PARTS PAGE #
I INTRODUCTION 3
II COMMUNICATION THEORY 8
III DEVELOPMENT COMMUNICATION 15
IV VIRTUAL MANAGEMENT 17
V CONCLUSION 20
VI BIBLIOGRAPHY 21
The use of communication in business
Good communications are essential within a business if it is to prosper.
In any business, the communication of information is an essential part of three key business activities:
(1) Management decision-making (without relevant, timely and accurate information, decision-making at any level becomes quite tricky!)
(2) Co-ordination of departments, teams and groups - e.g. making sure that marketing, production and administration know what each other is doing, when and why
(3) Motivation of individuals
Examples of communication
To illustrate the all-pervasive nature of communication, consider the following list of communication examples:
- Exchanging ideas
- Announcing investment plans
- Producing a report with the monthly management accounts comparing actual results against budget
- Giving instructions to the production and purchasing departments about the new product plans for next year
- Delivering a presentation to the marketing department following the results of some quantitative, primary market research
- Announcing the annual trading results and future strategy to company investors and analysts
Directions of communication in a business
Communication flows in three main directions in a business:
(1) Vertical Communication
E.g. from managers to sub-ordinates; from shop floor workers to supervisors; from the Chief Executive to all other management and employees.
Vertical communication flows are mainly used for reporting information (e.g. results, plans) and obtaining feedback (e.g. an employee survey summarized for the Board of Directors
(2) Horizontal Communication
This is between people of the same "level" in a business - usually in the same department, but sometimes communication between departments. This is sometimes known as "peer communication". It is normally used to co-ordinate work. E.g. sales managers for different regions circulate details of potential customers to each other and allocate based on the customer location; or accounting staff in different departments share information to help prepare the annual budget on a consistent basis.
(3) Diagonal Communication
Less common; this involves interdepartmental communication by people at different levels. A good example would be a project team drawn from different grades and departments.
Communication is the process of exchanging information usually via a common system of symbols. "Communications" is the academic discipline which studies communication.
Forms of communication
- Animal communications
- Interpersonal communications
- Public affairs
- Public relations
- Intrapersonal communications
- Nonverbal communications
- Speech communications
- Cross-cultural communication
- Computer-mediated communications
Forms and components of human communication
Humans communicate in order to share knowledge and experiences. Common forms of human communication include sign language, speaking, writing, gestures, and broadcasting. Communication can be interactive, transitive, intentional, or unintentional; it can also be verbal or nonverbal. In addition, communication can be intrapersonal or interpersonal. There are a number of theories of communication that attempt to explain human communication.
In telecommunications, the first transatlantic two-way radio broadcast occurred on July 25th 1920.
As the technology evolved, communication protocol also had to evolve; for example, Thomas Edison had to discover that hello was the least ambiguous greeting by voice over a distance; previous greetings such as hail tended to be lost or garbled in the transmission.
As regards human communication these diverse fields can be divided into those which cultivate a thoughtful exchange between a small number of people (debate, talk radio, e-mail, personal letters) on the one hand; and those which disseminate broadly a simple message (Public relations, television, cinema).
Our indebtedness to the Romans in the field of communication does not end with the Latin root "communicate". They devised what might be described as the first real mail or postal system in order to centralize control of the empire from Rome. This allowed Rome to gather knowledge about events in its many widespread provinces.
As the Romans well knew, communication is as much about taking in towards the centre as it is about putting out towards the extremes. Thus peace is a side-effect of communication, starting, for example, when the August 30th 1963 communication hotline between U.S. and Soviet leaders went into operation.
In virtual management, an important issue is computer-mediated communication.
The view people take toward communication is changing, as new technologies change the way they communicate and organize. In fact, it is the changing technology of communication that tends to make the most frequent and widespread changes in a society - take for example the rise of web cam chat and other network-based visual communications between distant parties. The latest trend in communication, decentralized personal networking, is termed smartmobbing.
Anxiety associated with communication is known as communication apprehension. Such anxiety tends to be influenced by one's self-concept. Besides apprehension, communication can be impaired via bypassing, indiscrimination, and polarization. Failing to share a common language is also a important barrier in many parts of the world.
What is communication theory?
Some have suggested that the very common practice of beginning a communication theory class with an attempt to define communication and theory is flawed pedagogy. Nonetheless, it is difficult to begin a study of the theories of communication without first having some grasp, however temporary and tenuous, of what sorts of phenomena "count" as communication, and what kinds of ideas about those phenomena constitute "theory," or, more specifically, good theory.
