Discussion Questions for Week 11

What are the similarities between the memo at the beginning of section 6 and the memo about Ben Franklin in the prologue? Are there any differences between the two memos?

Both memos aim at understanding communication within the organization, especially why information is conveyed in the manner seen in the two memos. Information is often relayed in a manner that asserts the hierarchical structure in the organization and covers up for any misdemeanor among those in high positions. The difference is that the first memo aimed at preserving organizational culture while the second one targeted communication as a tool of organizational myth or ritual with focus on the hierarchical system.

Box 9 discusses Open communication at Lincoln Electric. What was the main point made in the text about open communication preserving the organizational Hierarchy?The main point from the text is that the allowance for open communication is to make employees feel comfortable enough not to pose any threat to the normal structure of authority. The open communication policy at Lincoln Electric gave room for employees to air their views and issues although with boundaries. This means that these issues are only brought up for consideration not to challenge the authority of those in management.

Do you think that Open communication can actually result in lower level employees influencing management? Yes, I think open communication can lead to lower level employees influencing management.

In your previous experience, have you had any managers who claimed to be open communicators or to have an open door policy? Did they live by such rules? What influence did their actions have on company or organizational morale?

Yes, I have had a manager with an open door policy who lived by the rules. Their actions improved the morale of the employees.

“How could Bonnie bring off in a few minutes something that personnel specialists had been trying to do for a year?”

She did so by being open about the matter with her manager though she was not aware of his position during their conversation.

When is it okay to “go over your bosses head”?

I do not think it is okay to knowingly go over your bosses’ head.

In your previous experience, have you ever had a subordinate go over your head? How did it make you feel and how did you react?

I have not had such an experience yet.

In your previous experience, can you think of any similar situations where a low level person, through their ignorance, got something accomplished that higher level people could not get done?

I have not yet had such a situation although I have experienced an open door policy.

Given this tail, how might you approach your boss differently in the future about implementing a similar change such as getting rid of some useless rule or policy?

I would do so through open confrontation with reasons to support my proposal.

Why does Kerry react the way he does to a simple thing such as Ted rearranging his office?

Kerry reacts the way he does because Ted did not consult him before making the decision to change his office.

Does a simple matter such as how an office is arranged, where it is located, or the type of furniture in it communicate certain messages about the office’s inhabitant?

Yes, it says a lot about their organizational skills especially in cases where it is neat. It can also be used to judge the rationality of their decision making, implying that more organized persons are likely to make better decisions than those who are not.

Why Not just let Ted restructure his office?

Kerry would not let Ted restructure his office because of his breach of the company’s culture. He was not informed prior to making the changes thus it was regarded as an incorrect move, which meant going over the bosses’ head.

Compare Ted’s view of status and communication with Kerry’s. Ted is of the opinion that status and communication follows a hierarchical structure, meaning that it is passed down the line. On the other hand, Kerry believes that any one above the other in a power structure is entitled to communicate any orders even when they are beyond their departmental jurisdiction. This view tends to overlook authority held by people at the same level but in different departments.

What is the problem with Ted’s feedback/evaluation in Scenario #1?

Ted is reluctant to convey his true feelings about Stanley’s presentation. Instead, he gives praise where it is not due and watches as Stanley degenerates in his delivery each time he makes a presentation.

How could Claude benefit from feedback that is more descriptive and less evaluative?

Claude would benefit from feedback that is more descriptive than evaluative by learning more about his mistakes and strengths other than having to be accorded plain criticism or praise without reasons behind the feedback.

In what way is Claude the victim of a “self-fulfilling prophecy”?

Claude is a victim of self-fulfilling prophecy in that he had foreseen the circumstance he found himself in which came to pass. By behaving the way he did, he drew Kerry’s unwanted reaction, meaning that his actions are what drew the feedback he got.

Is Ted’s attitude common in business these days?

Yes, Ted’s attitude is common in business nowadays. Less people in supervisory positions are willing to evaluate employees based on merit, rather they keep silent for as long as the intended job has been delivered.

What is the basis of the misunderstanding? The misunderstanding is based on the occasion where Ted puts his arm around Lesley who finds it offensive. This took place in an office function and though it is clear that Ted’s intentions were good, Lesley seems to misunderstand the situation. This causes her to over react.

In your opinion, did Ted over react? Did Leslie overreact? I do no think that Ted overreacted. However, I think that Lesley did over react probably due to her misinterpretation of the gesture.

Have you observed similar incidents in your previous experience? No, I have not observed any similar incidents in my previous experience.

What would you do as of the end of the chapter if you were Ted? If you were Lesley?

Both individuals should resolve the issue, by reviewing their personal communication skills besides acting in accordance with the culture of the organization. Their actions should always be in line with accepted behavioral tendencies of the organization.


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