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  1. 7 Communication

  2. Chapter Outline • The Communication Process • Choosing a Channel • Barriers to Effective Communication • Filtering • Selective Perception • Defensiveness • Emotions • Information Overload • Language • Silence • Nonverbal Communication • Stress

  3. Chapter Outline • Organizational Communication • Direction of Communication • Small-Group Networks • The Grapevine • Electronic Communications • Managing Information • Dealing with Information Overload • Being Always on Call • Information Security

  4. Learning Outcomes • How does communication work? • What are the barriers to communication? • How does communication flow in organizations? • How is information managed?

  5. The Communication Process • People spend nearly 70 percent of their waking hours communicating—writing, reading, speaking, listening. • Communication is a foundation for many things that happen among groups and within the workplace – from motivating, to providing information, to controlling behaviour, to expressing emotion. • Good communication skills are very important to your career success.

  6. Communication Terms • Communication • The transfer and understanding of a message between two or more people. • Sender • Establishes a message, encodes the message, and chooses the channel to send it. • Receiver • Decodes the message and provides feedback to the sender.

  7. Communication Channels • Formal channels • Traditionally follow the authority chain within the organization • Transmit messages related to the professional activities of members • Informal channels • Personal or social messages which are spontaneous and emerge as a response to individual choices

  8. Communication Terms • Encoding • Converting a message to symbolic form. • Decoding • Interpreting a sender’s message. • Message • What is communicated. • Channel • The medium through which a message travels.

  9. Communication Terms • Noise • Communication barriers that distort the clarity of the message • Feedback • Checks how successful we have been in transferring our messages as originally intended. • Has an understanding been achieved?

  10. Exhibit 7-1 The Communication Process Model

  11. Choosing Channels • Communication apprehension • Undue tension and anxiety about oral communication, written communication, or both.

  12. Choosing Channels • Channels differ in their capacity to convey information. • Rich channels have the ability to: • Handle multiple cues simultaneously. • Facilitate rapid feedback. • Be very personal.

  13. Exhibit 7-2 – Information Richness of Communication Channels

  14. Barriers to Effective Communication • Filtering • The sender manipulates information so that it will be seen more favourably by the receiver. • Selective Perception • The receivers selectively sees and hears based on their needs, motivations, experience, background, and other personal characteristics.

  15. Barriers to Effective Communication • Defensiveness • When individuals interpret a message as threatening, they often respond in ways that retard effective communication. • verbally attacking others, making sarcastic remarks, being overly judgmental and questioning others’ motives. • Emotions • Individuals may interpret the same message differently when you are angry or distraught than when you are happy • Depression will most likely hinder effective communication

  16. Barriers to Effective Communication • Information Overload • Occurs when the information we have to work with exceeds our processing capacity. • With emails, phone calls, faxes, meetings, and the need to keep current in one’s field, more employees are suffering from too much information. • Language • Words mean different things to different people. • Age and context are the two biggest factors that influence such differences

  17. Barriers to Effective Communication • Silence • Defined as an absence of speech or noise. • Not necessarily inaction—can convey: • Thinking or contemplating a response to a question. • Anxiety about speaking. • Agreement, dissent, frustration, or anger. • Individuals should be aware of what silence might mean in any communication. • Can be problematic and is common in the workplace • Employees who are silent about important issues may also experience psychological stress.

  18. Barriers to Effective Communication • Nonverbal Communication • Includes body movements, facial expressions, and the physical distance between sender and receiver. • Two important messages body language conveys • Extent to which an individual likes another and is interested in his or her views • Relative perceived status between a sender and receiver (i.e. how emotionally close they are to each other) • Proxemics • The study of physical space in interpersonal relationships.

  19. Communicating Under Stress • Speak clearly. • Be aware of the nonverbal part of communicating. • Think carefully about how you state things.

  20. Organizational Communication – Direction of Communication • Downward • Communication that flows from one level of a group to a lower level. • Managers to employees • Upward • Communication that flows to a higher level of a group. • Employees to manager • Becoming increasingly difficult • Lateral • Communication among members of the same work group, or individuals at the same level.

  21. Small- Group Networks • Connections by which information flow. • Formal Networks • Task-related communications that follow the authority chain, and are typically vertical • The Grapevine – Informal Networks • Communications that flow along social and relational lines

  22. Formal Networks • Three common formal small-group networks: • Chain • Wheel • All-channel

  23. Exhibit 7-3 Three Common Small-Group Networks and Their Effectiveness

  24. The Grapevine • 75 percent of employees hear about matters first through rumours (the grapevine). • The grapevine has three main characteristics: • Not controlled by management. • Most employees perceive it as being more believable and reliable than formal communication. • Largely used to serve the self-interests of those people within it.

