FORMAL AND INFORMAL COMMUNICATIONS WITHIN ORGANIZATIONS
As a person with knowledge of the ins and outs of both formal and informal communications within organizations, the author has always thought of the idea regarding whether indeed the notion that these forms of communication can be said to be processes of power is true or not. At times, however, the author fails to understand the reasons or logic behind certain concepts and philosophical ideas bound by it.
By delving into this essay paper, the author intends to have better insights into this topic. The author hopes to have an in-depth understanding as to how the freedom of choice and expression in context with both formal and informal communications within organizations enables them to flourish effectively and efficiently in this era of modernization where technological development is extremely intense.
In order to reinforce the learning objectives, two key focal issues were focussed upon, i.e. innovation and diversity. Innovation was discussed with regards to both formal and informal communications within organizations where both were renowned for being effective “media” together with its various developmental capabilities to constantly innovate. Diversity came under strategic thinking and formation as the author considered the culture, political climate, economic surroundings, social environment, technological settings, government policies and legal systems in order to better understand the issues being discussed.
Discuss the extent to which processes of communication, both formal and informal, within organizations can be said to be processes of power.
The process of communication can be defined as the efficient and effective implementation of the individual’s will and decision-making power necessary to satisfy his / her needs. In the perspective of mass media, communication focuses on the careful management of the processes involved in an individual’s pursuit of the correct choice, whether to agree or not (, 2001).
More often than not, ordinary people like us don't really have the capabilities to fully exercise our freedom of choice and expression when communicating with other people. Instead, we engage in activities that various schools of mass media typically associate with exercising freedom of choice and expression. Other activities include the manufacturing of mass media products, mass media development, production and distribution (, 1997).
However, freedom of choice and expression must deal with all aspects done within the realm of communications in organizations. Activities such as the management of choices, the control of the freedom endowed on individuals, and evaluations are often associated with freedom of choice and expression. A great deal of emphasis lies on the efficiency and effectiveness of this freedom.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Goals / Objectives of Communication in Organizations
Communication has four main objectives:
A) Remain one of the top medium in terms of educating and entertaining people and organizations. Being on top of the industry enables formal and informal types of communications to command the respect and confidence of the public as well as various organizations. Thus, the various forms of communications are able to expand their influences (, 1988).
B) Gain more credibility. The raw materials that are being laid down in the establishment of enables formal and informal types of communications puts are able to meet high quality standards. As a result, formal and informal types of communications are able to earn more credibility among organizations (, 2001).
C) Build the best brand of quality communication and entertainment; and
D) Maintaining its independence. Being independent allows formal and informal types of communications to continue their tradition of excellence by setting new trends and standards.
It’s been said that the processes of communication, both formal and informal, within organizations can be said to be processes of power. This is because the persons involved in the processes of communication, whether formally or informally, are also empowered as the process of communication goes along. Some of the benefits that the persons involved in the processes of communication get include:
· Mental Stability
Mental stability is crucial especially in the pursuit of the correct decision as well as the management and development of the processes accompanying it. In organizations, it is important to remain updated with the latest developments to be able to stay aware and knowledgeable in all issues.
· Improved Performance and Credibility
The production of the best organizational outputs comes as a result of well-funded research management and development activities. The strong performance of organizational outputs in the market could also be linked to their cost-effectiveness. Thus, their credibility increases as their performance becomes better. However, members of the organization also has to be aware of the positioning in terms of process so as to maintain satisfactory profit margins and remain competitive in the industry ( 1980).
· Improved Marketing Strategy and Distribution
High brand awareness among the public viewers has created the need for aggressive marketing, and access to strong distribution channels is critical for the introduction of new organizational outputs (, 1990).
· Boost in decision-making abilities. Upon arriving at the correct decision or choice, the individual now gains confidence in his / her ability to make critical decisions or choices. Thus, this person will now search for even more challenges and opportunities where he / she could further enhance his / her decision-making abilities regarding current mass media issues.
· Full exercise of freedom of choice and expression. An individual’s commitment to exercising his / her freedom of choice and expression in the process of communication is fully exercised upon encountering the dilemma brought about by various organizational situations. Since “yes” or “no” are the only possible answers to most questions, the person now digs deep into the issue and evaluates all factors related to the question. Upon arriving at his / her decision or preferred choice, he / she is free to express his / her choice whether it be “yes” or “no”.
· Holistic Mindset of issues
Through the exposure to various puzzling organizational issues, the individual along the process is able to develop a holistic mindset regarding these issues. The person now becomes a keen observer of the truths and lies surrounding the issue being tackled, instead of relying on mere hearsays ( 1999). The continuous pursuit of the truth behind the puzzling organizational issues enables the individual to consistently practice and enhance a healthy and holistic mindset which makes it difficult for detractors to give influence. Because of this holistic approach, the person is able to effectively select the right choice and continue to maximize this potential for future use.
The author strongly agrees to the notion that the processes of communication, both formal and informal, within organizations can be said to be processes of power. As we see, the “power’ being described in the notion is somewhat a symbolical figure that can represent many things. While it may be true that “power” in the context of communication pertains to something that an individual uses in order to communicate with other people, it cannot be strictly limited to that definition especially in the realm of organizations. Also, every individual has varying interpretations regarding “power” and its role in communication.
It is easy for us to name the different “powers” that we use to effectively communicate with other people, since we always depend on it and some can’t even live without it. We have television, radio, newspapers, magazines, mobile phones, computers, laptops, and of course the Internet. It is also easy to understand that they can be distinguished as “sources” and “pathways” through which we send our messages everyday.
For many people, “power” is strictly a “source” and “pathway” of messages. However, the author believes that “power” is not locked within these definitions. Therefore, the “power” can also be the “message” at the same time. For example, if we visit the houses people, what can we easily look at? We can either see an abundance or lack of mass media technologies. Therefore, “power” can give us a message regarding the status in life of individuals or families.
