Current Cultural Trends And Their Impact On Organizational Communications Essay

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Communication in organizations depends on the type of organization and the setting of the workplace. The question is which management style should be used although it is safe to say that the best style of management is participatory. Current cultural trends have come into the picture and effectiveness is seen as the result when these trends are considered important in an organization. This is so because ensures that the output generated by the work of an employee is of high quality. When these cultural trends are noted well, employees are given tasks and the manager makes sure that the employees understand their duties and responsibilities.

The employees are also given the chance to make their own decisions and impart their ideas and opinions in the process (All Business, Undated). Cultural trends affects management since it is the circle in which the management goes around. It is critical as the type of management, especially in a teamwork setting, would largely depend on the existing social culture between the employees. The manager will have a hard time adjusting if the social culture among his employees is not good, meaning the relationships are damaged or broken (Veser, 2004).

Being efficient in the light of these cultural factors means producing outputs with little wasted effort because the communication is free-flowing. It is important, therefore, that employees are given good communication venues in order to come up with quality on the output they produce. Sometimes, an employee may be efficient but not effective. In being effective, one should could focus and concentrate on the particular work they have to do and dispose the clutter. It is better to be effective and produce good results than be efficient with poor outputs (Lifetools, Undated).

Yes, quantitative techniques can be used to motivate employees in such a way that these tools will help them imagine or picture in their minds what the goal or strategy is all about. An organization is highly affected by cultural trends. It is particularly significant when there is an attempt to propose a change in the whole organizational system. Culture directly affects innovation and development in an organization. Culture serves as the foundation where the organization is laid upon, it is a conglomerate of ideas and beliefs of employees which nurtures the existence of the organization (Forte, 1998).

Stakeholders can both help or pull down an organization. It could do either way, enhance the company or organizations reputation or damage it. It should be ensured that there is a good existing relationship between the stakeholders or shareholders, otherwise the company will be in trouble. The advantage of managing this kind of relationships is that there will be various ideas when it comes to setting the direction of the company. A multi-stakeholder organization has a democratic and participatory environment.

The setback is when these shareholders do not agree with each other and may result to split up. A borderless organization widens the scope of the management system, therefore there is the possibility that the management might be spread too thin in the organization. It will be harder to direct and lead a group that has wider, or worse no defined boundaries. It is necessary that management can focus and not flow to too many directions. It will be hard to gather the members as the organization grows, along with the different viewpoints and opinions (Jarillo, 1995).

Going global has both positive and negative effects in an organization. It will be an advantage since the organization or company will be known in a wider arena and could even establish a network of stakeholders. Kentucky Fried Chicken, the fast food that sells chicken and is known all over the world, is a classic example of a success story of going global. But this may not always be the case as going global has its setbacks and weaknesses. For one, there is the possibility that the organization or business may not be accepted in another place other than its place of origin.

Another would be that if the new branch or franchise does not perform well, it would carry the original name of the organization and would destroy the reputation of the original organization as well (Starks 2001). When members of a dominant culture become suspicious of subcultures and seek to isolate or assimilate them, it is often because the members of the dominant culture are making value judgments about the beliefs and practices of the subordinate groups. For instance, most Anglo-Americans see the extensive family obligations of Hispanics as a burdensome arrangement that inhibits the individual freedom.

Hispanics, in contrast, view the isolated nuclear family of Anglo-Americans as a lonely institution that cuts people off from the love and assistance of their kin. This tendency to view ones own cultural patterns as good and right and those of others as strange or even immoral is ethnocentrism. An individual becomes aware of his worldview as an individual comes as one applies his values in different situations. An example to illustrate this is when we see that most Americans today accept and approve racial equality in the workplace. Yet relatively few extend the value of racial equality to their family lives.

They would not approve of a member of their own family marrying a person of another race or adopting a child of another race. Authors Sue & Sue (2002) have unique answers to communications across different cultures. Its focus on counseling racial populations as well as other diverse organizations makes us understand norms and cultures and its interrelationships. Their views have made clinicians take a second look at individual roles in understanding varied populations. People become aware of their worldview as an individual when they examine their values in relation to their environment.

Values provide the framework within which people in a society develop norms of behavior. A norm is a specific guideline for action; it is a rule that says how people should behave in particular situations. Like values, norms can vary greatly from society to society. Polite and appropriate behavior in one society may be disgraceful in another. Norms also vary from group to group within a single society. From a societal perspective, choices and actions of an individual in U. S. society are highly influenced by norms.