Communication is a slippery concept, and while we may casually use the word with some frequency, it is difficult to arrive at a precise definition that is agreeable to most of those who consider themselves communication scholars. Communication is so deeply rooted in human behaviors and the structures of society that it is difficult to think of social or behavioral events that are absent communication.
We might say that communication consists of transmitting information from one person to another. In fact, many scholars of communication take this as a working definition, and use Lasswell's maxim ("who says what to whom to what effect") as a means of circumscribing the field of communication. Others suggest that there is a ritual process of communication that cannot be artificially abstracted from a particular historical and social context. As a relatively young field of inquiry, it is probably premature to expect a conceptualization of communication that is shared among all or most of those who work in the area. Furthermore, communication theory itself is, in many ways, an attempt to describe and explain precisely what communication is.
Indeed, a theory is some form of explanation of a class of observed phenomena. Karl Popper colorfully described theory as "the net which we throw out in order to catch the world--to rationalize, explain, and dominate it." The idea of a theory lies at the heart of any scholarly process, and while those in the social sciences tend to adopt the tests of a good theory from the natural sciences, many who study communication adhere to an idea of theory that is akin to that found in other academic fields. Nonetheless, when evaluating the strength of a theory, the criteria commonly found in the sciences, and derived from the scientific method are often broadly applicable.
What makes a theory "good"? Six criteria might be said to be properties of a strong theory. (The terminology presented here is drawn from Littlejohn, Theories of Human Communication, but a similar set of criteria are widely accepted both within and outside the field of communication.)
How general is the theory? That is, how widely applicable is it? In most cases, a theory that may only be applied within a fairly narrow set of circumstances is not considered as useful as a theory that encompasses a very wide range of communicative interactions. The ideal, of course, is a theory that succinctly explains the nature of human communication as a whole.
Theories are often evaluated based upon how well their epistemological, ontological, and axiological assumptions relate to the issue or question being explained. If a theory recapitulates its assumptions (if it is tautological), it is not an effective theory.
Some theories suggest the ways in which further research may be conducted. By presenting an explanatory model, the theory generates questions or hypotheses that can be operationalized relatively easily. In practical terms, the success of a theory may rest on how readily other researchers may continue to do fruitful work in reaction or support.
It may seem obvious that for a theory to be good, it must also be valid. Validity refers to the degree to which the theory accurately represents the true state of the world. Are the arguments internally consistent and are its predictions and claims derived logically from its assumptions? Many also require that theories be falsifiable; that is, theories that present predictions that--if they prove to be incorrect--invalidate the theory. The absence of such questions significantly reduces the value of the theory, since a theory that cannot be proven false (perhaps) cannot be shown to be accurate, either.
The law of parsimony (Occam's razor) dictates that a theory should provide the simplest possible (viable) explanation for a phenomenon. Others suggest that good theory exhibits an aesthetic quality, that a good theory is beautiful or natural. That it leads to an "Aha!" moment in which an explanation feels as if it fits.
Theories, perhaps paradoxically, should not exist to the absolute exclusion of other theories. Theory should not be dogma: it should encourage and provide both for skepticism and should--to whatever degree possible--be compatible with other accepted theory.
It is important to note that a theory is not "true," or "false" (despite the above discussion of falsifiability), but rather better or worse at explaining the causes of a particular event. Especially within the social sciences, we may find several different theories that each explain a phenomenon in useful ways. There is value in being able to use theories as "lenses" through which you can understand communication, and through which you can understand the world together with other scholars.
Theories and Models
Models are tools of inquiry in a way that theories may not be. By representing the system being observed, they provide a way of working through the problems of a "real world" system in a more abstract way. As such, they lend themselves to the eventual construction of theory, though it may be that theory of the sort found in the natural sciences is something that cannot be achieved in the social sciences. Unfortunately, while models provide the "what" and the "how," they are not as suited to explaining "why," and therefore are rarely as satisfying as strong theory.
Many suggest that there is no such thing as a successful body of communication theory, but that that we have been relatively more successful in generating models of communication. A model, according to a seminal 1952 article by Karl Deutsch ("On Communication Models in the Social Sciences"), is "a structure of symbols and operating rules which is supposed to match a set of relevant points in an existing structure or process." In other words, it is a simplified representation or template of a process that can be used to help understand the nature of communication in a social setting. Such models are necessarily not one-to-one maps of the real world, but they are successful only insofar as they accurately represent the most important elements of the real world, and the dynamics of their relationship to one another.
