Last Updated 13 Feb 2021

How to Convert a Traditional Organization to a Learning Organization

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Communication is the sharing of information for a variety of purposes including informing, persuading, motivating orinfluencing. There are two general ways of delivering the information: formal and informal communication channels. Formal Communication in the Workplace Formal communication is organized and managed information that is shared with relevant individuals in order to secure coordinated action throughout the organization. Formal communication channels are based on an individual’s role in the organization and distributed in an organized way according to the established chain in organizational charts.

Typically, formal communication flows "downward” from executives to directors to managers to staff regarding company direction and instruction and “upward” from staff to managers to directors to executives in the form of data and reports. The communication flowing through these channels iss  pecific to the jobs and departments. Such formal communication is well established and planned. For example, reports and data from staff are organized are generally submitted prescribed templates and according to a set schedule.

Communication focused on a company’s strategy and direction, which originates from company executives, is funnelled through the organizational chart and changed in such a way to be relevant to each department and manager. What starts out as “high-level” communication on corporate strategy needs to be thought out through planning sessions so that the communication provides direction and is actionable for the individuals who implement the tasks of the strategy.

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The better the communication the better employees and staff will understand what is expected and required of them. advertisement Communicate Better, Lead Better Successful people are good communicators. Enhance your communciations skills with the guide to Being an Effective Communicator. Informal Communication in the Workplace On the other hand, informal communication in the workplace satisfies a variety of needs, particularly social and emotional, and are not based on the positions individuals occupy within the organizations.

As a result, the communication is not managed or planned in any organized fashion. It’s more relaxed, casual and tends to be spread by word-of-mouth quickly throughout a department or organization because it’s not restricted to approvals and an established path of distribution. Probably the most common term used for the informal communication in the workplace is “grapevine” and this communication that is sent through the organizational grapevine is often considered gossip or rumour.

While grapevine communication can spread information quickly and can easily cross established organizational boundaries, the information it carries can be changed through the deletion or exaggeration crucial details thus causing the information inaccurate – even if it’s based on truth. The use of the organizational grapevine as an informal communication channel often results when employees feel threatened, vulnerable, or when the organization is experiencing change and when communication from management is restricted and not forthcoming.

If concerns are submitted from staff and no response is given by management, rumours through grapevine communication will begin to fill in the communication gap which was created by management. Formal / informal communication channels exist in every organization. Formal communication requires thought and planning prior to distribution; informal communication, however, usually succeeds on its own mostly because of the very effective grapevine. While there are several advantages of grapevine communication, managing the grapevine also requires thought and planning.

Informal communication arises out of all those channels that fall outside the formal channels and it is also known as grapevine. It is established around the societal affiliation of members of the organization. Informal communication does not follow authority lines as in the case of formal communication. Informal communication takes place due to the individual needs of the members of an organization and subsists in every organization. Normally, such communication is oral and may be expressed even by simple glance, sign or silence.

Informal communication, is implicit, spontaneous multidimensional and diverse. It oftenly works in group of people, i. e. when one person has some information of interest; he passes it on to his informal group and so on. An organization can make efficient use of informal channels to fortify the formal channels of communication. It acts as a valuable purpose in expressing certain information that cannot be channeled via the official channels. It satisfies the people desires to identify what is happening in the organization and offers an opportunity to express dreads, worries and complaints.

Informal communication also facilitates to ameliorate managerial decisions as more people are involved in the process of decision-making. Inspite on many advantages, informal communication has certain disadvantages. Informal communication contains facts, deceptions, rumors and unclear data. The informal channels of communication may transmit completely imprecise information that may harm rather than help an organization. In addition, it is impossible to fix the responsibility for its origin or flow of information. However, for the efficient working of any organization both formal and informal communications are required. Formal Communication Formal communication can be considered as communication efforts that are “dressed up” to fit customary rules and ceremony For example, in a written letter, the formal communication style will demand that the layout of the piece of written communication follow a specific format that includes the date, header, salutation, body of the letter, close, signature lines and any indicators of enclosures all placed neatly upon company letterhead or personal stationery.

By contrast, an informal piece of written communication can be as simple as a jotted note to a friend on a torn slip of paper Formal communications are mostly written, although they may now also include formal presentations that are on computer disk, video tape or DVDs, MP3 presentations and other similar electronic reproductions of written communications. Other forms of formal communications include newsletters, legal advisories, invitations, awards, and letters of congratulations.

