Communication involves a sender sending a message to the receiver who then decodes it and gives feedback. Communication is an important component of every organization as it helps in promoting good performance of work- teams, creating friendship relations, and building interpersonal trust and acceptance in the organization. Discussions are held to deliberate on a task that needs to be performed, situations that that need to be change as well as on relations one to the other. For example, between managers and subordinates or even between managers. Communication breakdown in an organization may therefore affect achievement of organizational goals.
Communication in the organization takes the form of verbal and written. Each of these forms of communication plays specific role in communication within the organization. Face- to- face (verbal) is considered high form of communication used where opportunities for immediate feedback are required. They are usually used to communicate ambiguous message and non-routine matters. Written communication is regarded as impersonal and non-interactive. These include flyers and are used to communicate routine messages.
Nonverbal communication within the organization is displayed in various ways such as dress code, use of space and time. The way people dress in an organization determines self-confidence. When a person dresses in a way that is acceptable of the organization they feel confidence. High ranking officials can communicate to lower ranking officials about who they are in the organization by making them wait for them. In other words high ranking officials can use time to show that they are the boss around. Status within the organization can be communicated through the use of space. For example high status people will tend to sit at the edge of the rectangular tables. People use various personal communication styles such as noble, Socratic, the reflective, the magistrate, the candidate, and the senator. Interpersonal communication can be improved if partners of the conversation know the other partner’s communication style or the partners have similar communication style. Gender differences, cultural differences are some of the factors that hinder good communication within the organization. Communication within any organization is influenced or determined by such factors as organizational structure. The organizational chart depicts who should communicate to who. Information flows upward as opposed to orders that flow downwards. However information flow is normally distorted because people are not free to communicate bad information to their bosses. Within the formal setup information flows slowly while in an informal setting informational flows rapidly mainly because the organizational structure does not exist. A communicator can improve their communication skills by; keeping messages brief and clear, improving listening skills, minimize overload, using techniques that open upwardly channels of communication to the employee, being a supportive communicator, and using technology to improve communicator effectiveness.
In a nutshell communication is fundamental in every organization. There is need for organizations to create good relationships within the organization, external links, achieve mutual organizational goals which can be done through open communication. People should be aware of factors that affect communication such as gender and cultural differences so as to deal with appropriately so as to enhance communication. A communicator can learn skills of improving communication and hence enhancing communication within the organization.
Decision making (chapter 10)
Organizations today are faced with many challenges especially due to the rapidly changing environment.. Choices have to be made each day about the organization which definitely affects them either positively or negatively. Decisions vary depending on when, who, how and the extent of risk involved in the decision. Decision making can be said to be one of the vital duties of the executives and managers but employees involvement into the process is increasingly gaining popularity.
Decision making can be referred to as the process of selecting an answer for addressing problems or opportunities There are eight fundamental steps involved in decision making process. The following are the step in order; clearly define the problem or opportunity, defining the objective of the solution, predecision or determination of how to make a decision, alternative courses of action are generated, their feasibility is evaluated, the most feasible course of action is selected, the selected course of action is implemented and lastly the end result of the action is assessed and any necessary adjustments done.
Decisions are of different types. For example decisions programmed and nonprogramed decisions. Programmed decisions are those that are made following the everyday guidelines while nonprogramed decisions are made in the absence of any defined guidelines. They are decisions required to address unusual problem or opportunity and hence require creativity. The degree of risk involved in a decision characterizes decisions. The outcomes of some decisions are certain while others are uncertain. Who makes a decision can also be used to characterize decisions. Some decisions are made by high-profile officials in the organization (top-down decisions) while others are made by employees (empowered decisions).
Managers can make decisions solely or may invite the participation of other superiors or subordinates. They may sometimes devolve decision making power to employees. There are four styles of decision making namely; directive, analytical, conceptual and behavioral. Quality of decision making within organization can be influenced by factors like time restraints, political face-saving forces and national culture.
Decision making may employ any of the three decision making approaches which are rational-economic model, administrative model and image theory. Rational-economic describes how decision makers can make the best decisions. Descriptive model explains how decision makers really behave. Imagery theory recognizes the fact that decisions are made in an automatic and intuitive fashion. It asserts that people take a course of action that best fits their individual values, present goals and future plans. Decisions can either be made by individuals or by groups. In some cases decisions made by individual are superior to group decisions and verse versa. Decisions taken by a group are superior to individual if only the group is comprised of heterogeneous membership of experts possessing complementary skills. It is assumed that a homogenous group would make the same decision that a single member of the group would make. In the event that the task being performed has simple provable answer then an individual decision is superior to group decisions. Decision making can be improved in different ways. Individual decision making can be improved through training on problem solving skills. Group decisions can be improved through Delphi technique, nominal group technique and Stepladder technique. Delphi technique involves collecting judgments of professionals systematically and using them to make a single decision. Nominal group technique involves structured group meeting in order to evoke and evaluate opinions of all members in a systematic manner. Stepladder technique involves adding of new members in the group, one at a time, that need introduction and discussion of fresh ideas. These three techniques are traditional. Contemporary techniques include computer networks such as electronic meetings which brings people from different places together into a meeting through telephone or satellite transmission with an aim of improving group decision making.
