Seminarski i Diplomski Rad

The Importance of Management Communication
and the Effect of Technological Advancements

Within an organization it is important that employees and managers are communicating in such a way that all possible information sharing is taking place. Sometimes however, managers are communicating to their employees not knowing how well the communication is working. Sometimes managers do not even know how to communicate well, in accordance to the employee’s needs. Along with this common communication gap, the recent rise of technological advancements in communication within an organization, can cause that gap to spread even wider. In the present paper, the role of managers as a key player in a communication process, and how that process is transforming with technology is investigated. It is hypothesized that that managers need to take an active role in communicating with employees to create a successful organization, which should stand even truer with the rise of technological advancements that reduce face to face communication. It is pertinent that research be found on communication within a workplace because so many employees within an organization get caught in inopportune situations, that could have been easily avoided given that there was adequate communication. In an attempt to support the hypothesis, ten literature reviews have been written pertaining to communication within organizations, management and technology.
In a research article by Robertson (2005), the issue of managers being the key player to building better communication within an organization is addressed. He states that four questions should be asked by managers to see if they are managing the communication process well. First, How well is communication working in my organization?, second, how will we know when it is working?, third, how can we help it work better?, and lastly, What are our roles and responsibilities for helping it work better?. To answer these questions Robertson states that a model of what communication should look like needs to be constructed by the organization. The model should include, but not be restricted to, information openness, interactive supportiveness, and an open and supportive communication climate. Along with the basic model, there should be information adequacy, where “employees need to receive adequate amounts of information on relevant topics if they are expected to be good performers”, and information flow, where “obstructions to the open flow of information vertically and horizontally need to be removed to allow for the free exchange of ideas, issues and opinions” (Robertson, 2005). This would ensure that employees are always in the know of what is going on within their organization, and their ideas and opinions could flow freely throughout the organization to make certain they are heard. After this model is implemented Robertson recommends handing out questionnaires to employees so that managers are able to assume more responsibility for managing the communication process. Robertson concludes that if the management of an organization knows how to evaluate and manage the communication process they can be communication facilitators in the ever changing workplace. Robertson’s results support the hypothesis of managers taking an active role when communicating in the workplace, by showing that a model of communication is actually needed to provide structure within an ever changing organization.
In Robertson’s research it is found that communication must begin in the management positions and in Cleveland’s (2005) research almost the same conclusion is formed. While Cleveland does not use an exact model like Robertson, he does argue that there are seven steps to effective communication principles. These are: commit to keeping people in the know, cultivate a supporting culture, establish appropriate communication tools, develop formal and informal channels for communication, ensure that structure and policies support communication, listen actively and regularly and finally, don’t over do it. Robertson’s main research supports the idea that effective leaders need to open all channels of communication for the employees, so that they are able to strive for a common goal within the workplace. He goes on to say that while e-mail and other technological based communication can be a supplement to communication, it should not take the place of face to face communication. Face to face communication can establish trust and encourage the sharing of ideas between management and employees. Robertson concludes that effective leaders are undoubtedly tied to effective communication. When employee’s share in a sense of what is important within an organization developed by the management, effective communication will inevitably follow. This conclusion also supports the hypothesis that managers must spur employees by effective actions to engage in effective communication. It also supports the idea that while technological advancements can contribute to effective communication, face to face communication is still vital, and therefore cannot replace it.
To engage Cleveland’s point on emails and technological communication even further, research by Wellner (2005) was studied. She includes a study by a UCLA professor that shows that 55% of meaning in an interaction comes from facial and body language and 38% comes from vocal inflection. Only 7% of the interaction’s meaning comes from the words themselves. Since emails are just words, Wellner states, they can be more easily misinterpreted by the receiver. With the overwhelming reliance on emails, BlackBerry’s and text messaging, this misinterpretation is happening more frequently then ever. When people within an office try to send sensitive, important or complicated information through text messages or emails, there is an even greater chance of misunderstanding, because there is no nonverbal communication to support it. In conclusion, Wellner stresses the importance of face to face communication when the details are anything sensitive or complicated. She also states that while emails are not all together evil, their uses within a company could create a lot of personal problems that could be easily avoided by face to face communication. Wellner’s conclusion supports the hypothesis that technological advancements have caused havoc by bypassing the one of the most important parts of communication, nonverbal communication. The only limitation in the study is that it does not come up with a reasonable outline on how to cure the miscommunication that is occurring so frequently within organizations.
