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Communication and Interpersonal Skills Paper

Words: 4419, Paragraphs: 14, Pages: 15

Paper type: Essay , Subject: Communication Barriers

After reading this chapter students should be able to: 1. Define communication and explain why it is important to managers. 2. Describe the communication process. 3. List techniques for overcoming communication barriers. 4. Identify behaviors related to effective active listening. 5. Explain what behaviors are necessary for providing effective feedback. 6. Describe the contingency factors influencing delegation. 7. Identify behaviors related to effective delegating. 8. Describe the steps in analyzing and resolving conflict. 9.

Explain why a manager might stimulate conflict. 10. Contrast distributive and integrative bargaining. Opening Vignette SUMMARY George Cohon, a Canadian, made history when he opened the first McDonald’s restaurant near Moscow’s Red Square in the former Soviet Union. Getting the McDonald’s operating took many years of battling “red tape,” and cultural, as well as economic obstacles. While Cohon found negotiating in a foreign language to be difficult, it was nothing compared to dealing with a totalitarian government as a prospective partner. As Cohon states, “this was a communications challenge straight from hell. Once the agreement had been reached, a new set of obstacles had to be overcome. Suppliers had to be found and, at the time and a staff had to be hired and trained. And new employees had to be introduced to McDonald’s unique corporate culture focusing on quality, cleanliness, and consistency. On the first day of operation, Moscow McDonald’s served over 30,000 people. Since then, the chain has expanded throughout Russia. George Cohon managed to create a reliable system of suppliers, overcome government bureaucracy, and train employees to function at the high level demanded by McDonald’s.

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A major victory for Cohon he demonstrated that effective communication is fundamentally linked to successful performance. Teaching notes 1. Ask students to research current articles on doing business in Red China. 2. They should read and write paragraph to ? summaries of the peculiarities of doing business in China that are mentioned in the articles. 3. Ask students to share their summaries in class before they pass them in. 4. List on the board the challenges they discovered. 5.

Based on this list, the students’ research, and what is read in class lead a discussion on what communication challenges would face an American business professional doing business in Red China. I. UNDERSTANDING COMMUNICATION 1 Introduction 1. Everything a manager does involves communicating. 2. A manager can’t make a decision without information, which has to be communicated. 3. Once a decision is made, communication must again take place. 4. Good communication skills alone do not make a successful manager but ineffective communication skills can lead to a continuous stream of problems for the manager. A.

How Does the Communication Process Work? 1. Communication can be thought of as a process or flow. a) Problems occur when there are deviations or blockages in that flow. 2. Communication requires a purpose, expressed as a message conveyed between a source (the sender) and a receiver. It is encoded and is passed by some medium to the receiver, who re-translates the message initiated by the sender. The result is a transference of meaning from one person to another. a) Exhibit 12-1 depicts the communication process. 3. Four conditions affect the encoded message: skill, attitudes, knowledge, and the social-cultural system. . One’s total communicative success includes speaking, reading, listening, and reasoning skills. 5. Our attitudes influence our behavior. We hold predisposed ideas on numerous topics, and our communications are affected by these attitudes. 6. We are restricted in our communicative activity by the extent of our knowledge of the particular topic. 7. Finally, just as attitudes influence our behavior, so does our position in the social-cultural system in which we exist. a) Your beliefs and values act to influence you as a communicative source. 8. The message is the actual physical product from the source encoding. . Our message is affected by the code or group of symbols we use to transfer meaning, the content of the message itself, and the decisions that we make in selecting and arranging both codes and content. 10. The channel is the medium through which the message travels. It is selected by the source. a) Formal channels are established by the organization and transmit messages that pertain to the job-related activities of members. b) Other messages, such as social, follow the informal channels in the organization. 11. The receiver is the object to whom the message is directed. 12.

