The Changing Landscape of Organisations

“Globalisation will continue to escalate, transferring technologies  bringing cultures and societies closer, and creating a community of peace loving, intelligent citizens. In this vision of the future, globalisation will foster cooperation among nations and create good will. Globalisation will be an instrument of peace, growth, progress and prosperity. Competitiveness is viewed as a marathon to achieve and sustain excellence.” Zahra, 1999

Recently, have you called a help line and after eventually made your way through the automated questions to eventually reach a human? That caller was more than likely located offshore. Welcome to globalisation.

A number of factors have resulted in the increase of globalisation, and one underlying aspect is the laissez-faire capitalism: “the assumption that a free-market economic system has sufficient checks and balances in place to ensure that the legitimate interests of all members of a society will be met” (Conrad and Poole, 2004). This means that the minimization of the role of the government advocating the creation of wealth through free trade and has contributed to the globalisation of businesses during the past few decades.

There are a few aspects that have resulted in the adaptions of globalisation in the workplace however. It results in time and space compression as you lose knowledge of the time and space as you are continually moving from country to country and, consequently communication patterns change. Our global consciousness needs to be looked at, as respecting each culture takes on a new importance. Lastly, disembodied organisations and people result from globalisation. Behaviour and interaction are often lifted from their local context and restructured across time and space. Cyberspace that is.

Moving on from the concept of globalisation is the notion of the ‘disposable worker’. By the turn of the 21st century, the global economy, increased technology, weakened labour unions, and an extremely competitive organisational environment contributed to the end of employment as we knew it. It was the birth of the disposable worker.

On the positive side, it did see some benefits for the disposable worker, such as increased flexibility and control when you need to make changes, however work was periodic and provided no financial stability.

It also threw up some issues for the organisations employing these disposable workers. A lack of employee identification has implications for personal and organisational decision-making, there is low job satisfaction and high turnover, there is a significant lack of commitment to the organisation, there are role conflicts and puts the staff in difficult situations.

Pretty much, with the increase of technology and the changing business landscape with the increase of globalisation, the staffing structures of businesses are changing. People are becoming disposable. Throwing up major changes for human resources who are all about fostering this wicked corporate culture, loyalty and motivation all of which is very hard to do when you have staff that are not planning on staying for long due to their disposable nature.

Therefore, organisations need to be adaptable to this. structures need to be put into place whereby we are seeing a high output and strong corporate culture regardless of the disposable nature of some employees working contracts. It could be simplistic things, such as casual Fridays, lunches, after work drinks on a Friday that they are welcomed too and training and prompting the mission and vision of the organisation they are apart of.

Over the past 14 chapters, it has become relevant that HR and leadership play major, massive, enormous roles in the organisation and the changing nature of this. One major notion I see present is the ability for an organisation to adapt and change to these factors. The fluidity in your adaption, the more successful you will be financially in terms of your staff and internal operations.

Advertisements

Technological Processes

Judging from that video, I guess you could say…we are pretty obsessed.

Miller states:

In 1996 there were 400 million emails daily.

2001, 16 billion daily.

2006, 60 billion daily.

2012, 145 billion daily.

Estimated 192 billion daily in 2016.

And that’s not including social media…

Technology is major. MAJOR.

Email, World Wide Web, social media, smartphones and other major advancements in technology have re-shaped the way organisations communicate. And it is most defiantly no secret.

Emails, texts, phone calls and social media are all instant, thanks to smartphones. Tablets and laptops make desk spaces portable, virtually eliminating the need for your own office and the instantaneous communication can mean that its increasingly difficult to switch off from work.

It has, no question changed the way we communicate.

Ambiguity is a term that theorists Richard Daft and Robert Lengel (1984, 1986) developed and defined how to communicate in this changing environment. It refers to the existence of conflicting and multiple interpretations of an issue.

text_messages_parentsSound familiar? Happens to me all the time, ahhh yes parents and technology…anyhoo.

Task ambiguity! YAY! It combines with the notion of media richness, and argues that managers will choose the media that matches the ambiguity of the message.