According to Turner and Killians emergent-norm theory, people develop new social norms as they interact in situations that lack firm guidelines for coping. These norms then exert a powerful influence on their behavior. The new norms evolve through a gradual practice of social exploration and testing. The crowd begins to define the situation, develop a justification for acts that would in other circumstances seem questionable. In this way, new norms may emerge that condone violence and destruction, but still impose some limits on crowd behavior (Turner and Killian, 1972, p. 21). Norms and values are resources for communication.

They help us evaluate our past, interpret the present, and plan for the future. Can you think of two examples each of evaluating the past, interpreting the worth of the present, or planning for the future that do not involve implicit values and norms you use in everyday life? How so and why to each? New norms evolve through a gradual process of social exploration and testing. One or more people may suggest a course of action (shooting obscenities or hurling bottles, for example). Other suggestions follow. The crowd begins to define the situation, to develop a justification for acts that would in other circumstances seem questionable.

In this way, new norms may emerge that condone violence and destruction, but still impose some limits on crowd behavior. The emergence of new norms, Turner and Killian argue does not mean that members of a crowd come to think and feel as one. Although it may appear to outsiders that a crowd is a unanimous whole, some participants may just be going along to avoid disapproval and ridicule. All these kinds of crowd action depended not just on the other people around but on the patterns of social organization by which people were both motivated to join the crowd and organized within it.

One of the common sources of loss of motivation in the workplace is the presence of difficult employees (Darby 15). Employees are usually very sensitive with poor performers that are not given attention or sanctioned in the workplace (Blades, 1967). The presence of poor performers and the presence of problem employees usually affect the working environment and thus bosses should be able to improve the situation of the work environment in order to make working a positive experience for all. At the core, one of the important steps that should be employed is the ability of the manager or leader to identify the problem immediately.

One of the key methods of problem identification is constant communication with the subordinates. It is very important to recognize that the differences in personalities in the workplace are really a major cause of conflict (Stanley 6). This means that the manager should always assume that there is always a tendency for conflict to arise. Even employees themselves are aware that conflicts are already occurring. In this particular scenario, the structure is that each technical team that handles technical support concerns of customers is headed by a team leader or manager.

The role of the manager is to handle escalated concerns and the performance of the agents or staff. There is a problem of communication between the agents and the supervisor. The supervisor is having some problems with the performance of the agent and he handled this through massive sanctions against absenteeism and heavy corrective actions against minor offenses. The manager used a rather punitive system of motivating the employees, which the employees disliked because this adds to the already stressful job of handling technical problems of customers.

The agents are also not very open to the manager regarding their problems because of his tyrannical method of leadership. The agents also viewed their manager as lacking technical skills and therefore do not really understand their line of work and the stress that is attached to it. Thirdly, there is an internal conflict between employees because they believed that some non-performers appeared to be more favored by the manager. The employees accomplishments are not recognized while their little mistakes are always emphasized. The manager should inculcate the recognition of higher level of needs of the employees.

Glen (41) believes that motivating employees is really a difficult task because people have different sources of motivation. It is however very important for managers to never behave in a demotivating way. According to Glen (41), the manager may not be able to motivate their people always, but the manager will always have a way of killing the source of motivation. To illustrate his point, he pointed out that in a technical company, it is very important that managers always consult their team. In computer companies, managers are always viewed to be less knowledgeable regarding technical areas.

Inability to incorporate ideas from the team would generally make them feel that their talents are neglected. The technical expertise of the team should always be consulted because of the need to recognize their technical talents. The manager therefore should be responsive to the specific needs of the technical staff and understand the difficulties of their job and open the communication lines for solution. It is essential that in technical teams, where basis of membership is through technical skills, that the talents be recognized.

The employees ability to make full use of their talents and skills would help them to maintain high level of performance. In this case, it is a recognition that motivation, does not merely come from rewards, but may also come from higher level of needs such as the need to have capabilities recognized and be utilized towards their full potential. On the issue of conflict, tt the core, one of the important steps that should be employed is the ability of the manager or leader to identify the problem immediately. One of the key methods of problem identification is constant communication with the subordinates.

It is very important to recognize that the differences in personalities in the workplace are really a major cause of conflict (Stanley 6). This means that the manager should always assume that there is always a tendency for conflict to arise. Even employees themselves are aware that conflicts are already occurring. Secondly, there is a need for the manager to have an effective conflict resolution method. In most cases, it would be important that the manager provides individual conflict resolution (Stanley 6). This mean providing employees themselves is given the opportunity to resolve their own issues in order to empower them.

