E-media & Internal Organizational Communications

17 Mar

In a meeting last week the following question surfaced:  How has the development of information technology/e-media changed the nature of communication in organizations? What problems have been introduced?  If you are interested in examining this issue please help start a conversation with a comment.

Pump Primers:

Email

Web-sites

Blogs

Smart phones

Listserves

e-newsletters

LinkedIn

etc.

For insights on the massive accumulation of data go the cover story in the February 27th Economist:  The data deluge.

Thank you for your insights – jl

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6 Responses to “E-media & Internal Organizational Communications”

  1. Art Peters March 17, 2010 at 8:08 am #

    Akin to this topic is an interesting offshoot, that being, how does age relate to communication preferances. For instance, effective communication with 30 – 50 year-old staff would likely entail written memos and e-mails, for 20 – 40 year-old segment, e-mail and IM (instant message) work well, for the 15 – 30 segment text messages (SMS) needs to be in the mix if you want to get their attention. Of course, the old stand by of getting up and walking over to them remains good for any situation.

    What leaders need to be mindful of is their target audience and to realize that effective communication is THEIR responsibility.

    Great topic John.

  2. Sue March 17, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    Pluses: Fewer phone calls about things like meeting arrangements, sending and receiving documents, etc.
    Minuses: Many more distractions, greater sense of urgency to respond quickly, etc.

  3. Tom Smith March 18, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    Oh, there are so many directions to go with this topic. A recurring observation is major-investment software used to collect the information that is a poor match to the organization. The organization begins to serve the software as a means for information . . . to decision-making . . . to profit. This invariably throws the organization off its core business, and communication becomes about the software / data collection and not the customer, not sales, not production, not front-line staff, etcetera. Convenient, easy-to-use, good-match-to-the-organization software should increase communication on the right topics rather than diminish it.

  4. Rick March 19, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

    There is no doubt that e-mail fills a niche in our communications needs. Why else would we use it so heavily? However, it has introduced a number of negative components to the workplace; not the least of which is the insidiously overwhelming way in which e-mails arrive faster than responses depart. For some of us, thoughts do not flow from the fingers as well as they flow from the tongue; at least not as efficiently. While I don’t consider myself slow on the keyboard, there is no denying that composing a sentence of text takes longer than simply saying what it is you have to say. Now factor in the added complexities of public sector communications. E-mail exchanges are all public record and also have a way of being forwarded to many other people and/or posted to web sites. One quickly learns that every sentence needs to be accurate and carefully crafted. No wonder it takes forever. Just pick up the phone.

    • Pat March 21, 2010 at 11:03 am #

      I heartily concur with Rick’s point about the tangled web of e-mails and rapid responses. In my undergrad communications course I learned the four requirements for effective communication to take place:
      1. a message must be sent;
      2. the message must be recieved;
      3. the message has to be understood;
      4. feedback provided to the sender.

      The nuances and sheer speed of electronic “communication” today leads me to believe there is a great deal of correspondence and debate taking place in our work places. But I wonder how much dialogue and meaningful communication?

  5. Dee March 23, 2010 at 8:09 am #

    While there are many positives to e-mail, not the least of which is the ability to respond when it’s convenient, there have probably been equally as many drawbacks. I spend far too much time responding to issues that would have been better handled via a phone call and find myself copied on too many messages. A newsletter in my organization just pushlished a couple pages of tips on handling e-mail effectively (basically saying to be careful what you include in e-mail and don’t send/copy/forward indiscriminately).
    I work for a very large organization and there are now several small units which primarily focus on making sense of the flood of information pouring in daily, now that tremendously large databases are a reality.
    On balance, however, I don’t think I could go back to the pre-technology “simple life” very easily.

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