Communication is the transference and understanding of meaning. It is important because everything a manager does-making decisions, planning, leading, and all other activities-requires that information be communicated.
The communication process begins with a communication sender (a source) who has a message to convey. The message is converted to symbolic form (encoding) and passed by way of a channel to the receiver, who decodes the message. To ensure accuracy, the receiver should provide the sender with feedback as a check on whether understanding has been achieved.
Some techniques for overcoming communication barriers include using feedback (ensuring that the message was, in fact, received as intended), simplifying language (using language that is understood by your audience), listening actively (to capture the true meaning of the message being sent), constraining emotions (not allowing emotions to distort your ability to properly interpret the message), and watching nonverbal cues (aligning the nonverbal with the verbal).
Information technology has effectively aided communications in organizations through wired and wireless technologies. Wired technologies include e-mail, instant messaging, voice mail, fax, electronic data interchange, intranets and extranets, and the talking Internet. The wireless side includes signals sent through air or space without any physical connection using such things as microwave signals, satellites, radio waves and radio antennas, or infrared light rays.
Behaviors related to effective active listening are making eye contact, exhibiting affirmative nods and appropriate facial expressions, avoiding distracting actions or gestures, asking questions, paraphrasing. avoiding interruption of the speaker, not overtalking. and making smooth transitions between the roles of speaker and listener.
In order to provide effective feedback, you must focus on specific behaviors; keep feedback impersonal, goal-oriented, and well-timed; ensure understanding; and direct negative feedback toward behavior that the recipient can control.
Contingency factors guide managers in determining the degree to which authority should be delegated. These factors include the size of the organization (larger organizations are associated with increased delegation); the importance of the duty or decision (the more important a duty or decision is, the less likely it is to be delegated); task complexity (the more complex the task is, the more likely it is that decisions about the task will be delegated); organizational culture (confidence and trust in subordinates are associated with delegation); and qualities of subordinates (delegation requires subordinates with the skills, abilities, and motivation to accept authority and act on it).
Behaviors related to effective delegating are clarifying the assignment, specifying the employee’s range of discretion, allowing the employee to participate, informing others that delegation has occurred, and establishing feedback controls.
The steps to be followed in analyzing and resolving conflict situations begin by identifying your underlying conflict-handling style. Second, select only conflicts that are worth the effort and that can be managed. Third, evaluate the conflict players, Fourth, assess the source of the conflict. Finally, choose the conflict resolution option that best reflects your style and the situation.
A manager might want to stimulate conflict if his or her unit suffers from apathy, stagnation, a lack of new ideas, or unresponsiveness to change. A manager can stimulate conflict by changing the organization’s culture through the use of communications, by bringing in outsiders, by restructuring the organization, or by appointing a devil’s advocate.
Distributive bargaining creates a win-lose situation because the object of negotiation is treated as fixed in amount. Integrative bargaining treats available resources as variables and hence creates the potential for win-win solutions.