Employees have much to gain by opening to the boss and How to write a Cover Letter for Ethiopian Company’s but there’s a chance of big losses as well. The fear of being punished for communicating upward is highest in two sorts of organizations: Once with truly unsympathetic management (it is smart to keep quiet in these) and once in which managers are uncommunicative (where employees have no way of knowing whether supervisors will support the kind of open communication that sooner or later becomes necessary.
One fact of original life is that negative information is less likely to be communicated upward than positive information.
In ancient Greece, messengers bringing bad news were slaughtered, and subordinates seem to fear that this practice hasn’t entirely disappeared. No such problem exists with good news. Subordinates are usually glad to let the boss know how well they’ve done, sometimes exaggerating the degree or quality of their brilliance.
Thus, managers run the risk of getting short changed on bad news and overdosed on favorable reports – hardly an accurate picture of what’s going on. Distortion is not entirely the fault of subordinates. Since many managers dislike bad news, they often twist it or screen it out. This is especially true when the bad news reflects poorly on the manager’s skill.
- Status Differential
Many bosses having the ‘I talk, you listen’ behaviors, have the idea that listening to the factual reports of subordinates is all right, but that ideas and opinions should only flow downward.
188.8.131.52 How can we improve upward communication?
Most of the responsibility for improving upward communication rests with managers. The place to begin is for managers to announce their willingness to hear from subordinates. They must be sincerely interested in hearing from subordinates and genuinely values their ideas. Managers can use various methods to facilitate upward communication such as:
- Following an “open – door” policy
- Establishing clear grievance procedures
- Conducting periodic interviews
- Periodic group meetings and
- Using suggestion box
Horizontal communication is the flow of information among employees within the same level in the organizational chart. Horizontal information informs, supports, and coordinates activities. Considerable horizontal communication in organizations stems from staff specialists, in areas such as engineering, accounting, and human resources management, who provide advice to managers in various departments.
Some organizational structures employ teams comprised of members from different functional areas, even different levels of the hierarchy. When these individuals from different units and organizational level communicate, it is diagonal communication. With more and more firms reducing the number of management layers and increasing the use of self managed work teams, many workers are being required to communicate with others in different departments and on different levels to solve problems and coordinate work. For instance, a team might be formed from all functional areas (accounting, marketing, operations, and human resources) to work on a specific product project to ensure that all points of view are considered.
- Informal Communication (Grapevine)
Dear learners, what do you know about informal communication? Is it important for organizations? explain. A middle manager of a medium-size manufacturing company was surprised when a fellow employee congratulated him on his promotion. He has received no formal announcement from the organization.
Not all messages flow along the official paths prescribed by the organization’s chain of command. Many messages, as in the example above, flow along an informal network commonly called the ‘grapevine’. Informal communication, better known as grapevine, is communication that takes place without regard to hierarchical or task requirements. Informal communication channels are not deliberately designed and therefore, are not abide by the formal organizational hierarchy or chain of command.
One classical study investigated four possible configurations for grapevine chains.
- Single-stand chain: communication moves serially from person A to B to C and so on (each tells one other).
- Gossip chain: person A seeks out and tells others (one tells all).
- Probability chain: person A spreads the message randomly; as do individuals F & D (each randomly tells others).
- Cluster chain: person A tells selected individuals and then one of these tells selected others (some tell selected others). The study found that the cluster chain was the most predominant form, which suggests that individuals who euphonium are part of grapevines are likely to be selective about the persons to whom they relay information and that only some of these persons will in turn pass the information further.
Despite the fact that grapevines sometimes create difficulties when they carry gossip and false rumors, they are a fact of life in organizations, and it is unrealistic for managers to think that they can eliminate grapevine. The type of information the grapevine carries depend on the ‘health’ of the organization. If managers are fairly open with employees and send all necessary information through formal channels, the grapevine usually caries only personal interest items. However, when the formal communication channels fail to do the job, the grapevine begins to carry information about the organization. In other words, the grapevine busies itself with official matters only when the formal channels of communication fail to deliver, are not understood, or are not accepted by the people for whom the messages are intended.
Research has found that although some entirely false rumors are spread by the grapevine, information passed by this means is 75-95 % accurate. Informal messages may be more accurate than the formal ones because status, power and rank differences are temporarily set aside. Overall, grapevines tend to be fast, and carry large amounts of information.
Managers who listen carefully to the informal communication find it useful source of information about employees concerns and problems. Some managers actually leak new ideas or proposals to the grapevine to test worker response. If an idea is greeted with hostility, they drop it or reverse it; if the idea is received positively, they introduce it into official channels. The grapevine can also help to disseminate information about organizational traditions and history.
- Confirming: Some informal communication confirms formal messages.
- Expanding: Informal communication can fill in the gaps left by incomplete formal messages.
- Expediting: Informal networks can often deliver messages more quickly than can official channels.
- Contradicting: Sometimes informal networks contradict official messages.
- Circumventing: Informal contacts can sometimes help you short cut official channels that are unnecessarily cumbersome and time consuming.
- Supplementing: Sometimes even management realized that informal communication can get the job done better than can the more formal variety.
Who Uses the Grapevine?
Some people become very active on the grapevine when the organization is undergoing periods of instability or excitement. Layoffs and rumors of impending automation or electronic dates processing tend to start the grapevine working overtime. At such times, managers should take care to “feed” grapevine accurate information to keep the rumor level down so that it doesn’t affect morale and production rates. Some people are active on the grapevine only when their personal feelings are involved.
Most grapevine messages are short-lived. People become easily board by stale gossip. Some people, however, always have the latest “dirt.” They are the controls transmitters on the grapevine line and sometimes the ones to consult when it is necessary to find out “what is really going on.” Such people are the “stars” of the grapevine channel – hence called grapevine leaders.
How Accurate Is It?
A study showed that in normal, non-controversial work situations, a little over three fourth of all the messages carried by the grapevine were accurate. Grapevine messages are not 100% accurate. It is distorted. The reason is that the message invariably carries the personal impressions and emotional reactions of each person on the communication chain, as well as the information. Because of this some managers view the grapevine as a demoralizing influence that leads to irresponsible behaviors and lowered production rates and sometimes destroys morale and reputations. Rumors are subject to distortion because people are interested in the subject matter, and they filter and distort those details that do not interest them and enlarge & elaborate the ones that due.