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Sample: Organizational Communication Analysis Paper

Ground rules


(cover page)

Organizational Communication Analysis Paper






May 1996


Productivity is one of an organizations primary concerns because

the most productive company is likely to have the highest profits

or returns. Therefore, companies are constantly searching out

new innovations to increase their productivity. Electronic

messaging systems (email) is an example of such an innovation.

The purpose of this paper is to analyze my organizational

experience by applying it to the knowledge I have gained from

my literature review paper. There were several major findings in

the literature that I reviewed. First, with e-mai in particular how to use it in

order for them to think of it as an effective mode of communication

Second, emotional preparation is also a factor in one's acceptance of email

becausesomeone who approaches it with anxiety may be easily discouraged;

thus, prohibitingeffective learning. In other words, "the participant with a

positive learning experience will have a greater mastery and thus finds email

more efficient than will a person with a negative learning experience" (Hunter

& Allen, 1992, p. 259). Third, when members of an organization are taught to

use email, they should be instructed by people that are informal leaders in the

group and are positively disposed toward it. Finally, "one key determinant of

frequency of usage is likely to be the extent to which email is required, as part

of the work structure" (Hunter & Allen, 1992, p. 260).


In my organizational experience there was one recurring issue or

situation that I plan to analyze. Throughout the experience many members of

the organization complained hat they felt uniformed and that there was a lack of

communication between the various departments. Since email is an innovation

that, if utilized fully, enhances communication in organizations, many of the

findings from the review of literature on its use can be applied to the

organizational issue.

Before I begin to analyze the issue according to the review of literature,

it is necessary to describe the status quo in the organization. First, there is only

one person out of 22 people in the organization that does not have access to an

email account. Second, five of the people with accounts reported that they read

their email everyday and eight people with accounts reported that they read

their email twice per week. Finally, nine people in the organization reported

that they believed a better utilization of email would have improved the

communication process.

Several conclusions can be drawn from comparing the status quo in the

organization to the major findings of the literature review. For example, in the

organization email usage was relatively low. One possible explanation for this is

that members of the organization were never taught how to use the system.

Therefore they were less likely to think of it as an effective channel for

communication. According to the findings from the literature review the

organization would have been more likely to utilize email more if each member

was shown how to use it. Also, research suggests that the person who would

have been the most effective teacher would be postively disposed toward the

system and be an important informal leader in the group. In this case, if

Dr.Foeman would have taken class time to not only teach the organization how

to use email, but also to discuss the benefits of using email to

communicate, we would have been more likely to utilize it as part of our

communication process.


Another conclusion that can be drawn by comparing the status quo with

the literaturereview is that, since email usage was low, the class as a whole may

not have been "emotionally prepared" to use it. In other words, if they were

never taught how to findings in the literature review, learning seems to be the

key to overcoming this barrier. As people learn how to use email, they gain

proficiency and therefore, view it as more efficient.

In the case of our organization, if more people thought of email as very

efficient, they would have used it more; thus communicating more. One element

of email that is important to note when discussing its impact on our organization

and its problem of lack of communication is the availability of distribution lists.

Many of the communication problems in the organization could have been

solved very simply by sending a weekly update to each person in the group via

email. Distribution lists are extremely useful in this instance because only one

message needs to be typed and it can instantly be sent to numerous people.

Also, unlike the telephone of face-to-face information dissemination, email does

not require that the receiver be present at the time the message is being sent.

If each member of the class had been instructed on these concepts prior to the

beginning the process, the major findings in the literature review suggest that

email usage would have been higher.


A final conclusion can be made from comparing the organization to the

findings from the literature review. According to the literature, when email is

required as part of the work structure usage is higher. Therefore, if members of

our organization were required to use email they would have used it more. This

suggests that one way to make people comfortable using email is to "force"

them to gain experience using it. Again Dr. Foeman could have aided in this

process by distributing important class information to us over e-mail.

The findings of the literature review largely reinforce what I found in my

organizational experience. For example, in the literature the key element that

influenced email usage was learning how to use and thus level comfort with it.

This is consistent with the organization because the people that used email

every day were comfortable using it and, therefore perceived it as useful for

the group. In fact, one group member that used email everyday tried to get the

rest us to use it by sending her department reports over email. Also, consistent

with the literature, email was not a required element of the organizational

process, therefore many people did not respond to her efforts.

This paper illustrates that email has the potential to be an extremely

useful organizational communication tool, but is rendered useless all members

of the group are willing to use it. In order to make them willing to use it,



emotional dissonance must be reduced by teaching them how to use it and

illustrating its any benefits. It is important to note that the learning

process is very cyclical. In other words, as one learns how to use email his/her

level of comfort increases and he/she tends to use it more; however, on the

other hand, as one uses email more, his/her level of comfort increases and

he/she learns to how to use it more efficiently. It seems to be a "which came

first, the chicken or the egg" issue that lacks a clear causal connection.