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The society in which we are living is actually a large organization as it encompasses most parts of our lives. Organization is an association of people who intermingle with each other and interact to achieve common goals. The environment in which we are living has a strong influence on our routine matters. As Etzioni 1964, p. 1. argues that "Our society is an organizational society. We are born into organizations, educated in organizations, and most of us spend much of our lives working for organizations. We spend much of our leisure time playing and praying in organizations. Most of us will die in an organization, and when time comes for burial, the largest organization of all - the state - must grant official permission." (Etzioni, 1964)
Organizations change their objective with the time and with the changes in circumstances, so is it true with our society and social setup. A home is our first organization where our parents set and act their roles as a part of a small organization. The father has his own set of roles that he has to perform, while the mother plays her own role in that home organization. When we enter into the school or move around in our social circle, we also act and play our role as a member of the social organization. (University of Southern Queensland, 2012)
According to the definition of Business Dictionary, an organization is a social unit of people. This unit is 'structured' and 'managed' to achieve collective goal. Organizations have a structure and this 'management structure' defines, maintains and manages relationships between various groups and their assigned roles.
The classical theories of bureaucracy and scientific management considered human beings as 'machines'. Theorists like Henri Fayol explained society as division of labor and specialized knowledge. Max Weber gave the difference of modern bureaucratic authority from charismatic and traditional authority and Karl Marx was against the capitalist society. He proposed the shared ownership in society. According to him, the means of production and the fruits of the labour must be divided equally for a truly democratic society.
To sum up, organizations are all around us. Theorists define 'organizations' as 'social structures created by individuals'. The purpose of these social structures is to support the collective effort to achieve common goals. However, society as an organization is not just an instrument to achieve combined goals. It is not a unit where the implementation of certain objectives shapes people and their interest. People in a society maintain their own ideas and histories. They have their own past, origin and differences. Social scientists are still exploring the structure of organizations because of its strong impact on our daily routine life while living in a society. (Desouza, 2011)
Module 2 - The development of organizational communication theory
Workers and their alignment with organizational goals:
The more workers identify organizational goals as their own, the more likely they are to work in the best interests of the organization. When the organization does well, workers feel that they too are doing well. (Source: Kreps 1990, p. 88)
Employees having jobs that match their interests and skills more remain generally happy and satisfied. A number of people fail after being promoted to management position because they find it difficult to teach others instead of doing it by themselves. Some people like to travel while others prefer in-house jobs. Some can risk for high rewards while others may prefer stable and predictable income.
If employees working in an organization feel that if their job is making meaningful contributions to their organization then they put more efforts and appear more engaged. The relationship between people and the organizational goals play a pivotal role, if they are in alignment. Individuals working in organizations where their personal goals and contributions are in line with their organizational goals work more enthusiastically and with greater interest. In a children hospital, the caregivers generally work with more intent and interest and they believe passionately in their roles and the goal of their organization of providing best care. A member of the financial team of an organization feels more satisfactory when his efforts contribute in significant savings for his company.
It is a common phenomenon that people want recognition and reward for their contributions towards their organization. These rewards can be of many types, however, the best reward for an employee is when he or she feels a 'heightened sense of worth'. They feel more satisfaction when their leaders personally appreciate them for their contributions and good work. This feeling of satisfaction comes out as how a person feels inside. Job enjoyment and the personal feelings of identifying their personal goals with organizational goals bring more energy in employees and when they find that their contributions are bringing better results to the overall organizational growth then the employees' engagement increases. Workers feel that they are also doing well and contribute more happily. Belief in what an employee is contributing and feeling valued contributes to the organizational growth generally. Levels of excitement and energy increases and people go extra length. This brings quality and continuous improvement and work place behaviors change positively. (WELLINS, BERNTHAL, & PHELPS)
Module 3 - Systems based and related theories
Critique the controversial ideas: that behavior is biologically determined; and that behavior is culturally determined.
According to The Standard Social Science Model human nature is not inherited. Human behavior is fixed by cultural forces. At the same time, biological determinism is of the view that all or most of the human behavior is innate and inherited. No changes can be made in it through cultural or social forces.
