DQ 1 - Summarize the aspects of defensive and supportive climates as discussed in your text. Include in your discussion, the six factors that contribute to each climate. Discuss an example of when you experienced each climate.
Climate can describe the feel of the company, it is also associated with the company's environment. Some companies are very strict and require suites, ties and formal communication between upper level management and the employees. Other companies are more laid back allowing the employees to wear causal clothes and the communication between upper level management and employees is informal. It must be noted that informal does not mean disrespectful. Perspective employees need to know the type of climate that a company functions under before applying for open positions. Clashes with the individual's personality and the business climate can result in early termination or resignation.
The climate of a business can also fall into the categories of defensive or supportive. A defensive climate is associated with upper level management and managers possessing a judgmental attitude toward the employees. There is a definite feeling of control and superiority. The dogma of the business will be followed or consequences will ensue. These types of business climates are stressful on the employees and the creation of trust and closeness is difficult. A defensive climate can be identified with six factors: evaluative, control, strategy, neutrality, superiority and certainty. Three of the factors have already been discussed: evaluative (judgmental attitude), control and superiority. Strategy, to make other follow a certain path with no room for derivative ideas. Neutrality, indifferent to everything but personal interests. Certainty, everything is in black and white - alternative views are not welcome (Ekroth, 2004).
My defensive experience was with a factory job over the summer when I was younger. Management wouldn't listen to the complaints the workers had about limited breaks, lack of of adequate heating and cooling. The company also expected a 10 to 12 mandatory work schedule for all employees during the summer months. No exceptions.
A supportive climate is the opposite. In this business environment upper level management and the managers work with the employees to solve routine problems. There is a sense of openmindedness and fairness. This business environment is less stressful on the employees and trust has been established. There are six factors that help identify a supportive climate: descriptive, inquiry orientation, spontaneity, empathy, equality and provisional. Descriptive clear statements without a hidden agenda. Inquiry orientation promotes teamwork and understanding concerning issues. Spontaneity allows others to speak their minds. Empathy responsive to the feelings of others, showing interest. Equality displaying the worth of additional viewpoints. Provisional makes it known that alternative views are welcomed (Ekroth, 2004).
My supportive experience came when I worked in a computer lab. My manager was always there for me to ask her questions. When she didn't know the answers she directed me to other managers that did. It was never a completion for power but rather a partnership so I could learn how to better do my job.
Ekroth, L. (2004). Defensive vs. Supportive Conversation: Some Critical Differences. Retrieved from http://www.hodu.com/supportive.shtml
DQ 2 - Discuss how group size, climate, and productivity relate to effective communications. Give an example from your own personal experiences that illustrates your point.
Businesses operate on several levels one very important one being communication. The information that is collected and processed from various departments within the business needs to make its way to upper level management. It is important to remember that managers are not the only individuals that need to have this vital information. There are employees in various parts of the company that need to know what's going on. It's safe to say that effective communication is key in these situations. It is described as the information sent being received by the correct party and that party understands the meaning (Brown, 2011). The transmission of this information can be single sender, single receiver, single sender, multiple receivers, multiple senders, multiples receivers. Multiple senders to one receiver could result in a communication barrier.
When addressing communication in groups size, climate and productivity can either help or hinder effective communication. We have touched briefly on the size of the group when discussing the types of senders and receivers. In a group setting the combinations are most likely, single sender to multiple receivers, multiple senders to a single receiver or multiple senders and multiple receivers. The smaller the group the easier it is to send the information to the correct receiver and make sure that comprehension has taken place. A group of four or five people would be best. When the numbers increase to 10 and beyond additional tools like overhead projectors, microphones and other devices may be needed to convey the information.
We have already discussed climates and how they effect individuals. Defensive climates promote limited communication because there is a single person in charge. This individual expects obedience without question and alternative views are not welcome. Supportive climates place the upper level management, the managers and the employees on a level of mutual cooperation. Productivty is fueled by climate. When you trust the person or person you are working with or for it's much easier to get the job done. When I was the project manager in the mock project management assignment, it was important to me to keep everyone on the same page. I always made the other group members feel that their opinions mattered. Oddly enough at least two of the members didn't share my views. They thought that if you didn't have something worth while to contribute than you shouldn't be allowed to talk.
This was not conveyed openly in speech but rather displayed through group dominated conversations. These conversations left out or closed the doors to the views of those who were deemed less than productive.
