The Family Store Case Study
The Family Store is a chain of 10 regional convenience stores owned and managed by three brothers, Garrett, George, and Gavin VanDoer. They have been in business for over 25 years together. The entire senior executive, management team, and even store managers are all family members. The senior executive includes Garrett, the president and major shareholder, Garrett’s daughter Marielle is senior vice president of finance and Gavin’s son Frankie is senior vice president of marketing and retail sales (Sniderman, Bulmash, Nelson, & Quick, 2006, p.192). This paper will discuss the present barriers to effective communication, non-defensive feedback from employee and customer surveys to senior executives, examples of supportive communication, and a communication strategy for communicating survey results to the remainder of the company. 1.
What barriers to effective communication are evident in this case? The barriers to effective communication evident in this case study include that of perceptual screens, status differences, filtering, gender differences, and defensive communication climate. The first barrier of effective communication, which is perceptual screens, is evident when George insinuates that Marielle is imagining problems with the business, he states, “My kids love this company and everything we stand for. They wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize business success” (Sniderman et al., 2006, p.193), However, in the past George has had behaviour problems with his children; he is putting up a screen to protect them. Also Gavin puts up the perceptual screen when he states that he does not care about the business or change; he would rather be golfing, even though his brother states that when it comes to the crunch he will be there for them. Frankie’s perceptual screen is shown through his disinterest in the business and “flippant” (Sniderman et al., p.193) attitude when he actually is very involved in the running of the business. Another Perceptual screen is the beliefs of the young managers about their employees. They believe that their employees do not know their jobs when in fact sometimes they know it better than the manager. Status differences and filtering is evident when Gavin became disinterested in the part of the meeting where discussion focused on possible reasons for decreased sales, he did this because Frankie his son is the head of sales and his niece is telling him the reason’s why sales are decreasing. Gavin is showing his status and filtering out the bad news about his son’s part of the business. Clerks in the stores do not feel that they can let any management know how they feel about their job because the managers they are all related and the information will not be passed on appropriately. Filtering also occurs when negative criticism spoken by employees or customers is coated over by the older managers as they consider this a problem of the employees or customers, not that of management. The attitude towards Marielle is one of gender differences in communication, because every time she speaks at a meeting the senior executive men seem to be whispering with arms crossed, eyes rolling and never really paying attention to what she has to say, and or telling her that she is imagining the problems. Defensive communication climate is demonstrated in the case of the Family Store by the way in which managers “evaluate” (Sniderman et al., 2006, p.177) their employees. The managers only comment and judge the employees on their bad job even in front of customers. Of course the employees do not understand the intended message from the manager; they only understand that they are embarrassed in front of customers whom may also be their friends. As a result effective communication will not occur if managers do not communicate creative, supportive, and descriptive messages. An example of this type of barrier to communication is when Frankie uses the “strategy” (Sniderman et al., 2006,...
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