Week 3 Graded Discussion

Please be sure to read chapters 8 and 9 in the text, identify an example of a successful team experience and one that was less than successful. What were some of the issues with respect to communication and based on this experience, what is harder manage, a team or a group? Why?Be sure to review before creating your post to ensure you understand what is expected. Include citations from resources that you have read that will support your position hereAlso, Please find the attached Chapter – 8 and Chapter – 9 for your readings.


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Chapter 8
After reading this chapter, you should be able to do the following:
Understand the communication process.
Compare and contrast different types of communication.
Compare and contrast different communication channels.
Understand and learn to overcome barriers to effective communication.
Understand the role listening plays in communication.
Learn how ethics can play a role in how messages are communicated as
well as how they are perceived.
7. Learn how verbal and nonverbal communication can carry different
meanings among cultures.
Chapter 8 Communication
8.1 You’ve Got Mail…and You’re Fired! The Case of RadioShack
Chapter 8 Communication
Figure 8.1
© Thinkstock
No one likes to receive bad news, and few like to give it. In what is heralded as one of the biggest human
resources blunders of 2006, one company found a way around the discomfort of firing someone face-to-face. A
total of 400 employees at the Fort Worth, Texas, headquarters of RadioShack Corporation (NYSE: RSH) got the
ultimate e-mail message early one Tuesday morning. The message simply said, “The work force reduction
notification is currently in progress. Unfortunately, your position is one that has been eliminated.” Company
officials argued that using electronic notification was faster and allowed more privacy than breaking the news in
person, and additionally, those employees who were laid off received generous severance packages.
Organizational consultant Ken Siegel disagrees, proclaiming, “The bottom line is this: To almost everyone who
observes or reads this, it represents a stupefying new low in the annals of management practice.” It’s unclear
what, if any, the long-term effect will be for RadioShack. It isn’t just RadioShack that finds it challenging to deal
with letting employees go. Terminating employees can be a painful job for many managers. The communication
that takes place requires careful preparation and substantial levels of skill. BusinessWeek ethics columnist Bruce
Weinstein suggests that anyone who is involved with communicating with downsized employees has an ethical
responsibility to do it correctly, which includes doing it in person, doing it privately, giving the person your full
attention, being honest but sensitive, and not rushing the person. Some organizations outsource the job of
letting someone go to “terminators” who handle this difficult task for them. In fact, Up in the Air, the 2009 movie
starring George Clooney that was nominated for six Oscars, chronicles changes at a workforce reduction firm
and highlights many of these issues.
Downsizing has been referred to using many euphemisms (language that softens the sound of the word) for
termination. Here are just a few ways to say you’re about to lose your job without saying you’ve been fired:
Career alternative enhancement program
Career-change opportunity
Dehiring staff
Derecruiting resources
Downsizing employment
Employee reduction activities
Implementing a skills mix adjustment
8.1 You’ve Got Mail…and You’re Fired! The Case of RadioShack
Chapter 8 Communication
Negative employee retention
Optimizing outplacement potential
Rectification of a workforce imbalance
Redundancy elimination
Right-sizing employment
Vocation relocation policy
Regardless of how it’s done or what it’s called, is downsizing effective for organizations? Jeffrey Pfeffer, a faculty
member at Stanford and best-selling author, argues no:
“Contrary to popular belief, companies that announce layoffs do not enjoy higher stock prices than
peers—either immediately or over time. A study of 141 layoff announcements between 1979 and 1997 found
negative stock returns to companies announcing layoffs, with larger and permanent layoffs leading to greater
negative effects. An examination of 1,445 downsizing announcements between 1990 and 1998 also reported that
downsizing had a negative effect on stock-market returns, and the negative effects were larger the greater the
extent of the downsizing. Yet another study comparing 300 layoff announcements in the United States and 73 in
Japan found that in both countries, there were negative abnormal shareholder returns following the
He further notes that evidence doesn’t support the idea that layoffs increase individual company productivity
either: “A study of productivity changes between 1977 and 1987 in more than 140,000 U.S. companies using
Census of Manufacturers data found that companies that enjoyed the greatest increases in productivity were
just as likely to have added workers as they were to have downsized.”