The ability to resolve issues and conflicts help the employees in improving their level of confidence. Ability to resolve problems through their initiatives is one point of motivation for employees in the workplace. One way of illustrating an effective consolidation of cultural trends is illustrating the IBM example. IBM Institute for Business Value asserts that increased competition, changing workforce demographics and a shift toward knowledge-based work are requiring companies to place an increasingly higher priority on improving workforce productivity (Lesser and De Marco, Abstract).

Companies rely on their Human Resources (HR) function to go beyond the delivery of cost-effective administrative services. They require the HR to provide expertise on how to leverage human capital to create true marketplace differentiation. Facing these challenges, many HR organizations have been actively revamping to more effectively deliver the strategic insights their businesses require. IBMs study entitled A New Approach, A New Capability: The Strategic Side of Human Resources shows that competing in todays environment requires companies to focus on building a more responsive, flexible and resilient workforce (p.

2). To do so, organizations must do a more effective job of sourcing talent, allocating resources across competing initiatives, measuring performance and building key capabilities and skills. HR organizations that provide strategic guidance on these issues can become proactive drivers of organizational effectiveness, rather than simply a supporter of these efforts. The HR organizations attempt to resolve the growing needs of quality recruitment by a new process of human resource hiring. This process is described as positive discrimination in order to select the best (Beardwell, 84).

Others call it affirmative action. This refers to the concrete steps that are taken not only to eliminate employment discrimination but also to attempt to redress the effects of past discrimination (87). The underlying motive for affirmative action is the principle of equal opportunity, which holds that all persons with equal abilities should have equal opportunities. Those who obtain employment can be sure that the company values them. Unfortunately, this also means rejecting people who smoke, are clinically obese, have high debts, participate in high-risk sports, and the like.

In addition, the company also seeks permission from employee to access various databases, which include: criminal records; credit bankruptcy and mortgage defaults; vehicle license checks; educational records; curriculum vitae and applications search. The company believes this is a modern, sophisticated human resource approach because it is able to compare employees profiles against the national average for physiological, psychological, social and demographic factors. Affirmative action affects small businesses in two main ways.

First, it prevents businesses with 15 or more employees from discriminating on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, and physical capability in practices relating to hiring, compensating, promoting, training, and firing employees. Second, it allows the state and federal governments to favor women-owned and minority-owned businesses when awarding contracts, and to reject bids from businesses that do not make good faith efforts to include minority-owned businesses among their subcontractors (Encyclopedia para 2).

The interpretation and implementation of affirmative action has been contested since its origins in the 1960s. A central issue of contention was the definition of discriminatory employment practices. The discriminatory employment practices as listed by the Department of Administration and Equal Opportunity (p. 1) include: gender identity, sexual orientation, race discrimination, sex discrimination, sexual harassment, religious discrimination, national origin discrimination, disability discrimination, and retaliation. Contrary, the prevailing employment practices include three things.

First is the counseling and litigation with respect to employment discrimination (race/sex/disability/sexual harassment), wrongful termination, wage and hour issues, trade secrets/unfair competition, privacy in the workplace, workplace violence, executive contracts, affirmative action, use of independent contractors, OSHA, union organizing and other issues pertaining to hiring, promotion, compensation and discipline (Fenwick and West LLP, p. 1). Second is the representation of large and small employers in class actions and individual cases in state and federal courts and in arbitrations and mediations throughout the country.

Last is the regularly advise employers concerning personnel systems, policies and practices that includes, among others: handbooks, policy manuals and drug testing programs, employment and independent contractor agreements, terminations, severance plans and releases, management training (sex harassment avoidance, EEO, rightful discipline: managing for high performance), protecting trade secrets and confidential business information, wage/hour and leave of absence compliance, disciplinary investigations, legal compliance audits, and whistleblower and retaliation claims (para 2 and 3).

As the interpretation of positive discrimination evolved, employment practices that were not intentionally discriminatory but that nevertheless had a disparate impact on affected groups were considered a violation of affirmative action regulations (Encyclopedia of Small Business, section 2). Another central issue was whether members of affected groups could receive preferential treatment and, if so, the means by which they could be preferred. This issue is sometimes referred to as the debate over quotas. In the next level of new HR approaches is the care it provides for the employees well being.

