12 thAugust 2010
The paper presents an introduction about the importance of constructive communication and then proceeds over to the main findings. I conducted thematic analysis to run through the details of all the case and founded some themes which were recurrent all thought the case. These themes are congruence, incongruence, descriptive, evaluative, problem oriented, conjunctive and disjunctive among others.
In the next paragraph the importance of communication is highlighted via the discussion about the company cultured structures
Finally discussion is done upon the findings, recommendations and conclusions.
Table of contents
Supportive communication is an important aspect in an organization. Since it is the core base to a positive and a lasting relationship between the management team and the employees, it is of the essence that companies emphasize on constructive and supportive communication especially with the management team towards the junior employees. Effective communication involves the exchange of the ideas between one people to another with a clear understanding of the message between both parties. It is important that communication of any kind be supported since it creates better understanding as well as confidence thus leading to a positive relationship between people working in the same organization. It therefore contains the message, the sender, communication channel, the encoder, decoder and the receiver. While there may be other intravenous aspect like noise, communication seem to be effective as long as there is a clear understanding with an exception of biases against any party
This refers to communication process in which communicators are allowed to communicate with confidence, honesty as well as give accurate information at all times. This kind of communication seek to strength the relationship between people especially in an organization while giving information about any issue in the company and also when solving problems between people or that is facing the whole organization. It is imperative to note that supportive communication gives a company a strong competitive advantage over the competitors in the market since it creates a positive relationship between people working in the same organization hence improving on workers performance hence increased productivity. An organization improves employees’ relationship through coaching and counseling. This helps employees who have negative attitude towards the company to be defensive and to adjust to the situation while in the long-run; such employees change their attitude and are productive. On the other hand, constructive communication gives the management team more power to be effective in coaching and counseling since it limits defensiveness among the employees. This is due to the fact that employees often feel become defensive when they have a feeling that communication by the management team is threatening. This leads them to divert their attention into identifying the conflicting aspects so as to form an arguments therefore it is crucial that communication be done in a constructive manner within an organization.
Features of constructive communication
As mentioned earlier, constructive communication is very supportive when coaching or counseling employees in an organization. There are several features of constructive communication which include;
Problem oriented, not person oriented
This feature of constructive communication points at problems which need to be resolved rather than pointing fingers to persons who have caused those problems. It does not consider the person creating problems as an issue but points out what the problem is and focus on solving that problem
Congruent, not incongruent
Congruent feature of a constructive communication brings out the feeling of the communicator as well as his/her thoughts. This is achieved through matching of verbal and non-verbal communication. For example if a person is upset about something, he may not be able to hide what he feels rather actions would speak for themselves. On the other hand, incongruent communication does not give accurate information; it talks about one thing when meaning something else.
Descriptive, not evaluative
Descriptive communication eliminates defensive reactions which are caused by evaluative communication since it expresses a negative opinion of the listener. Communication is more effective when problems are objectively described rather than speaking in an evaluative manner
Validating, not invalidating
Validating communication is effective since it assists people in feeling understood and appreciated. On the other hand, invalidating communication shows superiority, rigidity or indifferent in the communicating parties. It is therefore to communicate in validation in order to create a positive relationship in a working environment since it focus on equalizing people as well as creating respect among people working in the same organization.
Conjunctive, not disjunctive
Conjunctive communication focus on two way communication without letting one person to dominate the communication while disjunctive gives one party a chance to dominate the communication process
Listening, not one-way message delivery
Listening involve attentively absorbing the message with an interested attitude being ready to give feedback to the speaker so that communication becomes complete showing that the message is effectively delivered. Effective communication occurs when people are able to listen to the message and be able to give effective feedback.
Communication model is the process through which a message is passed from the source to the destination. It include the process of transmitting the message by the sender and the process through which the message reach the destination as illustrated below.
SOURCEð ENCODING ð DECODING ð DESTINATION
The model above illustrates the physical process of communication which points out the only physical process of sending and receiving the message through the process of encoding from the source and decoding at the destination. The transmitter takes into consideration the sender and the process of encoding while the receiver takes into consideration the receiver as well as the process of decoding. This model however fails to consider other aspects that take place in the communication process such as timing of communication as well as other aspects like non-verbal communication.
