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MAJOR ERAS OF ORGANIZATIONAL (COMMUNICATION) THEORY IN THE 20 TH CENTURY C OMMUNICATION 4170: A PPLIED O RGANIZATIONAL C OMMUNICATION D R . K AREN L. A SHCRAFT I. CLASSICAL PERSPECTIVES (1900-1930) Some general assumptions: A “science” of organization will lead to greater efficiency and production. Organization owners should strive to control all organization resources. Individuals who follow orders and work hard can improve themselves. Workers respond to rational-economic motivation. Example #1: Scientific Management (Frederick Taylor) One “best way” to complete any task Select personnel scientifically Compensate by production, not position Managers plan; workers implement the plan Example #2 Bureaucracy (Max Weber) : Clear, hierarchical system of authority Division of labor according to specialization Complete, “universal” system of rules re: personnel rights & responsibilities Exhaustive procedures for work performance Selection and promotion based on technical competence Impersonal member relations Status of communication: Viewed as a managerial tool to command and control workers Function : Emphasis on production & maintenance Structure : Formal, hierarchical, & downward Informal, horizontal, & social communication = obstacles that should be squelched II. HUMAN RELATIONS & RESOURCES (1930-1965) Some general assumptions of the Human RELATIONS movement: “A happy worker is a productive worker” (shift from objective work design to social dimensions of work). Organizations should reflect more democratic values and open communication. Informal communication is inevitable and useful to managers (for example, to assess and influence employee satisfaction).
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Example #1: Managers & (Mis)communication (F. J. Roethlisberger) Management is a verbal activity involving the use (i.e., persuading) and interpretation (i.e., listening) of language, which is variable and emotional Management based on two assumptions—(1) workers are strictly economically motivated and (2) communication with workers should only be about facts—is deeply flawed. All members have personal histories and emotional needs that must be considered. Good managers facilitate open communication and seek to understand worker perceptions. Example #2: Organizational communication “climate” (Jack Gibb) DEFENSIVE CLIMATE SUPPORTIVE CLIMATE Evaluation Description Control orientation Problem orientation Strategy Spontaneity Neutrality Empathy Superiority Equality Certainty Provisionalism Some General assumptions of the Human RESOURCES perspective: Motivation is economic, social, and related to a worker’s sense of self-worth. Workers are untapped resources, wasted by most organizations. Most workers can take
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This note was uploaded on 01/25/2011 for the course MSC 4170 taught by Professor James during the Spring '10 term at Multimedia University, Cyberjaya.

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