organizational communication


  • [14] Perspectives Shockley-Zalabak identified the following two perspectives, essentially as ways of understanding the organizational communication process as a whole.

  • [17]: 26  The functional tradition[edit] According to Shockley-Zalabak, the functional tradition is “a way of understanding organizational communication by describing what
    messages do and how they move through organizations.”

  • [17]: 28  The first types of functions are message functions which are “What communication does or how it contributes to the overall functioning of the organization”, and
    we describe message functions in three different categories which are organizational functions, relationship functions, and change functions.

  • What we have learned through past experience becomes an inventory, or data bank, consisting of values or goals, sets of expectations and preconceptions about the consequences
    of acting one way or another, and a variety of possible ways of responding to the situation.

  • [17]: 32  The meaning centered approach[edit] According to Shockley-Zalabak, the meaning centered approach is “a way of understanding organizational communication by discovering
    how organizational reality is generated through human interaction”.

  • There are different functions within this process that all work together to contribute to the overall success of the organization, and these functions occur during the repetition
    of communication patterns in which the members of the organization engage in.

  • [citation needed] The main idea of the human relation approach of organizational communication is that the theory compares organizations to a family.

  • Change messages occur in various choice making decisions, and they are essential to meet the employee’s needs as well as have success with continual adaptations within the

  • [18] Henri Fayol’s work on classical management identifies five elements of management suggesting tasks for managers; planning, organizing, command, coordination, and control;
    and six principles of management suggesting how managers might enact the aforementioned elements of management; scalar chain, unity of command, unity of direction, division of labor, order, and span of control; relative to this approach.

  • [14] Understanding Organizations as People[edit] Organizational communication provides insights and makes sense of the human processes that occur within organizations.

  • Any differences in form or function of communication between that occurring in an organization and in another setting can be identified and studied as factors affecting the
    communicative activity.

  • They identify four constitutive flows of communication, formal and informal, which become interrelated in order to constitute organizing and an organization: • organizational
    self-structuring • membership negotiation • activity coordination • institutional positioning Role of organizational communication Organizational communication refers to exchanging and transmitting information between individuals and groups
    within an organization.

  • [19] Scholars of cultural organizational communication attempt to identify the value and attributes of strong organizational culture in order to understand its effects on
    organizational functioning.

  • This approach is more concerned with what communication is instead of why and how it works, and message functions as well as message movement are not focused on as thoroughly
    in this perspective.

  • [14] Communication is a central function of organizations, as the success of an organization is reliant on individuals coming together for the benefit of organizational success.

  • [14] Modern organizational communication studies consider work-from-home and remote work structures, a phenomenon that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic as digital communication
    took the forefront.

  • [19] In using this approach, researchers commonly refer to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to aid in identifying how meeting employee’s individual needs have an effect
    on the overall wellbeing of an organization.

  • [11] Physical and cognitive, including semantic filters (which decide the meaning of words) combine to form a part of our memory system that helps us respond to reality.

  • [3] Early underlying assumptions Some of the main assumptions underlying much of the early organizational communication research were: • Humans act rationally.

  • These relationship functions are a key aspect to how individuals identify with a company and it helps them develop their sense of belonging which can greatly influence their
    quality of work.

  • Within the realm of communication studies, organizational communication is a field of study surrounding all areas of communication and information flow that contribute to
    the functioning of an organization .

  • With this change, communication is more vulnerable to things like “fake news”; however, it gives all members of the public the capability of sharing their stories.

  • In the 1990s, the rise of critical theory garnered influence within the field as organizational communication scholars focused more on communication’s ability to both oppress
    and liberate organizational members.

  • Bavelas has shown that communication patterns, or networks, influence groups in several important ways.

  • Robert Craig suggested that there were seven components of communication theory ,seven different ways of thinking about how communication works in the world.

  • [22] Systems[edit] The systems approach to organizing views organizations as complex organisms and sees interaction with the external environmental as essential to survival.

  • The main idea of the classical approach of organizational communication is that the theory compares organizations to a machine.

  • He maintained that people making decisions in organizations seldom had complete information, and that even if more information was available, they tended to pick the first
    acceptable option, rather than exploring further to pick the optimal solution.

  • This has turned the real job of management into determining what business specifically needs to know, along with the who/what/where/when and how of learning it.

