This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: 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 decisionmaking 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 selfcentered 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, problemsolving 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
1. Discovering and selecting solutions 2. 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 problemsolving 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 problemsolving 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 process skills Mind Locks (Oech)
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. The right answer That's not logical Follow the rules Be practical Avoid ambiguity Interaction process skills Mind Locks (Oech)
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. To err is wrong Play is frivolous That's not my area Don't be foolish 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 problemsolving 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 performanceappraisal 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 ...
View Full Document
This note was uploaded on 09/20/2008 for the course COMM 425 taught by Professor Johnson during the Spring '08 term at Ashford University.
- Spring '08
- Organizational Communication