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HANDOUT:

#2

COURSE:
INSTRUCTOR:

Communication Skills
Kamil Siddiqi

Intra-organizational Communication
The BEHAVIOR of people in organizations has great influence. The fundamental question
is one of MOTIVATION. How do we motivate others to behave in the desired manner?
Interpersonal behavior draws forth responses. Communication is a two-way affair, not
one way!
To understand how we influence the behavior of others we need a brief
examination of reinforcing and aversive stimuli. Reinforcing stimuli are pleasant and
positive and can have a motivating effect on behavior. Aversive stimuli have quite an
opposite effect on our behavior. They are sometimes called negative reinforcement.
Perhaps, some of the most forceful stimuli both reinforcing and aversive come to us as
AUDOTORY VERBAL STIMULI . For example, the statement: You are doing good work, can
be a reinforcing stimulus that will encourage long, hard work. Likewise: You really
muffed that one can have an aversive effect that will cause the person to reduce effort
and perhaps skip a days work. Frequent aversive stimuli may cause an employee to
explore other employment options.
Internal communication flows either horizontally or vertically within the
organization. Horizontal communication takes place between peers, while vertical
communication is between superior and subordinates. Communication from the superior
to the subordinate is called downward communication and that from the subordinate to
the superior is called upward communication.
Perhaps, the most influential element of the relationship between superiors and
subordinates is the communication climate. The subordinates willingness to
communicate accurate information to a superior is affected by the subordinates desire to
climb the organizational ladder. The subordinate may distort the message to disassociate
himself from the bad news. This distortion is a result of the subordinates UPWARD
MOBILITY ASPIRATIONS. The end product of this behavior is that superiors are often poorly
informed or uninformed about organizational ills. Other barriers to upward
communication include:
PHYSICAL DISTANCE between the superior and subordinate
TOO MANY LAYERS of the organization
THE LACK OF TRADITION of upward communication.

These barriers give rise to the principle of information inertia: Once information has
come to rest at a certain level of the organization, it will tend to remain there for ever.
Downward communication is usually job related and not personal. A major shortcoming
of downward communication is this depersonalization of the superior-subordinate
relationship. It should be the tendency among superiors to praise sincerely and thereby
reinforce their subordinates in front of other people.
Effective communication often depends on assuming the appropriate
communication for the occasion. There is no agreed-upon number of categories of
COMMUNICATION STYLE. Most of the styles cluster around four dimensions:
1.
2.
3.
4.

BLAMING
DIRECTING
PERSUASION
PROBLEM SOLVING

Blaming is not always bad and problem solving is not always good. There are occasions
when you need to be directive and perhaps even blaming. Problem solving can be both
tedious and time consuming: it is not a cure for all ills. Become familiar with the four
styles and with your own strengths and weaknesses, then try to select the appropriate
style for the occasion.
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