Non-written formal communication devices are in-person communications in the forms of departmental meetings, telephone calls, conferences and special interviews. Some publications that are devoted to a special purpose, such as a company’s annual report, are formal communications. There is a non-verbal component to formal communication as well. The style and manners of the presenter dictate the formalness of a meeting, and this can be immediately seen at the time of introduction of a speaker.

Some elements of non-verbal formal communication include maintaining a certain distance from others, standing above the crowd, speaking in formal tones and using formal means of address to others, such as “Mister” or “Doctor” when calling upon others. Colloquialisms, which are freely used in informal communication, are not present in formal communications. Proper English or another language is spoken. Formal communications will follow a chain of command in the flow of the communication, either upwards to or down from managers.

The use of formal communication is more prevalent in highly technical areas where a message must be exact and specific, leaving no room for misinterpretation. The written communication is carefully thought out, and planned for a certain effect or result. It often is written in a third person non-personal voice of “he, she, it, and they” rather than “I” or “you” voices. Grammar, spelling and layout are important for written communications, and for spoken communications there is an emphasis placed on the quality of the speech voice and pronunciation.

Some formal communications are congratulatory, others can be advisory or informational. Legal papers follow a tightly formatted layout that is customary within the professional and widely used by others. Likewise, scientific research papers have a customary format to follow. Any written communication that is expected to adhere to particular rules can be considered to be formal communication, and the actual tone of the piece may range from friendly to threatening. It can be more demanding and imply expectations to the receiver that should create desired results. The messages which are circulating on regulated, preset channels, of an organization are creating the formal communication. The content of the communication is related to the organization’s activity, to the work and to anything which is related to those. The formal communication can consist in verbal messages, nonverbal messages, written, under the shape of letters, telephone messages, radio messages, printed, internal notes. Even some gestures can consist in formal communication.

The messages are transmitted by the authorized ones: on official channels, these arrive to the ones who need to react, to people or machines which need to know the content of these messages. Usually, all formal communications are recorded and kept in the organization’s evidence. Are retained copies of these by the transmitter, by the receiver, by all of the desks from the organization which need to know and keep the information. Examples of formal communications are given by work commands, reports and financial evidence, reports over sells / inventory, statements referring to the company’s policies, post descriptions, etc.

The formal communication can sometimes take place on the horizontal, along the parallel directions of authority. The formal communication network from an organization along with the keeping spaces of these communications, are serving to more purposes. It defines the channel on which will be sent important messages. It will be created a transmitting plan of this information, both for the transmitter and for the receivers. It will be indicated the direction towards the persons who will react and to the persons who need to be informed about these actions, their steps and esult. It offers an information storage space which will be necessary on planning the operations and control. It is created an ordered system for the superiors and subordinates, in order to keep each other informed constantly. The formal communication network is formed out of formal channels, created by setting a formal system of responsibilities according to the hierarchical structure of the organization. The perfect network is the one which contains communication channel from bottom up, downwards and horizontally.

Often the direction of horizontal communication is missing or it is inefficient and in this way the accuracy of the information decreases. The situation is appearing because of the lack of permanent circulation of the information between departments, although this is vital for the organization in conditions of existent competition, or the lack of specialists in organizational communication. The downwards communications, from top to bottom, is performed by the manager to the subordinates. There are transmitted provisions and instructions, are identified the employees responsibilities.

In an efficient organization, this type of communication has its purpose in motivating the employees, their continuous information about policy, goals and organization strategy. The periodicity is important because it ensures the constant communication. Sometimes this type of communication is gaining a preferred tempt, moving only towards the employees, considered as having priority responsibilities. It can have place even when only the manager is transmitting orders and instructions to the employees, without being too preoccupied about their information.

If the organization is in changing, the downwards communication must be used to change opinions, attitudes, to waste restrictions and fear towards misinformation in order to support the employees to comply with these changes. This type of communication requires a feedback. That is why it is completed with bottom up communication, from the employees to the manager. These, as they understand the downwards communication, can communicate their answers. The manager must pay attention to the information he receives, thanks to the employees tendency to say only good stuff to the boss: it may appear the deliberate misinformation. Informal Communication - How It Differs From Formal Communication oth informal communication and formal communication take place in any organization whether it be business or our personal family lives. But we need to recognize the difference. Informal communication is casual and spontaneous, whereas formal communication is more thought-out and prepared from learned experiences or organized training that present rules and conventions authoritated by business and formal etiquette.

