Stephen P. Robbins defines an organization as a “consciously coordinated social unit composed of two or more people, that functions on a relatively continuous basis to achieve a common goal or set of goals”. Why have organizations in the first place?
We organize together for common social, personal, political, or professional purposes. We organize together to achieve what we cannot accomplish individually. When we study organizational communication, our focus is primarily on corporations, manufacturing, the service industry, and for-profit businesses. However, organizations also include not-for-profit companies, schools, government agencies, small businesses, and social or charitable agencies such as churches or a local humane society.
Organizations are complicated, dynamic organisms that take on a personality and culture of their own, with unique rules, hierarchies, structures, and divisions of labor. Organizations can be thought of as systems of people who are in constant motion. Organizations are social systems that rely on communication to exist. Simon puts it quite simply: “Without communication, there can be no organization.
If you have ever worked a part time job during the school year, worked a full time summer job, volunteered for a non-profit, or belonged to a social organization, you have experienced organizational communication. It’s likely that you’ve been a job seeker, an interviewee, a new employee, a co-worker, or maybe a manager?
In each of these situations you make various choices regarding how you choose to communicate with others in an organizational context. We participate in organizations in almost every aspect of our lives. In fact, you will spend the bulk of your waking life in the context of organizations. Think about it, that means you’ll spend more time with your co-workers than your family!
At the center of every organization is what we’ve been studying throughout this course – Communication. Organizational communication is a broad and ever-growing specialization in the field of Communication. In this course, you will explore the application of interpersonal communication in the organizational (work) setting.
This course will apply principles studied in the previous units to workplace communication transactions. While scholars refer to this as organizational communication, it is also commonly known as corporate communication.
Completing this course should take you approximately 10 hours. Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- Identify the characteristics of organizations;
- Identify competencies in interpersonal communication that occurs in organizations;
- Describe the interpersonal relationships between coworkers and their supervisors;
- Explain the differences between informal and formal messages;
- Define the concept of information overload; and
- List ethical concerns regarding organizational communication.