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Organizational Communication Essay Research Paper INTRODUCTIONAll organizations

Organizational Communication Essay, Research Paper INTRODUCTION All organizations are in way like machines. They consist of hundreds of working parts. In a machine, not all of these pieces always are working to the best of their ability. That is when the machines need to have an inspection to figure out a way to improve its productivity.

Organizational Communication Essay, Research Paper

INTRODUCTION

All organizations are in way like machines. They consist of hundreds of working parts. In a machine, not all of these pieces always are working to the best of their ability. That is when the machines need to have an inspection to figure out a way to improve its productivity. This is exactly what an organizational communication system analysis does for an organization. The analysis examines the different members of the organization in the way that they fill roles, communicate with others, work together, etc… This semester, the organizational communication class, under the supervision of Dr. Karen Ru*censored*, split up and each individually performed an organizational communication system analysis for different organizations. My analysis is for Eastern Kentucky University chapter of Sigma Pi Fraternity. Before I began the profile, I first wanted to know about where the group came from.

Sigma Pi Fraternity is a male social fraternity that was founded on February 26, 1897 in Indiana, on the campus of Vincennes University. The group’s basic founding principle was to form an organization with moral strength. The fraternity continued to expand to other college campuses around the country, and approximately eighty-one years later, on April 22, 1978, it found a home for a chapter at Eastern Kentucky University. With this information in my possession, my next step was to collect my information.

To collect the information, I attended two their meetings. Since Eastern Kentucky University does not allow fraternities to have houses, the organization meets in a large classroom on the second floor of the Comb’s building. The size of the room chosen told me their approximate size. As the members entered the room, I noticed that they were all dressed in slacks, shirts, and ties. This, along with the setup of the room lead me to believe that their fraternity held their meetings in a formal manner.

At the beginning of each of the meetings, questionnaires, and instruments, were conducted of the ten members of Sigma Pi who made up their Executive council. This council, is a group of elected members of the fraternity who govern over their chapter in all of its actions.

The different instruments used to obtain the information needed to produce the organizational communication systems analysis were four separate pieces. They consisted of a communication climate inventory, an organizational communication profile, a communication satisfaction questionnaire, and a network analysis. All of the data collected from these four sections provides a complete systems analysis; reporting results found, and recommendations of improvement for Sigma Pi Fraternity.

CCI (COMMUNICATION CLIMATE INVENTORY

The first of the instruments administered was the CCI (Communication Climate Inventory). The process of measuring an organization’s communication climate entails discovering the perceptions of the organization’s members about the status of communication effects. This can be measured by using the (CCI) instrument. The following are the results from the CCI administered to Sigma Pi.

When using a CCI instrument, there are six major factors that affect an organization’s communication climate. Here is a brief discussion of each:

1. Trust – Personnel at all levels should make every effort to develop and maintain relationships where trust, confidence, and credibility are sustained by statement and act.

2. Participative Decision Making – Employees at all levels in the organization should be communicated to and consulted with on all issues in all areas of organization policy relevant to their positions. Employees at all levels should be provided with avenues of communication and consultation with management levels above theirs for the purpose of participating in decision-making and goal-setting processes.

3. Supportiveness – A general atmosphere of candor and frankness should pervade relationships in the organization, with employees being able to say: what’s on their minds” regardless of whether they are talking to peers, subordinates, or superiors.

4. Openness in Downward Communication – Except for necessary security information, members of the organization should have relatively easy access to information that relates directly to their immediate jobs, that affects their abilities to coordinate their work with that of other people or departments, and that deals broadly with the company, its organization, leaders, and plans.

5. Listening in Upward Communication – Personnel at each level in the organization should listen continuously and with open minds to suggestions or reports of problems made by personnel at each subordinate level in the organization. Information from subordinates should be viewed as important enough to be acted upon until demonstrated otherwise.