So, you’re the boss, and you want to fire someone, Text message? NO WRONG. This is an example of a highly ambiguous task and face-to-face would be, BY FAR, the best option. Calling all employees to a meeting at 2pm in the boardroom, low in ambiguity, email will be fine.

Some of the effects that technology has had on communication, other than ambiguity, are that the new technologies augment existing ones rather than replace them. Therefore organisations that adopt new communication technologies are marked by an overall increase in the amount of communication.

Upgrade your technology capabilities so that all your staff can have a smart phone, means that all your staff will now have instantaneous access to emails and the internet, increasing the communication levels. Or when you get the abilities to have a video conference, face-to-face meetings will be replaced.

A disturbing result of this though is that we often feel like we are being dumped on, can’t breathe, can’t escape THE CONSTANT BUZZING OF THIS PHONE!!!!!!!

But, it can help us to make friends….YAY!

Electronic connections such as email and texting can enhance the development of workplace friendships. And as studies from Mayo show, this increases worker output if they have social connections at work. Furthermore there is evidence that computer technology will lead to greater equality of participation in group interactions.

Technology can even change the whole internal structure of an organisation, such as desk space….

Organisations do need to keep up to date with technology, it is rapid and constantly changing but it is now  a necessity for all businesses internal and external communications.

It alters the way all businesses function in the external environment. In just a few clicks of the mouse you can view your competitions website, and they can view yours and find out what they are doing. If you have a social media page, this is almost a full-time job for a staff member, and you can see feedback from customers or clients for free. Advertising on social media is a new sector, and its rapidly growing. Online access from your customers is vast, so how are you going to respond to this?

In a few simple clicks, you can have a lot of information.

Internally, it’s becoming more and more instant and this needs to be controlled. Human resources and leadership need to have strategies in play to help staff correspond with the copious amounts of emails. Or if there is a technology upgrade, you need to train your staff. Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites need to be monitored, and staff now need restrictions on what they can and cannot post on the internet regarding work.

Ever thought about your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and whats on it? Binge drinking photos from your youth? Yep, your employer now may see that….get the idea?

It is most definitely changing, and for those of you who have a smartphone, and are somewhat addicted…watch this:

Organisational Diversity Processes

We’re moving further and further into the 21st century, and the workforce is continually reflecting the dramatic demographic changes that began many  years ago. Women continue to join the workforce and are now entering into careers that were once only for men. It is in fact predicted that women will outnumber men in the workforce by 2020. Go team!

This is due to a number of factors, such as increasing career aspirations, educational systems and the development of workplace support schemes such as child care and flex time. But, whats it like to be a women or a person of colour in today’s workplace? What are the benefits and challenges of having a culturally diverse workplace? What are some of the strategies that can be used to foster this?

The answer, research has shown, to this question is that women and people of colour have vastly different experiences in the workplace than that of white men.

Ever heard of the glass ceiling concept? It describes a barrier so subtle that it is transparent, yet so strong that it prevents women and minorities form moving up in the management hierarchy. Without kidding around, this is an important issue. It’s an issue that sees women getting paid less than men, still, in this 21st century. In fact, in the US a women earns 77 cents to the mans $1. WHY!? However, we are seeing progress as Obama signed a bill in 2009 making it easier for women to sue over pay inequity.

A culturally diverse workplace sees a variety of issues being thrown up, such as discrimination and stereotyping, colour discrimination being on the rise and the ‘Mummy track’ who are women employees who were assumed that they want flexible working hours and family support in exchange for fewer opportunities.

However, there are ways to manage this.

Thinking about it as a celebration of diversity in organisational and cultural life.

Identifying a number of spheres of activity that must be dealt with when living in a culturally diverse nation.

Have an HR system that works.

Managers and employees must see it as a challenge and an opportunity. And also need to be knowledgable about the needs and contributions of diverse organisational members.

Educate your workforce to eliminate discrimination, have a bias free HR system, and work options that ease the conflict between job and family.

AGAIN IT’S HUMAN RESOURCES AND LEADERSHIP!!

It’s about leading from the top and ensuring your team is equipped with the right knowledge and experience to manage and appreciate the benefits of a culturally diverse workforce.

