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My Communication Event at Work

Discuss about the Reflection Paper on Communication at Work.

Communication is an essential element at any kind of workplace. Organizations comprises of various departments that have different kinds of personnel that are at different levels. Information being part of the most crucial business asses, it is expected to flow from one department to another within the organizations. Proper communication can help to meet goals, maintain relations in organizations (Sharma, 2015).  Personnel also need to report to their seniors in order to give account of their undertakings. This is called upward communication. Senior personnel also need to pass instructions and orders to their juniors, what is referred to as downward communication. It is clear that most organizations emphasizes on formal communication when it comes to work places, with little emphasis given on informal, or rather social communication. This reflection paper aims at giving an account of communication at work place, analyzing the issues that have been raised in the communication process.

Securing a position as an Intern in the marketing department of a reputable company was one of my greatest achievements. I was among the few selected Interns who were given a rare chance to work in the marketing department of a multinational company. As usual, all of us were expected to show the little competence we had when it came to matters concerning formulation and execution of marketing strategies.  

We grouped in three groups of four members each. Each group was expected to have a group leader responsible for presenting reports and recommendations to the supervisor. The supervisor was to present the reports and recommendations at the department level to be discussed by a panel of executives. The mode of communication was to follow that order. Group members were not allowed to present the recommendations directly to the supervisor; it was only expected to be done through the group leaders. Also, the group leaders could not present the recommendations or ideas directly to the executives at the department level. All the recommendations were supposed to be presented through the Supervisor of interns.

As a member of the group, I set in with my colleagues in down some marketing research on effect of promotion on fast-moving consumer goods. I was the one responsible for taking notes. We discussed with ideas flowing in. The use of informality in communication helped us understand each other. It also helped me build the confidence in contributing to the ideas despite the fact that some of the group members were much older than me. From the look of the ideas, I realized that we were working as a team. We had good points and strategies. This was confirmed by our supervisor during the preliminary supervision.

Russian Doll Analogy

On submission day, it was unfortunate that our group leader did not make it to work due to unavoidable circumstances. I was asked by my fellow group members to submit the final report. When I reached the supervisor, he did not accept the report on claims that it was only supposed to be submitted and signed by the group leader. He claimed that it was the formal communication protocol, which was part of the test. I tried to use some chit chat but he seemed so inclined to the formal communication and structural order of flow of the information in the company. I tried to suggest if I could take the presentation directly to the panel and explain to them. Unfortunately, he rejected my suggestion on claims that that was the worst breach of communication protocol.

Having no otherwise, I returned to my group members and explained to them. The other groups presented theirs through group leaders and they continued the internship. Our internship period was terminated on claims that we did not present the reports. 

Kaye (2014) states that the Russian Doll Analogy describes communication in for major aspects which are self-management, inter-personal relationships, people in the system and competence. These four aspects of the Russian Doll Analogy also applies in the communication experience at workplaces.

The communication experience I had helped me build confidence while discussing marketing strategies with my colleagues. It helped me establish good skills in presenting issues to my group members and also the courage to face the intern supervisor while group leader was away.

The interaction with my group members also encouraged inter-persona relationship with my group members. The inter-personal skills help in promoting good relations and understanding among the employees of organizations.

In an organization, the people are the employees in the organization while the system refers to the organization structure and policies (Levin, Giles, & Garrett, 1994). I experienced the system in terms of the communication channel that was set by the company. It was a well laid down system that we all had to adhere to.

Deetz (2001) explains internal communication as being the process in which organizations are viewed and discussed. Organizations always tend to follow strict formality when handling communications at workplaces (BELLO, 2000). The kind of communications followed at work places include upward and downward communication.  In my case, there was strict formality in communication. I had to adhere to the laid down procedure regarding the channel of communications. I believe this prevented our report from reaching the panel, which I believe it was the best among the ideas. Organizations should always try to loosen the communication rules to allow free and faster flow of information within the organization (Moreno, 2006). Junior workers should be allowed to communicate to senior executives with no bottle-necks.

Strict Formality in Internal Communication

The use of informal communication at work place helps in creating good customer relations as well as understanding. The use of informal communication with my group members helped me feel free to discuss and present the points to my colleagues. It promotes cohesion and empathy among the workers at workplaces. Organizations should encourage, to some extent, the use of informal communication by employees. This should not be only between workers of the same level, but also between workers of different levels.