Effective communication takes into consideration all aspects of communication process. it is vital to note that limiting communication to the model illustrated above limit the understanding capacity during communication process. Contemporary researchers have linked communication with the other aspects of the organizations like negotiation, coaching, mentoring, conflict resolution etc. There is today a lot of empirical amount of research studies and organizational case studies available which shows the importance of good communication is a variety of processes (Millman, 2001.). And the interest in studying more about the communication and organizational processes is still increasing. According to the management expert, David Ulrich, the increasing interest in communication is attributed to the increasing complexities within the organizations and the ever evolving role of strategic management and planning and to the revolutionary change in the job description of a HR. With the introduction of globalization, most of industries have expanded from their geographical boundaries and are spreading across international settings. Basing on the above analysis, the company structures are growing more horizontal in terms of their spread and have various operating verticals which are spread across different countries. An ideal example of this would be of Proctor and Gamble which has its various verticals and operations spread across different regions, for example in Europe, APAC (Asia Pacific), Australia etc. In order to deal with this kind of multi cultural perspectives communication in organizations have become very crucial. From the standpoint of the strategy then today the business strategies have incorporated more creative approaches than ever. A decent example of this would be the application of strategic human resource management instead of the so popular human resources management. This has also lead to a drastic change in the role of an HR.
Earlier on, the role of an HR was limited to the administrative roles or roles related to the compensation and recruitment (Seligman, 1998b.). This contradicts to today’s role which has moved from mere administration roles to the strategic roles where the human resource managers are the business partners in forming the company strategy. Consequently, transitions have come up with various aspects like talent development, training, coaching, mentoring and internal aspects like multi source feedback system (MSFS) etc. A careful analysis to all this processes would clearly indicate that these processes have dominated in many companies which have started implementing these processes in the long run. Another important aspect is that while these processes largely lie under the domain of executive team in the organization, these generally have high linkages with the other processes as well.
The case study is given in a dialogue format. It is a qualitative interview approach where two people are discussing about the recently given feedback on the completed work. Whenever there is a qualitative data, the best analysis is done with the application of the thematic analysis approach. A thematic analysis study interprets the qualitative interviews which can be semi structured or unstructured interviews by identifying the commonly occurring themes and then by citing and explaining these themes with the examples (Herzberg, 1959.). In more sophisticated analysis which is generally applied in the higher level behavior research studies, the thematic analyses is run with the help of the thematic analysis templates and now a day’s even with the help of the software’s. The approach in analyzing this particular example would be to read through the case or transcript carefully and identify the commonly occurring themes and the number of times these occur.
Basing on the analysis of the case study, there are various aspects of supportive communication that are clearly brought out. One of the supportive communication aspects that are evidence in the case study is congruence-incongruence aspect. This is evident in the tony expresses his feelings towards Peterson after the meeting. Athena is able to point out that Tony’s meeting with Peterson was not a successful one since Tony is upset when asked about it. Similarly, descriptive /not evaluative aspect of supportive communication is evident. Peterson’s reactions gives Tony a defensive reaction as conclude that Peterson is biased against him however Athena makes it descriptive to avoid judging Peterson. In the same way, the case study is problem oriented /not person oriented since it tries to find a solution to the problem rather than judging one person. Likewise, the case study brings out some aspects of validating people as opposed to invalidating people. Lastly, the case study brings about aspects of supportive listening in supportive communication since there is a dialogue between two parties and the conclusion is reached.
From the findings in the case study, the conversation presents various aspects of supportive communication which include the following;
Although the case study presents various dynamics of supportive communication, most of the statements are congruent. Athena is fast in identifying that the meeting between Tony and Peterson didn’t go well since Tony is furious about the whole issue and therefore wish the subject to be dropped immediately. There is a feeling that one party is biased against the other and so tony think that perhaps Peterson is biased against him, not the work he had presented to him. On the other hand, Peterson’s reaction is incongruent since he makes comments on the document as realistic while he did not seek to be explained some aspects neither did he point out the weaknesses of the proposal to tony who would otherwise have modified it.
Most of the statements made by Athena are descriptive since he describes his observations of Tony’s events and make remarks that turn Tony’s defensive reaction. He observes that perhaps Peterson did not understand Tony’s report since Tony didn’t ask the weakness found in the report or the gap so that he can revise it. On other hand Tony’s communication with Peterson was evaluative since it brought about putting a label to one person hence leading Tony to be defensive. It is of the essence to note that if a positive relationship between people in an organization is to be maintained, supportive communication must be adhered to so as a clear understanding between people may be reached.
The dialogue in the case study is problem oriented not person oriented. Much as Tony feels that Peterson is biased against him, Athena try to open his eyes by telling him that perhaps Peterson did not understand the logic behind his report. This means that the change in Petersons behavior have been caused by lack of understanding of various issues. This leads into a search for a solution to the problem. Since the report by Tony is perceived to be well thought of and with a strong base, Athena suggests that the same report can be used in order to point out the gap that leads to its rejection. It is important to note that supportive communication leads to easier problem solving. Through being problem solving oriented, the organization is able to maintain the workers performance as well as positive relationship in an organization as shown by Tony and Athena in the case study.