In Smagt’s (2000) research he disagrees with Wellner’s claim that all communication over emails and text messages can be misinterpreted. Weller asks the question of what the different types of communication are, and from there, how indispensable is face to face communication? He first presents that communication can be separated into two categories within the workplace, command and report. He says that face to face communication is indispensable in ‘report’ communication. Report communication as defined by Smagt, is like a monologue where back and forth exchange of communication is not needed. Information is simply being transferred from the sender to the receiver. ‘Command’ communication however, entails that the receiver must understand the command, and its relevance to their position. This means that there could be a multitude of variables ranging from point of reference, to the definition of their position. Those variables need to be defined by management for the employee so that everyone has a similar understanding of the organizations current definitions. Smagt concludes that because the definition of one’s job could vary depending on their point of reference, face to face communication is necessary when engaging in ‘command’ communication. Smagt’s research does support the hypothesis that management needs to take an active role in clarifying communication, while the rise of technology is replacing face to face communication. While his definitions does limit what in fact is necessary to engage in face to face communication, his research still agrees that it is necessary in many circumstances.
A lot like Robertson, Bayerlein and Gailey (2005) have established a model for managers to follow to better communicate with their employees. Their research supports the idea that open communication between management and employees can engage employees and improve performance. Their six communicating principles are: build communication and an integrated system connected to the business strategy; provide clarity, information and inspiration to connect head, hands, hearts and mind; use communication as a leadership alignment took; establish strategic communication competencies for leaders, managers and supervisors; analyze information flow to provide neutral, objective perspectives on critical issues; and move faster than the speed of change. In their research, Bayerlein and Gailey conclude that these six principles are the basis for guaranteeing open communication within an organization. Communication must start from the management who have a clear understanding of the information, and from there must connect to, and inter connect employees to better communicate on issues. They conclude that with open communication you can embody both communication and teamwork and in the long run save a lot of time, and therefore money. This conclusion supports the hypothesis that it dependant on management to engage a communication processes for employees, so they can truly understand their positions and issues surrounding them in the organization.
Employees do not only learn and understand their position and issues directly from management, like Bayerlein and Gailey conclude. Kraut, Fish, Root, Chalfonte (1990), provide research that states that informal communication between same level employees is pertinent in creating open communication in an organization. This informal communication is usual through working in close proximity with colleagues. “The relationships that are established from working in such a close proximity result in informal communication which can make work much more enjoyable and the employees more productive”, says Chalfonte, et al. (1990). They conclude that when people get to know one another they create a common goal, or purposes of their positions which can help make communication clearer. It can also result in better planning and coordination in group work, and make each employee more productive. This conclusion does not support the hypothesis because even though the research stresses the importance of communication, it only stresses the importance on informal communication between colleagues, as being the beneficial factor to creating open communication Those colleagues might be management or lower level employees, but the research does not speak of the importance of informal communication between managers and employees. To better understand the hierarchy and attitudes within an organization this would be a good area to supplement their research.
Although her research took place over fifty years ago, Ronken’s (1951) research and conclusions are still seen in organizations today. Ronken takes Chalfonte’s claim one step further. While Chalfonte says that informal communication made people feel more comfortable and willing to work, Ronken states that this informal communication must take place between managers and employees. If a manager knows some of an employee’s past experiences through informal communication the manager can relate, or understand how the employee views their position within the organization. Beyond that, Ronken states that even if the manager does know the employee’s past it is possible for the manager not to relate those experiences to current ones inside the employee’s position. Ronken stresses the importance of creating a sense of belonging and acceptance among employees by having them understand one another’s backgrounds. This can aid the organization in creating a healthy communication process. Ronken’s research supports the hypothesis by outlining that the communication from managers down to employees can clear up communication gaps that could occur by the misconception of an employee’s position based on a previous outlook.