Have an HR team that has options for parents, but never assumes it’s what they want. Some mothers have different expectations and needs than others. Be prepared and see it as an opportunity is probably what I take away from this the most, we are in the 21st century, times have changes and the mindset of organisations needs to change with it. Base your promotions on performance and leadership qualities, not on who isn’t planning on having kids, or who is male, or who is white. It’s old school and it’s wrong. Having a diverse environment is so important and I see it as such an opportunity to make an unbelievable culture and a positive working environment for all.

Processes of Emotion in the Workplace

I’m going to start with a quote from Miller in her text ‘Organisational Communication, Approaches and Processes’…

‘According to most models of organisational life, jobs consist of tasks and the cognitive functions required for those tasks. We train people in the logic and mechanics of how to best do their jobs. We manage conflict and change by thinking logically about what is best for their company and the employees. And when we make decisions, we carefully weigh the pros and cons of each decision and make a logical choice that will maximise gains and minimise losses Miller 2012

BUT…

She goes on to say:

‘Of course, anyone who has spent time in an organisation (or read my blogs) will know that the information above is inaccurate’ 

Confused yet?

Our interactions are often controlled by emotion, not by logic. We typically make decisions on our jobs and careers based on gut feelings rather than spreadsheets of pros and cons. Unless you are Miranda from Sex and the City making a pros and cons list about Steve, and whether of not she wants to rekindle their marriage (ladies, are you with me?)

Miranda and Steve

WHAT A MOMENT! AM I RIGHT??

Anyway, way off topic here….

Communication scholars Mumby and Linda Putnam (1992) looked at the notion of bounded emotionally. They looked at our emotional lives as a central focus of organisational research and to consider the ways in which paying attention to emotion might lead to new ways of understanding the workplace. There are several areas of research that have stemmed from this initial concept…

Emotion as part of the job

Communication between managers and employees and employees and clients have a  degree of emotional of affective communication between them. I only have to think about nurses to make this connection, day in day out they are dealing with seriously ill people and their emotional families. It takes a special type of person to do this, and I really do take my hat off too them! However, emotional communication is prevalent in less obvious types of occupations, the flight attendant must be happy and welcoming when they serve you, the retail shop assistant must be happy and willing to help you, a debt collector must be stern to avoid any trace of sympathy to retrieve their goods. Arlie Hochschild was the first scholar to deal with this concept of emotional labour, referring to jobs  in which workers were expected to display certain feelings in order to satisfy organisational role expectations. This theorist argues that when performing an emotional labour tasks workers can engage in surface acting, or deep acting. For example, flight attendants involve in surface acting just pasting a smile on their faces to satisfy this organisational requirement. However they may also enter into deep acting, whereby they try to evoke more realistic displays such as imagining the cabin as their living room, and trying to make is as comfortable as possible…if only planes were as comfy as my living room.

Further research has shown:

– Emotional labour is seen as a way to increase success and profits of the organisation.

– Most research considers emotion that is explicitly controlled through training and employment manuals.

– Emotional labour carries with the potential for negative job outcomes such as stress and anxiety.

There are other facets of emotion in the workplace that has been researched over the years, however the most intriguing to me is the emotion as part of workplace relationships and the impact it has on human resources and human relations.

To be frank, individuals in all roles in all organisations feel emotion. Emotion at work, described by Miller (2007) state that it is not the relationships as such, but the emotions that emerge from relationships in the workplace. It looks at how the employee feels at work, if they are apart of the ‘team’, what activities they are involved in and the place of their work in the larger scheme of things.

A number of things can influence our emotion, we often have coworkers that we like or dislike, that make us happy, or make us want to tear our hair out. Therefore, our work with these employees might create and sustain happy or sad emotions. Ever felt this….have a think….I’m guessing the answer is yes?

BUT WHAT DO WE DO?

Hello, Emotional Rules and Emotional Intelligence, it is a pleasure to meet you.

It’s pretty clear that emotion is a big thing in the workplace in communication with coworkers or clients. The emotional display rules are as following:

1. “Express emotions in a professional way”

Control it. Be Professional. Be Calm, cool and collected.

