1. A lot of bosses are accused of being “poor communicators.” Why do you think this is? Many bosses are accused of being “poor communicators” because they are not effective in getting their message across clearly to their employees. As stated in the case study, Mr. Caruso does not reinforce the good behavior that his employees display. He does not set a good example of what is expected since he doe not meet deadlines, does not communicate well with clients, does not listen to his employees, uses a condescending tone and criticizes his employees. These send confusing messages to his employees, which leaves them frustrated, unmotivated and unsatisfied with their jobs. Many bosses are either unwilling to learn what it takes to get their message across in a way that is beneficial to the employee as well as themselves. In addition, many bosses do not take into consideration that their employees react differently in similar situations. This leads bosses to treat all employees the same and that does not help when better communication is the answer. 2. What does this case suggest regarding the relationship between reinforcement theory and communication? This case suggests that there is a strong relationship between reinforcement theory and communication. Communication controls behavior, stimulates motivations, provides information, and is a means to release emotions. Reinforcement theory is a central part of those four functions. In order to accomplish each function, communication and reinforcement theory work hand in hand to provide an avenue to send messages and to receive feedback from employees. Sending the correct messages and receiving feedback not only strengthens the relationship between the boss and employee, it also strengthens the lines of communication. Since Mr. Caruso does not communicate well, he is unable to motivate his employees through the use of reinforcement theory. Reinforcement theory establishes that employees have higher job satisfaction and higher levels of motivation when the behavior the company wants is reinforced with praise. In Mr. Caruso’s case, his employees are very critical of his style of management and it is considered to be a regular source of conflict. 3. What, specifically, do you think Caruso needs to do to improve his communication skills? While Mr. Caruso seems to understand that some people do need to be told that they are doing a good job, he actually needs to put it into practice. Mr. Caruso must set the example by meeting his deadlines. If he is able to complete his work in a timely manner, his employees will begin to do the same. He needs to learn how to communicate with clients to avoid placing his employees in awkward positions. Showing his employees the correct way to deal with clients will give the employees self-confidence and the ability to make better decisions for the clients. Listening to what is being said by his employees will boost their self-confidence and motivation. When employees feel valued by the company, it fosters creativity and stronger problem-solving skills. Furthermore, changing his tone when he speaks to his employees will relieve the tension his employees feel when they are unable to express their emotions through the communication process. Finally, criticizing employees and not praising them enough kills motivation and job satisfaction. Mr. Caruso would do well to use constructive criticism and praise his employees more in order to create an environment that allows for growth and for more open lines of communication where he can receive feedback to make sure that his message is getting through to his employees.
4. Assuming Caruso wants to improve, how would you suggest he go about learning to be a better communicator? Mr. Caruso should start by listening to his employee’s ideas and discussing them instead of dismissing them. He would probably benefit from sending out a survey to his employees to learn what they need from him as a communicator. Each employee would have the chance to express their thoughts on how he could best serve each of them as a communicator. Mr. Caruso should seek out any classes that may be available in his area on communication in management in order to acquaint himself with the communication process. And lastly, Mr. Caruso needs to display the behavior that he expects from his employees so they will have a point of reference to model themselves after.
Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2007). Organizational Behavior. Prentice - Hall.