i387c managing information services and organizations






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Module 4. Unit 3: Communicating Your Vision

We live in a multicultural world, whether we want to or not... Communication in today's world requires culture. Problems in communication are rooted in who you are, and in encounters with a different mentality, different meanings, a different tie between language and consciousness. Solving problems inspired by such encounters inspires culture. (Agar, 1994).

Basic communication studies focus on the channels of communication: words, non-verbal communication, and emotions. Mastering your "voice" as a manager is critical to successful working relationships. James Carey discusses two views of communication: the transmission view and the ritual view.

The transmission view is defined by terms such as "imparting," "sending," "transmitting," or "giving information to others." It is formed from a metaphor of geography or transportation. In the nineteenth century but to a lesser extent today, the movement of goods or people and the movement of information were seen as essentially identical processes and both were described by the common noun "communication....A ritual view of communication is directed not toward the extension of messages in space but toward the maintenance of society in time; not the act of imparting information but the representation of shared beliefs. If the archetypal case of communication under a transmission view is the extension of messages across geography for the purpose of control, the archetypal case under a ritual view is the sacred ceremony that draws persons together in fellowship and commonality. The indebtedness of the ritual view of communication to religion is apparent in the name chosen to label it. Moreover, it derives from a view of religion that downplays the role of the sermon, the instruction and admonition, in order to highlight the role of the prater, the chant, and the ceremony. It sees the original or highest manifestation of communication not in the transmission of intelligent information but in the construction and maintenance of an ordered, meaningful cultural world that can serve as a control and container for human action...(Carey, 1985)

Whatever our communication intentions, all managers' actions, verbal and non-verbal communication have grave negative or remarkably favorable implications and interpretations by our internal and external stakeholder organizations. As information studies students you have and will continue to understand, interpret, and use a variety of communication media. One often cited model in information science is Shannon and Weaver's (1949) communication mode; a dated and more mechanistic view of communication than other more modern theories.

Carey discussed the role of communication in all of its forms in facilitating individual and social construction of meaning (thoughts, beliefs, and intentions expressed in speech and in practice.) How a manager communicates within a workgroup and an organization both shapes and is shaped by the organizational culture.

Did you know that the average American business generates an estimated 30 billion pieces of original writing each year. (Estimate in 1993; I wonder if it included email?) In graduate school, faculty members encourage you to develop a scholarly voice in papers and articles. This voice is often inappropriate, however, for most business communication. A few basic pointers from "Write on! Tips for effective communication" follow:

  • Be specific. Misunderstanding arise when writing lacks clarity.
  • Avoid redundancies.
  • Aim for a positive spin, even when it is a negative message.
  • Use active, not passive voice.

If you've never read Strunk and White's Elements of Style, put it on your to do list! The volume explains correct English usage through memorable and, often, humorous examples. For example, Rule #12 Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating, non-committal language.

Managers must also be able to communicate to groups either through formal presentations or persuasive reports or budget requests. Such presentations must target the audience with sensitivity to presentation style, color, clarity, and legibility of information conveyed through handouts or projection. If you are shy or uncomfortable when making public presentations, chart a plan to improve your self-confidence and presentation skills either through practice or more formal tutoring in groups such as Toastmasters. None of us are born eloquent and persuasive communicators. Nonetheless, ffective communication skills are critical to an effective manager.

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Read: Evans, p. 291-324, Communication, Course Documents
Write-on: Communication tips, Course Documents
Assignment (Individual)

Write a persuasive memorandum to your "mythical" or actual boss on a topic of your choosing. Select a topic that focuses on an organizational or employment issue that is important to you. The memo should practice clear, specific, persuasive communication and should not exceed one page.

Write a cover letter and prepare a professional resume that targets your "dream job." Please consult the resources available from Career Services resume resources for resume building and format suggestions.

Identify a classmate to be your editor and critique partner with who you will exchange and evaluate memos and your resume.

Make both of the above items a part of your Management e-Portfolio

Due Date: July 6 11:30pm
Value: Part of Management e-Portfolio
thanks to patrick williams for template design
Last update 12 june 2006