In conclusion decision making is fundamental in all organizations. Decision making is what determines the ability of an organization to prosper in the current global market place. Decisions can either be made by individuals or groups. However, worldwide there is a shift towards employee participation in decision making. For best decisions to be made by either individuals or groups it is necessary enhance decision making and problem solving skills of the people. Traditional techniques such as training and using structured group meetings can improve decision making. In this generation of information technology, computer-based techniques are being used to improve decision making.
Interpersonal Behavior: working with and against others (chapter 11)
Within organizations people relate differently depending on one’s perception of the other person. For example the relationship between people who trust each other is different from that of people lacking trust between them. Certain forces such as presence of reward systems affect interpersonal cooperation within an organization. There are different forms of interpersonal behavior such as psychological contracts, organizational citizenship, cooperation, conflict and aggression.
There are diverse types of psychological contracts such as transactional contract and relational contract. Transactional contract is characteristic of relationships that are solely economic oriented. These kind of relationships persists for a very short time, are static in nature and have a narrow and well-defined range (430). Relational contract are founded on friendship and the relationship which partners take have a long- term view. This kind of relationships are described by identification based trust i.e. trust founded on acceptance and understanding with each other.
Organizational citizenship behaviors are gestures that go beyond the formal job obligation in helping ones ‘organization or fellow workmates. For example visiting a colleagues’ relative who is admitted in the hospital. Organizational citizenship behavior can be encouraged by going beyond the call of duty to help others, being mindful, doing voluntary funs as well as showing courteousness and fairness. Interpersonal Cooperation in the workplace should be promoted in an organization. Naturally some people are more cooperative than others. However an organization requires the cooperation of all people and thus interpersonal cooperation should be promoted. It can be promoted by following the exchange rule and by adopting an honoring system like team based pay that enhances cooperation with others.
Some interpersonal behavior can be considered negative, For example conflict and aggression. Conflict as an interpersonal behavior is triggered by many factors such as grudges, destructive criticism, mistrust, competition over limited resources as well as malicious attributions. It is a negative type of interpersonal behaviour which however is inevitable. Conflict has both beneficial and negative effect in the organization. It is a source of bad emotions and also can lead to poor performance as a result of deficiency of coordination. In contrast, conflict helps to shed light on difficulties that have been ignored earlier and thus encouraging people to value each other’s statuses more fully. It also creates a platform for people to consider new ideas. Conflict cannot be completely avoided as therefore the managers should know how to resolve it amicably. There are different ways of resolving conflict such as arbitration whereby a neutral third party proposes solutions to the conflicting parties, mediation which involves a neutral third party working closely with the conflicting parties to find a common ground. Aggression is a form of deviant organizational behavior and should be minimized at all cost. When managers become aggressive to the subordinates the interpersonal relation with their managers is strained and consequently making achievement of organizational goals difficult. Aggression can be minimized by establishing clear disciplinary procedures, by treating all people fairly and training managers in ways to identify and shun aggression.
In summary, interpersonal behavior can be positive or negative. Positive interpersonal behavior such as cooperation, organizational citizenship and psychological contracts should be promoted. On the other hand negative interpersonal behavior should be minimized. However, even negative interpersonal behavior such as conflict play an important role in the organization hence is beneficial. Conflict helps to bring out problems that have been ignored previously, motivates people to appreciate people fully and encourages people to seek new ideas.
Influence, Power and Politics in Organizations(chapter 12)
Organizational politics is a behavior that is not officially permitted by an organization for attaining one’s own goals by influencing others. Power refers to the capacity to alter the behavior or attitudes of others in a desired manner. Social influence is an effort by a person to affect another in a preferred fashion.
Social influence exists in the forms of rational suasion, inspirational appeal, discussion, innuendo, personal appeal, alliance building, legitimating, and pressure. There are different types of power in organization. Position power exists in one’s formal organizations position. It comprises of reward power, coercive power,( capacity to control valued rewards and punishments), legitimate power or the recognized authority that a person has by virtue of their organizational position, information power which is the power that culminates being in custody of special data and knowledge.personal power on the other hand is power that rests in an individuals’ unique qualities or character traits. It includes rational persuation using logical premises and factual evidence to convince other people that their idea is acceptable, expert power is the power that a person has because he is believed to have the superior knowledge, skill or expertise, referent power is founded on the fact that an individual greatly admired by others, finally charisma, is an engaging and charismatic personality.
