January 24, 2010
Organizational Behavior and Communication
The business world is filled with ideas and behaviors that are vital to the general success of a company. However, none may be more important to the success or failure of a business than communication. Communication is the complex simple idea of transferring and understanding meaning. In fact, Robbins and Judge exclaim that “no group can exist without communication,” (Robbins & Judge, 2007). With the understanding of the basis of communication it is easily understood why communication is vital in all aspects of business success. However, the following will only address three main components of business function: a company’s culture and values, perception, and the use of conflict to improve communication.
Specific Organizational Culture and Values
With stores on nearly every corner, Starbucks Coffee Company seems the place to be. Within one location, customers can purchase coffee and tea drinks, baked goods, breakfast sandwiches, coffee by the pound, music, internet service, etc. The list seems to go on and on. And with over 16,000 stores open by the end of 2009, it doesn’t seem to be stopping (Starbucks Corporation, 2009). Starbucks’ Mission Statement is “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time,” (Starbucks Corporation, 2010). Starbucks strives to fulfill its mission by focusing on quality coffee, the exceptional treatment of its customers and positive standing within the communities surrounding its stores. Environmentally, the coffee company vows to be “committed to a role of environmental leadership in all facets of [its] business,” (Starbucks Corporation, 2010). These are the espoused values of the corporation. This is what Starbucks says it should and will do. And compared to its enacted values, Starbucks holds up. Author George Brymer explains a little of how Starbucks accomplishes its goals and upholds its values in his blog, The Vital Integrities Blog. Taking a page from his book, Vital Integrities, Brymer cites fiscal figures from both 2004 and 2007 to support Starbucks’ claim of upholding its values. Specifically, Brymer mentions the Starbucks ideal of improving the communities surrounding their business practices by noting that in 2004, the company paid an average 50¢ more per pound to coffee famers than the market norm (Brymer, 2008). Recently, more proof was acquired when for the fourth year in a row, Starbucks was named a “World’s Most Ethical Company” by Ethisphere. As stated from the institute, “WME honorees demonstrate real and sustained ethical leadership within their industries, putting into real business practice [Ethisphere’s] credo of ‘Good. Smart. Business. Profit,’” (Ethisphere Magazine, 2010).
There are four main functions of communication in a business organization: control, motivation, emotional expression, and information, (Robbins & Judge, 2007). Communication can control organizational behavior by requiring employees to follow authority hierarchies and specific guidelines. It can offer motivation by clarifying performance specifics, giving feedback, and suggesting ways to improve. As a form of emotional expression, workplace communication allows for a primary source of social interaction between employees. Finally, communication provides the information needed to facilitate successful decision making within the organization, (Robbins & Judge, 2007). Specifically for Starbucks, Brymer explains that employees are “encouraged to hold their leaders accountable by expressing their opinions on whether or not the organization's practices are consistent with its mission statement,” (Brymer, 2008). Brymer also notes that employees can expect a response to all concerns shared. In this example, communication is controlled by the organization...