Companies are now committed to the health and wellness of its employees and this extends to the employees families. Companies do recognize that all employees from time to time have personal problems. If unresolved, these issues may affect emotional and physical health which ultimately could affect job performance. It is now within the HRs goal to provide a confidential resource to all employees and their families to help address these issues before they interfere with well being. According to a review of the Gallup Studies by Harter, Schmidt, and Keyes (2002, p.

4), the well-being of the employees is to the best interest of the communities and organizations. They believe that the workplace is the significant part of an individuals life that affects his/her life and that of the community. The average adult spends much of his/her life working. He/she spends much of his waking hours in work or about one third. Thus, the well-being of the employees is the best interest of the employers who spend substantial resources hiring employees and trying to generate products, profits and maintain loyal customers.

Studies show that happy and productive employees clearly link emotional well-being with work performance (p. 2). In sum, work is a pervasive and influential part of the individual and the communitys well-being. It affects the quality of the individuals life and his/her mental health and thereby can affect the productivity of the entire community. The ability to promote well-being rather than endanger strains and mental illness is of considerable benefit not only to the employees in the community but also to the employers bottom line.

This aspect should be greatly taken care of by the companies HR organizations (Cornelius, p. 142). Concern for the well-being of employees extends to the environment. The company provides background music to help eliminate stress, it plays messages to staff throughout the day for the same reason: to relax people. Messages such as stay calm, help colleagues, remember, the company is our community are all designed for positive reasons. Employees also receive electronic messages by email. The company argues that this thoughtfulness ensures high morale.

Video and audio surveillance ensures that staff feels secure. Other companies believe that the physical environment is also important to wellness and productivity. Fragrant aromas such as evergreen may reduce stress; the smell of lemon and jasmine can have a rejuvenating effect. These scents are introduced to all work spaces through the air- conditioning and heating systems. Scents are changed seasonally (Marx, Section 6). Some companies also believe that music is not only enjoyable to listen to but can also affect productivity.

Thus, some companies continually experiment with the impact of different styles of music on an offices or plants aggregate output. Personal computers deliver visual subliminals such as my world is calm or were all on the same team. Other companies have dietitians who guide the companies cafeteria and dining room. They make sure that the companies serve only fresh, wholesome food prepared without salt, sugar, or cholesterol-producing substances. Sugar- and caffeine-based, high-energy snacks and beverages are available during breaks, at no cost to employees.

In a practical example of work productivity and employee performance, let us cite Dominion-Swanns new workplace. Dominion-Swann (DS) is a technology-based company that respects its employees and whose knowledge is the core of its technological enterprise. It cares about its work community and value honesty informed consent, and unfettered scientific inquiry. Its employees understand company strategy. They are free to suggest ways to improve the companys performance. It also offers handsome rewards for high productivity and vigorous participation in the life of its company.

Committed to science, this company believes in careful experimentation and in learning from experience. Since 1990, DS has instituted changes in our work environment because it faced an uncertain future. Our productivity and quality were not keeping pace with overseas competition. Employee turnover was up, especially in the most critical part of our business- automotive chips, switches, and modules. Health costs and work accidents were on the rise. Its employees were demoralized. There were unprecedented numbers of thefts from plants and offices and leaks to competitors about current research.

There was also a sharp rise in drug use. Security personnel reported unseemly behavior by company employees not only in our parking lots and athletic fields but also in restaurants and bars near our major plants. In the fall of 1990, it turned to SciexPlan Inc. , a specialist in employee-relations management in worldwide companies, to help develop a program for the radical restructuring of the work environment. There was instability while the program was being developed and implemented. Some valued employees quit and others took early retirement.

But widespread publicity about the companys efforts drew to the program people who sincerely sought a well-ordered, positive environment. DS now boasts a clerical, professional, and factory staff which understands how the interests of a successful company correspond with the interests of individual employees. To paraphrase psychologist William lames, When the community dies, the individual withers. Such sentiments, we believe, are as embedded in Western traditions as in Eastern; they are the foundation of world community. They are also a fact of the new global marketplace.

DS four principles that underlie work-support restructuring are worth studying for every HR organizations who want to implement structural changes and get valued results. It consists of the following: 1. Make the company a home to employees. Break down artificial and alienating barriers between work and home. Dissolve, through company initiative, feelings of isolation. Great companies are made by great people; all employee behavior and self-development counts. 2. Hire people who will make a continuing contribution. Bring in people who are likely to stay healthy and successful, people who will be on the job without frequent absences.