  25. Electronic Communications • Email • Instant Messaging and Text Messaging • Social Networks

  26. Electronic Communications: Significant Limitations of E-mail • Misinterpreting the message. • Communicating negative messages. • Time-consuming nature of email. • E-mail emotions. • Privacy concerns.

  27. Time Saving Strategies to Keep Email Under Control • Do not check email in the morning. • Check email in batches. • Unsubscribe. • Stop sending email. • Declare email bankruptcy.

  28. Exhibit 7-4 Showing Emotions in Emails

  29. Instant Messaging (IM) & Text Messaging (TM) • Instant Messaging (IM) and Text Messaging (TM) • Rapidly gaining popularity in business. • Fast and inexpensive way for managers to stay in touch with employees and peers with each other. • IM is better for short messages that will be quickly deleted. • Despite exponential growth in usage, IM and TM are not likely to replace email. • Email is better for long messages that need to be saved. • There are additional security fears in using IM/TM • More easily intercepted

  30. Social Networking • Nowhere has communication been more transformed than in social networking. • Social media platforms • Facebook • LinkedIn • XING • ZoomInfo • All professional websites that allow users to set up lists of contacts and do everything from casually posting updates to hosting chat rooms

  31. Blogs • Web log • Website about a single person or company that are usually updated daily. • Most blogs are written by individuals, but many organizations and organizational leaders have blogs that speak for the organization

  32. Managing Information • Dealing with information overload • Limiting information overload • Being always on call • Balancing the need for constant communication with their own personal need for breaks from work • Information security • Companies monitor employee Internet use and email records, and some even use video surveillance and record phone conversations

  33. Managing Information • Cultural Barriers to Communication • Sources of barriers: • Semantics • Word connotations • Tone differences • Differences in tolerance for conflict and methods for resolving conflicts

  34. Managing Information • Cultural Context • Cultures differ in the importance of the context in influencing the meaning that individuals take from what is actually said or written vs. who the other person is.. • High-context cultures • Cultures that rely heavily on nonverbal and subtle situational cues in communication. • Low-context cultures • Cultures that rely heavily on words to convey meaning in communication.

  35. Exhibit 7-5 High- vs. Low-Context Cultures

  36. A Cultural Guide • Assume differences until similarity is proven. • Emphasize description rather than interpretation or evaluation. • Practise empathy. • Treat your interpretations as a working hypothesis.

  37. Summary and Implications • How does communication work? • Communication works through choosing the correct channel, being an effective listener, and using feedback. • What are the barriers to communication? • Errors arise from filtering, selective perception, defensiveness, information overload, and language. • How does communication flow in organizations? • Communication can flow vertically and laterally, and by formal and informal channels in organizations. • How is information managed? • Reducing the amount of time spent on emails, social networking, text messaging, and instant messaging by connecting to technology less frequently is one way of minimizing interruptions and being able to stay productive.

  38. OB at Work: For Review • Describe the communication process and identify its key components. Give an example of how this process operates with both oral and written messages. • Contrast encoding and decoding. • What does the expression “sometimes the real message in a communication is buried in the silence” mean? • What is nonverbal communication? Does it aid or hinder verbal communication? • Identify three common formal small-group networks and give the advantages of each.

  39. OB at Work: For Review • What conditions stimulate the emergence of rumours? • What are the advantages and disadvantage of email? Of instant messaging? • What are the key challenges in managing information? • List four specific problems related to language difficulties in cross-cultural communication. • Contrast high- and low-context cultures. What do the differences mean for communication?

  40. OB at Work: For Critical Thinking • “Ineffective communication is the fault of the sender.” Do you agree or disagree? Discuss • What can you do to improve the likelihood that your message will be received and understood as you intended? • How might managers use the grapevine for their benefit? • Using the concept of channel richness, give examples of messages best conveyed by email, by face-to-face communication, and on the company bulletin board. • “Most people are poor listeners.” Do you agree or disagree? Defend your position.

  41. Breakout Group Exercises • Form small groups to discuss the following topics: 1. What differences have you observed in the ways that men and women communicate? 2. How do you know when a person is listening to you? When someone is ignoring you? 3. Describe a situation in which you ignored someone. What impact did it have on that person’s subsequent communication behaviours?

  42. Effective Listening If you want to improve your listening skills, look to these behaviours as guides • Make eye contact. • Exhibit affirmative head nods and appropriate facial expressions. • Avoid distracting actions or gestures. • Ask questions. • Paraphrase. • Avoid interrupting the speaker. • Don’t over-talk. • Make smooth transitions between the roles of speaker and listener.