September 17, 2012
Communication Channel Scenarios
Communication has been recognized as a strategic focus for business communication, second only to leadership concerns (Barnfield, 2003). One could even assert communication is the essence of management. Axley (2000) states the choice of communication channels used by an organization is varies with technology, customer and workforce characteristics, diversity and expectations, globalization of labour and customer markets, economies and information. In this paper I will answer the questions posed in each of three scenarios selecting the appropriate communication channel and supporting reasons why this communication channel was chosen. Responses to each scenario will be supported with academic literature but equally as important my experience based on my professional experiences working with and managing teams and employees. Scenario 1
In this scenario I would gather my team for an urgent in-person meeting to communicate the assigned task, any supporting literature, strategy and the urgency of the timeline. A face-to-face meeting allows team members to ask questions, clarify intention, provide instant feedback and determine action items in order to meet the desired outcome in the defined period of time. While some managers may choose to deliver this message via email, I prefer having an in-person meeting to convey and discuss work that will impact my role as the team manager but as well the team’s overall performance. I wish to have all team members present to hear the same message, participate in collaborative discussions, troubleshooting and developing an action plan. A face-to-face meeting will avoid any clouding of intended message that may occur if read via email or memo. In this case the deadline does not afford time for ambiguity or vagueness. Many individuals who I manage have expressed preference for email in many circumstances but admit at times face-to-face communication best facilitates awareness and the meaning of the intended message during the communication exchange. These employees have expressed they prefer to have personal contact with their manager. This is supported by Kupritz and Cowell (2011) who state a face-to-face media better captures the interactive and social properties of others and may evoke more social presence than other media. During the initial meeting a mutual method of communication most likely will be chosen to assist the team to best meet strategy and timelines in the week ahead. Given my management style, I would employ a formal small group network using the wheel network as described in (Robbins, 2011). This type of group demonstrates fast speed, high accuracy but still denotes one leader who is accountable for outcomes. Day to day updates certainly could be managed via email and telephone conversations but as the deadline approaches a subsequent face to face meeting(s) with the team is warranted to determine status in meeting deliverables. The communication channel I would use to convey my strategy to the Vice President of Operations would largely be dependent upon the style this individual prefers. It is valuable to learn and develop a style to of how to work consciously work with your superior to obtain the best possible results for as an employee, for your superior and ultimately for the organization. Learning to manage up and become familiar with the individual’s preferred method and style of communication will enhance delivery of the message. I have had leaders who prefer to receive project reports, proposals and related documents via email in advance thus allowing an opportunity to review prior to meeting and discuss in person. These leaders have stated this method facilitates decision making and action planning. Alternatively I have had other leaders who have preferred formal presentations, outlining strategy, rationale, and any supporting metrics and data with...