Candor about prospective employees pasts may be the key to the companys future. 3. Technical, hardware-based solutions are preferable to supervision and persuasion. Machines are cheaper, more reliable, and fairer than managers. Employees want to do the right thing; the company wants nothing but this and will give employees all the needed technical assistance. Employees accept performance evaluation from an impartial system more readily than from a superior and appreciate technical solutions that channel behavior in a constructive direction. 4. Create accountability through visibility.

Loyal employees enjoy the loyalty of others. They welcome audits, reasonable monitoring, and documentary proof of their activities, whether of location, business conversations, or weekly output. Once identified, good behavior can be rewarded, inappropriate behavior can be improved. These principles have yielded an evolving program that continues to benefit from the participation and suggestions of the companys employees. This is a good support system to the promotion of the employees well-being. Providing support for employees with caring responsibilities in the workplace makes good business sense.

Creating a positive work atmosphere that encourages employees to speak out is also another important factor. Benefits can be gained for both the employer and their employees. Companies nowadays attract qualified employees by providing a progressive and motivating work atmosphere. This is because such environment is an excellent opportunity for employees to grow professionally in a professional yet fun and casual environment. According to Susan Heathfield, HR Consultant, about 16 percent of the people responding in a recent Human Resources Forum poll have no performance appraisal system at all (p.

1). Supervisory opinions, provided once a year, are the only appraisal process for 56 percent of respondents. Another 16 percent described their appraisals as based solely on supervisor opinions, but administered more than once a year. The main reason is that performance appraisal is universally disliked and avoided. She concludes that, after all, how many people in an organization want to hear that they were less than perfect last year? How many managers want to face the arguments and diminished morale that can result from the performance appraisal process? This might be certainly true.

Performance Management, however is geared towards employee development and organizational improvement (para 3). HR organizations should really implement the most effective and succinct measure of employee performance. Performance management begins when a job is defined. Performance management ends when an employee leaves the company. Between these points, the following must occur for a working performance management system. Heathfield suggests the following Performance Management and Development as the best initiatives to have a systematic appraisal in the general work system.

It includes defining the purpose of the job, job duties, and responsibilities; defining performance goals with measurable outcomes; defining the priority of each job responsibility and goal; defining performance standards for key components of the job; holding interim discussions and provide feedback about employee performance, preferably daily, summarized and discussed, at least, quarterly; maintaining a record of performance through critical incident reports; providing the opportunity for broader feedback; using a 360 degree performance feedback system that incorporates feedback from the employees peers, customers, and people who may report to him; developing and administering a coaching and improvement plan if the employee is not meeting expectations (para 5). Based on the new tasks of the HR organizations as the companys business partner, there are five key capabilities that are needed to make a strategic contribution to the organization (Lesser and De Macro, p. 6). These include: analytical skills; business acumen; consulting skills; change leadership skills; and the ability to share knowledge across the HR organization. HR organizations need analytical skills to develop evidence-based recommendations and effective business cases. They must understand how data flows through various HR and financial systems, and how to obtain and analyze human capital data that supports their recommendations.

HR organizations also need to be proficient in developing models and scenarios that determine the cost and impact of changes in HR policies and procedures. Participants in our study found that they were unlikely to have sufficient depth in these ills within their own HR organizations and considered them among the most difficult to develop. HR organizations also need business acumen in the form of understanding their business units strategies and operations. To serve as true advisors to the business, they must understand the dynamics of their industry, as well as the day-to-day activities performed by different functional units and how individuals within the units are evaluated.

They also have to understand the needs of customers and partners to better see how their human capital decisions impact stakeholders beyond the organizational boundaries. Many organizations reported that this in-depth knowledge of the business was often in short supply within their HR groups. HR organizations will have to serve as lead advisors to their business units on human capital issues. To do so, a number of consulting skills are essential, including the abilities to build trusting relationships with senior executives, diagnose organizational problems and determine root causes, develop recommendations and business cases, and create action plans.

Further, they must have the strength and conviction to deliver difficult messages to senior leaders, even if those messages may prove to be unpopular. HR organizations also need to be effective at driving change through the organization. This includes soliciting and initiating participation from individuals within the business unit to support change efforts, aligning recognition and performance measurement systems to support desired activities, and effectively communicating with multiple stakeholders. HR organization not only needs to provide expertise to the business units they support, they also should share knowledge across the HR organization (Mello, p. 138).

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