COM425 and Description
I. Background of the Research Proposal
In this research proposal, the researcher investigated the key concepts for an effective and successful new communication structure in an organization. Some of the relevant concepts that were explored in depth included informal and formal communication, organizational culture, active listening, conflict resolution, leadership strategies, inter alia. In addressing the overarching research question as to what makes an effective and successful new communication structure, various related literature and peer-reviewed studies were analyzed and synthesized. Moreover, given the gaps in research and specificity of this proposal, the significance of this proposal was also presented despite some of the limitations of this research. In the methods section, the participants, design and materials, and procedures in obtaining the results for discussions were also given. Further, the implications of this research proposal were likewise provided as part of this final paper’s concluding statement.
Statement of the Problem
Many researchers agree that for an organization to be effective in achieving its vision, mission, goals, and objectives, it should have a well-established and standardized hierarchical communication structure (Kreps, 2011; Ormay, 2015). Hence, most, if not all, organizational leaders, employees and other stakeholders are, one way or the other, interested in finding out the key interdependent and synergistic organizational communication processes on how to communicate effectively with other individuals or groups in a company. Empirical studies have suggested that to have an effective and sustainable communication structure, informal and formal communication, organizational culture, and organizational leadership, for instance, should be explicitly understood (Kreps, 2011; Shirey, 2011). In this proposal, the research problem is what makes an organization effective and successful given its new communication structure? How to identify an effective and successful communication structure as compared to an ineffective and unsuccessful one? Likewise, how to maintain a new communication structure that would make an organization sustainably more effective and successful?
Significance of the Proposal
The significance of this research proposal is on the effect of a new communication structure that best meets organizational expectations, aims, and needs. Leaders, in particular, will be better informed on how to use informal and formal communication strategies, key communication principles, organizational culture, active listening, conflict resolution, and so forth. Conversely, subordinates will understand more how leaders and followers share, interact and collaborate as a team given the importance of verbal and nonverbal communications (Ormay, 2015). As a result, as communication channels and networks serve better an organization, the more it will attain its intended goals and objectives. Meeting desired expectations mean that an organization will progress and expand more toward becoming more locally and then globally competitive. Contrariwise, without well-implemented communication plans, an organization will surely come short of its achievements. Thus, with this proposal, the researcher analyzed and discussed some relevant literature and studies from various experts.
Scope and Delimitation of the Research
This research proposal covers only review of literature, or more specifically, related studies from the past five years. The contents of the previous research findings should only be about successfully implemented communication structure in an organization. In addition, the study participants from the past research results were leaders and their subordinates, inclusive of those they indirectly influence (such as clients). As such, other individuals who significantly affected their organization, even when they are outliers, will still be considered in the literature review. Results and discussion will thus be delimited based on the researcher’s analysis and interpretation of the literature, as well as, based on personal knowledge and experience.
II. Review of Literature
Concepts for Successful Communication
There are many concepts that deal with successful communication. Some of these include informal and formal communication, principles of human communication, organizational culture, active listening, conflict resolutions, leadership strategies, and a lot more (Kreps, 2011). To understand better the concepts and how they are efficaciously applied in an organizational setup, relevant studies will be used as supporting evidences.
Informal and Formal Communication
In any organization, informal and formal communications play invaluable organizational roles. Kreps (2011) has implied that informal communication is an interesting type of communication sharing that does not necessarily bear incorrect information. Depending on the kind of informal communicators that composes an organization (such as perceptively organizational, relationally competent, culturally sensitive, and team-building organizational communicators), they should all function for the benefit of an organization as a whole. Examples of informal communication include cordial conversation, grapevine, rumours, inter alia. Nevertheless, employers and employees should exercise utmost professional discretion when dealing with negative forms of dispensing informal information. For example, gossiping, which is typically used to soil a person’s reputation and thus offend others, should be avoided as much as possible as this may breed an atmosphere of distrust and disrespect. Instead, any issue that is work-related should be addressed to proper channels and authorities and those that are personal should be kept as such, privately.