2. “Express emotions to improve situations”

Manage it in order to prevent or correct problems, make your workplace a happy place, not a sad one! Talk about it.

3. “Express emotions to the right people”

Be appropriate. Do it at the right time, to the right person. Think about it before you do it.

4. “Express emotions to help individuals”

Talk about it to help others. Assist your mates. Be kind to one another.

5. “Do not manage emotions for personal benefit to the detriment of others”

Don’t talk about it to promote how good you may be.

6. “The expression of certain emotions is always inappropriate”

Be role appropriate. Control positive emotions. Do not abuse others.

THIS IS ALL HUMAN RESOURCES AND PROMOTING A POSITIVE WORKING ENVIRONMENT. THEY ARE SO INTERRELATED IT’S NOT FUNNY!

Sorry. Got a bit excited.

Emotions everyone has it, it’s a thing, a big thing, in the workplace.

It can be used as a good thing, developing, making changes, building a positive working environment. But it has to be done in the right way, following the rules above for success.

Organisational Change and Leadership Processes

Ah yes change, it is inevitable, it is going to happen…but what is the best way to deal with it?

As the old saying goes, there is nothing more constant as change. The rate of change seems to be increasing on a daily basis, and as Zorn, Page and Cheney state (2000) “organise for continuous change, to become a flexible organisation that can adapt quickly to environmental changes”, seems easy right? WRONG. Employees can become very resistant to change, and I have experienced this first hand.

Employees can be at the one organisation for 40 years, and cannot see the benefit of adopting to the changing environment, and don’t feel they have too, just like this guy…

…well this, HA, ahhhh this defiantly throws a spanner in the works. Research has shown that change rarely proceeds in a smooth fashion, its more common for it to be a rather stormy, rough ride to change.

We now see organisations as political and cultural systems inhabited by thinking, feeling human beings. Therefore considering and planning for their reactions to change is critical for success. Organisational members have whats called a ‘schemata’, or knowledge structures to keep it simple, that define an individual and collective beliefs about how organisations work and how change happens. This leads to tensions in the change process that MUST BE MANAGED, there needs to be a sense of connection between organisational members and the change process.

Pretty much, organisations need to care about you and your feelings toward change…they need YOU on THEIR side.

To do this, research suggests that management communicates with their staff at each stage of the change process, that is during change development, program planning, and change implementation. The evidence suggests that this is critical to the organisations and individuals outcomes.

There are significant issues that contribute to change failure:

1. Lack of management support

2. Top managers forcing change

3. Inconsistent action by key managers

4. Unrealistic expectations

5. Lack of meaningful participation

6. Poor communication

7. Purpose of program was not clear

8. Responsibility for change was not properly identified

Do these 8 things, you are almost 99.95% guaranteed your change plan will fail…

Resistance to change is extremely common, and can be defined by Markus (1983) as “behaviours intended to prevent the implementation or use of a system or to prevent system designers from achieving their objectives”. Also contributing to this is that employees feel that they have inadequate training, fear, ignorance and is often related to political behaviour as there are often a large group of people whom have a great deal to win or lose in a change initiative.

If you are uncertain about something, do you feel comfortable and at easy? No. It’s the same with employees, if they are unaware about the change and what the change is going to impact they are going to be stressed and anxious and obviously resist this change. Therefore, any attempt to work and communicate with workers in times of change need to communicate these factors, and one of the most straightforward ways to deal with this situation is the provision of information. Research has shown evidence that employees would prefer to have negative information rather than no information, I agree, I certainly would, would you?

Effective communication through times of change is 100% essential, and there are 5 ways to do so:

1. Spray and Pray: Give way too much information to employees and hope they will sort the significant from the insignificant.

2. Tell and Sell: Management selects a limited set of messages regarding core organisational issues, they tell the employees about these issues and then sells employees on the wisdom of the chosen approach.

3. Underscore and Explore: Management focuses on fundamental issues related to change success and allows employees the creative freedom to explore various possibilities.