6. Concern for High-Performance Goals – Personnel at all levels in the organization should demonstrate a commitment to high-performance goals—high productivity, high quality, low cost—as well as a high concern for other members of the organization.

The following is the breakdown of actual scores of the CCI that were completed by the Sigma Pi Fraternity organization. 1=lowest; 5=highest.

1. Trust Climate Score – 4.2

Individual Scores:

#1 = 5 #2 = 3.5 #3 = 3.5 #4 = 4.0 #5 = 4.5 #6 = 4.0 #7 = 4.5 #8 = 4.5

#9 = 4.0 #10 = 4.5

In the climate among the executive council of Sigma Pi, there seems to be a high level of trust. According to the answers given, the members are open with most information with each other, and seem to usually go out of their way to keep their credibility with all of the others strong.

2. Participative Decision-Making Score – 4.3

Individual Scores:

#1 = 4 #2 = 5 #3 = 4 #4 = 4 #5 = 4.5 #6 = 3.5 #7 = 3.5 #8 =4.5 #9 = 4.5

#10 = 5

The participation rate among the surveyed members is strong. With Sigma Pi’s actions, you will find more often than less all of them providing input in the decision-making and goal setting.

3. Supportiveness Climate Score – 3.7

Individual Scores:

#1 = 5 #2 = 4.5 #3 = 4 #4 = 4.5 #5 = 4 #6 = 4 #7 = 4 #8 = 4 # 9 = 4

#10 = 3

The supportiveness found within the organization seems to be above average. The brothers are able to usually find someone with who they confer with about questions or problems. Although still above average, this is Sigma Pi’s weakest aspect of their communication climate.

4. Openness in Downward Communication Score – 4.4

Individual Scores:

#1 = 3.5 #2 = 3.5 #3 = 5 #4 = 4 #5 = 4.5 #6 = 4 #7 = 4.5 #8 = 4.5 #9 = 5

#10 = 5

This aspect of the group’s communication is a very happy thing to find. This indicates that the leaders of this organization provide almost all information to those members that they govern. They did not score a perfect five, but most of this is probably due to some issues, which would not be appropriate to discuss with all the members.

5. Listening in Upward Communication Score – 4.2

Individual Scores:

#1 = 5 #2 = 5 #3 = 4 #4 = 4.5 #5 = 4.5 #6 = 4.5 #7 = 4.5 #8 = 3.5 #9 = 2.5

#10 = 4

Even though the members who were interviewed are the elected officials that control Sigma Pi, they indicate a high level of listening in upward communication. They find that most of what is sent up through the ranks is heard, retained, and acted upon.

6. Concern for High-Performance Goals Score – 4.3

Individual Scores:

#1 = 4 #2 = 3.5 #3 = 4 #4 = 4 #5 = 4 #6 = 5 #7 = 4 #8 = 4.5 #9 = 5

#10 = 4.5

This section shows that the organization overall is very concerned with high levels of achievement. The fact that the leading members indicated this, along with the listening upward communication score shows that Sigma Pi has very strong aspirations toward setting and attaining high standards, which they set upon themselves.

7. Composite Climate Score – 4.2

Individual Scores:

#1 = 4.7 #2 = 4.2 #3 = 3.5 #4 = 4.3 #5 = 3.7 #6 = 4.2 #7 = 4.3 #8 = 4.0 #9 = 4.8 #10 = 4.0

This score shows an overall average of the level of positive or negative communication climate that is found in Sigma Pi Fraternity. The numbers show an above average score. The organization for the most part, seems to have very trustworthy, active, and supportive climate that communicates well, and is striving for improvement.

These are all very positive things to find in an organization. According to this instrument, Sigma Pi shows to need little help here. The one aspect that the group needs to direct attention to is be more supportive to each other, and to make pathways of communication to all members as easy as it is to all.