Informal communication comes from communication activities outside of those formally learned at home through discipline, or at school through education, or in business through our own personal experiences and formal training. It falls under the social communication of grapevines and rumors, casual conversations and inter-relational activities outside of the formal or public arenas. We do not behave the same way at work as we do at home or at play. I always say that people are at their best at work. We really don't know someone until we've stayed with them outside of work for a few days-or a few hours even, with some people.

Informal communication may not be as reliant as formal communication where more accountability is expected. In an organizational setting, such as business, or association and the like, communication is connected with official status-quo or protocols of the formal channels of structure and culture which the line of manager/subordinate reporting system is expectedly accepted. In order to understand informal communication, we need to understand formal communication and then realize that informal communication is what takes place without the formal addition of convention and ceremonies.

In business the different forms of formal communication include departmental functionality, activities taking place within meeting and conference settings, verbal and written communication through telephone, memos and bulletins, etc. It is safe to also recognize that informal communication may be vulnerable to being deceptive and imprecise in its casualness - conscious or unconscious. In a formal setting, people take the time to recognize the consequences of transmitting any wrong or incomplete information. But in an informal setting, the quality of communication may be affected by the more relaxed or careless attitude or behaviour.

However, both formal and informal communication is found in an organization, depending on the level of business experience and training one possesses in his or her personal life. An organization can make efficient use of informal communication by confirming and affirming that which is being communicated by the untrained or less trained individual Informal communication, like formal communication can be expressed verbally or non-verbally by words, tone of voice, signs such as glances and gestures and even silence.

For the purpose of effective communication, one needs to identify and affirm anything that may be communicated, if unsure of the true meaning behind the communicator. Formal communication is when people use the rules of language in a conversation or in writingformat. In a conversation, it would be more likely for you to use formal communication when in aninterview or writing a letter to a business or maybe work. Informal communication is when people do not use the rules of language and may use slang in conversation.

It would be more likely for you to use informal communication when you see a friend on the streets and you have a chat. It would also be informal like chatting on MSN or Facebook. The main difference between formal and informal communication, aside from the language that is used, is the setting in which we use them. Formal communication would be used in a formal setting where communication efforts are ‘dressed’ up in order to impress. For example, in aninterview to get into University, you would not use slang or colloquialisms. Informal communicationis of course the opposite of formal.

When using informal language, the rules of language that are applied to formal communication are not applied so people use many more colloquialisms and often slang words. This form of communication is most commonly used face to face between a friend of relative although due to advancements in communication technology, informal language is now used in texting, talking on the phone, on social networking sites or an instant message conversation. Other examples of formal communication can also be non-verbal for example in a letter.

In this circumstance and in others, it is important to address people in the correct way for example, Sir, Madam or Doctor. When beginning a letter to a person you do not know, you must start with ‘To Whom it may concern’. When in a formal situation such as at work or in an interview, some people tend to adopt a more formal tone of voice. For formal communication in written form, impeccable grammar and spelling is a must. For spoke communication, a great deal of emphasis is placed on the quality of the speaking voice and correct pronunciation.

We use informal communication throughout most of our days. You may greet your friends or relatives with a hug or kiss rather than a formal handshake. You will become much more relaxed around these people and not feel the need to make an effort with your voice. You will be less careful with your language choices and more inclined to use colloquialisms and perhaps even slang, if you are around your friends. You will often use informal communication when you know people well such as freind and family. Some friends or family memebers may use terms that only their own group would understand.

Local groups might have their own ways of speaking, for example some people in sothern england might say things like ' hi you mate, how's it going?. ' if you belong in this group, you will appreciate this as a warm friendly greeting. Formal communication is for example, at a hospital reception you might expect the receptionist to say somethin like:'good morning. How can I help you? ' this formal communication might be understood by wide range of peole. Formal communication also shows respect for others. nformal communication would be like what we are doing here, online chatting or just having a conversation with a friend.

Thus, it is a purposeful effort to influence the flow of communication so as to guarantee that information flows effortlessly, precisely and timely. It emphasizes the essence of formal channel of communication. The different forms of formal communication include; departmental meetings, conferences, telephone calls, company news bulletins, special interviews and special purpose publications. The main advantage of formal communication is that the official channels facilitate the habitual and identical information to communicate without claiming much of managerial attention.

Essentially, executives and mangers may devote most of their precious time on matters of utmost significance. But at the same time, the weakness of formal communication should not go unaccounted. Communication through channel of command greatly obstructs free and uninterrupted flow of communication. It is, generally, time consuming, cumbersome and leads to a good deal of distortion. Managing can be a little difficult at first. A recent poll found that more than 50% of managers received NO training before starting the job.