4. Identify and Reply: Management listens to and identifies key concerns of employees and then responds to these issues as they are bought up.

5. Withhold and Uphold: Management withholds information as much as possible, and when they are asked questions they uphold the party line.

What would you prefer? In terms of Human Resources and motivation of staff and promoting a corporate culture it would be Underscore and Explore and Identify and Reply, keep them involved, give them the opportunity to come up with solutions and allow them to ask questions. This will in turn limit their resistance to change.

All in all, KEEP YOUR EMPLOYEES INVOLVED! They are the core of your business operations, they are less likely to resist change, and it promotes a positive corporate culture and motivation.

Conflict Management Processes

Ah yes, conflict management processes, that old chestnut…some could say the following clip might need some conflict management applied…

That’s a definite yes on all accounts!

In relation to theoretical approaches, there has been extensive research in these areas developing a range on opinions and academic theoretical applications.

Conflict management styles are the first theory we will touch on today. Take this for example, you work closely with your co-worker and your boss comes in and says that he needs a proposal done for a major client by Monday morning, meaning that one of you has to stay over the weekend. Your boss states that you and your co-worker have to decide who that is…uhh ohhh awkward! Theres a few things you could do as developed by Thomas (1976):

AVOID! You don’t talk about it because you know it won’t be an easy issue to resolve, showing little care for your needs or your co-workers.

ACCOMMODATE! You simply just throw it out there and say you will work on the weekend because you know your co-worker will want the day off and you don’t want to upset her.

COMPROMISE PEOPLE! You talk about splitting the time worked on the weekend to 4 hours each, keep it fair and even.

AHH HOW ABOUT COLLABORATE: You have a chat, decide that you would both rather work late Thursday and Friday together, and keep your weekend free.

Sounds simple right? Well these ideas are sooooo 70’s and has seen a series of valid critiques, such as: ‘It’s too narrow based on a two-dimensional theoretical models that may not be internally congruent’.

Also, in recent years communications scholars have looked beyond general issues such as the one just presented to you and delved more into the message style and perceptions of individuals in the conflict episode. Dissent is the final answer to these issues, developed by Jeffery Kassing and Johny Garner (2009) whereby an individual has a disagreement with a supervisor and chooses to voice this through dissent. The recommendations from the study of communicating disagreements through dissent are:

1. The need to express ideas to someone who can make a difference

2. The importance of package dissent with a solution

3. Persuasiveness of direct factual appeals in dissent situations.

Dissent, in the 20th century is the way to go people! Communicate it to someone who can make a difference, not whine to your mate across the desk. Come with a solution to the problem, not just the problem and be persuasive and have facts! Its easier, better and more relaxed for everyone.

And if the conflict is really big and scary…

THIRD PARTY TIME

They are there to help resolve the conflict, it could be a co-worker, mate or external professional to help settle the current unsettled nature.

Human relations and human resources see conflict in different lights, human relations sees is as evidence of faulty relationships amongst organisational members, they encourage employees to avoid conflict or compromise in order to return to harmonious working conditions. Human resource says HELLO to conflict, and welcomes it as an opportunity for growth and development, they are encouraged to collaborate on mutually beneficial solutions.

My take…

If you have an issue, raise it with someone who can make a difference, but don’t come whining, come with a solution and don’t start having a whine to your mate at the water fountain in the staff room, it starts unnecessary drama! I’m on the human resources side with this one, conflict has the ability to unravel dysfunctional aspects in the organisation, and they should be encouraging the voicing of concerns over matters employees may have. This also is in line with employee work satisfaction, the encouragement to voice concerns will allow for them to feel more comfortable to make changes and allow for growth in the organisation and promotes a strong corporate culture whereby there are no conflicts if they are solved early.

Decision-Making Processes

Friend: “where should we go for lunch?”

Ruby: “ahh I have no idea, there’s so much to choose from! What do you think?”

Friend: “I know! I don’t mind, you pick”

Ruby: “No you pick”

REPEAT THIS 10 TIMES OVER.

One would come to the conclusion that were are awful decision-makers in a social environment.

