Chapter Reaction Paper Prompt
A 400-500 word reaction paper will demonstrate that you have critically read, analyzed, processed, and critiqued the chapter for class discussion. You should focus your writing on one section, theory, or concept in the chapter to demonstrate both your knowledge of the content and your ability to apply it to organizational communication. It should be in APA format including references.
Cultural Approaches to Organizational Communication
Culture affects communication
Culture can create barriers that prevent us from understanding others
Ideologies and paradigms guide our thinking and impact our understanding of the world around us
Case Study: Avianca Flight 052
Avianca Flight 52 was flying from Columbia to New York
Due to poor weather, the flight had been repeatedly held up, leaving both pilots panicking about fuel levels
After Air Traffic Control again told them to wait, the pilots did not question the command
After running out of gas, the plane crashed, killing half of the passengers
What cultural dimensions may have influenced this event?
The acquired learning of a group that gives its members a sense of who they are, of belonging, and works to make that group recognizably different from other groups
Organizational culture is very similar to traditional culture in that it provides a system of shared values, beliefs, and holds meaning to employees
Globalization and Culture
Globalization has a tremendous impact on the way we communicate between and within organizations
Geert Hofstede (2001) created a model of five dimensions that act as a broad framework for understanding the cultural differences between nations
Long-term vs. short-term orientation
Masculinity and femininity
Case Study: The New Job and Organizational Culture
Zeb served for five years as the branch manager of an established local bank
Zeb always adhered to the rules of operation that governed customer and employee expectations
Though satisfied with his job, Zeb took an opportunity to work at Google
Zeb was startled by the very different culture of Googles expansive office complex, group lunches, opportunities for innovation and creativity, and flexible work hours
Why is a workplace like Google so appealing to many?
Defining organizational features of a company, that separates that company from others in terms of operations, employee relationships, and interorganizational behavior
Moving from one organization to another can prove difficult when the organizational cultures are vastly different
Substantial differences can cause culture shock in new employees
Characteristics of the work environment are dictated by organizational culture
Expectations of time
When does the business day begin and end?
How many hours and days of the week are expected?
Expectations for dress
What is appropriate for the workplace?
Expectations of communication behaviors
Southwest Airlines fun and hard work
Critical Thinking Questions – Environment
What are the time expectations for your classes?
What are the dress expectations at your institution?
What are the behavioral expectations at your institution?
Commitment to organizations is changing, as college students now average over 10 job changes in their lifetime
Different generations experience different life conditions, which influences commitment to the job
Increasing choices and opportunities impact our lives in many ways, including careers
Core aspects of an organizations culture include:
Innovation and risk-taking
Attention to detail
Cultures are not always uniform in organizations
Subcultures have unique values, attributes, or behaviors
According to Schein (1983), organizational cultures become
. . . a pattern of assumptions that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel . . . (p. 14)
Critical Thinking Questions Subcultures
What are some examples of subcultures at your institution?
How do those subcultures still maintain their organizational identity?
Changing Organizational Culture
Is it possible to make organizational change happen?
Material symbols, rituals, and even specific language used by an organization can be used to reinforce, differentiate, and strengthen culture
Strong organizational cultures are pervasive but knowing when to adapt and change the organizational culture to better fit the competitive environment is sometimes difficult
Paradigm Shifts & Organizational Culture
Defined as a set of rules and regulations, paradigms do two things:
Establish and define boundaries
Tell employees how to behave inside those boundaries to be successful
Paradigms are effective at standardizing interactions, but can become a hindrance if they prevent organizations from seeing opportunities outside that specific thought pattern
At the individual level, paradigms can interfere with our ability to see the value in other cultures, both ethnic and organizational
Critical Thinking Questions – Paradigms
How do your paradigms help navigate your everyday lives, and how can they hinder you?
How do your paradigms influence your communication styles and behaviors?
