Communication is often regarded as a common sense process, yet it is a lack of attention to the fundamentals of communication that can often damage a company. Irrespective of the technology available and its impact, those responsible for communications should remain aware of the basic reality that communication is the art of being understood.
The function of communication is to ensure that every member of the organization knows what is expected. Good communication is critical in ensuring coordination and control of individuals, groups and departments. Good communication ensures individuals know what is expected of them, that the appropriate person receives the correct information and that there is coordination within the organization. It ensures control of the organization’s plans and procedures and those instructions given to staff by management are understood. Group and team cohesiveness is encouraged and stress can be reduced.
Many problems such as bias, distortion and omission are often the result of poor communication. However, these can be reduced and removed, as can secrecy, rumor and innuendo. This can result in the added advantage of conflict reduction. Clear communication is not easy. The method, context, structure, language, knowledge and an understanding of the needs of the recipients to whom the information is being transmitted are vital in understanding the importance of communication in the organization. Without proper and clear communication, no organization can survive.
The different perception of individuals can lead to divergence within the organization and thus to a communication barrier, as can the distance between those individuals communicating with each other. This is often overlooked in the business environment and can lead to distortion of information and thus misunderstanding between departments and individuals.
The type of communication and the medium used will depend to a greater or lesser extent on organizational structure. This will in turn be a function of the product or service and its environment. There are many forms of communication within an organization, formal and informal. Generally, in formal organizations information flows through quite clear channels and in defined directions. Traditionally, the direction of the three main information flows are:
– Upward communication is usually communication initiated from the employees
and tends to be non-directive in nature. It commonly takes two forms, personal
problems / suggestions or technical feedback, as part of the organization’s control
– Downward communication is allied with giving orders or instructions from senior
management. This form of communication is often the one most easily
recognized. Its purpose is to give specific directives, provide information about
procedures and practices or provide information about the task in hand. Control
of employees and information about their performance is an important use of
downward communication, as is the provision of information on organizational
and departmental objectives.
– Lateral or horizontal communication is increasingly important and necessary in
modern organizations; especially as traditional communication theory assumes
only vertical communication. It can take the form of task coordination, such as
departmental managers or supervisors meeting regularly or problem solving
through departmental members meeting to resolve an issue by sharing ideas with
other departments. It can resolve conflict and interdepartmental friction.
The organization chart describes in diagrammatic form the structure of the organization.It is the skeleton upon which every other activity depends, more importantly; it is the framework which explains the communication pattern, process and the linking mechanisms between the roles. It illustrates to everyone who communicates with whom, how the control system works, who is in control, which has authority and above all, who is responsible. It explains how the organization is coordinated and how individual departments relate. Formal structures are often based on specific tasks and it is how these tasks are allocated and the authority which they carry is explained by the organization. structure.
This type of structure is often referred to as the Matrix structure. Its great advantage is that it is cross functional whilst maintaining functions and the commitment and specialization of individual departments. At the same time it allows adaptation to change, encourages commitment to the organization as a whole, improves communication and perhaps most importantly of all, reduces the need for slow, laborious communication up and down the traditional hierarchical structure.
There is a special need to promote effective communications when different parts of the business are geographically separated. Some businesses, for example, separate the telesales unit from more traditional distribution channels, causing a parochial approach to business issues. Inevitably, conflicts can arise. Only by facilitating a sharing of common goals can this be addressed.
The traditional line and staff approach to organization can itself be an inhibiting factor in establishing and maintaining effective communications. The advent of new technologies has if anything created new problems here. For example, if a company has workers carrying out their duties from home, paid on a piece work basis and communicating largely by electronic methods, the barriers imposed by the organizational structure itself can impede the processes necessary to transmit messages.
Many companies have made changes to their organization structures in order to address these problems, moving away from the line and staff model and towards more flexible structures.
Leadership is the process of developing ideas and visions, living by values that support those ideas and that vision, influencing others to embrace them in their own behaviors, and making hard decisions about human and other resources.
Fundamental to the management of people is an understanding of the importance of leadership. Managers must lead, and must accept responsibility for the activities and successes of their departments. All leaders must put into practice authority, but in every case the leadership style will vary. It is usually accepted that a leader’s style will affect the efficiency, motivation, and effectiveness of their employees.
Psychologically close managers prefer informal relationships, are sometimes over concerned with human relations, and favor informal rather than formal contacts. This is sometimes called ‘relationship oriented’. Psychologically distant managers prefer formal relationships. They tend to be reserved in their personal relationships even though they often have good interpersonal skills. This approach is sometimes called ‘task oriented’.
Leadership is accomplishing something through other people that wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t there. And in today’s world that’s less and less through command and control, and more and more through changing peoples mindsets and hence altering the way they behave. Today leadership is being able to mobilize ideas and values that energize other people.
1- Legitimate Power: Followers may do something because the leader has the right
to request them to do it and they have an obligation to comply.
2- Reward Power: Followers may do something to get rewards that the leader
3- Coercive Power: Followers may behave in a way to avoid punishments that the
4- Referent Power: Followers may engage in behaviors because they admire the
leader, want to be like the leader, and want to receive the
5- Expert Power: Followers may engage in behaviors because they believe that the
leader has special knowledge and knows what is needed to
accomplish a goal or solve a problem.