Sort of something like this:

Moving on…

Decision-making processes for me are a daily thing, what will I eat for brekky, lunch and dinner (yes, I love food) or what should I wear to work today? I think it’s pretty safe to say everyone’s days are full of decision making…but whats the process?

In classical theories of organisational behaviour decision-making is entirely rational and logical process…oh wouldn’t this be nice! theorists March and Simon (1958) were quick to burst this bubble stating that limitations in resources and time did not allow managers to make these rational and logical decisions. They are limited to cognitively, humans are not always perfectly logical. In a practical sense, a manager might be needing to make a decision about what type of register operating system to put in place, and as nice as it would be to have all the time in the world to investigate all possible avenues of register systems they are most likely to call up their associates from other businesses, ask them what they use, and make a call based on that.

Like myself, and food, yes back to food.

If I’m hungry, I’m not going to sit there and research all possible avenues of lunch shops in the Adelaide CBD, IM HUNGRY! I’ll call a friend, or recall a cafe that was recommended to me a while back and go there.

Ideally, yes, we want to investigate all options. Reality is, we can’t, so we make calls as best as we can based on the information we can muster up in the time frame. Its logical and effective.

Therefore, if you’re working in an organisation that is faced-paced 99% of organisations, (particularly if you work in retail, fellow retail workers, do you hear me?) You need to make decisions that are not logical neither illogical, rather decisions that are based on experience in similar contexts.

You start of stacking shelves and over time you gain experience in doing this, and you get recognised and move into managing this particular area after 4 years of work, you are able to draw on experiences over this 4 years to help you make not logical, not illogical but analogical decisions.

Human resources also comes into play here, choosing managers and leaders in an organisation with extensive experience to ensure they are able to make decisions based on their experiences, knowledge, or are able to conduct research to ensure that the best possible decision is made for the organisation.

It’s important to note that whilst I am not a good decision maker in a social setting, does not mean in a corporate sense I am the same.

Your ability, in my personal opinion, to make decisions effectively lies in your experience, training and research capabilities.

Decision making, some people are good, some people are not so good…

Where do you fall?

Socialisation Processes

FRIDAY MORNING: “Oh my god, I did it, I got the job!!”

FRIDAY NIGHT: (text message) “GOT A NEW JOB, DRINKS AT THE PUB 7PM TO CELEBRATE!”

And it looks a little something like this:


Celebrating 3Celebrating 2Celebrating 4

Fast-forward to monday morning:

MONDAY MORNING: “Oh my god, I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR, I’m going to be so under dressed, they’re all going to hate me, I have no idea what I’m doing, how am I going to introduce myself? Maybe I should have just stayed at my old job…I AM SO NERVOUS!”

Nothing to wear

Ah yes, I sure have been there…

In theory land this is applied to socialization Processes, welcome fellow blog readers.

socialization is those ongoing behavioural and cognitive processes by which individuals join, become integrated into, and exit organisations. This can be formal or informal and occurs when an individual learns about the requirements of the job, or decides that dressing formally will help them fit into the organisational culture.

It can be adopting yourself to fit the organisation or…trying to change some aspect of the organisation to better suit your needs, abilities and desires. This is called individualization. It could be that you develop a new strategy for an aspect of the operations of the business, or if a group of new employees starts a friday night drinks tradition. The two processes play out overtime as employees encounters and becomes apart of the organisation.

It’s a gradual thing. Essentially, it’s you learning, involving and feeling more at home in an organisation through a formal induction or informal drinks.

There are three phases:

Anticipatory socialization:

It happens before you even go there for the first time, it happens when your young and first learn about work, learning about a particular occupation, or learning about a particular industry. All of these things can happen through a range of avenues, your first job as a teenager, assignments at school, work experience, media interactions and interactions with friends and family. Did you ever get asked as a kid, “what do you want to be when you grow up”, I sure did and every time I had a different answer, from vet to teacher, and from teacher to actor…where did I end up, in Marketing and advertising and I love it.

Encounter

This is it, you land the job, and you’re in the elevator going up to your new place of work for the first time…

This phase is where you interpret and are exposed to the culture of the workplace, in this phase you rely on past experiences, interpretations of others and instinct.