On the other hand, formal communication is referred to as formal communication patterns (e.g., downward, upward, and horizontal ones). Using formal communication means guiding and directing parties concerned to comply with organizational rules and regulations to achieve company objectives, satisfy customers, and maintain company milieu that is pleasure for many individuals. Memos, orders, circulars, and so on should reach department heads, section managers, and other concerned individuals so that they employees are informed and can comply with. However, information overload should not be an issue among employees who may not be able to read all emails, blogs, etc. regularly or at a daily basis. Anyway, for an organization to be successful in implementing its new systematic communication structure, all stakeholders should use both types of formal and informal communications effectively and appropriately, as well as, have the specific technologies customizable to their individual needs, if necessary.
Organizational culture play an important part in effective organizational communication because it is about the interplay of people’s attitudes, dispositions, and standards. Hence, in any organization, there is a need for everyone to undergo the socialization process where organizational members and groups learn and manifest adherence to prevailing cultural norms (Kreps, 2011). With effective implementation of the socialization process, organizational culture will remain intact and smooth so that it is less likely to breed miscommunication and misunderstanding. Having said that, organizational culture should explicitly communicate to individual members how they can identify themselves to a variety of intercultural ideologies, models and approaches in order to serve better an organization.
As a specific instance of organizational culture that should be followed is when it comes to dress code. Employers and employees should wear proper attire in the workplace for the sake of etiquette. If an employee, for example, does not comply and yet get exempted, it could lead to other employees breaking not just that particular rule, but other standards as well later on. As such, at the onset of a violation, penalty for an initial offense should be instituted so that others will be careful to follow rules. Other than dress code, organizational staff should not only be oriented as to the company’s culture but also be given regular seminars and training workshops on how to deal effectively with bosses, colleagues, and customers. With a organizational culture that is intact and valued for what it is, it would later benefit those who are novice or seniors in an organization.
No leaders is as effective as their subordinates who are active listeners, and vice versa. Nonetheless, in many cases, leaders are much more effective when they listen more on their employees than doing most of the talking. The reason behind is that leaders who listen before they decide and act are better informed leaders who typically are sensitive to employees’ needs and related concerns. They study first the surrounding circumstances to formulate the possible best responses prior to making critical decisions and actions for themselves, others and organization as a whole. Precisely, active listening is a key relational skill that is as important as self-disclosure skills, not to mention an individual’s use of inclusion, affection, and control.
Because communication is typically a two-way process, active listening skills are important for both employers and employees such that messages and information sent across are sent (coded) and received (decoded) as correctly as possible at all levels of an organization. Moreover, with active listening as part and parcel of organizational culture, it is thus a critical factor for understanding the omplexity of interpersonal communication to initiate, build and maintain reciprocal, parallel and complementary relationships. When active listening becomes a habit among members of an organization, there is reciprocal interpersonal and interprofessional treatment that would most likely maintain and sustain good power relations and hieararchy where those involved are fullyengaged in achieving the common organizational objectives and purposes.
In most scenarios, conflicts are inevitable and do exist in any organization. Hence, conflicts could either spell out success or send out disaster to individual members, groups or even entire organization. To address any issue or problem that confronts leaders and subordinates, they have to learn how to manage conflicts by dealing effectively with others, even to those hard to get along with (Polito, 2013; Weis, 2011). For Kreps (2011), “interpersonal conflict management skills” include focusing on another person’s perspective, avoiding hostility traps, and looking for similarity in perspectives (p. 88). Consequently, when individuals learn to resolve conflict positively, they can in turn build much improved organizational communication channels and networks, and most importantly, understanding, trust and other valuable interpersonal skills among people.
Conflict resolutions have thus become part of many organization’s workplace management training programs, such as for “difficult conversations” (Polito, 2013, p. 142). With proper handling and management of conflicts, people learn to exercise self-regulation because they believe that misunderstanding is a large gap that separate people. Hence, it is better for individuals or groups in conflict to arrive at reasonable resolutions to their problem. Deliberation skills are important so that people in conflict have time to converse with one another and see other perspective that will help them regain trust and confidence in others, as well as, work harmoniously with one another.
There are many theories on leadership strategies, such as McGregor’s X / Y leadership models. It is used to explain leaders’ and followers’ relationships. Under Theory X, employees dislike work, hence, they will avoid doing it given the chance to do so. Leaders can use this theory to understand better employees’ preferences and needs. On the other hand, under Theory Y, it is assumed that employees like their work and will do something that makes their effort seen and valued. With certain level of autonomy, they will work more to succeed in the tasks given to them. Leaders can use this theory to motivate employees more even with less supervision in fulfilling their respective duties. By implication, using McGregor’s model, employers and employees can work hand in hand to achieve company objectives and goals.