Case written by [citation redacted per publisher request]. Based on information from Joyce, A. (2006, September
10). Fired via e-mail, and other tales of poor exits. Washington Post, p. F1. Retrieved July 1, 2008, from
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/09/AR2006090900103.html; Hollon, J. (2006,
September 11). You’ve been deleted: Firing by e-mail. Workforce Management, p. 42; Pfeffer, J. (2010, February 5).
The case against layoffs. Newsweek. Retrieved April 5, 2010, from http://www.newsweek.com/id/233131;
Weinstein, B. (2008, September 12). Downsizing 101: Charged with giving the bad news? Here are your ethical
responsibilities. BusinessWeek. Retrieved April 5, 2010, from http://www.businessweek.com/managing/content/
8.1 You’ve Got Mail…and You’re Fired! The Case of RadioShack
Chapter 8 Communication
1. What communication barriers did RadioShack likely experience as a
result of terminating employees via mass e-mail?
2. What do you think RadioShack’s underlying motivation was in using this
form of communication?
3. What suggestions for the future would you give RadioShack when faced
with the need to dismiss a large number of employees?
4. How has technology enhanced our ability to communicate effectively?
In what ways has it hindered our ability to communicate effectively?
5. What ethical challenges and concerns do you think individuals involved
in downsizing have?
8.1 You’ve Got Mail…and You’re Fired! The Case of RadioShack
Chapter 8 Communication
8.2 Understanding Communication
1. Define communication.
2. Understand the communication process.
Communication1 is vital to organizations—it’s how we coordinate actions and
achieve goals. It is defined in Webster’s dictionary as a process by which
information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of
symbols, signs, or behavior. We know that 50% to 90% of a manager’s time is spent
communicating,Schnake, M. E., Dumler, M. P., Cochran, D. S., & Barnett, T. R. (1990).
Effects of differences in subordinate perceptions of superiors’ communication
practices. Journal of Business Communication, 27, 37–50. and communication ability is
related to a manager’s performance.Penley, L. E., Alexander, E. R., Jernigan, I. E., &
Henwood, C. I. (1991). Communication abilities of managers: The relationship of
performance. Journal of Management, 17, 57–76. In most work environments, a
miscommunication is an annoyance—it can interrupt workflow by causing delays
and interpersonal strife. But, in some work arenas, like operating rooms and
airplane cockpits, communication can be a matter of life and death.
So, just how prevalent is miscommunication in the workplace? You may not be
surprised to learn that the relationship between miscommunication and negative
outcomes is very strong. Data suggest that deficient interpersonal communication
was a causal factor in approximately 70% to 80% of all accidents over the last 20
years.NASA study cited by Baron, R. (n.d.). Barriers to effective communication:
Implications for the cockpit. Retrieved July 3, 2008, from AirlineSafety.com:
1. The process by which
information is exchanged
between individuals through a
common system of symbols,
signs, or behavior.
Chapter 8 Communication
Poor communication can also lead to lawsuits. For
example, you might think that malpractice suits are
filed against doctors based on the outcome of their
treatments alone. But a 1997 study of malpractice suits
found that a primary influence on whether or not a
doctor is sued is the doctor’s communication style.
While the combination of a bad outcome and patient
unhappiness can quickly lead to litigation, a warm,
personal communication style leads to greater patient
satisfaction. Simply put, satisfied patients are less likely
to sue.Communications skills cut malpractice
risk—study reveals most important reason that patients
decide to file malpractice suits is because of poor
communication by physicians and not medical errors.
(1997, October). USA Today.
Figure 8.2
At NASA, success depends on
strong communication.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/
In business, poor communication costs money and
wastes time. One study found that 14% of each
workweek is wasted on poor communication.Armour, S. (1998, September 30).