The theory of Biological determinism expresses that the appearance, behavior, and even long-term fate of human is completely determined by genes. It disregards the fact that environmental variables affect on human. They are of the opinion that everything is a person is innate. This leads to the assumption that criminals cannot be reformed. It throws the blame of human genes rather on human beings for any action or wrong doing that they commit. This theory is of the opinion that human behavior is biologically determined not by the cultural effects. This idea also negates the view pint of free will completely and places behavior under the control of genes or biological basics rather than one's behavior determined by culture.
As per biological determinists the environment or cultural has no importance in the determination of an individual's appearance, behavior and functionality. This leads to the fact that genes are the blue prints of 'phenotypes'.
Generally, people assume that biological determinism is relatively true than the scientific community yet they are resistant to accept that genes determine the character of a human being and that behavior is not culturally determined. It has been proved a number of times that real differences exist between the people of same race on standard IQ test.
An eminent psychologist Robert Wright while explaining the relationship of genes and human beings used a very simple approach and he used the metaphor of 'knobs' as genes and the tuning f those knobs as the cultural and environmental factors. He further reflected that the biological factors of human beings are knobs of human nature and these knobs can be tuned with the cultural effects. Human have the ability to feel guilt, also how strong is the feeling. (Team C004367 - Think Quest, 2000).
Module 4 - Advances in open systems modeling
Participative approach brings faster and effective development:
Chaos and Complexity theory is about exploring new techniques of managing the ever-changing social, economic and political environment. This management of accepting newer requirements requires individuals to be adaptive and more flexible. We need to think beyond the 'traditional paradigm of thinking'. This flexible approach requires more participation and cooperation and a more supportive role in social environment. We need to accept and acknowledge the existence of 'contradiction'. This acknowledgement of 'unpredictability' among various factors of society develops tolerance.
Tolerance brings the ability to deal with more complex issues and problems of chaotic nature. When individual push their personal boundaries, and explore beyond traditional thinking then they arrive at creative and innovative solutions. This theoretical approach also brings practical development in real world. It provides new ways of thinking which provides a bridging approach between the theoretical world and practical world.
Organizational systems are interdependent and co-dependent. There exists a relationship of dependency among various faction of society. The more the individuals participate and support each other with mutual trust; the development in the society is more effective. (University of Southern Queensland, 2012)
Participation is a simple approach. It is a process during which various groups of society participate and become involved practically to achieve a particular objective. The active involvement highlights empowerment through participation. When a variety of viewpoints are considered from different participants, then decision making becomes more understanding and carry broader acceptance. For problem resolution, implementing a decision that is based on broader coalition brings a natural support and commitment from others. If a transparent process of considering conflicting claims is adopted, then this develops a public trust and this trust enhances the effective implementation of the results deduced. It also helps in building an active society.
Adopting a participatory approach is extremely sensitive too. The process involved in conducting this approach is also very important. Using a participatory approach has its own positive and negative points. It is essential that while forming a public census of participation, the approach should be tailored with the specific context. The aim and objective of the process, the available resources and the constraints to implement the final outcome must be carefully considered as only through this the participatory approach can bring the desired results. Broad ownership of a decision making process carries more support from the stakeholders. (Richards, Blackstock, & Carter, 2003)
In accordance with Merry, Stacey (1996) argues that genuine participative approaches (e.g. based on mutual trust) allow for faster and more effective development within societies. The participative strategy holds out the promise of much faster rates of creativity and innovation if it generates enough trust and respect to contain the anxiety. However, it is the specializations strategy that has been most frequently used in the past, at least in the West. (Source: Stacey 1996, p. 159)
Module 5 - Neoclassical economic imperatives
How environmentally sustainable economic development can best be achieved?
In economic development, Sustainable Development is a process to achieve and fulfill human requirements while using available resources and maintain the availability of such resources for the upcoming generations too. This economic development can only be categorized as sustainable development if does not compromise the availability for future generations. The environmentally sustainable economic development also encompasses the responsibility to improve the life of future generations and to look after their needs along with a primary focus on the present generations. This includes the restoration of previous ecosystem and also resisting for any future ecosystem damage. The environmentally sustainable development carries the concern and capacity of a system that meet with the social challenges faced by human beings. In the past, sustainability was only attributed towards achieving and fulfilling the requirements rather than keeping a steady development while maintaining environmental concerns.
