Business Finance
COM425 Ashford University Organizational Communication Skills Discussion


ashford university

Question Description

These are two separate discussion posts not one paper. Both discussion posts need to be completed. Any references used should be in APA format and cited in the body of the posts as well as a reference section.

Self-Assessment of Organizational Communication Skills

Many people believe that organizational communication skills should come naturally and are not difficult to obtain. However, effective organizational communication skills actually require a lot of time and practice.

Complete a self-assessment of your organizational communication skills by answering the following questions:

  • Which area(s) do you feel are the most developed for you?
  • Which area(s) do you need the most improvement?
  • What are some ways that you plan on improving the development of your organizational communication skills?

Post should be at least 250 words in length. Support claims with examples from scholarly resources, and properly cite any references in APA style.

Using Active Listening

One of the most effective ways that we can improve our communication within the organizational context is through adapting the language that we use. A simple, yet effective way to do this is through the method that your textbook describes as “active listening”. This strategy is explained in Chapter 4.3 of your textbook.

Describe a time when you were trying to communicate with another person and active listening would have been helpful. What was the situation? How did he/she respond? How did you respond? What could you have done to improve the communication?

Post should be at least 250 words in length. Support claims with examples from scholarly resources, and properly cite any references in APA style.


Kreps, G. L. (2011). Communication in organizations [Electronic version]. Retrieved from