Metamorphosis

YOU DID IT! YOU ARE AN ACCEPTED, FLOURISHING EMPLOYEE!

Nailed it. You have been accepted and are a ‘organisational insider’. You are a participating member of the organisation, learning new behaviours and attitudes, or modifying them.

To move through these phases fluidly, you need two types of information: job-related information and cultural information. Job-related encompasses skills, information, procedures and rules, for example how to use their phone lines and emailing systems in order to complete your role successfully and in turn, keep your job!

Cultural information is not as easy to come by, formal documentation regarding the corporate culture rarely exist and current organisational members might have a hard time communicating what the cultural vales are. However attempting to discover what it is through observation will allow for a smooth ride through the socialization processes.

Investigating further into the job related information, it is essential that this is done early in the piece to ensure the new employee works efficiently. Furthermore, ensuring that the employee feels at home is crucial to motivate and promote a productive environment for the new worker. Human resource comes into play here, developing either an introductory program for new employees, or ensuring they have a responsible and communicative leader to ensure they are being exposed to the relevant aspects of the organisation and they feel comfortable will promote a positive production and motivational output, in my opinion! Think about it, if you went into an organisation and they shoved you at a desk, told you nothing, nobody spoke to you and you felt alone, what would you do? The organisation needs to communicate with their new staff, lead in the right direction, trained and made feel apart of a team to ensure they effectively move through the socialization processes, and the quicker they do so, the better for the organisation, as HR research has shown that the more the worker feels comfortable, they are more loyal, hard-working and motivated.

Critical and Feminist Approaches

This post will be broken down into two sections, firstly critical approaches, and secondly feminist approaches.

Critical Approaches 

Power, Power, Power is what it’s all about. It looks at how a theory can be a force that can emancipate individuals from these dominating organisational forces or considers how employees resist organisational dominance, thus encouraging organisational transformation. This topic is extensive, so please note what is covered in this post it not the be-all and end-all of this topic, we would be here for days if we did it all!

An important facet of this is the pervasiveness of power. It is a concept of power and is typically equated with the related constructs of control and domination. In an organisation there are three types of power that theorist Conrad & Ryan (1985) established, including traditional approach, symbolic approach and radical-critical approach.

The traditional approach looks at a power that is a relatively stable entity that people or groups possess and asks questions about the factors that lead to organisational power and the impact of power on outcomes such as job satisfaction and performance. The symbolical approach views power as a product of communicative interactions and relationships, it looks at how communication constitutes understandings of power through socially constructed organisational relationships. Lastly, radical-critical approach looks at the ‘deep structures’ that produce and reproduce relationships in an organisational life.

Traditional approaches is the most intriguing to me and its relationship with how power affects job satisfaction and performance. I am sure that at one stage in our working lives or another we have experienced a person in power that has used their privilege in ineffective ways. I sure have…

I always think to myself, you are so lucky to have this power to use your skills and make the right decisions to positively impact the business and you’re not…how is this fair? In a realistic sense, I feel this is in line with their abilities to cope with  pressure and stress and their personality. Ever met someone at work whom did not handle their power and pressure well, then at the Christmas party at the end of the year you see them in a different light? Stress and the pressures of making decisions that impact a large number of people can significantly change how the workplace functions. I know for me, my motivation levels lowered, luckily I put myself in the hard-working basket, and regardless of how I am spoken to, I work hard. However, this is not the case for everyone, I certainly did not appreciate being spoken to in this manner, and my respect level for an individual dropped, my work satisfaction was pretty much non-existent and to be frank, I didn’t want to be there. One thing I did learn, is how to not treat your staff. In my working life I have experienced many different managers and leaders in the workplace, and have therefore experienced first hand what its like to have a good and bad person in power, and to call it like it is good drives motivation, performance, loyalty and job satisfaction, bad does not.

This leads on well to resistance of power (how’s that for a segway?).