Deutsch suggests that a model should provide four functions. It should organize a complex system (while being as general as possible), and should provide an heuristic function. Both these functions are similar to those listed above for theories. He goes on to suggest models should be as original as possible, that they should not be obvious enough that they fail to shed light on the existing system. They should also provide some form of measurement of the system that will work analogously within the model and within the actual system being observed.
Laws and Rules
The aim in the natural sciences is to create what, since Hempel at least, has been called covering law. Covering law requires the explicit relationship of a causal condition to an effect within certain boundaries. It has been observed that social relationships are very difficult to capture within the structure of covering law. Perhaps this is because people have the annoying habit of violating "natural laws." Wittgenstein's later work in particular put forward the possibility that rules-based systems may provide a more effective descriptive model of human communication. This may account for the propensity of communication theorists to develop models more often than theory. Rules-based approaches are particularly popular within speech communication, where human interaction is seen to proceed along structural, though not necessarily causal, lines.
Mapping the Theoretical Landscape
A discipline is defined in large part by its theoretical structure. Instead communication, at its present state, might be considered a field of inquiry. Theory is often borrowed from other social sciences, while communication provides few examples of theories that have been exported to other disciplines. What is taught as communication theory at one institution is unlikely to be at all similar to what is taught within other communication schools. This theoretical variegation makes it difficult to come to terms with the field as a whole. That said, there are some common taxonomies that are used to divide up the range of communication research. Two common mappings will be briefly presented here.
Many authors and researchers divide communication by what are sometimes called "contexts" or "levels," but more often represent institutional histories. The study of communication in the US, while occurring within departments of psychology, sociology, linguistics, and anthropology among others, generally developed from schools of rhetoric and schools of journalism. While many of these have become "departments of communication," they often retain their historical roots, adhering largely to theories from speech communication in the former case, and mass media in the latter. The great divide between speech communication and mass communication is joined by a number of smaller sub-areas of communication research, including intercultural and international communication, small group communication, communication technology, policy and legal studies of communication, telecommunication, and work done under a variety of other labels. Some of these departments take a largely social science perspective, others tend more heavily toward the humanities, and still others are geared more toward production and professional preparation.
These "levels" of communication provide some way of grouping communication theories, but inevitably, there are theories and concepts that leak from one area to another, or that fail to find a home at all. If communication is a cohesive field of study, one would expect to see a cohesive set of theories, or at least a common understanding of the structure of the field, and this appears to still be developing.
Another way of dividing up the communication field emphasizes the assumptions that under gird particular theories, models, and approaches. While this tends also to be based on institutional divisions, theories within each of the seven "traditions" of communication theory that Robert Craig suggests tend to reinforce one another, and retain the same ground epistemological and axiological assumptions. His traditions include the rhetorical, semiotic, phenomenological, cybernetic, sociopsychological, and sociocultural traditions. Each of these are, for Craig, clearly defined against the others and remain cohesive approaches to describing communicative behavior. As a taxonomic aid, these labels help to organize theory by its assumptions, and help researchers to understand the reasons some theories may be incommensurable.
While these two approaches are very commonly used, it seems that they decentralize the place of language and machines as communicative technologies. The idea that communication is (as Vygotsky argues) the primary tool of a species that is defined by its tools remains at the outskirts of communication theory. It is represented somewhat in the Toronto School of communication theory (alternatively sometimes called medium theory) as represented by the work of Innis, McLuhan, and others. It seems that the ways in which individuals and groups use the technologies of communication--and in some cases are used by them--remains central to what communication researchers do, and the ideas that surround this, and in particular the place of persuasion, are constants across both the "traditions" and "levels" of communication theory.
Development communication is a branch of communication theory or practice that is concerned with applying insights from communication theory to address problems of development and modernization. The aim of development communication is to find strategies for mobilizing people and consequently resources, for developmental goals.
Currently four broad approaches are popular in the area of development communication:
- Diffusion of innovations theory
- Advocacy theories
- Participatory communication theories
- Social marketing theory
Modernization is the praxis of changing the conditions of a society, an organization or another group of people in ways that change the privileges of that group according to modern technology or modern knowledge.
According to the sociologist Peter Wagner, modernization can be seen as processes, and as offensives. While politicians and media commonly use the former, it suggests that it is the things (like e.g. new data technology or dated laws) which make modernization necessary or preferable. This view makes critique of modernization kind of hard, since it implies that it is the things which should, and do, control the frames and limits for human interaction, and not vice versa. The latter, Modernization offensives, is acknowledging that both the things and the changes e.g. data technology make available, is shaped and controlled by human agents. Modernization as offensives is then a product of human planning and acting, an active process, which can be both changed and criticized.
