Why study Organizational Communication?
1) Org comm provides the basis for understanding
virtually every human process that occurs in
2) To be aware of communication skills that you as a
college graduate should possess in order to meet
3) May start you down the path to a career as a
communication professional in an organization
or as an academic scholar in the field.
Areas of Org Comm
Organizational Communication Structure
The most central idea in functionalist perspective of
System of pathways through which messages flow
Patterns of interaction among people who comprise
the organization (who communicates with whom?)
Types of Org Comm Structure
You will provide the “story
Formal Communication Structure
Definition: Communication through officially
designated channels of message flow between
Usually found in organizational charts, policy
manuals, or hierarchial structures
3 Types of Formal Communication
1) Downward Communication
2) Upward Communication
3) Horizontal Communication
Definition: Communication that flows from
upper to lower (such as manager to employer
or superior to subordinate).
Types of messages:
job instructions, job rationales, procedures and
practices information, feedback, and
(Katz & Kahn, 1978)
Pro- efficient (fast)
Con- managerial control
Definition: Transmission of messages from
to higher levels of the organization (such as
communication initiated by subordinates with
Types of messages: performance on the job,
related problems, fellow employees and their
problems, subordinates perceptions of org policies
and practices, tasks and procedures.
Pro: promotes morale among all employees
Con: not enough superiors encourage subordinate
Definition: Flow of messages across functional
areas at a given level of an organization (this
permits people at the same level to communicate
Type of messages: facilitates problem solving,
info sharing across different work groups, task
coordination between departments and project
Con: Not efficient (time consuming)
Definition: Episodes of interaction that
reflect officially designated channels of
The ‘grapevine’ emerges from social and personal
interests of the employees rather than formal
requirements of the organization. Informal comm
is inherent and even a necessary aspect of
Pro: Creates a relaxed, comfortable climate
Con: Should not become a substitute for an
ineffective, formal system
Definition: Socially constructed reality
Purpose of cultures:
1) Cultures offer an interpretation of an institution’s
history that members can use to decipher how they
will be expected to behave in the future.
2) Cultures can generate commitment to corporate
values or management philosophy so that employees
feel they are working for something they believe in
3) Cultures serve as organizational control
mechanisms, informally approving or prohibiting
some patterns of behavior.
4) Some types of organizational cultures are
associated with greater productivity and
Organizational culture is not just another
piece of the puzzle; it is the puzzle. From
our point of view, culture is not something
an organization has; a culture is something
an organization is.
(Geertz & Pacanowsky in Griffin p.274)
Geertz & Pacanowsky
You must experience an organizations culture
to become intimately familiar with it (Griffin, p.275).
Analysis of corporate culture requires interpretation
as well as observation (Griffin, p.276).
Be particularly sensitive to the imaginative language
members use, stories they told, and nonverbal
rites and rituals they practice.
Metaphors can offer the ethnographer a
starting place for accessing the shared
meaning of corporate culture (Griffin, p.276).
Stories are repeated over and over provide
a convenient window through which to view
corporate webs of significance (Griffin, p.277)
Rituals articulate multiple aspects of cultural
life (Griffin, p.279).
Can cultures be created?
Can cultures be altered?
What is the connection between culture and interpretation?
Individual Mission Statement
Step 1: List 3-5 core values
You can divide these up as
a) Character values
b) Contribution values
Step 2: By each value write a purpose statement or
quote that supports that value.
Step 3: Write out ten questions that you can ask
mentors or people whom you respect. Put
them in a notebook or journaling book.
Step 4: When you receive feedback document it
and reassess step 1 and step 2.
Step 5: After you feel comfortable with step 1
and step 2, create your mission statement.