  • [17]: 31–32  The third and final subcategory within message functions are change functions, which are defined as “messages that help organizations adapt what they do and how
    they do it”.

  • Informal communication has become more important to ensuring the effective conduct of work in modern organizations.

  • Its rationale postulates that the use of both qualitative and quantitative research provides a better and richer understanding of a research problem than either traditional
    research approach alone provides.

  • In addition to physical or sense filters, cognitive filters, or the way in which an individual’s mind interprets the world around him, will influence his assumptions and feelings.

  • Organizational communication is constantly evolving and as a result, the scope of organizations included in this field of research have also shifted over time.

  • As this theory compares organization to a family, it focuses on workers satisfaction and the relationship within the organizations more compared to the work performance element.

  • In the 1980s, the field turned away from a business-oriented approach to communication and became concerned more with the constitutive role of communication in organizing.

  • Several seminal publications stand out as works broadening the scope and recognizing the importance of communication in the organizing process, and in using the term “organizational

  • [34]: 44  Therefore, with this research design, it could be either the qualitative or quantitative method that is used first and priority depends on circumstance and resource
    availability, but can be given to either.

  • Critical theory is centered around the argument that power imbalances, and therefore oppression and domination, are innate parts of social structures and organizations.

  • [20] The human relation approach emphasizes the importance of employee attitudes, and encourage organizations management team to focus on interpersonal relationships, group
    dynamics, and leadership styles in achieving organizational effectiveness.

  • [17]: 38  Theoretical approaches Classical[edit] Emerging out of the Industrial Revolution and the increased mechanization of work, classical approaches to organizing involve
    a vertical flow of communication that is highly formal and often written, mostly in a downward direction.

  • Until then, organizational communication as a discipline consisted of a few professors within speech departments who had a particular interest in speaking and writing in business

  • All we really need to understand communication in organizations is (a) observable and replicable behaviors that can be transformed into variables by some form of measurement,
    and (b) formally replicable syllogisms that can extend theory from observed data to other groups and settings • Communication is primarily a mechanical process, in which a message is constructed and encoded by a sender, transmitted through
    some channel, then received and decoded by a receiver.

  • [16] Awareness of Communication Skills[edit] The field of organizational communication strives to identify and teach successful communication skills that can be applied within
    the organization and on a personal level.

  • Some people do not behave in rational ways, they generally don’t have access to all of the information needed to make rational decisions they could articulate, and therefore
    will make irrational decisions, unless there is some breakdown in the communication process—which is common.

  • [12] Informal communication, generally associated with interpersonal, horizontal communication, was primarily seen as a potential hindrance to effective organizational performance.

  • The receiver’s background of experience and learning may differ enough from that of the sender to cause significantly different perceptions and evaluations of the topic under

  • [16] Informal and formal communication are both essential to an organization’s inner workings, but must be used appropriately.

  • Although these findings are based on laboratory experiments, they have important implications for the dynamics of communication in formal organizations.

  • Understanding effective communication techniques can be used to minimize and resolve conflict within an organization.

  • Additionally, McPhee and Zaug (1995) take a more nuanced view of communication as constitutive of organizations (also referred to as CCO).

  • The communicative rationality approach has been developed to explain why successful communication needs the use of human rationality to be effective.

  • These have been well received and are now a mainstay in current beliefs toward organizational communications.

  • Organizational communication considers how to motivate individuals within an organization by ensuring human needs are met in the workplace.

  • [25] Critical[edit] Critical approaches to organizational communication maintain a focus on power structures and power imbalances in regards to organizing.

  • The theory observed and analyze that workers perform the task they are given to in order to contribute to the overall well-being of the organization.

  • The theory derives from the philosophical study of universal pragmatics, which looks to understand what circumstances are needed for reaching understanding in communications.

  • In early years, organizations gave little regard to the psychological needs of employees.

  • [23] Processes of exchange are central to this approach;[24] the concept of input-throughput-output identifies how this process is identified within this system.

  • It was found that leaders who focus on collaboration have a higher success rate than those who focus on avoidant or dominating conflict behaviour.

  • [14] As awareness of the functions of organizational communication has increased, organizations have had an elevated need for roles that focus on organizational consulting,
    job training, and career development.

  • After 1980, interpretive and critical organizational communication research expanded rapidly and combined with functionalist research, creating a much more varied and complex


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