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Chapter 4 Relational Processes in Organizational Life Learning Objectives What We Will Be Investigating: • • • • • • • • • • Kre66464_04_ch04_p071-094.indd 71 Establish the importance of dyadic interpersonal relationships in organizations. Understand the nature of implicit contracts that guide interpersonal relationships. Realize that relationships develop incrementally and reciprocally. Appreciate the dynamic upward and downward spiraling that occurs in relationships. Understand the difference between complementary and parallel relationships. Become familiar with the relational skills of active listening and reciprocal self-disclosure. Consider relationships in terms of the human needs for affection, control, and inclusion. Understand the nature of co-orientation as a communication competency. Develop a sense of how to improve your interpersonal conflict management skills. Consider ethical issues in relational communication in organizational life. 11/3/11 2:41 PM CHAPTER 4 Introduction Chapter Outline 4.1 T he Complexities of Interpersonal Communication Effective communication starts with listening. —Robert Gately The Centrality of the Dyad The Implicit Contracts That Guide Interpersonal Relationships 4.2 R  elationship Initiation, Development, and Maintenance Relationship Initiation: Self-Disclosure and Reciprocity Relationship Development and Maintenance Complementary and Parallel Relationships 4.3 Key Relational Communication Skills Active Listening Self-Disclosure Skills Affection, Control, and Inclusion Co-Orientation Interpersonal Conflict Management Skills 4.4 E thical Relational Communication in Organizational Life Introduction In the previous chapter, we described intrapersonal communication as the foundational process that underlies all other levels of organizational communication. Interpersonal communication is the next level of organizational communication. It involves interaction between two (or more) individuals who each have their own unique meanings and intrapersonal processes for making sense of the world. In interpersonal communication, we are challenged to negotiate these different individual perspectives to encourage shared understanding. Interpersonal relationships and relationship development are the basic building blocks for establishing effective, cooperative, and ethical organizations. It is through interpersonal communication that we develop and maintain the relationships with other organizational participants that we depend on to achieve our organizational goals. We also use interpersonal communication to facilitate coordination between organizational participants and to encourage others to cooperate with us. Yet communicating effectively interpersonally and actually motivating others in organizational life to work cooperatively with us is not easy. In this chapter we will focus on the centrality of interpersonal relationships and relationship development as the basic building blocks in establishing effective, cooperative, and ethical organizations. We will explore the process of relationship initiation, development, and maintenance, and describe key relational communication skills that will help you communicate effectively and strategically with relational partners. Along the way, we will examine strategies for using communication to effectively manage relationships. Finally, the chapter case study will illustrate the need to develop cooperative and trusting interpersonal relationships for effective organizing. This chapter is therefore designed to help you understand the complexities of interpersonal communication and to develop strategic interpersonal communication skills to enable you to elicit social organization. Kre66464_04_ch04_p071-094.indd 72 11/3/11 2:41 PM Section 4.1 The Complexities of Interpersonal Communication CHAPTER 4 4.1 The Complexities of Interpersonal Communication I t is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, for any one person to get anything of consequence accomplished in organizational life all alone. We depend on others to work with us to accomplish organizational goals. For example, if you worked as a sales representative for a custom home window manufacturing company, it would be essential for you to use strategic interpersonal communication to elicit cooperation from many different organizational participants. You could not do your job well and achieve your professional goals all by yourself. Let’s look at a few of the people with whom you would need to use strategic interpersonal communication: 1. Customers. You would depend on strategic interpersonal communication with potential customers to convince them to buy custom window products and services from your company. As a good salesperson, you would have to adapt your interpersonal sales and information messages to different customers to meet their unique needs and orientations. You would need to provide them with credible and persuasive information about how the different products and services your company offers would fill their needs and budgets. 2. Other Organizational Participants. If you are effective at convincing a customer to order windows from your company, you would then need to coordinate efforts with other organizational participants: • You would need to get window installers to measure the windows in the customer’s home to establish specifications for building the new windows. • You would have to share these specifications with representatives from the production department to get them to build the windows. • You would have to coordinate efforts with shipping department personnel to deliver the windows. • You would need to interact with technicians to get the windows installed in the customer’s home. There are likely others you would need to interact with to coordinate this sale, including representatives from the billing department, the inventory control department, the quality control department, and more. It is clear that we depend on many others to work with us in organizational life. Yet cooperation is not always easy to achieve. Most people are not eager, without good reasons and some convincing, to adopt others’ ideas and goals in favor of their own. The individuals you are likely to interact with in organizational settings are typically more familiar with and attached to their own unique versions of reality and personal strategies for addressing organizational issues than they are with your perspectives on these issues. (Recall our discussion in the previous chapter about the individualistic nature of intrapersonal sense-making and meaning creation.) It may take some work (or interpersonal influence and persuasion) to get the people we need to coordinate with to accept our ideas and suggestions, especially if they are comfortable with their own strategic approaches. Interpersonal communication is the medium for explaining