Failure to communicate costly for companies. USA Today, p. 1A. In contrast, effective
communication is an asset for organizations and individuals alike. Effective
communication skills, for example, are an asset for job seekers. A recent study of
recruiters at 85 business schools ranked communication and interpersonal skills as
the highest skills they were looking for, with 89% of the recruiters saying they were
important.Alsop, R. (2006, September 20). The top business schools: Recruiters’
M.B.A. picks. Wall Street Journal Online. Retrieved September 20, 2006, from
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115860376846766495.html?mod=2_1245_1. On the
flip side, good communication can help a company retain its star employees.
Surveys find that when employees think their organizations do a good job of
keeping them informed about matters that affect them and when they have access
to the information they need to do their jobs, they are more satisfied with their
employers.What are the bottom line results of communicating? (2003, June). Pay for
Performance Report. Retrieved July 1, 2008, from http://www.mercerHR.com. So can
good communication increase a company’s market value? The answer seems to be
yes. “When you foster ongoing communications internally, you will have more
satisfied employees who will be better equipped to effectively communicate with
your customers,” says Susan Meisinger, president and CEO of the Society for Human
Resource Management. Research finds that organizations that are able to improve
their communication integrity also increase their market value by as much as
7%.Meisinger, S. (2003, February). Enhancing communications—Ours and yours. HR
Magazine. Retrieved July 1, 2008, from http://www.shrm.org/hrmagazine/archive/
0203toc.asp. We will explore the definition and benefits of effective communication
in our next section.
8.2 Understanding Communication
Chapter 8 Communication
The Communication Process
Communication fulfills three main functions within an organization, including
coordination, transmission of information, and sharing emotions and feelings. All
these functions are vital to a successful organization. The coordination of effort
within an organization helps people work toward the same goals. Transmitting
information is a vital part of this process. Sharing emotions and feelings bonds
teams and unites people in times of celebration and crisis. Effective communication
helps people grasp issues, build rapport with coworkers, and achieve consensus. So,
how can we communicate effectively? The first step is to understand the
communication process.
We all exchange information with others countless
times each day by phone, e-mail, printed word, and of
course, in person. Let us take a moment to see how a
typical communication works using this as a guide.
Figure 8.3
Lee Iacocca, past president and
CEO of Chrysler until his
retirement in 1992, said, “You
can have brilliant ideas, but if
you can’t get them across, your
ideas won’t get you anywhere.”
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/
8.2 Understanding Communication
Chapter 8 Communication
Figure 8.4 Process Model of Communication
A sender2, such as a boss, coworker, or customer, originates the message with a
thought. For example, the boss’s thought could be: “Get more printer toner cartridges!”
The sender encodes3 the message, translating the idea into words.
The boss may communicate this thought by saying, “Hey you guys, let’s order more
printer toner cartridges.”
The medium4 of this encoded message may be spoken words, written words, or
2. The person initiating a
The receiver5 is the person who receives the message.
3. The translation of ideas into
The receiver decodes6 the message by assigning meaning to the words.
4. The way that a sender’s
message is conveyed.
In this example, our receiver, Bill, has a to-do list a mile long. “The boss must know
how much work I already have,” the receiver thinks. Bill’s mind translates his boss’s
message as, “Could you order some printer toner cartridges, in addition to everything else I
asked you to do this week…if you can find the time?”
5. The person who a message is
intended to reach.
6. The process of assigning
meaning to a received message.
8.2 Understanding Communication
Chapter 8 Communication
The meaning that the receiver assigns may not be the meaning that the sender
intended, because of factors such as noise. Noise7 is anything that interferes with or
distorts the message being transformed. Noise can be external in the environment
(such as distractions) or it can be within the receiver. For example, the receiver
may be extremely nervous and unable to pay attention to the message. Noise can
even occur within the sender: The sender may be unwilling to take the time to
convey an accurate message, or the words that are chosen can be ambiguous and
prone to misinterpretation.
Picture the next scene. The place: a staff meeting. The time: a few days later. Bill’s
boss believes the message about printer toner has been received.
“Are the printer toner cartridges here yet?” Bill’s boss asks.
“You never said it was a rush job!” Bill protests.