OCP (ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION PROFILE)

The second instrument that was used in obtaining the needed information for the analysis is the OCP (Organizational Communication Profile). This profile reveals information by using an AGA method (Associative Group Analysis). The AGA method breaks down an organization’s culture through the use of word association. It has the members of the organization write down words which pop in to their minds when presented with the name of their group for one minute. These words are then grouped into categories according to which one they best fit under. One can go back and look at the results, and discover what are the thoughts of the members on their organization, and at what percentage the group thinks each way. This analysis resulted in four categories describing the organization’s culture: (1) Excellence Qualities, (2) Organizational Elements, (3) Active/Upbeat, and (4) Educational Activities. The following are brief descriptions of each of the categories, and what they show about this organization. They are listed from greatest to least. SEE FIGURE 1

Excellence Qualities

The members of this organization tend to regard themselves as those that promote “excellence” in all of their members. This category encompassed most of the terms under it (60%). These terms included such words as chivalry, trust, upstanding, fellowship, loyal, and character. The members of this organization definitely feel that the excellence in their culture stems from the individuals within it.

Organizational Elements

The second largest category was organizational elements (20%). The words, which made this category, refer to the elements or benefits, which are derived from their organization, such as brotherhood, unity, secrecy, lifetime, and family. This category shows how the members conceive the organization themselves. It appears that the culture of this organization has very strong focus on its inward workings, as opposed to looking outward. This is a strong quality to have in a fraternity, but perhaps there could be a little more emphasis placed outward. If an organization such as this one, which is focused on being a social group, devotes all of energy inward, then they defeat their very existence.

Active/Upbeat

This category held a smaller number of terms under it than the others listed, but still a substantial amount (15%). It reveals another important element of the culture of this organization. The terms used revealed that this organization is an active and upbeat place to work. This was described through such terms as fun, unique, active, and interesting. This at its current level seems to be beneficial to the organization. Depending on if this aspect of the culture detracts from their main goals or not determines how beneficial it is. Considering that one of the goals of most fraternities is to have fun, I would say that it doesn’t detract, but in fact emphasizes one of their goals.

Educational Activities

The final category is comprised of the smallest number of words, but does give another element to the culture of the organization (5%). It refers to services provided by the group to its members. The terms listed included words such as scholarship, athletics, and conventions. Taken the small number of terms that fit under this category, perhaps the organization should improve or increase the number of services it provides for its members. By this category being present, it does however reinforce a common goal found in organizations, that they serve their own members. Sometimes an organization has a cultural bias toward servicing its own members too much. As far as services go, this organization scores so low on the OCP that it does not seem harmful. In fact, it would be a mistake to not continue these activities, or perhaps even improve them.

Recommendations

1. Members need to devote a little more effort outwards to the public. Being a men’s social fraternity, being more sociable with those outside their ranks would help them to better fulfill the definition of what they are.

2. Take time to consider growth options such as revisions on their recruitment, or member retention rate. Since no negative effects were given, it would be the perfect time. Remember, if an organization is not growing, it is dying.

3. Emphasize the importance of the activities that the organization offers to its members. By the lack of mention in the OCP, it appears that many of the members don’t benefit from the services that are available.

Conclusions

Data from the cultural part of the OCP indicate that the culture of the organization consists of four elements, most of which combine to reveal an organization dedicated to excellence, their inner organizational elements, active/upbeat practices, and their services for members education. Although these categories are based on responses from a somewhat small number of employees, they do reflect actual responses of the employees and should be taken seriously.

NETWORK ANALYSIS

The next instrument used in the systems analysis was network analysis questionnaire. In this questionnaire, I asked the same ten members of the organization from the previous analysis information, with whom did they talk about new ideas, new ways of doing things, and changing of policies.

The results from this questionnaire, when drawn out into a communication pattern (FIGURE 2) show several different communication network roles present within the organization. Those roles consisted of clique members, isolates, bridges, and opinion leader.