Resistance considers how workers can extort counter pressure on this exercise of power. More obvious examples of this include strikes:

81-77-74q

Interestingly, as the advancements in technology have developed, this has provided a new forum for resistance. Counterinstitutional websites have shown that staff and customers are able to share their dissatisfaction with management, service, policies or procedures. Thus, internet technology provided a forum for widespread, public and anonymous organisational resistance.

Feminist Approaches

Beyonce- Feminist

Feminism has been dominant in the media recently with public figure Emma Watson’s extremely well executed speech at the United Nations in 2014.

Emma Watson Emma-Watson-HeForShe

Personally, I think she hit the nail on the head…anyway back on track.

There are a four different types of feminists.

Liberal Feminists: Is Emma Watson, but also: they believe that remedies for female subordination should come from within the system and women should work to gain their fair share of control in institutions currently run by men. Essentially believing that men and women are equal and that women should be given equal opportunities but must work for them, just like the men.

Radical Feminists: Not Emma Watson. They believe that emancipation for women can only occur through the destruction of male-dominated institutions or through the total separation of women from these institutions.

Stand-point Feminists: work to enhance opportunity for a variety of marginalised voices to be heard within a societal dialogue.

Post-Modern Feminists: attempt to deconstruct male dominated meaning systems in order to highlight women’s perspectives.

Feminism is still popular in current society but not so much in the workplace compared to the 90’s. There are women CEO’s and many women in power, for me 95% of the managers in my line of work are female, which is something that you wouldn’t see 50 years ago, we have come along way but we are not there yet. Emma Watson is working to make that change, go get them girl!

However…

Feminism is more popular in a different sense, such as Beyonce:

Beyonce- Feminism

She stands for a different type of feminism, one where girls shouldn’t feel pressure to wear make-up, to be skinny and to quote her “aim to be successful but not too successful”. I am all for it, and feel that this type of feminism, that her and Emma Watson stand for is perfect, needed and welcomed.

Constitutive Approaches to Communication

Blogging is a funny thing, you find out so many facets about yourself and your interests. For me, it was the blog I wrote on HR and what motivates staff. So, executive decision was to instead of focusing on all of the elements in a topic of communication, I’ll just focus on the ones that spark my interest, and best apply this, if possible, to HR. Making for a shorter, interesting and applicable application rather than a longer one. You with me? Lets go…

Constitutive approaches to communications, commonly known as CCO. Brief rundown on what this is: CCO sees scholars rejecting the idea of seeing the organisation as a thing or as a container that bounds communication processes, and instead looks at trying to understand the complicated process through which our interactions create, re-create, and change organisations as a whole.

There are a few studies that are linked to CCO, including the general ideas surrounding social constructionism and the structuration theory. Which looked at the concept of agency and structures, for example Miller uses the idea of a supermarket and the certain rules and etiquettes that surround the use of express lanes. These are the structures that contain our behaviors. However when a checkout person waves you into the express item lane with more than the restricted 12 items this enables the, then constraining behavior within social construction framework.

Pretty much it studies the unspoken social rules, and when the rules of an organisation break this. If you have a trolley full of food, you don’t go into the express lane, unless invited. 

The Montreal School of CCO embodies scholars focusing on CCO and the ideas surrounding it, have developed the concept of Text and Conversation, which looks at co-orientation as a form of CCO which is the process which people coordinate activity through interaction. In the CCO approach, conversation refers to ongoing interaction among individuals facilitated by language. Text refers to a substance or meaning and can take many forms such as a memo, mission statement or value for formality. Therefore, the goal expressed in the mission statement (text) could well influence what and how the interactions (conversations) occur during a strategy meeting.

This concept relates to HR practices, Mission Statements in an organisation can define and drive what employees work towards and what the organisation aims to achieve, as a result, this influences how employees act, converse and work as a team. Personally, in my working life at Target there has been changing mission statements as the business went through a period of change and development in line with the changing ideals of their customers. This mission statement was communicated with their staff effectively using the text and conversation methods of CCO and saw that the staff were talking about what the business was trying to do, and saw the adaption of their working methods in order to best achieve these goals.

mission statement.jpg

Think about your companies missions, goals and objectives, does this change the way you work?