Research done by Fatt (1996) raises the question of why training in communications is relevant to a managerial position. Fatt states that in a study done at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, 470 graduate students recognized that the most important communication skills for job success are: building relationships, listening, giving feedback, exchanging routine information, and soliciting feedback, advising and persuading. Fatt notes that highly motivated employees that make the greatest contribution to the organization were done by employees where there was full and open communication. While communication majors may not get the most jobs as compared to scientific fields, their knowledge of communication can be taken to any field. “While business knowledge is useful to a corporation, it gains amplitude and utility when enhanced by the knowledge of how to keep the lines of business discussion clear and open. We… need managing professionals, not professional managers”, argues Fatt (1996). He concludes that communications professionals should not only strive to communicate, but to communicate to manage. Fatt’s research supports the hypothesis well that to be a managerial position, one must know to create a clear and open communication process for and to their employee’s. Fatt also states that recently there have been too many business people in managerial positions, when what an organization needs is a business person with communication skills to succeed in the workplace. This supports the hypothesis even further by stating that excellent communication skills to even hold a managerial position are essential.
Lastly, research done by Sonnetag (2000) addresses three questions to determine the relevance of communication in an excellent performer, as determined by their coworkers and outside research. The three questions were: How are excellent performers perceived by their coworkers? What do excellent performers regard as important when accomplishing a work task? What do excellent performers do? When coworkers were interviewed it was found that in most of the descriptions of an exceptional coworker included good cooperative and communication skills. This included: supports others, able to listen carefully, expresses ideas in a clear and straightforward way, gives good explanations and has good presentation skills. Along with these attributes, Sonnetag reports that exceptional workers also ask for feedback and regard cooperation as highly important, and has concern for their team or department as a whole. Sonnetag’s research supports the hypothesis well because if an exceptional coworker or manager is considered that by his peers, and bases it on the fact that they are proficient in communicating; it is obvious that clear communication to and from employees is regarded as one of the most important characteristics in an organization.
Taken together these results clearly indicate that it is necessary that managers take an active role in communicating with employees to create a successful organization, which stood even truer with results from the impact of the rise of technological advancements. Managers that are able to communicate well are looked up to by their coworkers and employees. Not only is it a respectable attribute, but can afford the organization the opportunity to increase output by taking less time trying to understand specific roles and individuals. Technological advancements were also proved to be a supplement to a successful organization, but could not take the place of face to face communication if that successful organization wanted to continue. The lack of nonverbal communication in emails and text messaging causes output to decrease because of the rise in misinterpretations. To create or participate in a successful organization it is clear through these literature reviews that one must be proficient at communicating under different circumstancesc with an array of different individuals.


Bayerlein, P., & Gailey, R. (2005). The Six Principles of Performance Communication. Strategic HR Review. 4(4), 32-35. Retrieved October 14th, 2005 from EBSCOhost database, (AN17002139).
Chalfonte, B.L., & Fish, R.S., & Kraut, R.E., & Root, R.W. (1990). Informal Communication in Organizations: Form, Function, and Technology. Human Reactions to Technology: The Claremont Symposium on Applies Social Psychology. Retrieved October 14th, 2005, from EBSCOhost database.
Cleveland, Brad (2005). Seven Essential Principles of Effective Communication. Call Center Magazine, 18(8). Retrieved October 14th, 2005, from EBSCOhost database (AN 17841601).
Fatt, J. P. (1996). Training in communications: a springboard to success in business careers. Industrial and Commercial Training, 28(7), 16-21. Retrieved October 14th, 2005, from EBSCOhost database (AN 3987724).
Robertson, E. (2005). Placing leader at the heart of organizational communication. Strategic Communication Management, 9(5), 4-7. Retrieved October 14th, 2005, from EBSCOhost database (AN 17879187).
Ronken, Harriet (1951). Communication in the Work Group. Harvard Business Review. 29(4), 108-115. Retrieved October 14th, 2005 from EBSCOhost database, (AN6781212).
Smagt, T.V. (2000). Enhancing virtual teams: social relations v. communication technology. Industrial Management and Data Systems, 100(4), 148-156. Retrieved October 14th, 2005, from EBSCOhost database (AN 3341948).
Sonnentag, Sabine. (2000). Excellent Performance: The Role of Communication and Cooperation Processes. Applied Psychology: An International Review. Retrieved October 14th, 2005, from EBSCOhost database, (AN3460475).
Wellner, A.S. (2005). Lost in Translation. INC. 27(9), 37-38. Retrieved October 14th, 2005 from EBSCOhost database, (AN18090987).



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