Brown, B. (2011 April 26). What Is Effective Communication? Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/69309-effective-communication/
DQ 3 - Summarize the three word barriers. Discuss a time when you have encountered each of these barriers. What are some techniques offered in the reading to avoid these barriers?
DQ 4 - According to the reading, what is non-verbal communication and why is it so important in relation to effective communication? What role does it play in virtual communication?
The sending and receiving of information is not only for business purposes it's also for everyday life. The methods used by senders to get the message to the receiver include: verbal, written and nonverbal. Verbal is the spoken form sending information from one party to another. Written means the words are penned to paper or typed out and then given to the other party. Nonverbal is the most interesting out of the types of communication and it can be the most misunderstood. Nonverbal communication incorporations body language and facial expressions in order to convey a message from the sender to the receiver. This can also include sign language (Goodwin, 2011).
Some classic nonverbal communication includes: folded arms, a frown, wrinkles in the forehead, rolling eyes, grunting, tapping on objects, shifting your weight and sneering. Folded arms signal the person is angry or upset perhaps even defensive. A frown means sadness or disapproval. Wrinkles in the forehead suggest anger, rolling eyes bordem, grunting disapproval, tapping on objects and shifting weight impatience. Sneering can mean anger or contempt. These nonverbal communication forms are typically viewed in American settings. Proximity is also a form of nonverbal communication. In their Japanese culture it is impolite to invade the personal space of the other party. When pleasantries are exchanged such as hand shake or business cards this is done on the outskirts of the personal boundary line.
If the nonverbal cues given from the sender to the receiver or vice versa are misinterpreted the meaning of the message is skewed? It is especially damaging in business proceedings. A deal can fall through because of the wrong nonverbal cue. Another area that makes effective communication difficult in terms of nonverbal is virtual communication. Virtual communication includes Skype, chat rooms, message boards, e-mails, etc. Skype allows people to have live interactions over great distances. It's possible to see your sender and receiver but it's still important to be aware of your bodily answers and responses to questions/statements. The other forms are done with words only and sometimes emotocons. Using all caps is considered shouting and it's very rude. The use of color and emotcons can have a negative impact as well as the font style and size.
Unless you know the other party really well, make the worded communication as simple as possible. Get the message across with as litter verbiage as possible and end the message.
Goodwin, T. (2011). What Is Non-Verbal Communication? Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/video_4939826_what-nonverbal-communication.html?ref=Track2&utm_source=ask
Remember, there are more follow up questions. All follow up questions only required 200 words count and a reference: Follow up from week 2 / DQ 3 - Of the three types of roles reviewed in the initial discussion question, summarize roles that are discussed and give an example of a role you have held which appropriately demonstrates this role.
Everyone in a group has a part to play. The longer the group is together the easier it is to determine the roles being assumed by each member. There are three basic categories that group roles are found: task roles, group-building/maintenance roles and self-centered roles. Under task roles: coordinator connects the information from the group among each member, energizer stimulates the group, elaborators extends the meaning of ideas, evaluator/critic measures the groups work on high standards, information-giver gives helpful information, information-seeker demands clarification on matters withing the group, record keeper takes notes and procedural technician is responsible for the tasks. Group-building/maintenance roles: encourager gives positive feedback, follower accepts group decisions, compromiser looks for solution everyone likes, gatekeeper facilitates group participation, harmonizer reduces group conflict and observer evaluates the group's progress (PITT.edu, 2008).
Self-centered roles: aggressor combative to other group members, dominator takes over the speaking time, blocker does not cooperate, help-seeker avoids responsibility, loafer, doesn't work, special interest advocate seeks his or her own agenda within the group and self-confessor only presents self-important topics (PITT.edu, 2008). I've been the encourager before in the mock project management assignment when I was the project manager. The two individuals that split from the group were encouraged several times by me to express their feelings. It seemed that I was the only one listening but at least I was listening. I did what I could to keep the group together and motivate teamwork. As you already know eventually those two individuals left the main group but completed their portions of the assignment. I believe that if I hadn't continued to encourage them our project would have been incomplete.
PITT.edu. (2008 August 21). Roles in Groups. Retrieved from http://www.speaking.pitt.edu/student/groups/smallgrouproles.html
Follow up from week 2 / DQ 4 - Do you think there are times when more than one power base is exerted during the same interaction? If so, please discuss an example of when this might occur. If not, please explain why you think this cannot be done.