A sustainable growth is considered to be a growth that make possible a growth without causing economic problems and sustain without causing environmental problems. Excessive focus on environmental sustainability can cause damage to economic activity in a country and this may cause economical and social damage to individuals as well as to the whole social sector. At the same time, too much attention to economical development may cause environmental degradation to the social setup.
It is therefore required to have a sustainable balance between the environmental safety and economical growth. This balance of sustainable development in both sectors can only be achieved through meaningful integration of policies involving all the important sectors of development sectors like economy, environment and society. Many developed countries have adopted a variety of strategic initiatives to achieve the balance of growth. The more extreme weather changes, global warming and other related issues are important to consider while focusing on economic growth only. The increased industrial activities have neglected the environmental degradation. The stress should be mounted on balancing the growth of economic activities along with preserving natural resources and maintaining environment. (Attah, 2010)
Module 6 - Communication function and structure
Downward and Upward Communication Flow:
Downward communication is way to communicate in which a supervisor or senior member of the organization passes information to subordinates. The purpose of this information is to increase efficiency by informing and synchronizing the procedures of the organization to all through achieving the common organizational goals.
Upward communications is initiated from the lower levels of organizational hierarchy and the purpose of this communication is to show that everyone in the organization is capable of communicating thoughts and ideas contributing towards attaining the mutual organizational goals. The outcome of this communication is the increased level of motivations amongst employees and a feeling of being valued in the organization. (Sweta, Shikha, & Saumita, 2011)
In an organization, communication can be either formal or informal. The instructions from a superior to subordinates can be a form of formal communication while a discussion amongst employees or peers can be termed as informal communication. Over communication in an organization or lack of communication may result a problematic situation for an organization.
Downward direction messages can be orders from higher management to their subordinates while employees' feedback can be an upward direction communication. Traditional organizations focus more on the downward communication rather than upward communication flow. Organizations that work on the authoritative hierarchical notes often discourage upward communication. This type of environment results in a closed communication climate. Lower level employees also tend to filter information more while communicating upwards t keep them happy. This is again not a healthy sign for the organizations.
Downward communication is considered by many as most 'powerful form' of communication as through this management exerts and holds power while directing lower level employees to perform the assigned tasks in the way management wants them to follow thus maximizing the organizational goals achievement. This over assertive attitude by management through the use of downward communication may often result in lower employee morale. The result of this type of closed communication does not generally foster the environment of participation and cooperation. However, downward communication is essential to give instructions and directions, provide feedback on employees' performance and convey the desirable goals, policies and procedures.
Upward communication is meant for a communication channel that is initiated by the lower employees to their higher ups. This type of communication can provide the means to provide information regarding the productivity and work progress. It can be information related to some particular issue or a problem. Ideas and suggestions on a particular issue also falls under the category of upward communication.
There are number of ways through which upward communication can be improved in an organization to better achieve the organizational goals. Employees must be kept informed about developments in the organization and their impact on workers may result in a positive upward communication. (University of Southern Queensland, 2012)
Module 7 - Group decision-making and leadership
Working in Groups: 'Groups provide a means (or forum) whereby people are able to pool their knowledge and insight and hence the potential to produce outcomes beyond what an individual could achieve and reach higher quality decisions.'
Synergy refers to 'added energy, capability and creativity'. This added energy results in people performing the task more vigorously and working harder to achieve the common goals. It also refers to a group of people who may work together and complement each other to the best interest of the organization and each other. When people work in groups then there are a number of advantages that they are able to achieve:
Groups provide an opportunity to group members working together to interact with each other and benefit from their experiences. Groups combine individual forces into a collective force to follow more aggressively to achieve common goals. These goals may not be achievable by individuals while working alone. Groups also provide an opportunity to group members to utilize each others' resources, and benefit from their skills and knowledge. Groups are often formed to resolve issues and to meet challenges. Groups increase the probability of achieving results more effectively as groups while working together are able to put more pressure and provide extra force to individuals toward meeting goals. Decisions made by groups in an organization are rendered with more authentication and authority than the decisions made by individuals. (University of Southern Queensland, 2012)
When people work together in groups they interact and in this interaction, we depend on 'a degree of regularity' and a certain degree of 'predictability'. These regularities are the norms that people follow in an organization. Groups form norms which are generally unwritten, however, they develop cooperation and define boundaries for individuals between what is acceptable and what is not.
