are satisfied with their return on investment? Answer Leadership does matter. A company may perform well, and shareholders may be satisfied with their return on investment, but on another level this style of leadership may do irreparable hard to employee effectiveness and morale. Eventually autocratic leadership will take it toll on the organization and its ability to operate effectively. Question 2. AIGs new CEO Sullivan has been labeled a micromanager, but with a more pleasant personality. Can he, as a micromanager, develop a more participative leadership style? How? Answer It may be very difficult for a manager/leader to change his management and leadership style. There is indeed a time and place for autocratic leadership (e.g., when time is limited), but we know that participative leadership often produces better results. While it is often difficult for executives (managers) to let go and delegate more to underlings, AIGs new CEO Sullivan can learn to develop a more participative leadership style. He must begin to create more teams, motivate more employees to participate in corporate activities, and communicate more effective. In part, his micromanagement style may be a result of following Greenbergs lead. As Sullivan becomes more comfortable in his new role, he should be able to delegate more effectively, especially if he is to deal with more strategic corporate issues. Question 3. Greenberg named his son Evan as the heir apparent. Yet, Greenberg never set a departure date. Should a good leader set a date for departure once a successor is named? Why? Why not? Answer Most of the time succession in organizations creates a host of problems. On the one hand, incumbent CEOs are less than willing to give up the power and prestige that accompany their position. On the other hand, the successor (heir apparent) may be eager to assume the top position. If the successor has to wait too long for the top leadership position, he may decide to seek out a top level position in another company, and the company may lose a unique opportunity for a smooth leadership transition. CEOs should set a deadline for their departure so that all stakeholders are informed which can facilitate a change in leadership. 15-25 Chapter 15 - Communicating LECTURETTE 15.1 BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION THE NATURE OF COMMUNICATION 1. Communication is the critical key for all facets of human endeavor. Mans ability to think and to transmit those thoughts through a process of communication is the binding element for all social interaction. 2. The relative success or failure of all human endeavors depends, to a large degree, upon the effectiveness of mans communication processes. 3. The word communication comes from the Latin word communis, which means common. Thus, when a person communicates, there is an effort to establish a degree of commonness with someone else. 4. Therefore, communication is a two-way process by which people communicate with people, not to people. 5. People communicate by what they say and by what they dont say. 6. People communicate by what they do and by what they dont do. 7. Organizational communication has two purposes. (1) to provide information required for decisionmaking and control and (2) to influence and motivate people for the achievement of organizational goals. THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS 1. Communication is a process initiated when the source or sender has an idea or an emotion to share with a receiver. 2. Through a set of encoding skills, the sender translates the idea or emotion into a transmittable message, which is transmitted through one or more communication channels. 3. The receiver, using a set of decoding skills, translates the transmittal into an idea, emotion, or other message form. 4. Using encoding skills, the receiver provides the sender with message feedback, and the process begins again. THE MAJOR BARRIERS TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION 1. Communication effectiveness is determined by the ability of the communicators to deal with a number of barriers to the communication process. The major barriers to communication are outlined briefly below: Physical Noise communication often fails simply because of physical noise, such as that found in some factory environments. Similar communication problems arise when one party has impaired hearing. When verbal communication is obstructed, written communication may have to be used, although written communication can be ineffective due to poor lighting, glare, and so on. The Sender or Source of Communication communication is often distorted by the receivers perception of or attitudes toward the sender or source of the communication. People tend to hear what they want to hear. If we like the sender, we are apt to like what we hear. If we dont like the sender, we are apt to not like what we hear. In effect, the content of the message is influenced by attitudes toward the source of that message. Organizational Distance miscommunication is common between people who hold positions at different levels in an organization. For instance, a conversation between the CEO of an aerospace firm and a forklift operator may fail to achieve mutual understanding of a work situation. Physical Distance and Time the most accurate communication results from face-to-face communication. The further apart the communicators, the more miscommunication occurs. For field managers, there is also a psychological barrier against bureaucratic directives received from a distant corporate headquarters office. Time can also be a serious barrier to communication. Many managers experience problems with communication difficulties between workers from different shifts. 