Here is a list of the most common mistakes new managers make so you can avoid making them too. (If you think I missed one, use the "Readers Respond" link at the bottom to add a new one. ) Think you know everything. If you were just promoted to Production Manager, you may feel you know everything about production. Even if that were true, and it isn't, you sure don't know everything about the most important part of your new job, managing people. Listen to the people around you. Ask for their input when appropriate. Keep an open mind.

Show everyone who's in charge. Trust me, everyone in your group knows who the new manager is. You don't have to make a big show about being "the boss". You do, however, have to demonstrate that, as the boss, you are making a positive difference. Change everything. Don't re-invent the wheel. Just because the way something is done isn't the way you would do it, it isn't necessarily wrong. Learn the difference between "different" and "wrong". Be afraid to do anything. Maybe you didn't ask for the promotion. Maybe you are not sure you can do the job.

Don't let that keep you from doing the job the best you can. Upper management wouldn't have put you into the job if they didn't have confidence that you could handle it. Don't take time to get to know your people. Maybe you worked alongside these people for years. That doesn't mean you know them. Learn what makes them excited, how to motivate them, what they fear or worry about. Get to know them as individuals, because that's the only way you can effectively manage them. Your people are what will make or break you in your quest to be a good manager.

Give them your attention and time. Don't waste time with your boss. Since he/she just promoted you, surely he/she understands how busy you are and won't need any of your time, right? Wrong. Your job, just like it was before you became a manager, is to help your boss. Make sure to budget time to meet with him/her to both give information and to receive guidance and training. Don't worry about problems or problem employees. You can no longer avoid problems or hope they will work themselves out. When something comes up, it is your job to figure out the best solution and get it done.

That doesn't mean you can't ask for other's input or assistance, but it does mean you are the person who has to see it gets taken care of. Don't let yourself be human. Just because you are the boss doesn't mean you can't be human, that you can't laugh, or show emotion, or make an occassional mistake. Don't protect your people. The people in your group will be under pressure from every direction. Other departments may want to blame you for failed interfaces. Your boss may want to dump all the unpleasant jobs on your department. HR may decide the job classifications in your area are overpaid.

It's your job to stand up for your people and make sure they are treated as fairly as possible. They will return the loyalty. Avoid responsibility for anything. Like it or not, as the manager you are responsible for everything that happens in your group, whether you did it, or knew about it, or not. Anything anyone in your group does, or doesn't do, reflects on you. You have to build the communications so there are no surprises, but also be prepared to shoulder the responsibility. It goes hand-in-hand with the authority. Implications of Organizational Change A static environment can quickly antiquate an organization. Therefore, change is a constant and necessary requirement for organizations to stay competitive and survive in this volatile global economy. Organizational change can help streamline business processes and eliminate redundant systems or groups. However, it can also have negative consequences. To minimize the negative impacts, strategic change in an organization should always seek to achieve advancement in both business and employee performance.

The overall change process should reflect a "win-win" situation for both the organisation and its employees. To implement sustainable organizational change, companies employ a three-prong phased approach. The most important and difficult phase of the process is unfreezing, which involves identifying and unlearning wrong past behavior that are sometimes ingrained in an organization's culture. The most significant indicator of success at this phase is employee acceptance. If an organization manages employee resistance promptly and effectively at this stage, it will ensure the success of the next two phases.

The second phase, changing, involves replacing past behavior with new behavior through significant redevelopment and training. Refreezing, the final phase of the process, reinforces and sustains the new behavior through continued visibility and measurement of success. One reinforcement technique is the employment of a praise and reward system. Praise and reward systems elicit high performance and motivate employees to embrace change. A changing organization should not ignore the human element. It is important to change business activities within a company.

If employees are not involved or are not willing to accept change, the process is likely to fail. Employees resist change because they are afraid that to lose a job or have to take on additional responsibilities that an employee is either unqualified or unequipped to handle. Using encouraging and inspiring techniques to implement change demonstrates to an employee that she is not being forced to accept change, but is an integral part of the process. An employee feels like a significant contributor in the work place environment when he is part of a successful revolution. After a major reorganization, businesses typically undergo some employee turnover. An employee may feel that the environment is too unstable and might seek employment elsewhere where she feels more secure. High employee turnover can severely affect an organization's productivity due to loss of skilled workers and the need to recruit and train new people. Sometimes the loss of resources can also result in loss of business revenue as an employee may take key accounts with him.