The message must be translated into a form that can be understood by the receiver. This is the decoding of the message. a) Just as the encoder was limited by his or her skills, attitudes, knowledge, and social-cultural system, the receiver is equally restricted. 13. The final link in the communication process is a feedback loop. a) Feedback is the check on how successful we have been in transferring our messages as originally intended. It determines whether or not understanding has been achieved. Teaching Notes ____________________________________________________________ ___________ ___________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ B. Are Written Communications More Effective Than Verbal Ones? 1. Written communications are tangible, verifiable, and more permanent than the oral variety. a) Typically, both sender and receiver have a record of the communication. ) The message can be stored for an indefinite period of time. c) If there are questions about the content of the message, it is available for later reference. d) A final benefit of written communication comes from the process itself. 1) More care is taken with the written word than with the oral word. 2. Written messages have their drawbacks. a) Writing consumes a great deal of time. b) Lack of feedback. 2 Is the Grapevine an Effective Way to Communicate? 3. The grapevine is the unofficial way that communications take place in an organization. 4. Information is spread by word of mouth–and even through electronic means today. ) Ironically this is a two-way process-good information passes between us fast; bad information even faster. 5. The biggest question focuses on the accuracy of the rumors. 6. Research on this topic has been somewhat mixed. a) But even then, although the information flowing is inaccurate, it still contains some element of truth. C. How Do Nonverbal Cues Affect Communications? 1. Some of the most meaningful communications are neither spoken nor written. These are nonverbal communications. 2. Body language refers to gestures, facial configurations, and other movements of the body. 3.

Verbal intonation refers to the emphasis someone gives to words or phrases. 4. The nonverbal component is likely to carry the greatest impact. a) One researcher found that 55 percent of an oral message is derived from facial expression and physical posture, 38 percent from verbal intonation, and only 7 percent from the actual words used. D. Is the Wave of Communication’s Future in Electronic Media? 1. E-mail is one of the most widely used methods for organizational members to communicate. a) E-mail is fast, convenient, cheap, and can be used to send the same message to dozens of people at the same time. . But it’s also public information, and as such should not be used to discuss sensitive issues like performance appraisals, disciplinary issues, or other confidential topics. 3. E-mail has taken on it’s own vocabulary and verbal intonation. Teaching Notes ____________________________________________________________ ___________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ___________________________________________________________ _________________________ E. What Barriers Exist to Effective Communication? 1. A number of interpersonal and intrapersonal barriers effect the decoding of a message. a) Exhibit 12-2. summarizes the more prominent barriers. 2. Filtering refers to manipulating information so that it will be received more favorably. a) Filtering is most likely to occur where there is emphasis on status differences and among employees with strong career mobility aspirations. b) Expect more filtering taking place in large corporations than in small business firms. 3.

With selective perception, receivers see and hear based on their needs, motivations, experience, background, and other personal characteristics. 4. Information overload happens when individuals have more information than they can sort out and use; they tend to select out, ignore, pass over, or forget information, etc. 5. Emotions. When people feel that they’re being threatened, they tend to react in ways that reduce their ability to achieve mutual understanding. 6. Language. The meanings of words are not in the words; they are in us. a) Employees come from diverse backgrounds and have different patterns of speech. ) Grouping of employees into departments creates specialists who develop their own jargon or technical language. 7. While we speak a common language–English-our usage of that language is far from uniform. a) The problem is that members in an organization usually don’t know how others with whom they interact have modified the language. 8. An estimated 5 to 20 percent of the population suffer from debilitating communication apprehension or anxiety. a) People who suffer from it experience undue tension and anxiety in oral communication, written communication, or both. 9.

Studies demonstrate that oral-communication apprehensives avoid situations that require them to engage in oral communication. 10. Of greater concern is the evidence that high-oral-communication apprehensives distort the communication demands of their jobs in order to minimize the need for communication. Teaching Notes ____________________________________________________________ ___________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ Ethical Dilemma in Management – Purposefully Distorting Information SUMMARY Two ethical dilemmas that managers face relating to the intentional distortion of information. Incident 1: You’ve just seen your division’s sales report for last month. Sales are down considerably. Your boss, happens to ask in passing, how last month’s sales went. What do you tell him? Incident 2: An employee asks you about a rumor she’s heard about employee transfers from New York to Baltimore. You know the rumor to be true.

What do you say to your employee? These two incidents illustrate dilemmas that managers face relating to evading the truth, distorting facts, or lying to others. It might not always be in a manager’s best interest or those of his or her unit to provide full and complete information. Questions 1. Is it unethical to purposely distort communications to get a favorable outcome? 2. What about “little white lies” that really don’t hurt anybody? 3. Are these ethical? 4. What guidelines could you suggest for managers who want guidance in deciding whether distorting information is ethical or unethical? Teaching notes 1.