15-26 Chapter 15 - Communicating Physical Arrangements good communication is facilitated by face-to-face situations with good eye contact and close interpersonal relations. Therefore, the arrangement of desks, workstations, and other fixtures can impact communication. Other spatial arrangement problems arise from such difficulties as those experienced by American males who are uncomfortable when required to work too close together. Lack of Common knowledge when two people do not share common knowledge, miscommunication is almost certain to result, especially in this age of high-tech working environments. This problem is worsened by the use of technical jargon or gobbledygook, that is too often used in an attempt to impress others, not communicate with them. Perception this is the way a person experiences and understands the universe. People do not respond to the reality of their environment but to their unique perception of it. Each of us has our own unique perceptual values and processes that make it difficult for us to agree on situations that surround our lives. Perceptual readiness is the tendency to perceive what we expect to receive, which is usually based on first impressions. For example, parents tend to see their daughter as their little girl long after she has become a grown woman. We are also plagued with the problem of selective perception, by which we select from the millions of communication stimuli around us only a few messages to consciously receive and process. Lack of Concentration and Distractions many communication problems result from the failure of people to concentrate on the communication process. Most commonly, failure to listen carefully results in poor communication. Similarly, some form of distraction often breaks concentration. That is, a listener may fail to concentrate on the speakers words because the listener is distracted by some mannerism of the sender that is annoying or fascinating. Semantics the meaning of the word, is the source of many communication problems. If we agree that people are unique and have unique perceptual processes, it is not suprising that words mean different things to different people. Some words (drugs, gangs, gays, capitalists, terrorists, and so on) are loaded with different and conflicting meanings. Communication Style each person has a personalized and unique style of communication a predisposition to use certain words, gestures, communication channels, and so on. Some communication styles may be effective in certain situations and not in others. With concentrated effort, communication styles can be changed and made more adaptive.7 LECTURETTE 15.2 READABILITY AND CORPORATE COMMUNICATION ILLITERACY IN THE UNITED STATES A 1986 study by the U.S. Census Bureau found that 27 million adult Americans couldnt read. Still another 35 million are functionally illiterate, meaning that they read so poorly that they find it difficult to cope with daily activities. Each year, another 2.3 million Americans join the population of functional illiterates. Of the functionally illiterates, more than 1 million attend high school, and many graduated from high school. By the year 2000, 70 percent of the U.S. adult population will be functionally illiterate. READABILITY DEFINED Readability is concerned with the degree to which the reader can share meaning with the writer. The classic definition of readability treats three principal aspects of the reading process: (1) comprehension; (2) fluency; and (3) interest. Comprehension is concerned with the readers understanding of words and phrases and to the readers ability to relate the written ideas to ones personal experience. Fluency is concerned with the degree to which the person can read a given passage at optimum speed. Fluency emphasizes the perceptual processes and their impact on reading. Interest is concerned with the motivational aspects of the printed material that affect interest. 7 Adapted from Gene Burton, Barriers to Effective Communication, Management World, March 1977, 4-8; Gene Burton, Communicating for Results, Security management, February 1978, 22-25; James Higgins, The Management Challenge (New York; Macmillian Publishing Company, 1991), 551-554; David Lindlum, 10 Tips for Survival in the 1990s, Computer World, January 1, 19909, 14-15; John McCormick, How You Gonna Make Up Your Mind? Business Month, July 1990, 71-72. 15-27 Chapter 15 - Communicating In determining the readability of written materials, research has applied a wide range of measurement criteria, including: (1) readers interest; (2) readers prior knowledge; (3) familiarly; (4) document design; (5) length of the material; (6) number of words per sentence; (7) the number of syllables per word; (8) paragraph length; (9) syntax, or the complexity of sentence structure; (10) concept complexity; (11) concept density; (12) abstractness; (13) organization; (14) idea coherence; (15) idea sequence; (16) page format; (17) punctuation; (18) illustrations; and (19) the use of color. U.S. READABILITY LEVELS Even though the mean level of education for American adults is 12.3 years, the average readability level is far below that. