Management 4th Edition - Building Competitive Advantage
Bios about the authors - Bateman and Snell

Textbook Contents in Brief

"Foundations of Management" - Part One of the textbook. This part contains Chapters 1 - 3.

"Planning and Strategy" - Part Two of the textbook. This part contains Chapters 4 - 7.
"Organizing and Staffing" - Part Three of the textbook. This part contains Chapters 8 - 11.
"Leading" - Part Four of the textbook. This part contains Chapters 12 - 15.
"Control and Change" - Part Five of the textbook. This part contains Chapters 16 - 18.
Play the "Ultimate Challenges" game. This is a web based game for the textbook and contains study tips and multiple choice questions.
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Leadership Motivating for Performance Managing Teams Communicating

Key Learning Points

  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Improving Communication Skills
  • Organizational Communication

Chapter 15 discusses the variety of ways in which you can make your communications in the workplace more effective. This chapter goes through the advantages and disadvantages of the various types of communications.

One-way communication is when information flows in one direction from the sender to the receiver with no feedback loop. Two-way communication is when information flows in two directions. Two-way is more difficult and slower than one-way, but is more accurate, resulting in less mistakes and problems.

Communication is the transmission of information and meaning from one person to another. There are four stages in which problems in communication can arise. Encoding is the way the sender intends for the meaning of the message to be. Transmission is the way in which the message is delivered. Decoding is how the receiver reads the message. Interpret is the way the receiver understands the message. The process of communication is usually interrupted by noise, causing the message to be delivered inappropriately.

Communications are sent through oral, written, and nonverbal channels. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, which should be considered before choosing a channel. The advantages to oral communication is that the message is said directly to the receiver, allowing them to respond immediately. The disadvantage, however, is that once something is said, it cannot be taken back. Written communication is effective in that messages can be re-written several times before sending it out. It also insures that everyone who receives it will all read the same message. Disadvantages are that the receiver may not understand all or parts of the message but is not able to provide immediate feedback to the sender. Sometimes, using both communication channels can be even better.

Another type of communication channel is electronic media, such as e-mail, fax machines, teleconferencing, audio conferencing, and videoconferencing. The advantages to using electronic media are that you can share more information to a larger number of people from all over the world. It is also faster and more efficient. The downside to electronic media is that there is a chance of information overload.

In choosing which communication channel to use, you must take into consideration the advantages and disadvantages of each channel and decide which one is more efficient and effective.

In addition to the various communication channels, you can also increase the effectiveness of your intended message by improving your own sender skills. Senders should work on their presentational skills, writing skills, language use, and sending nonverbal messages. Receivers can also improve their understanding by working on skills such as listening, reading, and observing.

Downward communication refers to information being passed down from higher to lower levels, such as managers telling their employees what to do. Some problems with this are that the receiver could be overwhelmed by information that not all of it will be understood, or that information is left out when passed through many people. (For example, the well-known game of 'Telephone'.) To avoid these problems, managers can help by coaching their employees, or sharing with them important information intended for managers only.


Upward communication is when information is passed from lower to higher levels. Problems with this type are similar to those of downward communication except that managers are now the ones who are overwhelmed with information. This may result in managers ignoring or missing information, which could lead to further problems in the workplace. These problems could be improved by managers having an open-door policy, allowing employees to feel more comfortable talking to them, or to do surveys on various topics for employees to give their input.

Horizontal communication is when information is shared among people on the same level in the workplace. This form of communication allows us to share information, coordination, and problem solving among each other and helps solve conflicts. It also allows for employees to get along better with their co-workers, resulting in better performance in the workplace.

Lastly, there is the boundary less organization in which there are no barriers to information flow. This allows for anybody to receive information as needed. So that the organization will function better.

By now, you should know the following main points:

The important advantages of two-way communication.

  • Communications problems to avoid.
  • When and how to use the various communications channels.
  • Ways to become a better "sender" and "receiver" of information.
  • How to improve downward, upward, and horizontal communications.
  • The advantages and characteristics of the boundary less organization.

Concluding Case - Would you open your books?

Imagine you own and manage a small firm.  You pick the industry; you pick the location.

You read about the latest management innovation: open-book management.  You read a success story about Jack Stack, who bought Springfield Re-Manufacturing from International Harvester in 1983.  The company had a first-year loss of about $60,000, over 100 employees who needed to be paid, and a debt-to-equity ratio of 89:1.  Jack Stack opened the books, trained his people, and persuaded them to view the business as a game they could learn to play and win. 

            You also learn a number of companies that realize great results through opening the books and understand the reasons why from taking management courses.  But there are the downsides.  Lets say your company has been around for a while, and the operating norms are pretty well established.  How would people respond to the idea of opening the books?  Importantly, you need to train them.  Managers and accountants may not like the idea, fear they would lose power and status, or not trusting the workers with information.  There are other issues as well.  Changes in accounting and financial systems and statements will be required, performance measures will have to be established, and a system of rewards linked to performance must be established.

As HBR article stated, “The power of open-book management lies not in the short term but in the long term, in its ability to change how people think and act, day in and day out…The people who worked for open-book companies give their employers a powerful competitive edge…”

Springfield Remanufacturing -

Chapter 12 || Chapter 13 || Chapter 14 || Chapter 15