In relation to leadership strategies, McGregor’s theory, and Shirey’s (2011) research, strategic leadership could more likely address strategy execution to lead sustainable organization change. With leadership strategies combined with successful communication strategies, an organizational leaders’ traits, proficiency, and behaviour can further enhance their leadership styles that fit their communication styles. For instance, autocratic leaders who believes in McGregor’s Theory X can direct workers who want to be told what they have to do and how they are going to perform it (Kreps, 2011). In emergency situations, autocratic leadership and McGregor’s Theory X seem best when there is less time for preparation and collaboration.
In view of McGregor’s Theory Y and democratic leadership style, leaders could tap followers’ motivation to work because they value what they do given their sworn responsibilities. Democratic leaders can use consensual decision making as they include during brainstorming and other meetings their colleagues and subordinates. With a sense of shared responsibilities and sense of ownership, it is more likely that followers will respond mostly in positive ways to their leaders. Nevertheless, democratic leadership may usually entail consumption of more time as compared to autocratic leadership. Anyway, in between autocratic and democratic style of leadership is the laissez-faire style of leadership.
In laissez-faire leadership style, leaders can delegate and share their power and decision making to those directly involved. When using this specific style, leaders have to assess first the capabilities of those they delegate (that is, they need to have skills and experience so that they can regulate others to do the works that need to be accomplished based on schedule, set of criteria, and other requirements). In doing so, leaders will have more time to deal with critical organizational issues and concerns are they delegate tasks to those who are not only smart but efficacious in delivering desired results. However, just like any leadership style, cautions should be exercised in the use of laissez-faire leadership because an untenable situation that is hard to correct at the onset may result to a chain of negative repercussions when a delegate did not perform as expected due to some uncontrollable factors (such as accident or sudden death).
III. Research Methodology
Design, Materials, and Participants
This proposal is an descriptive and analytical review of past research findings regarding organizational communication structure. It is designed to arrive at a new communication structure that is benecial for most, if not all, people in the workplace. The materials used are online databases, printed materials (e.g., books), and related resources. Additionally, participants in this proposal are respondents from the previous studies. Based on the literature review, they come from various industry, different fields and genders.
Using search engine tools and online databases (particularly, peer-reviewed journal articles from Ashford University Library), the researcher has presented, analyzed, interpreted and synthesized previous study findings. Prior to the literature review, the researcher has employed a self-evaluation instrument on concepts for successful communication.
The result of the literature review has shown that effective communication structure can be used to come up with a new yet better organizational communication structure using the various concepts learned in the subject and from related literature. The literature review, thus, explicit and implicitly answered the research questions as to: (1) What makes an organization effective and successful given its new communication structure? (2) How to identify an effective and successful communication structure as compared to an ineffective and unsuccessful one? (3) Likewise, how to maintain a new communication structure that would make an organization sustainably more effective and successful?
This research proposal investigated the results of past studies and related literature on the subject on how to sustain a successful communication structure. Practical implications of this proposal’s analysis is the vital role communication plays in an organization as an irreversible and transactional process that carries both meaningful relational dimensions among stakeholders concerned. Further, whether verbal or nonverbal communications, proper way of coordination was found to effectively affect progress and development of an organization to attain its aims and objectives. At this juncture, other than the limitations of the current proposal, suggestions and recommendations for future research could further build upon previous studies to arrive at a newer communication structure that address current organizational expectations and needs. Finally, because this proposal has used literature review only, future studies may consider the use of other techniques (such as meta-analytic approach and quantitative methodology) to explore, discover, and investigate other areas of an effective and successful communication structure.
Kreps, G. (2011). Communications in Organizations. California: Bridgepoint Educ., Inc.
Ormay, T. (2015). What is Good Enough? Some Thoughts about Standard. Group Analysis, 48(1), 3-11. doi:10.1177/0533316414567068
Polito, J. (2013). Effective Communication during Difficult Conversations. Neurodiagnostic Journal, 53(2), 142-152.
Shirey, M. (2011). Strategic Leadership for Organizational Change. Addressing Strategy Execution Challenges to Lead Sustainable Change. Journal of Nursing Administration, 41(1), 1-4. doi:10.1097/NNA.0b013e318200288a
Weiss, J. (2011). An Introduction to Leadership. California: Bridgepoint Educ., Inc.