Lead a discussion of the questions listed above. F. How Can Managers Overcome Communication Barriers? 1. See Exhibit 12-3. 2. Why Use Feedback? a) Any communication problems can be directly attributed to misunderstandings and inaccuracies. b) These problems are minimized if the manager uses the feedback loop. c) Feedback can be verbal or nonverbal. d) Feedback should include more than yes and no answers. 1) The manager can ask a set of questions. 2) The manager can ask the receiver to re-state the message in his or her own words. 3) General comments can give a manager a sense of the receiver’s reaction to a message. ) Actions may speak louder than words. e) The sales manager example. 3. Why Should Simplified Language Be Used? a) Because language can be a barrier, managers should choose words and structure their messages in ways that will make those messages clear and understandable to the receiver. b) See Exhibit 12-4. c) Effective communication is achieved when a message is both received and understood. d) Jargon can facilitate understanding when it is used within a group of those who know what it means, but it can cause innumerable problems when used outside that group. 4. Why Must We Listen Actively? ) Listening is an active search for meaning, whereas hearing is passive. b) In listening, two people are thinking–the receiver and the sender. c) Many of us are poor listeners because listening is difficult, and it’s less satisfying than talking. d) Listening it is often more tiring than talking. e) Active listening is enhanced by developing empathy with the sender–that is, by placing yourself in the sender’s position. 5. Why Must We Constrain Emotions? a) They can severely cloud and distort the transference of meaning. 6. Why the Emphasis on Nonverbal Cues? a) Actions speak louder than words. ) Nonverbal messages carry a great deal of weight. Teaching Notes ____________________________________________________________ ___________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ___________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ INTERNATIONAL INSIGHTS INTO AND GENDER ISSUES IN THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS 2 Do men and women communicate in the same way? 1. No. The differences may lead to significant misunderstandings and misperceptions. 2. Deborah Tannen found that when men talk, they do so to emphasize status and independence; whereas women talk to create connections and intimacy. ) Men frequently complain that women talk on and on about their problems. b) Women criticize men for not listening. c) When a man hears a woman talking about a problem, he frequently asserts his desire for independence and control by providing solutions. d) Many women, in contrast, view conversing about a problem as a means of promoting closeness–not to get the man’s advice. 3. Effective communication between the sexes is important for meeting organizational goals. a) To keep gender differences from becoming barriers to effective communication requires acceptance, understanding, and a commitment to communicate adaptively. . Interpersonal communication isn’t conducted in the same way around the world. 5. Owing to the emphasis on the individual in countries such as the United States, communication patterns there are individual-oriented and rather clearly spelled out. a) For instance, U. S. managers rely heavily on memoranda, announcements, position papers, and other formal forms of communication to stake out their positions in intra-organizational negotiations. 6. In collectivist countries such as Japan, there is more interaction for its own sake and a more informal manner of interpersonal contact. ) The Japanese manager, in contrast to U. S. managers, will engage in extensive verbal consultation over an issue first and only later will draw up a formal document. b) Face-to-face communication is encouraged. c) Work spaces are open and crowded with individuals at different levels in the work hierarchy. 7. U. S. organizations emphasize authority, hierarchy, and formal lines of communication. Teaching Notes ____________________________________________________________ ___________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ___________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ DEVELOPING INTERPERSONAL SKILLS 3 The Importance of Interpersonal Skills 1. A survey of 191 top executives at six Fortune 500 companies found that the single biggest reason for failure was poor interpersonal skills. 2.

The Center for Creative Leadership in North Carolina estimates that half of all managers and 30 percent of all senior managers have some type of difficulty with people. 3. A comprehensive study of people who hire students with undergraduate business degrees and depend on these hires to fill future management vacancies found that the area in which the graduates were most deficient was in leadership and interpersonal skills. 4 Why Are Active Listening Skills Important? 4. Listening requires paying attention, interpreting, and remembering sound stimuli. 5. Effective listening is active rather than passive. ) Active listening requires you to “get inside” the speaker’s mind so you can understand the communication from his or her point of view. b) You have to concentrate, and you have to want to fully understand what a speaker is saying. 6. The human brain is capable of handling a speaking rate that is about six times as fast that of the average speaker. 7. There are four essential requirements for active listening: (1) intensity, (2) empathy, (3) acceptance, and (4) a willingness to take responsibility for completeness. 8. Intensity a) The active listener concentrates intensely on what the speaker is saying. ) They summarize and integrate what has been said. c) They put each new bit of information into the context of what preceded it! 9. Empathy requires you to put yourself into the speaker’s shoes. a) It demands both knowledge of the speaker and flexibility on your part. b) You suspend your own thoughts and feelings and adjust to your speaker’s world. 10. An active listener demonstrates acceptance. a) Listening objectively without judging content. b) The challenge is to absorb what’s being said and to withhold judgment on content until the speaker is finished. 11. The final ingredient is taking responsibility for completeness. ) The listener does whatever is necessary to get the full-intended meaning from the speaker’s communication. b) Listening for feeling as well as for content and asking questions to ensure understanding. 12. Just how, though, can you develop effective listening skills? Teaching Notes ____________________________________________________________ ___________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ___________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ A. Why Are Feedback Skills Important? 1. If the feedback is positive, it’s likely to be given promptly and enthusiastically. 2. Negative feedback is often avoided, delayed, or substantially distorted. 5 What Is the Difference between Positive and Negative Feedback? 3. Managers treat positive and negative feedback differently. So, too, do receivers. 4. Positive feedback is more readily and accurately perceived than negative feedback. 5.