Yes, more than one power base can be exerted during the same interaction. If you think about the basis for the positional power base it already exists in all the power base forms? There's always a main individual that the others are looking up to or answering to. Their responses are either voluntary or involuntary depending on the circumstances associated with the situation. It might be difficult to have a group interaction with more than three power bases because of the distinct nature of each. It's possible to have a group interaction of positional, personal and reward. Another example would be positional, coercive and expert. Politicians and religious fanatics are two prime examples.
A religious fanatic by definition is someone with the positional power to speak to "god" and then tell others his message. These individuals usually have the type of personality that draws others to them automatically, which is the personal power. Once this individual has gained the trust of his or her followers, secrets and other private information is exchanged. The religious fanatic can use this information to strong arm the group into doing whatever, he or she demands or there will be unpleasant consequences. It's human nature to avoid punishment and seek after pleasure so it may not take much to sway these individuals (Barefootguide.org).
Barefootguide.org. Five Bases of Power. Retrieved from http://www.barefootguide.org/Chapter_3_Handouts/Five+Bases+of+Power+-+Handout.pdf
Follow up from week 2 / DQ 4 - What is the impact that the five power bases have on the relationships in small groups and teams?
Power is one of the most important factors in our daily lives. It gives the individual or a group the means to enact changes and influence their environment. Total power is always a bad thing because the one or group that wields it has no one to answer to or keep accounts with. In the arena of power there are five bases: positional, reward, personal, expert and coercive. Position is simple if you are the one in charge than you have the power in most cases. Reward you can control another person or groups by offered an incentive for obedience. Personal is the ability to create interpersonal relationships by attracting other people. Expert power that comes from skills, knowledge and experience. Coercive the power to hold something over another person or group effectively manipulating the resulting behaviors and outcomes (Barefootguide.org).
Small groups and teams will always have a leader. This individual can promote success or initiate failure by his or her actions. The others will either follow or rebel based on the way the power is wielded. Reward can take on another face, bribe. Individuals in the group that don't want to put forth any effort could bribe at least one member to do the extra work. The price must match or exceed the desires of the target team or group member. Personal is typically associated with getting a desired outcome. If one group or team member is friends with the majority of the people within the inner circle than votes and decisions could be swayed in favor of that one individual? Expert these individuals take the reigns of power according to what they know and what they can do. Individuals are quick to concede their positions if they known someone has more experience. Finally, coercive basically blackmail. A team member or group member knows something on someone else and threatens exposure if the desired demands are not met.
In any of the above cases the team or group could fall apart, make wrong decisions or become more successful than anticipated. The power bases are like rolling dice there's an equal chance for success and failure.
Barefootguide.org. Five Bases of Power. Retrieved from http://www.barefootguide.org/Chapter_3_Handouts/Five+Bases+of+Power+-+Handout.pdf
Follow up from week 2 / DQ 4 - What are group norms? In your opinion as based upon the reading, what roles do group norms play in the establishment of power bases?
When talking about norms that can be defined as the typical action expected from an individual or individuals. For instance when fall comes people tend to change their wardrobe from shorts and tie shirts to sweaters and long overcoats. This is normal expected behavior because the temperature changes from hot to cold. In terms of group dynamics norms are those characteristics that the members have developed and follow on a regular basis. Norms vary from group to group because the composition of the members is different. It is not uncommon for members of groups that are become detached from the initial group and join another group will take on the norms of the new group. It's even possible that norms from both groups can be mixed together, if it is found that they are compatible (Hahn, 2007).
The way a group normally functions can create a foundation for certain bases of power. Positional - student councils always have officers and then a president. The president makes the final decision. Groups with this structure and type of operation create positional power bases. A classroom is a group of individuals lead by the instructor. Rewards come in the form of good grades, bonuses points and sometimes the chance to skip on tests if the GPA is high enough. This behavior engenders reward power base. Personal is associated with the formation of friend groups. One person attracts other people through charisma and then a group is formed. Expert is formed in professions such as doctors, lawyers and law enforcement. These individuals have similar skills and often defer to the individual or individuals with the most knowledge and experience. Coercive is associated with illegal employees or illegal groups in general. The information that the higher ups have keeps the employees doing their jobs or consequences will ensue.
Hahn, M. (2007 April 4). Group Norms in Organization. Retrieved from http://en.articlesgratuits.com/group-norms-in-organizations-id1546.php