Definition Of Roles

Clique Member—a member of a group of individuals having at least half of their contacts with each other. No member of the group can be eliminated, and have the group break apart. Most cliques are formed by environmental circumstances, which permit contact, who like one another, and who find contacts of high immediacy satisfying. As a result, cliques consist of individuals who have both formal, positional reasons for making contacts as well as informal, interpersonal reasons.

Isolates—those members who have less frequent contact or no contact at all with other group members. Characteristics of Isolates include:

1. Less secure in their self-concepts

2. Less motivated by achievement

3. Less willing to interact with others

4. Younger and less experienced with the system

5. Less often in positions of power in the organization

6. More inclined to withhold information than facilitate its flow

7. Relatively more dissatisfied with the system

8. Concerned that the communication system is closed to them

Bridges—a member of a clique who has large number of intra-group contacts and who also has contact with a member of another clique. A bridge serves as a direct contact between two groups in the organization. Too many of these can lead to distortion of messages.

Opinion Leader— is an individual without a formal position who guides the opinions, and influences of the members. These individuals are people who others trust, and who keep on top of situations. Opinion leaders serve a key communication function by influencing opinion formation and attitude change.

Recommendation

This section of the organization seems to have only one problem that is apparent. They simply need to be cautious of the bridges, and remember to include the isolate more. The bridges pose a threat of distorting any information that comes through them. Since this fraternity has a very good communication to all of its members, this could cause some members to receive false information. This could cause inefficiency and turmoil in the fraternity.

By leaving out the isolate the organization is losing out on valuable information. It has been said best that two heads are better than one. Having an isolate is leaving out an extra head (in other words, an extra thought).

Conclusion

From within the members questioned, they all seemed to name each other. This might have been partially due to the segregation of the ten during the questioning. It may have left them to feel as if they had to choose someone from within the ten.

The group basically broke down into two small cliques; one opinion leader, two bridge members, and one isolate (SEE FIG. 2). Although the group had two separate cliques, they both seemed to turn to one person for their views. This was even found in the communication of the isolate. If more members of the organization were brought into this study, I feel that perhaps this group could even be considered to be a clique itself as a whole. This instrument’s results support a conclusion stated earlier in another section. That being that most of the information within this network is spread well through the members. The isolate may only receive communication back from one person, but it is the opinion leader. Since there are only two bridges, there is not much room for distortion. Overall, I feel that this network communicates in a very healthy, beneficial manner.

COMMUNICATION SATISFACTION QUESTIONNAIRE

The final instrument that was used in the systems analysis of Sigma Pi Fraternity was a communication satisfaction questionnaire originally developed by Cal W. Downs and Micha D. Hazen in 1977. Its job is to actually provide information to figure the different levels of satisfaction. This is done through a series of questions, which are answered by the members of the organization. Different questions fall under different types of satisfaction. The numbers reported are then added together for the total. The total is then compared to a satisfaction range score list. This instrument breaks satisfaction down into eight types:

1. Relation With Subordinates: the extent to which superiors are open to ideas, the extent to which they listen, and the extent to which they offer guidance for solving job-related problems.

2. Media Quality: the extent to which individuals receive information about the immediate work environment.

3. Organizational Integration: the extent to which communication in the organization motivates and stimulates workers to meet organizational goals to identify with the organization.

4. Communication Climate: the extent to which meetings are well organized, written directives are short and clear, and the amount of communication in the organization is about right.

5. Horizontal Communication: the extent to which the grapevine is active and horizontal communication is accurate and free flowing.

6. Corporate Perspective: the extent to which information about the organization as a whole is adequate.

7. Relation With Supervisor: the extent to which subordinates are responsive to downward communication and anticipate supervisor’s needs.

8. Personal Feedback: the extent to which workers feel that they know how they are being judged and how their performance is being appraised.

Score List Breakdown

5-9 = Very Satisfied

9-13 = Satisfied

14-18 = Somewhat Satisfied

22-26 = Somewhat Dissatisfied

27-31 = Dissatisfied

32-35 = Very Dissatisfied

Results and Recommendations

The following are the results averaged from the communication satisfaction questionnaire taken by the analysis subjects of Sigma Pi Fraternity.