Groups help people to share and combine their knowledge and skills the resulting outcome is more than what an individual can perform or attain while working alone. (University of Southern Queensland, 2012)
Module 8 - Organizational culture
Is whistle-blowing really worth it? What are the risks? What moral responsibilities to have? Under what circumstances would you whistle blow?
A whistle-blower is the one who reveals something secret or who provides information about someone or against another person or organization. Whistle-blowing have quite opposite perceptions. For general public, a whistle-blower may be considered as hero and a courageous personality. While, those working in the same organization may consider that person as disloyal and someone causing damage t the company reputation.
Whistle-blowers expose the wrongdoing of an organization. This wrongdoing may include a disclosure of an organization's illegal or immoral practices through their employees. There is an act of Protected Disclosures Act 2000, which protects the employees who reveal the information of wrongdoing by an organization. This act provides protection to the employees who reveal information about an organization who is involved in unlawful, corrupt or irregular use of public funds or the act of wrongdoing by an organization may pose a serious threat public health or safety. This wrongdoing may also include posing a serious threat to maintenance of law and order. The other part of the act protects employees disclosing such information through believing that the information they are going to make public is true or likely to be true and that the information provided may be investigated.
There are a number of risks involved with the person blowing the whistle and exposing the wrongdoing of a company. The one blowing the whistle must consider when to act and must decide the right time before whistle-blowing. He must also consider the repercussions. How big that problem is going to affect that individual and also how far the legal issues can take him up to.
However, whatever are the repercussions of blowing a whistle, one thing is clear that people who blow whistle, they do for the sake of good for themselves and others. There is legislation that is designed to protect the whistle-blowers who do this for the good cause and for the greater benefit of others.(Knowsley, 2007)
Module 9 - Well-being and relating at work
Recent decades have seen a strong and renewed interest in the role of emotion in organizational life.
Emotions are an inseparable part of human personality and the same goes with one's organizational life. Emotional intelligence has become an increasingly popular subject among researchers as people are becoming more aware of the importance of emotions as a part of human social life. Emotion management is not only concerned with the individuals who work at the front and deal with customers more frequently rather it is equally important for all other employees who work in other occupations too at the backend in an organization. Individuals display a variety of roles and behaviors under the influence of their emotions.
Individuals working for an organization have various levels of expectations through the roles that they play in their organizational capacity. Emotions play an important role in terms of their goal achievement and their organizational as well as individual relationship management and maintenance. When people achieve results more than their expectations then positive emotions prevail and when the results are not as per expectations, the negative emotional arousal occurs and the severity of emotions is in proportion to the amount of discrepancy falling short.
Management in organizations have been putting special interest on subjects like emotional intelligence and the roles of emotions in an individual's organizational life as employees do not display their emotions or communicate their true emotions. They mask, or change the felt emotions. This gives rise to the need of understanding the right emotions and employees' emotional behavior in a given situation. The modern day awareness and socio-economical needs also influence individuals to mask their true emotions from communicating and to manage and handle such emotional mockery, managers need to understand the actual emotional stage of their subordinates. Good organizations teach their employees to display and communicate a specific set of emotions while performing their roles. A convenience store clerk is taught to display positive emotions while bill collecting individual is asked to show a sense of urgency.
Researchers also suggest that conscious efforts must be made to help employees understand and display required emotions in certain job roles. They also recommend that the organizational environment and socialization in organization play an important role in the emotional behavior of an individual in an organization. (KRAMER & HESS, 2001)
Leading business journals are also featuring emotional intelligence articles to help managers and organizations to understand the emotional behavior of employees, but there is something more than just understanding the emotional intelligence at workplace. The study of emotions in an organization is opening new horizons of effective organizational management and is helping managers to develop and maintain a positive emotional environment in their organizations.
(Ashkanasy & Daus, 2002)