It is, of course, vital to recognize that no leadership style is correct, and that style is
always dependent upon the particular situation, and the nature and culture of the
The main leadership theories present two basic approaches:
In a more contemporary approach, known as ‘action-centered leadership’, John Adair suggests that there are three basic needs that result in differing leadership styles. The leader needs to balance the relative importance of all three, with emphasis given to identifying and acting upon the immediate priority.
– ‘Task needs’ refer to the setting of objectives for the department, planning and
initiating the task, allocating responsibilities, setting and verifying performance
standards, and establishing a control system.
– ‘Group needs’ require team building so that mutual support and understanding is
achieved, standards established, training provided and most importantly,
communication and information channels opened.
– ‘Individual needs’ recognize the development and nurturing of individual
achievement, of motivation, the encouragement of creativity, delegation of
authority to encourage group support, and attention to any problems or issues
Tannenbaum and Schmidt suggest that leadership style is a continuum, and that the appropriate style depends on the characteristics of the leader, the subordinates, and of the situation.
The dictatorial style – the manager makes decisions and enforces them (the so-called tells approach).
The autocratic style, where the manager suggests ideas and asks for comments (he tells and talks approach), or the manager presents outline ideas, seeks comments and amends the ideas accordingly (the consults approach).
The democratic approach, here the manager presents a problem, again seeks ideas and makes a decision (the involves approach).
The laissez-faire approach, here the manager allows employees to act in whichever way they wish, within specified limits (the abdicates approach). However, Tannenbaum and Schmidt’s continuum is not a static model. A leadership substitute is something that acts in place of a formal leader and makes leadership unnecessary or less important. According to this view, the success of a particular leader depends on the characteristics of the followers, team, situation, and/or organization. Each can act as a substitute for a particular leader behavior.
The research on leadership substitutes provides some support for this view. Leadership substitutes, such as employee maturity, organizational rules, governmental regulations, group norms and cohesiveness, team performance, design of jobs, and professional recognition, affect subordinates’ behaviors. Part of being effective leader knows when to use substitutes-indirect and more subtle means-to influence others. Leadership substitutes may be important in some instances but do not eliminate the role of the leader. Still, we contend that leaders typically make or can make a substantial difference in the organization.
Understanding what motivates people in all walks of life is basic to all who aspire to management. One of the best known of all the writers on motivation is Hertzberg. He is noted for – among other things – his ideas on job enrichment, enlargement and rotation.
However, his ideas on motivation in the hygiene-motivation theory are particularly useful to our understanding of what motivates people. This is particularly relevant as the original research was undertaken not in the factory, but in the offices of engineers and accountants.
Motivation is the key factor in influencing humans to work better, so an increase in motivation will result in higher productivity and more profit, which is the ultimate goal of the construction industry. To create a motivational environment for construction workers, managers should have an understanding of all the concepts and theories on motivation.
Hertzberg’s motivation theory is one of the content theories of motivation. These attempt to explain the factors that motivate individuals through identifying and satisfying their individual needs, desires and the aims pursued to satisfy these desires.
This theory of motivation is known as a two factor content theory. It is based upon the deceptively simple idea that motivation can be dichotomized into hygiene factors and motivation factors and is often referred to as a ‘two need system’.
These two separate ‘needs’ are the need to avoid unpleasantness and discomfort and, at the other end of the motivational scale, the need for personal development. A shortage of the factors that positively encourage employees (the motivating factors) will cause employees to focus on other, non-job related ‘hygiene’ factors.
The most important part of this theory of motivation is that the main motivating factors are not in the environment but in the intrinsic value and satisfaction gained from the job itself. It follows therefore that to motivate an individual, a job itself must be challenging, have scope for enrichment and be of interest to the jobholder. Motivators (sometimes called ‘satisfiers’) are those factors directly concerned with the satisfaction gained from a job, such as:
– the sense of achievement and the intrinsic value obtained from the job itself.
– the level of recognition by both colleagues and management
– the level of responsibility
– opportunities for advancement
– the status provided.
Motivators lead to satisfaction because of the need for growth and a sense of self-achievement. A lack of motivators leads to over-concentration on hygiene factors, which are those negative factors which can be seen and therefore, form the basis of complaint and concern. Hygiene factors (often referred to as maintenance factors) lead to dissatisfaction with a job because of the need to avoid unpleasantness. They are referred to as hygiene factors because they can be avoided or prevented by the use of ‘hygienic’ methods. The important fact to remember is that attention to these hygiene factors prevents dissatisfaction but does not necessarily provide positive motivation.
Hygiene factors are also often referred to as ‘dissatisfiers’. They are concerned with factors associated with the job itself but are not directly a part of it. Typically, this is salary, although other factors which will often act as dissatisfiers include:
perceived differences with others
the quality of management
Understanding Hertzberg’s theory recognizes the intrinsic satisfaction that can be obtained from the work itself. It draws attention to job design and makes managers aware that problems of motivation may not necessarily be directly associated with the work. Problems can often be external to the job.
Managers’ understanding that factors which de motivate can often be related to matters other than the work itself, can lead to improved motivation, greater job satisfaction and improved organizational performance by the entire workforce.
Understanding individual goals, coupled with wider skills and abilities, can lead to greater opportunities.