Relation With Subordinates – 11

The fraternity appears to be fairly pleased with communication between their executive council and all of the other members of the group. This is an important statistic especially because as stated earlier, this whole analysis had its data gathered from Sigma Pi’s executive council. The fraternity might want to make sure that this view is same with all members.

Media Quality – 33

The organization’s members at first weren’t quite sure if this section even applied to them, but upon slight explanation by the facilitator of the questionnaire (myself) the group realized that all of their media was produced on a national basis, and most of it is directed toward their alumni. Further they realized that even when parts which were beneficial to them, the media was only available four times a year. It provides very little if any benefit to the active members of the fraternity. The suggestion to be made here is two-part: (1) Produce their own local media to fit their needs; and (2) Contact the editors of the national media being produced, and voice their concerns.

Organizational Integration – 6

This section of the questionnaire relates back to earlier found information about the organization. It looks back at the fact that Sigma Pi feels that they are very goal directed, and achieve all goal which they set.

Communication Climate – 6

Once again this information is found in earlier studies. Here shows the same; that the organization is well organized, and that the amount of communication is sufficient.

Horizontal Communication – 23

This section shows the group to be somewhat unhappy with the level of communication occurring on the same level within the fraternity. This was made somewhat apparent earlier by the network analysis. Due to the cliques and only two bridges between them, it seems that communication has a hard time reaching other brothers. To help remedy this problem, I would suggest that the organization try to incorporate the cliques together in any way possible.

Corporate Perspective – 18

This section of the communication satisfaction seemed a little hard for the members to answer. Most of the questions that fit under this section dealt with corporations, instead of fraternities. The members did seem pleased with the information that they have about their financial standing, and the successes and failures of the organization. The reason for such an indecisive number here is due to the misunderstanding of the questions involving unions, and government action. My recommendation would be for the members of Sigma Pi to better understand their fraternity’s business aspects. It seems that in many cases, such as government actions, they are indecisive due to ignorance of the subject matter.

Relation With Supervisor – 9

As with the above section dealing with the subordinates, the members also are very satisfied with the relations to the supervisor. This data might be slightly biased due to the subjects questioned (the executive council of the fraternity), but along with the other information provided earlier, I highly doubt it.

Personal Feedback –7

The members again find satisfaction in another section of communication. They feel very sure on how they are being judged by other members and what defines a job well done.

CONCLUSION

Within this systems analysis, there have been four separate instruments used to bring in data about Sigma Pi Fraternity. Through the use of the CCI, the OCP, the Network Analysis, and the Communication Satisfaction Questionnaire, I have come up with several recommendations to help Sigma Pi improve their communication system. These recommendations were:

1. Members need to devote a little more effort outwards to the public. Being a men’s social fraternity, being more sociable with those outside their ranks would help them to better fulfill the definition of what they are.

2. Take time to consider growth options such as revisions on their recruitment, or member retention rate. Remember, if an organization is not growing, it is dying.

3. Emphasize the importance of the activities that the organization offers to its members.

4. Members should be more supportive to each other.

5. Be cautious of the bridges, and remember to include the isolate more.

6. Better understand the fraternity’s business aspects.

7. Incorporate cliques together in any way possible.

8. Produce own local media to fit needs.

9. Contact the editors of the national media being produced, and voice concerns.

If Sigma Pi follows the suggestions made in this organizational communication system analysis, it is my prediction that they will be able to take their organization to a higher level. They will be taking something good, and making it better.

REFERENCES

1. Organizational Communication, 3rd edition; Pace R. Wayne, Faules Don F.; 1994; Prentice Hall Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632

FIGURE 1

Bibliography

REFERENCES

1. Organizational Communication, 3rd edition; Pace R. Wayne, Faules Don F.; 1994; Prentice Hall Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632

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