our ideas to others and convincing them to accept our recommendations. Let’s be careful not to oversimplify this process. Interpersonal influence occurs in multiple directions simultaneously. While we are trying to persuade others to accept our ideas, Kre66464_04_ch04_p071-094.indd 73 11/3/11 2:41 PM Section 4.1 The Complexities of Interpersonal Communication CHAPTER 4 these same people are likely using interpersonal communication to explain their ideas to us in an attempt to convince us to follow their recommendations. This ongoing interpersonal exchange of ideas and suggestions is healthy for organization members. It provides them with new information about how other organizational participants perceive organizational reality and how they would solve organizational problems. These exchanges often result in the synergistic (collaborative) sharing of ideas and strategies that can lead to productive compromises and innovations. For example, imagine that you are a military leader working on a multinational peacekeeping mission to ensure fair elections in a foreign country that does not have a history of open elections. You want the other multinational military leaders to follow your recommendations for using your joint military presence to promote open access by voters to the polls, and you lay out your plans to accomplish this goal in a briefing meeting. A military leader from a partner country responds to your suggestions with new credible intelligence information that there is an emerging plot by insurgents to use violence to block access to voting booths and to influence the outcome of the election. Based on the new information gained from this interpersonal exchange, you and the other military leaders are able to develop a new responsive plan that incorporates both your recommendations and new strategies to thwart the threats of violence and achieve the multinational peacekeeping goals. The Centrality of the Dyad Interpersonal communication involves interactive and reciprocal exchanges of messages between two individuals. This basic two-person unit for interpersonal interaction is known as the dyad. Dyadic communication involves two people exchanging messages, sharing relevant information, and adapting to one another. Scholars of interpersonal communication have argued that this two-person unit, the dyad, is the central unit for all larger levels of communication. For instance, Joseph DeVito (2007), borrowing from interpersonal theorist William Wilmot, calls this phenomenon “dyadic primacy” and argues that dyads are always central to interpersonal relationships. In that sense, all other organizational units are composed of multiple dyads, and to understand the communication dynamics of these units you have to understand the unique characteristics of the different dyads within the unit. Regardless of whether we are examining triads (three-person units of interaction), larger small groups, or even multiple groups of interactants, the basic relational component that comprises each of these units is the dyad. For example, within a triad (a three-person social system), there are three different possible dyads. There is one dyad between person A and person B, another between person A and person C, and a third dyad between person B and person C. Imagine you work within a strong, friendly, and cohesive work group, where all group members get along well. This work group is composed of multiple dyads, and there are inevitable differences in the unique dyadic relationships within the group that influence group interaction. For example, you may be friends with two of your coworkers, Andy and Brad. Although you have good relationships with both, each relationship is unique. You probably communicate differently with Andy than you do with Brad. At different points in time, you are likely to feel more intimate, trusting, or friendly toward either Andy or Brad. Andy may at times confide in you about something he does not tell to Kre66464_04_ch04_p071-094.indd 74 11/3/11 2:41 PM Section 4.1 The Complexities of Interpersonal Communication CHAPTER 4 Brad, and you may share things with one and not the other. Sometimes you and Brad talk about Andy. Sometimes Andy and Brad talk about you. There may be times when you and Andy agree about something that Brad does not agree with you about. There may be times when you and Brad disagree with Andy. So even while you have similar relationships with Andy and Brad, these relationships are also different. These different dyadic relationships strongly influence communication within the work group. Because each dyad has, to some degree, its own history, norms, and unwritten rules, no two dyads are identical. If you tell a sarcastic joke about the boss to Andy, Andy might be amused—but the same joke told to Brad might be met with a response that it’s inappropriate to make fun of someone else in such a manner. Think about the different dyads you are a part of in the organizations you belong to, such as your classes, your job, and social and religious organizations in which you participate. Why are these dyads important to you? Why are they important to the organizations of which you are a part? How are they different from one another? How do the communication patterns you engage in with these dyadic partners differ within each of these dyads? What could you do to make these dyads more satisfying and productive? Organizations in Action A Dyadic Relationship at the Heart of Microsoft When you’re the chair and former CEO of a corporation with 90,000 employees and $70 billion in revenue, you have relationships with many groups of people in that firm, right? Well, certainly—but in this case, when the chair is Bill Gates and the company is Microsoft, you still need to develop and maintain special relationships with particular individuals. Why has Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer’s dyadic relationship been so important to Microsoft? As discussed in this chapter, dyadic/one-on-one relationships are the foundation of just about any organization—even a giant like Microsoft. And in Gates’s case, that key individual relationship is with Steve Ballmer, the current Microsoft CEO and a personal friend of Gates for more than 30 years. Ballmer has revealed that his partnership with Gates is not unlike that of a husband and wife. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, cited on, Ballmer described “the husband-wife-brother thing” he has with Gates. He even took the family analogy one step further: “We participated together in giving birth to this amazing thing called Microsoft. We happen to have two children [Windows and Office] that are a little older, and they are great kids [who] are still developing. They are in high school, they are wonderful [and] have their whole future in front of them. Then we have these two young kids: online and devices. They are four or five, really at a formative stage, and they are building their muscles.”