Every manager agrees that workplace communication is the most essential thing and the key component to create a productive environment ("Workplace communication for the 21st century: tools and strategies that impact the bottom line: v.1: Internal workplace communication; v.2: External workplace communication", 2013). The key to managing workers well in the work place is by understanding how these employees communicate with each other. This also makes it easy for the management and other employees to appreciate certain behaviors that are depicted in the work place.

Informal communication flows in all directions in the work place including upwards, downwards, or horizontal throughout the work place (Russell, 1997). This is unlike formal communication which must either be written i.e. through email, memos or notices. Formal communication can also be verbal even though in most cases, this is normally one direction. Informal communication does not follow the organizational structure and will generally take any direction.

In the workplace that I worked at, informal communication was mostly used for rumors and gossip. This would create a bond amongst the workers and help teams to collaborate well and become cohesive. In most cases, you realize that the workers in the workplace would spend more time in the offices because of the informal relationships and communication that takes place among them.

In addition to the above, there is also small group communication in the workplace that includes the staff meetings, planning sessions, project briefings, board and committee meetings, working sessions among others (Henningsen & Henningsen, 2014). In most cases, these meetings and group communications would tend towards informal communication unless when done through video conferencing (Carletta, Garrod, & Fraser-Krauss, 1998).

Therefore, workplace communication plays an important role in building teams and enhancing workplace relationships that lasts beyond working time and period. It also assists in revealing other important things that might affect an employee negatively and it is outside the work structure.

Conclusion

Communication is an essential element in any workplace. It enhances good floor of work, good relationships as well as planned structure of operations. The formality used in communications within different organizations aid a lot in enhancing smooth flow of instructions, guidelines and orders as well as reports from junior personnel to executives. However, organizations should also learn the importance of loosening communication policies and red-tapes to allow timely and effective floor of information without barriers created by the formal communication structures. Organizations should also strive to encourage informal communication at work places. This will help in enhancing cohesion, understanding, empathy and good relationships amongst workers.  At the same time, workers should make good use of the informality to avoid effects such as spread of rumors and gossips within   the organization. 

References

BELLO, R. (2000). Determinants of Equivocation: The Influence of Situational Formality, Interaction Phase, and Ambiguity Tolerance. Communication Research, 27(2), 161-193. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/009365000027002003

Carletta, J., Garrod, S., & Fraser-Krauss, H. (1998). Placement of Authority and Communication Patterns in Workplace Groups: The Consequences for Innovation. Small Group Research, 29(5), 531-559. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1046496498295001

Henningsen, D. & Henningsen, M. (2014). A Preliminary Examination of Perceptions of Social Influence in Group Decision Making in the Workplace. International Journal Of Business Communication, 52(2), 188-204. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2329488414525448

Levin, H., Giles, H., & Garrett, P. (1994). The effects of lexical formality and accent on trait attributions. Language & Communication, 14(3), 265-274. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0271-5309(94)90004-3

Moreno, R. (2006). Citizens and media cultures: hidden behind democratic formality. Global Media And Communication, 2(3), 299-313. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1742766506069580

Russell, R. (1997). Workplace democracy and organizational communication. Communication Studies,48(4), 279-284. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10510979709368508

Sharma, Priti R. (2015). Organization communication: perception of staff members’ level of communication satisfaction and job satisfaction. Electronic theses and Distribution. Paper 2481. https://dc.etsu.edu

Varona, F. (1996). Relationship between communication satisfaction and organizational commitment in three Guatemalan organizations. Journal of Business Communication,33(2), 111-140.

Weber, M. (1947). The theory of social and economic organization (A.M. Henderson and T. Parsons, Trans.). New York, NY: Free Press.

Weiss, D. J., Dawis, R. V., England, G. W., & Lofquist, L. H. (1967). Manuel for the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire. Minneapolis: University, Industrial Relation Center.

Wi?ska, J. (2010). Influence of superior-subordinate communication on employee satisfaction.

Journal of Positive Management, 1(1), 110-124.

Workplace communication for the 21st century: tools and strategies that impact the bottom line: v.1: Internal workplace communication; v.2: External workplace communication. (2013). Choice Reviews Online, 50(11), 50-6291-50-6291. https://dx.doi.org/10.5860/choice.50-6291

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