Negative feedback often meets resistance. a) People want to hear good news and block out the rest. b) Positive feedback fits what people wish to hear and already believe about themselves. 6. You need to be aware of potential resistance and learn to use negative feedback in situations in which it’s most likely to be accepted. 7. Research indicates that negative feedback is most likely to be accepted when it comes from a credible source or if it’s objective in form. a) Subjective impressions carry weight only when they come from a person with high status and credibility. 8. How Do You Give Effective Feedback? ) See Exhibit 12-5. b) Focus on specific behaviors. c) Keep feedback impersonal. d) Keep feedback goal-oriented. e) Make feedback well timed. f) Ensure understanding. g) Direct negative feedback toward behavior that the receiver can control. Teaching Notes ____________________________________________________________ ___________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ___________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ B. What Are Empowerment Skills? 1. Millions of employees and teams of employees are making key operating decisions that directly affect their work. 2. The increased use of empowerment is being driven by two forces. a) The need for quick decisions by those who are most knowledgeable about the issue. b) The reality that the downsizing of organizations during the last two decades left many managers with considerably larger spans of control than they had previously. . Delegation is the assignment of authority to another person to carry out specific activities. a) It is a shift of decision-making authority from one organizational level to a lower one. b) See Exhibit 12-6. 4. Participative decision making, there is a sharing of authority. With delegation, employees make decisions on their own. 1 Don’t Managers Abdicate Their Responsibility When They Delegate? a) When done properly, delegation is not abdication. b) It is not possible for you to do everything yourself. c) You need to learn to delegate if you are going to be effective in your job. ) You should expect and accept some mistakes by your employees. e) Ensure that the costs of mistakes don’t exceed the value of the learning, by putting adequate controls in place. 5. How much authority should a manager delegate? a) Exhibit 12-7 presents the most widely cited contingency factors to provide some guidance in making those determinations. 6. How Do You Delegate Effectively? a) Clarify the assignment. b) Specify employees’ range of discretion. c) Allow employees to participate. d) Inform others that delegation has occurred. e) Establish feedback channels. Teaching Notes ____________________________________________________________ __________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ 6 How Do You Manage Conflict? 7. The ability to manage conflict is undoubtedly one of the most important skills a manager needs to possess. 8.