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 30 million adult Americans read below the fifth grade level. Another 50 million American adults read between the fifth and eighth grade levels. Thus, some 100 million American adults read at or above the eighth grade level. Putting it another way, more than one-third of American adults read below the eighth grade level. PLAIN LANGUAGE LAWS In 1566 A.D., a plaintiff stretched a normal 16-page court pleading to 120 pages, and the angry judge ordered that, in addition to a ten-pound fine and imprisonment, the warden shall: (1) cut a hole through the pleading; (2) put the plaintiffs head through the hole; and (3) lead him around about Westminster Hall while the courts are sitting. (Milward v. Weldon, 1566). Then, for four centuries, the judicial system has continued to struggle with the problem of readability. Beginning with New York in 1975, seven states have passed Plain Language Laws that are dedicated to simplifying consumer-oriented documents such as loan contracts, rental agreements, and mortgages. The New Jersey law, for example, states, A consumer contract shall be simple, clear, and understandable, and easily readable. In practice, easily readable usually means about the eight-grade level. Consumer frustration with the inability to decipher complicated written documents is widespread in the United States. READABILITY PROBLEMS IN THE UNITED STATES 1. The following are examples of readability problems with consumer-oriented documentation: A mother with an eighth grade reading level cannot read the antidote information on a can of Draino. Over half of the buyers of over-the-counter drugs need help I comprehending enclosed cautions and dosage instructions. Three out of four patients at family planning clinics cannot comprehend the printed information in the patient package insert (PPI) for the oral contraceptive being issued by the clinics. J.C. Penney Company provides consumer guides on such subjects as drapery fabrics, microwave ovens, and home insulation. These are written at the eighth grade level. Forty-three percent of life insurance buyers cannot read their policies. Most life insurance application forms require twelfth grade comprehension. Telephone bill information can be understood only by those who read at or above the ninth grade level. Twenty-five million American adults cannot read the menus posted at fast-food restaurants. The editorial content of the average daily newspaper cannot be read by a person with an eighth grade reading level. More than one-third of American adults cannot read the U.S. Constitution. 15-28 Chapter 15 - Communicating 2. As the number of functionally illiterate Americans is increasing at the rate of 2.3 million a year, it is imperative that corporate America do a better job of lowering the readability levels of its documents in order to overcome the above examples of readability barriers that alienate their consumers.8 VIDEO SUPPLEMENTS Principles of Management Video DVD Show the segment Could You Go Without Technology for a Week? (6:38) Video cases and quizzes for students can be found at Instructor notes are located on the website as well. Management in the Movies DVD The movie clips from The Terminal - Crack in the System and John Q - Runaround are appropriate for this chapter. Instructor notes can be found on the Instructor side at Students can also find shorter notes on the student side of the website. Destination CEO Clips (Online/Premium Content) Instruct students to watch any of the following clips at the website (they will have to have access to the premium content on the website). After viewing the clips, they will be able to answer a few multiple choice and essay questions and submit their responses in print form, or email them to the instructor. Instructor teaching notes and suggested answer responses can be found at Bank of America Papa Johns Pizza Managers Hot Seat (Online/Premium Content) The Hot Seat segments that apply to this chapter are Office Romance: Groping for Answers, Working in Teams: Cross-Functional Dysfunction, and Listening Skills: Yeah, Whatever. Instructor teaching notes and PPT slides for using these segments can be found in the Group and Video Resource Manual on the Instructor side of the website. Students can log in to the segments and view them if theyve purchased the premium content website, or through your enhanced cartridge course. 8 Adapted from Gene Burton, The Readability of Consumer Oriented Ban Brochures: An Empirical Investigation, Business and Society 30, 1, 1991, 21-25; Gene Burton, An Empirical analysis of the Readability of Information Systems Textbooks, the Journal of Computer Information, accepted for publication in 1992; D. S. Cochran and F. R. David, Communication Effectiveness of Organizational Mission Statements, Journal of Applied Communication Research, 2 (1987), 108-118; J. k. Courtis, Fry, Smog, Lix and Rix: Insinuations about Corporate Business Communications, The Journal of Business Communications, 2 (1987), 19-27; E. B Fry, The Varied Uses of Readability Measurement Today, Journal of Reading, 4 (1987), 338-345; P. R. Timm and D. Oswald, Plain English Laws: Symbolic or Real> The Journal of Business Communication, 22 (1985, 31-38 15-29 ... 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