Virtual management seeks to separate certain responsibilities of managers from the actual site of production, the workers and resources at that site. It orients managers more directly to the needs of a service economy - wherein "commodity" and "product" relations are no longer a source of sustainable competitive advantage, due to global competition or inability to predict liability.
It's major advantage, according to supporters, is to focus on the customer and the value chain from which the customer derives value. It's major drawback, according to detractors, is that commodity and product relations "outsourced" to developing nations do tremendous harm. Others see benefits, but note that it tends to specialize these nations, as under colonialism, when they fed "natural resources" and "human resources" to developed nations, into narrow and limited supply roles.
While seeking organizational effectiveness in the current capitalist mode of production, especially profit-making organizations are increasingly recognizing the competitive advantage of concentrating on their core competences and outsourcing all or most of other operations. Another economical driving force is the shift from traditional consumerism to Customer relationship management (CRM). Companies try to introduce products to potential customers earlier in their life and then try to keep them as customers as long as possible. In addition, companies may consult users for research and development purposes to increase customer satisfaction.
These operations may also be more project-based, involving organisations that may or may not formally belong to any of the units involved. All this creates new kinds of interlinked networks of suppliers, buyers, producers and customers, where the factors of production are being acquired as conveniently as possible to make deliverables that can be seamlessly supplied to the people who need them, to where and when they need them.<P> These networks are called Virtual Organizations. They may consist of any form and number of people of individuals, teams, companies and / or stakeholders, managed from one clear point with and organized long-term strategy or conjured up in an ad hoc style to solve a particular problem with a few hours' time scale. People working in these organizations can be seen as virtual workers, and leaders as virtual managers, depending on their involvement and location in time and space.<P> Further, Virtual Management becomes easier in the current information-intensive work, as information itself has become the new factor of production. Raw data can be conveniently mined, processed and sold as information, which in turn can function as raw material or end product for others, depending on the importance, accuracy and timeliness of that information. Advanced Services, including insurance houses, financial institutions, advertising, real estate, consulting, marketing, PR, security, management of information systems, and news and entertainment publishers, are at the core of these operations. On the other hand, any company, however traditional in its field of business, can be seen as virtual, if it is
- Spatially decentralized, having suppliers, managers, employees and customers in a large geographical area
- Temporally dispersed, having the above also on several time zones
- Technologically harnessed, as it is the newest technology that has created the "explosion" of virtually interlinked global players.
Due to this, employees in these companies may commute to their local workplaces every day, or they may work distantly from one or several places, or they can be completely mobile, as some sales representatives might do. All this creates an increasing need to communicate, through technology, with customers and other employees that the employee might never meet. The workers might also be members of virtual teams, consisting of experts in different countries, some of them belonging to the physical organization and some of them not, having an objective to fulfill, for example a product concept development. The members of this team might meet physically at some point, or they might never do it, depending on their virtual working skills and availability of technology enabling sensible communication.<P>
Where there are virtual organizations, there is also virtual management, which is thus about
- Managing organizations from a different place
- Managing organizations from a different time
- Managing something that is not part of your organization
- Something that is almost like management, but not quite (when referring to the term virtual reality) - or "more management than there actually is" (referring to the term virtual memory).
- Managing by using technology (because traditional management does not necessarily require tech)
- Managing organizations by sending people out there physically to do it for you (referring to colonialism, which the anti-globalization movement claims as a form of VM)
- Any combination of the above
1There is potential for a joke here: "Almost like management, but not quite"? You mean "Managing, but not quite succeeding in it?". Seriously, if virtual management is not traditional management, what is it then? Because fundamentally it is just Management and involves accomplishing something by making people do whatever is necessary to reach those goals.
Communications are vital in management ; in fact they are the essence of management. It has been shown that the communications skills are poor and the poorest of these is listening. Managers spend a great deal , over half, of their time listening , or at least hearing, and yet they have any formal training in the discipline.
Any wonder , then that the listening efficiency is very low of the order of 25 % . negotiating is also what management is about, so we discuss this in order to achieve the win-win situation. Some of the recent works on huddling and manage by walking around have found to the most effective in business solutions. A complete revolution in communications has and still underway, but while it is making a most useful contribution, there is an urgent need to stay with the basics of human nature vis-a vis communication.
Bovee , C .L ., J.V.Thill and B.E.Schatzman (2003). Business Communication.7th Edition.Pearson Education.
Micheal .R ( 1990 ) , strategic management.
D. Packard and B. Hawellet ( 1990 ) , management by walking around.
P. Richard . ( 1981 ) , art of Japanese management