Consider the implications of organizational culture in the context of these different types of industry segments:
Entrepreneurship small business
Government sector Chapter 4:
Systems and Critical Approaches to Organizational Communication
Consideration of the organismic metaphor
Understanding organizations from a systems perspective
Use a radical frame of reference to look at how critical approaches view organizations as sites of domination
Systems approaches take a more macro view of organizations, emphasizing the permeable nature of organizational boundaries
Systems approaches to understanding organizations use this general idea to examine the component parts of an organization and how they work together to keep an organization alive
General Systems Theory
Ludwig von Bertalanffy suggested systems concepts for a variety of disciplines
Novel developments include:
Norbert Wieners contribution, from the Greek word for steersman
Control and communication theory that examines both machine and animal
Especially important to studying
The Process of Organizing
Karl Weicks definition of organizations includes:
In his book Making Sense of the Organization (2001) Weick states that he views organizations as collections of people trying to make sense of what is happening around them (p. 5)
Chaos and Complexity Theories
Used in mathematics to help explain random occurrences
Represents the collapse of order in the status quo
Chaotic behavior can appear random but can be defined mathematically
Complexity theory suggests nature is incredibly complex but is a result of underlying simplicity
The Organization as a System
The component parts and environment of a system interact in a way that can be studied and understood
Parts are interdependent or naturally reliant on one another
Inputs: incoming information
Throughputs: assimilation of that information
Outputs: end results of throughput decisions
Critical Thinking Questions Systems Characteristics
In what ways do you use feedback to make changes in your life?
Does the quality of input affect the quality of the output in an organizational system?
Organizational System Characteristics
General terms of systems properties include:
Holism: system is more than just the sum of its parts
Nonsummative: results are more than simply adding together each piece
Equifinality: reaching the same final state from differing initial conditions; variety of paths
Entropy: process of degeneration
Typical of closed systems
Negative entropy: flow of information from external environment; leads to growth and sustainability
Typical of open systems
Subsystems and Suprasystems
Departments in an organization need to be aware of what is happening in other departments
There are 10 common characteristics of open systems highlighted by Katz and Kahn (1978)
Feedback: reaction or response to a process
System goals: results for which energies and efforts of a system are exerted
Hierarchical order: organized system of ranking
Based on the work of Karl Marx, critical theory examines organizations from the perspective of oppression
Critical Thinking Questions Oppression
What are some classic examples of oppression and domination throughout history?
In what ways do we still see some of those examples being reenacted in organizations today?
Critical theorists seek to reveal how social an technological structures of organizations serve to oppress workers and create sites of domination
A way to free employees from dominant restraint
Karl Marx suggested a major imbalance between owners and workers in a capitalistic society
Purpose of critical theory is to emancipate the oppressed
Critique the marginalization and domination of women in the workplace
Developed from the womens liberation movement
Calls for the abolishment of a patriarchal society
Dominant and privileged male voices have limited the advancement of women and minority groups in the workplace
Case Study: Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is one of the poorest Native American reservations in the United States
Barren land and few jobs
Those who live there have passively supported goals of the U.S. government, even when not in their best interests
If they develop a sense of hopelessness and accept their situation, they would be experiencing hegemony
Is there a way for the inhabitants of the reservation to avoid a hegemonic situation?
Hegemony and Domination
Any organization can develop a hegemonic environment (intentionally or unintentionally)
Some examples of ways power can be used to subordinate workers includes:
Control of resources
Control of technology
Exertion of formal authority
Control of production
Control of information
Critical Thinking Questions Control
What are some other forms of control in organizations?
Will opportunities for such control increase or decrease as newer forms of organizing continue to take shape?
Communication is a major mode for exerting control
Critical theorists have helped to expose instances of organizational sites of domination and resistance
The perception of what is fair and equitable in the workplace
Distributive justice: perceived fairness of amount and allocation of rewards or outcomes
Procedural justice: perceived fairness of process used to determine distribution of rewards
Interactional justice: perceived degree to which an individual is treated with dignity, concern, respect
New form of organizing emerging in the United States
Committed to conducting business that is profitable and considers the impact on employees, community, and environment
Triple bottom line: people, planet, profit
Large corporations can adjust overall system to compensate for divisions that are struggling
Entrepreneurship Small Businesses
Struggling parts of a small system felt more quickly
Negative press for partners can affect nonprofits
Change to one component can lead to systemic changes