Miscommunications like these happen in the workplace every day. We’ve seen that
miscommunication does occur in the workplace, but how does a miscommunication
happen? It helps to think of the communication process. The series of arrows
pointing the way from the sender to the receiver and back again can, and often do,
fall short of their target.
Communication is vital to organizations. Poor communication is prevalent
between senders and receivers. Communication fulfills three functions
within organizations, including coordination, the transmission of
information, and sharing emotions and feelings. Noise can disrupt or distort
7. Anything that interferes with
or distorts the message being
8.2 Understanding Communication
Chapter 8 Communication
1. Where have you seen the communication process break down at work?
At school? At home?
2. Explain how miscommunication might be related to an accident at work.
3. Give an example of noise during the communication process.
8.2 Understanding Communication
Chapter 8 Communication
8.3 Communication Barriers
1. Understand different ways that the communication process can be
2. Understand the role poor listening plays in communication problems.
3. Understand what active listening is.
4. Learn strategies to become a more effective listener.
Barriers to Effective Communication
The biggest single problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
– George Bernard Shaw
Filtering8 is the distortion or withholding of information to manage a person’s
reactions. Some examples of filtering include a manager’s keeping a division’s
negative sales figures from a superior, in this case, the vice president. The old
saying, “Don’t shoot the messenger!” illustrates the tendency of receivers to vent
their negative response to unwanted messages to the sender. A gatekeeper (the vice
president’s assistant, perhaps) who doesn’t pass along a complete message is also
filtering. Additionally, the vice president may delete the e-mail announcing the
quarter’s sales figures before reading it, blocking the message before it arrives.
As you can see, filtering prevents members of an organization from getting the
complete picture of a situation. To maximize your chances of sending and receiving
effective communications, it’s helpful to deliver a message in multiple ways and to
seek information from multiple sources. In this way, the impact of any one person’s
filtering will be diminished.
8. The distortion or withholding
of information to manage a
person’s reactions.
Since people tend to filter bad news more during upward communication, it is also
helpful to remember that those below you in an organization may be wary of
sharing bad news. One way to defuse this tendency to filter is to reward employees
who clearly convey information upward, regardless of whether the news is good or
Chapter 8 Communication
Here are some of the criteria that individuals may use when deciding whether to
filter a message or pass it on:
1. Past experience: Were previous senders rewarded for passing along news
of this kind in the past, or were they criticized?
2. Knowledge and perception of the speaker: Has the receiver’s direct
superior made it clear that “no news is good news?”
3. Emotional state, involvement with the topic, and level of attention: Does the
sender’s fear of failure or criticism prevent the message from being
conveyed? Is the topic within the sender’s realm of expertise,
increasing confidence in the ability to decode the message, or is the
sender out of a personal comfort zone when it comes to evaluating the
message’s significance? Are personal concerns impacting the sender’s
ability to judge the message’s value?
Once again, filtering can lead to miscommunications in business. Listeners translate
messages into their own words, each creating a unique version of what was
said.Alessandra, T. (1993). Communicating at work. New York: Fireside.
Selective Perception
Small things can command our attention when we’re visiting a new place—a new
city or a new company. Over time, however, we begin to make assumptions about
the environment based on our past experiences. Selective perception9 refers to
filtering what we see and hear to suit our own needs. This process is often
unconscious. We are bombarded with too much stimuli every day to pay equal
attention to everything, so we pick and choose according to our own needs.
Selective perception is a time-saver, a necessary tool in a complex culture. But it
can also lead to mistakes.
Think back to the example conversation between the person asked to order more
toner cartridges and his boss earlier in this chapter. Since Bill found the to-do list
from his boss to be unreasonably demanding, he assumed the request could wait.
(How else could he do everything else on the list?) The boss, assuming that Bill had
heard the urgency in her request, assumed that Bill would place the order before
returning to previously stated tasks. Both members of this organization were using
selective perception to evaluate the communication. Bill’s perception was that the
task could wait. The boss’s perception was that a time frame was clear, though
unstated. When two selective perceptions collide, a misunderstanding o …
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