“Power” can also be used to characterize a personality of an individual. For example, if a person uses writing as a “power” to express his / her sentiments, one can associate “power” into something that pertains to a milder or weaker personality. Therefore, the person who used writing as a “power” can be associated with either being calm, quiet and shy. On the other hand, litigation lawyers that we see in court relentlessly debating each other uses an aggressive type of conversation and interrogation as their “power” to express their ideas and sentiments. Thus, their usage of such an aggressive type of “power” can be associated to a strong-willed type of personality.
These things clearly prove that indeed “power” has certainly more meanings aside from being a mere “source” or “pathway” of messages. It can itself represent a “message”. Therefore, in the circumstances mentioned above, processes of communication, both formal and informal, within organizations can definitely be processes of power.
Deriving from the analysis between the mass media issue “the medium is the message” and the freedom of choice and expression involved, many strategic options would become imperative. It is therefore essential to evaluate these strategic options as to whether they are appropriate to the issues addressed, whether they are feasible enough to be implemented and their acceptability to key stakeholders.
There is definitely a need to reconcile both the inside-out and outside-in capabilities. While the author’s choice of answer is mainly based on focusing on its core competencies with organizational analysis following its resource base, the author will be put into a disadvantageous position should he / she choose to neglect both the macro as well as the organizational environment ( 1991). Therefore, the author has to be aware of the latest changes in communication, as well as changes in political, economic, legal and even demographic trends in order to develop the outside-in capabilities, such as mass media sensing, customer linking, channel bonding and technology monitoring.
The advantages enjoyed by the author may come in the form of increased freedom of choice and expression. Knowing what the issue demands, in this case and the latest trends could help the author fully exploit his / her research and decision-making capabilities to come out with choices and decisions which are the most effective. The strategic option can even be used as a developmental tool where the focus is on staying close to the public viewers and listening to their feedbacks. On the flip side of the coin, there will be huge mobilization of resources involved, and the associated risks bestowed on the individual.
Nevertheless, the mentioned strategic option seems the most practical in the wake of globalization, since there is a sudden shift towards a more integrated and independent media industry. The key stakeholders too should not have any objections so long the individual’s freedom of choice and expression is not threatened. By virtue of the author’s centralized control of his / her decisions and choices, it is being expected that major barriers should not exist in carrying out such an option except additional time may be required.
Understanding the strategic importance of formal and informal communications is something that the author has to be familiar with. More often than not, individuals normally practice a centralized and locally scaled configuration of choices and decisions. This allows information dissemination to be retained.
B. Overall Strategy
There are various strategic options available for the individual. These are enumerated as follows:
· Tie up with various local mass media enterprises;
· Collaborate with other people concerned; and
· Consultation with leading people in mass media
A tie-up with various local mass media enterprises offers tremendous benefits in terms of access to their policies in communications, infrastructure and even its resources. However, the individual must not lose sight of his / her core competencies while pursuing these tie-ups. Otherwise, the image of this individual might be put in jeopardy.
Meanwhile, the collaboration of an individual with others in the goal of finding an answer to the notion that the processes of communication, both formal and informal, within organizations can be processes of power can be seen as a ridiculous move at first. However, upon close examination, this move could pave the way for this individual to improve even more his / her overall mindset about the issue as well as his / her decision-making abilities. The bottom line is both sides would be able to significantly gain in such collaboration. A person’s strengths in decision-making combined with the excellent research capabilities of other people can transform them suddenly into an unbeatable force to reckon with. One possible setback, however, is the differences in the cultures of the individuals involved. Another possible setback could be whether any other individual has the need to collaborate ( 1991).
The third option also focuses on consultations, but this time with some of the well-regarded people specializing in mass media and communications. This is a great move considering the immeasurable wealth of knowledge that these highly-regarded people in mass media have. The benefits of these consultations should outweigh the costs in the long run.
In terms of appropriateness, all three options are able to directly address the current issue, whether to agree or not. However, the question remains whether the individual could be able to implement any of these options, and whether these options can be acceptable to the key stakeholders. Any tie-up or collaboration may also involve the sharing of expertise. Individuals traditionally rely on the inside-out approach when searching for an answer. It is important to note that any consultation and tie-up would have many implications on the individual’s values and culture as well as the resources. The key stakeholders definitely would be concerned with such options and need to be convinced of the positive aspects. Somehow, the individual will be able to overcome this barrier in managing strategic changes in the process of implementing any of the above mentioned strategic options.
Time and time again, people within organizations have been able to exercise their freedom of choice and expression upon communicating with each other, and because of this there is no doubt that we would be able to definitely say that there is power in these processes. Add to the mix the excellent decision-making capabilities of every individual in the organization and the formula for success is at hand.
The results of the analysis regarding the definitions of “power” in the context of communication indicated very significant effects, even amidst the threats of unrest. Therefore, we could conclude that processes of communication, both formal and informal, within organizations can definitely be processes of power, and it could be answered accordingly by all the people concerned.
The review of the individual’s freedom of choice and expression as well as his / her decision-making capabilities and resources in the communications process revealed very little inconsistencies regarding the capability to find an answer to the notion being discussed. This is coherent with their traditional inside-out approach. However, the need to reconcile both the inside-out and outside-in approaches becomes imperative now for every individual concerned.
The analysis also revealed certain gaps, most of which are biased towards the organizational environment. However, these gaps paved the way towards determining a number of recommended strategic options to secure the individual and the organization’s competent decision-making capabilities.
Also, the individual has to find a balance between adherence to internal forces within the mass media industry and to the changing forces of the environment in order to implement such strategic options.
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