Organizational politics can adversely affect an organization if they are not addressed on time. There are a number of ways to combat organization politics. Ambiguous conditions such as unclear job descriptions are an excellent breeding ground for organizational politics. Giving accurate work assignments therefore reduces the possibility of political behavior. When open communication is lacking in an organization, then there is a high possibility that people will pursue their own goals at the expense of organizational goals. On the contrary, presence of open communication creates no chance for people to pursue their own goals since the system is open for everybody to examine. Employees tend to mimic what high-ranking officials do. If these official exhibit political behavior it would not be surprising for the subordinates to follow suit. Therefore if managers are good role models then the same behavior would be transmitted to the subordinates. It is also important for managers to immediately confront any employee who attempts to take undue credit.
To summarize it is worth noting that organizational politics can never be abolished completely and thus it is important for managers to minimize their effects. The chapter discusses four ways of reducing organizational politics namely clarity of job description, role modeling, open communications, and immediate punishment of attempt to gain undue credit. The chapter also discusses types of power and their importance to the organization.
Leadership in Organizations(chapter 13)
There are various theories of leadership such as contingency theory and situational leadership theory that explain leadership. Leaders are developed within their organization to become better leaders of tomorrow. Different organizations employ varying ways of developing leaders such as mentoring, coaching, job assignment and action learning.
Coaching is perceived by many leaders as a means of improving the performance of poorly performing leaders. This perception forms the basis of stigma associated with this method of training. As a result of the stigma, leaders do not get involved in this program as required because of embarrassment. Therefore to avoid stigma associated with coaching, it is important that the entire executive group be involved. Research has shown that coaching of executives is effective especially when it is used after a formal training. one-on-one coaching tailored to individual leaders after standardized formal training has been found to increase leaders productivity by about 88%.
Mentoring is whereby employees receive formal or informal assistance from the more experienced colleagues in the organization. It mainly focuses on personal and professional development of the individual. Many organizations considered mentoring as one of the most effective leadership development programs they have in place according to recent studies. Despite mentoring being such an effective leaders development tools, it has its own limitations. Mentees have been found to be very dependent on the mentor to an extent that they make same decisions as the mentors. This is problematic because it is narrow-minded as the mentees are afraid of exploring new methods and prefer to stick to the tried- and- true methods of their mentors. This way the organization lacks new perspectives that new employees may provide.
One of the most effective ways of developing a leader is to assign them to positions that will give them the needed experience. This is why some organizations deliberately assign personnel to other nations to widen their experiences. It is important for the newly assigned positions to provide the opportunities that enable learning to take place for the job assignment to serve its developmental purpose. The new position gives a leader an opportunity to try out new approaches of leadership even though they may fail. The leaders can learn something from every experience, as it is said that experience is the best teacher. Job assignment should never put emphasis on job performance because in so doing it will be defeating the very purpose of job assignment which is to facilitate learning. If performance is emphasized the leaders will be afraid of trying out new approaches which are prone to failure. Action learning is a technique of leadership development that involves a continuous process of learning and reflection supported by colleagues. It emphasizes getting this done. It makes an assumption that leaders develop more efficiently if they are made to deal with real organizational problems.
There are various forms of leadership models discussed in this chapter. Leader-member exchange (LMX) suggests presence of two groups in an organization; the in-group and the out-group. Leaders tend to favor the in-group and thus the members of the in-group perform better than members of the out-group. Attributional approach to leadership focuses on the relationship between leaders and their followers. It assesses the underlying causes of poor performance in their followers. If they are internal, the leaders react by assisting them to improve their performance. On the other hand if the causes of poor performance are external factors, the leaders change aspects of worked environment perceived to be cause of poor performance. Charismatic leaders possess exceptional ability to inspire his followers to high performance, loyalty and enthusiasm. They have high self-confidence, distinctly articulated vision that they present to their followers, they are considered to be change agents in their organizations and even sensitive to environmental threats thy face. Transformational leaders are also charismatic as well as able to change and regenerate their organizations. LMX contingency theory proposes that leaders characteristics in relation to the situation at hand determine the effectiveness of their groups. Task-oriented leaders are more effective than people oriented leaders when the leader is in a situation where he has high or low control over the group at stake. On the contrary people based leaders are more effective when a leader has moderate control over a group. It suggests that leaders should understand the situations they face and execute the most appropriate leadership style for the situation.
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To sum-up leadership development is very important for leaders to learn new approaches of leadership, to increase productivity as well as effectiveness in leadership. Theories of leadership give leaders understanding of how to deal with various situations, and how to lead effectively to achieve the organizational goals. They also help the leaders to know the consequences that may result from their behavior.