(Romano, 2008) For Ballmer, he and Gates are like proud parents trying to raise and nurture good kids. As discussed in this chapter, some dyadic relationships are more “parallel” and others are more “complementary.” Although both characteristics are evident to some degree in any dyad, Ballmer thinks that a key to his relationship with Gates is complementary. In a Seattle Times (continued) Kre66464_04_ch04_p071-094.indd 75 11/3/11 2:41 PM Section 4.1 The Complexities of Interpersonal Communication CHAPTER 4 Organizations in Action (continued) interview, Ballmer said, “You know, Bill is a wild ride. He’s a roller coaster. We tend to balance each other off nicely . . . He’s up and down, and there’s a lot of excitement that goes with that. Bill’s got a lot of energy, which mostly you can feed off of.” But, “sometimes he’s got negative energy, and I’ve got to bring positive, or vice versa. We tend to figure out how to do that.” (Romano, 2008) In other words, Ballmer believes he is a steadying influence whereas Gates is more emotionally volatile—a sure sign of complementarity. Like any married couple, Ballmer believes that all these years of interaction with Gates have made their relationship work. As he puts it, “For me personally, I know what I know about Bill. And when he says something, I can mostly know where he’s going, complete his sentence. I may not have the insight, but when he starts, I say, ‘Oh, yeah, got it,’ and I have so much context.” (Romano, 2008) Don’t be fooled by their size and appearance: even large companies are comprised of hundreds of little offices and cubicles where just two people are trying to develop a personal relationship that works. Critical Thinking Questions 1. Do you think it is absolutely necessary for people in organizations to have close personal relationships with coworkers, or can organizations function just fine without them? 2. To the extent that self-disclosure is a part of relational development, how much and what types of self-disclosure are appropriate in the workplace? 3. Do you see any ethical issues connected to developing close personal relationships on the job? Sources Romano, B. (2008, June 29). Steve Ballmer talks about his buddy Bill, his golf game and basketball. The Seattle Times. Retrieved from 2008023282_ballmerqa29.html The Implicit Contracts That Guide Interpersonal Relationships Each dyad within a work group is unique due to the distinct relationships that develop between dyadic partners. Recall some of the distinctions that exist between the dyads you are a part of. Each relationship you establish is unique and changes over time. In fact, every time you communicate with another person, you exert some influence on your relationship. That is why every interpersonal communication exchange in organizational life is so important. These exchanges can be beneficial, helping to build the relationship and increase cooperation and mutual support. However, if you are not careful about how you communicate, your interactions can also undermine your relationships, reducing the potential for eliciting full cooperation and effective coordination. For example, if you make frequent references to your degree from a prestigious Ivy League school, others may regard you as a little pompous, and it will get in the way of a cooperative working relationship. Relationships are built on a series of general agreements, like social norms, that we establish with others about how we are going to interact with them. The strongest relationships develop very comprehensive and well-established agreements or norms that both partners abide by. Such relational agreements are typically established subtly, with minimal overt discussion. We often learn about relational expectations by noticing nonverbal Kre66464_04_ch04_p071-094.indd 76 11/3/11 2:41 PM Section 4.1 The Complexities of Interpersonal Communication CHAPTER 4 cues about how others react (positively or negatively) to behaviors we engage in with them. These responses to our behavior suggest that we should engage in certain behaviors and avoid others. Sometimes, however, relational agreements are established more explicitly, especially when the agreements cover important or sensitive subjects. For example, violations of relational rules concerning acceptable interpersonal touching may be established quite formally. Since the implementation of laws and policies regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, even subtle invasions of personal space can be construed as creating a “hostile work environment” subject to potential litigation. Still, most of these interpersonal agreements are similar to informal contracts we establish with each other. These agreements are referred to as implicit contracts (as opposed to formal legal contracts), and they encourage relational partners to behave in certain ways with each other. As our What implicit contracts did Bernie relationships grow, we develop numerous implicit Madoff violate? contracts that guide the ways we interact with our coworkers. These implicit contracts become expectations we have for how our relational partners will treat us and work with us. When both relational partners abide by the implicit contracts that have been established, they tend to improve their relationships. By consistently fulfilling relational expectations, they gradually develop trust in one another and mutual confidence that they will fulfill each other’s expectations. However, when we violate an implicit contract, even once, it can build distrust and sometimes result in anger, frustration, and disappointment. It takes a long time to build relational trust, but that trust can be shattered very quickly. Once serious implicit contracts are violated and trust is broken, it can take a long time to repair the relationship, if it can be repaired at all. If there is an implicit agreement of confidentiality betw ...
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Final Answer

It has been great working with you right from the start to the end. I wish you all the best in your academics.

Running head: DISCUSSIONS 2


Self-Assessment of Organizational Communication Skills
Student Name
Institutional Affiliation
Submission Date



Self-Assessment of Organizational Communication Skills
I feel like my most developed organizational communications skills are active listening,
inclusion, and conflict management. I always prioritize paying full attention to anyone I am
engaging in whatever in whatever form of interaction. I have developed my attention skills to
comprehend all verbal and nonverbal cues so as to intake comprehensively all that a person is
attempting to bring out through their communication (Kreps, 2011). I also prioritize all
perspectives when involved in a conversation for a broad interpretation of the messages

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