The dialogue clearly brings about aspect of supportive listening in the case study. This is a very important aspect in supportive communication as it gives both parties confidence to solve problem as well as strengthening relationship between both parties. Athena shows supportive listening as he is able to capture every detail concerning Tony’s encounter with Peterson. In this regard, he is able to give his opinion towards the whole issue and hence a conclusion is reached that the same report should be used to book an appointment with Peterson so that he may point out some weakness in the report. These weaknesses will in turn give Tony a base on which to conduct a research. It is vital to point out that the dialogue involves reflective responses since Athena is able to reflect on the main problem and give an advice at the end of discussion. This in turn gives a concluding remark regarding the problem at hand.
The above mentioned observed dynamics of behavior generally leads to four outcomes. On a behavioral side this leads to various problems and mental states. One of the mental states in which he adjusts is Stress, a condition which pressurises man to the extent that he adjusts or he has to adjust. Person’s mental health does not develop in the absence of stress. Mental health of every person develops fast when he successfully and satisfactorily reacts with the stressful situations (Weiner, 1986.). According to Coleman (1976), any condition impinging on the organism which requires adjective reaction.” If we view stress from psychological point of view, it appears to be full of cognitive and physiological reactions. In this form many times stress appears to be like – anxiety, conflict, emotion, frustration and arousal. In fact stress is quiet different condition, and is a type of mixed form of pressure, anxiety and frustrations.
In an organization, when an employee fails to struggle with his environment or when the person fails to face the dreadful or harmful situation, this dreadful situation can be physical or mental, person feels restless and uneasy in such a situation. This mixed picture of tension and restlessness is called stress (Roethlisberger, 1939.). The person can be under high pressure, in tension, anxiety, conflict or phobia etc., in this situation of restlessness and uneasiness. The amount of stress in a person depends upon the evaluation he does of himself for the ability to face and struggle with adverse situations. Another important factor of stress is the feeling of responsibility in that man (Porter, et.al, 1958). Another study by Weiss (1971) shows that stress is found in greater amount in the people lacking in the feeling of responsibility. Reactions regarding stress are found more in the persons who are in a position to anticipate regarding the problem situation.
Basing on the above analysis, supportive communication is a vital aspect in an organization since it helps in creating and maintaining a strong relationship between the management team and the employees in an organization. It therefore acts as a motivating factor for people in an organization to be more productive. In my opinion, the management team is responsible for creating a positive relationship among the employees by fully participating in decision making as well as allowing them to participate in inventive and innovative solution in an organization. It is important to note that if constructive communication is effectively established in an organization, then performance would increase leading to high productivity in the company.
Basing on the above analysis of supportive communication, it is clear that lack of support in communication leads to misunderstanding in the process of communication as well as creating negative relationship between the management team and the employees in an organization. I would therefore recommend support in communication so as to reduce the negative outcome from communication. According to the analysis of the case study, people make efforts in order to adjust in all types of situations especially in stressful situations. There are two types of adjustment that I would recommend a person to use especially in a stressful moment. One of the types includes direct coping, an aspect that takes into consideration the situations which bring discomforts and which distorts mental stability. These situations need to be eliminated in order to give the person stability in mind since unstable mind does not yield. It can therefore be eliminated through being aggressive, compromising or withdrawal from the aspect that disturb the mind. In case the stressful moment is created in the company one can withdraw from the job until he regains the required state of mind. Another type of adjustment includes mental mechanism which is used to avoid frustration or stress in an organization. In order to release the tension generated by conflict, it is vital to use mental mechanism since it give balance and adjustment for a person to remain normal. Every man has the fear that people may not reject or insult him he may not become helpless. Such sorts of fears are aggravated in adverse situations. But the person does not easily give up in adverse situations. He makes use of these mental mechanisms in these adverse situations. It is imperative to note these adjustment aspects are used in an organization, and then there is a possibility that operation would remain normal. However it is important that the management team build a positive and a strong relationship among the employees and between them, supportive them so as to improve on productivity of the organization. This is due to the fact that employees gain confidence to work towards organizational goals and are able to contribute to the improvement of terms and condition of working environment.
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Millman, Z. (2001). Increasing reemployment through training in verbal self-guidance. In Work motivation in the context of a globalizing economy. Mahwah,: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. p.87–97.
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