To abate employee resistance and turnover, an organization should initiate a deliberated change management process that explains the significance and implications of the change and guides employees afterward. Organizational changes that lead to ambiguity and job uncertainty create a declining work environment, which can negatively affect the economic health of an organization. The most detrimental impact is mortality, which is a clear sign that a business transformation has gone horribly wrong.

An organization can die when change occurs too quickly or erratically. In a deteriorating environment, employees become self-preserving, less productive, unmotivated and fearful. Avoiding ineffective changes and implementing positive ones will promote a productive corporate culture and prevent organizational death What could it have done differently to facilitate the changes? Determine of what needs to occur to move from the current to the future scenario.

Strategy is the term given to the overarching goals and objectives of a business. Strategy decisions affect what line of business a company is in, who it serves and how it serves them, as well as how the company operates internally. It an be difficult to predict exactly what will happen when an organization changes its strategy, but companies experience a number of common positive and negative effects when going through a strategic transition. Sponsored Link Leadership Development Program in SG in Feb. For Mid-level Managers from US$7660. Find out now www. ccl. rg/APAC Significance Organizational strategy guides all managerial decisions from the front line to the board room. Strategic plans act as a roadmap that helps businesses to achieve the grand vision of their owners and top-level executives in practical ways. Changing an organization's strategy can change the way the organization operates, altering everything from organizational structure to the daily routines of employees. Process The process of changing a corporate strategy can be broken down into four distinct steps: planning, implementation, monitoring and review.

In the planning stage, managers form their strategic vision into concrete, time-bound goals and objectives. Research and testing are vital in the planning stage, as managers attempt to gain as much information as possible about the viability of the change. The implementation phase sees the change put into action according to the plan. Monitoring is a less of a phase and more of a continual activity that helps managers to gain insight into how well their plans are working and pinpoint potential problems. In the review tage, managers analyze information gained from monitoring activities and decide whether the strategy needs to be altered yet again. Positive Effects Changing strategy can have a number of positive effects. New strategic directions can help a company to adapt to changes in the legal environment or the marketplace. New strategies can help a company to perform more effectively or cost-efficiently, or can help them to enter a new, more profitable industry or market segment. Changes in strategy can also help a stagnant company to reclaim its former growth rates.

Not all of the effects of change are positive. Internal employee resistance can be a major barrier to effective change implementation, as certain people strongly resist any kind of change to the status quo or daily routine. There is also always the possibility of failure in new initiatives, leaving a company in a worse position than it was before the change. Considerations Regular changes in strategic direction are healthy and natural for a successful company. Markets, technology, legal issues and operational trends do not stay stagnant, and neither should a dynamic, adaptable company.

Involve a wide range of people in your monitoring and planning activities on a regular basis to fully leverage the creativity of your workforce. Organization Change Strategy Organizational change is when an organization moves from one structural state to another. This process can happen in any number of forms and can involve corporate structure, strategy, processes, technology used, or culture, among others. Change can be small and incremental, or it can radically change the way an organization works, from the ground up.

Organizations change due to internal or external factors. Examples of external environmental factors include workplace demographics, or what employees look for in benefits or bonuses; what technology is available to do the job more efficiently; and what the customer base is interested in buying and for how much. Internal environmental factors might include organizational growth, for example, becoming too large for former organizational structures, or poor performance. Individuals will each react to change in their own way, from active resistance to active support.

Active resistance is the most disruptive to change, although by listening to the points of people who oppose the change, you can learn valid problems with your change strategy and your end goal. Some of a company's most committed employees might be the most vocal opponents of a change effort. Some of the primary reasons for active resistance include disrupted habits, having a personality that is change-resistant, being uncertain about the person's place in the company after the change takes place, having too much change recently, or being deprived of power. Unfreezing The first step for effective organizational change is known as unfreezing. Make clear the vision for change, communicate it to your employees and create a sense of urgency that the change is actually needed. From here, you can garner support and build a sense of community behind the change and get employees to feel like they had input in the change as well. Executing change is the actual process of the change itself. As the change happens, continue providing support for your employees who are experiencing the change, and point out small successes as they happen to keep spirits up about the change.

As obstacles arise, eliminate them to prevent them from building up and increasing resistance to the change that is already in progress. Once the change has occurred, refreeze organizational culture. You should show to your employees how you've succeeded by executing the change, as well as showing where more change might be beneficial.

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