A study revealed that the average manager spends approximately 20 percent of his/her time dealing with conflict. 9. What Is Conflict Management? a) Conflict–perceived incompatible differences resulting in some form of interference or opposition. b) This definition includes the extremes, from subtle, indirect, and highly controlled forms of interference to overt acts such as strikes, riots, and wars. 10. Over the years, three differing views have evolved toward conflict in organizations. a) See Exhibit 12-8. b) The traditional view–conflict must be avoided; it indicates a malfunctioning within the organization. ) The human relations view–conflict is a natural and inevitable outcome in any organization and rather, has the potential to be a positive force. d) The most recent perspective—the interactionist view–proposes not only that conflict can be a positive force in an organization but also that some conflict is absolutely necessary for an organization to perform effectively. 11. Can Conflict Be Positive and Negative? a) Functional conflicts support the goals of the organization. b) Dysfunctional conflicts prevent an organization from achieving its goals. 12. How does a manager tell whether a conflict is functional or dysfunctional? ) The demarcation is neither clear nor precise. b) Functionality or dysfunctionality is a matter of judgment. c) Exhibit 12-9 illustrates the challenge facing managers. d) Managers should stimulate conflict to gain the full benefits of its functional properties, yet reduce its level when it becomes a disruptive force. 13. If conflict is dysfunctional, what can a manager do? a) Know your basic conflict-handling style, as well as those of the conflicting parties, to understand the situation that has created the conflict, and to be aware of your options. 14. What Are The Conflict-handling styles? ) Kenneth W. Thomas has given us some insight. b) One must first determine the intention of the other party. 1) What is the other person’s purpose for causing the conflict? c) Thomas concluded that one’s response will depend on cooperativeness or assertiveness. 1) Cooperativeness is the degree to which an individual attempts to rectify the conflict by satisfying the other person’s concerns. 2) Assertiveness is the degree to which an individual will attempt to rectify the conflict to satisfy his or her own concerns. d) Thomas further identified four distinct conflict-handling techniques–plus one. ) Competing–assertive but uncooperative. 2) Collaborating–assertive and cooperative. 3) Avoiding–unassertive and uncooperative. 4) Accommodating–unassertive but cooperative. 5) Compromising–midrange on both assertiveness and cooperativeness. e) Exhibit 12-10 describes when each is best used. f) The skilled manager knows what each tool can do and when to use it. g) Thomas recognized that the situation itself must dictate the technique. 1) Competition is most appropriate when a quick decisive action is vital or against people who take advantage of noncompetitive behaviors. ) Collaboration is appropriate when one is attempting to merge insights from different people. 3) Avoidance works well when the potential for disruption outweighs the benefits of resolving the conflict. 4) Accommodation can assist in issues that are more important to others than to you or when harmony and stability are important to you. 5) Finally, compromise works well in achieving temporary settlements to complex issues or reaching a solution when time constraints dictate. Teaching Notes ____________________________________________________________ ___________ ___________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ___________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ 15. Which Conflicts Do You Handle? a) Not every conflict justifies your attention. b) Choose your battles judiciously, saving your efforts for the ones that count. c) Some conflicts are unmanageable. 1) When antagonisms are deeply rooted. 2) When one or both parties wish to prolong a conflict. 3) When emotions nm so high that constructive interaction is impossible. 4) Some aren’t worth the effort. 5) Some are outside your realm of influence. ) Still others may be functional and, as such, are best left alone. 16. Who Are the Conflict Players? a) Take the time to get to know the players. 1) Who is involved? 2) What interests does each party represent? 3) What are each player’s values, personality, feelings, and resources? 17. What Are the Sources of the Conflict? a) Your approach to resolving a conflict is likely to be determined largely by its causes, you need to determine the source of the conflict. b) Research indicates that conflicts can generally be separated into three categories: communication differences, structural differences, and personal differences. ) Communication differences are disagreements arising from semantic difficulties, misunderstandings, and noise in the communication channels. 1) What might at first look like an interpersonal conflict based on poor communication is usually found, upon closer analysis, to be a disagreement caused by different role requirements, unit goals, personalities, value systems, or similar factors. d) Structural differentiation creates problems of integration. 1) The frequent result is conflicts. Individuals disagree over goals, decision alternatives, performance criteria, and resource allocations. ) These conflicts are rooted in the structure of the organization itself. e) The third conflict source is personal differences. 1) Conflicts can evolve out of individual idiosyncrasies and personal value systems. 2) Factors such as background, education, experience, and training mold each individual into a unique personality with a particular set of values. Teaching Notes ____________________________________________________________ ___________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ___________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ ____________________________________________________________ _________________________ 18. How Does a Manager Stimulate Conflict? a) The notion of stimulating conflict is often difficult to accept. b) The evidence demonstrates that there are situations in which an increase in conflict is constructive. ) There is no definitive method for assessing the need for more conflict, an affirmative answer to one or more of the following questions may suggest a need for conflict. 1) Are you surrounded by “yes people”? 2) Are employees afraid to admit ignorance and uncertainties to you? 3) Is there so much concentration by decision makers on reaching a compromise that they lose sight of values, long-term objectives, or the organization’s welfare? 4) Do managers believe that it is in their best interest to maintain the impression of peace and cooperation in their unit, regardless of the price? ) Is there an excessive concern by decision makers for not hurting the feelings of others? 6) Do managers believe that popularity is more important for obtaining organizational rewards than competence and high performance? 7) Are managers unduly enamored of obtaining consensus for their decisions? 8) Do employees show unusually high resistance to change? 9) Is there a lack of new ideas? 10) Is there an unusually low level of employee turnover? 19. There is a dearth of ideas on conflict-stimulation techniques. 20. The following are some preliminary suggestions that managers might want to use? ) The initial step is for managers to convey to employees the message, supported by actions, that conflict has its legitimate place. 1) This step may require changing the culture of the organization. b) Use communication to stimulate conflict. c) Ambiguous or threatening messages also encourage conflict. d) Another widely used met

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