Shawn- The most relevant part of the book for me was in week 6 for regarding Postmodern Organizations. My department at work is best described as organized chaos which is something that is often hard to describe to outsiders. I often have people ask how chaos can be organized since the words are essentially contradictions of each other. Postmodern organization is organized around such issues as constant change, instability, flexibility, and empowerment. Business gurus speak of “thriving on chaos” (Peters, 1988) and “managing the art of irreversible change” (Bergquist, 1992) Furthermore, the postmodern organization is less about producing things and more about providing services, harnessing information technology, and developing brand identities (Klein, 2001) (Mumby, 2013) I have found that the stronger employees within a company are the ones who often thrive in chaos without getting burned out. A well-trained employee does not require time for planning, strategizing or direction meetings if they are not required. They often see a problem or project and dive in and start working. When they finish that task, they move onto the next. When you have ten or even hundreds of people all doing this, from an outside perspective it appears to be complete chaos, but in fact, it is organized chaos. Everything is being handled as it should. A lot of people live in work in this style of environment every day without fully realizing how it works or knowing how to describe it. It is comforting to know that we fit into a category and the organization isn’t going about things all willy-nilly. I will be able to utilize this information in the future describing my department, organization, and postmodern organizations.
Eric- There have been several different concepts and ideas we have learned throughout the past several weeks. Many topics stood out to me, but a few ideas had a positive and strong stance and can be implemented into both my personal and professional lives. Chapter four discussed human relations, which stood out to me. Human relations plays an extremely important role in professional and workplace settings, as human interaction between two or more people occurs in nearly every organization. Human resource management is applicable in many organizations, including health care, which is the profession I work in. Specifically, regarding human resources, the discussion of Douglas McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y stood out to me the most. Our textbook states, "In developing a model of work motivation, McGregor frames his theory in terms of influence and control. McGregor argues that managerial authority is still largely based on an old, outdated model of authority founded primarily on coercion of employees" (Mumby, 2013, p. 98). A Theory X model states that individuals and employees dislike work and often times must be pushed, disciplined, coerced, or controlled to complete daily tasks and responsibilities. With the Theory X model, management is forced to heavily focus on supervision of employees. A Theory Y style organization is quite different. Under a Theory Y style organization, employees are given more responsibility and require much less supervision. Employees, under this theory, enjoy learning and growing as individuals and professionals, and have expectations of climbing the "corporate ladder" and have a desire to grow with the company. As my current organization operates under a Theory Y style management, the topic and discussion of human relations and organizational management is important and can be applied towards my current organizational position. I have also worked in organizations that had implemented a Theory X style of management, which negatively impacted me individually.
Another concept that really had an impact on me was communication and gender within the workplace, discussed in chapter nine of our textbook. The concept of equality is extremely important, as individuals deserve to be treated the same as one another, especially in a professional setting. Our textbook states, "The reality is that any attempt to portray feminism as a single, unified, collective movement is doomed for failure. There are many feminist perspectives, some of which you might agree with and others you might reject…Clearly, all forms of feminism are, by definition, committed to the improvement of women's situations, given that women have historically been systematically excluded from full participation in the various realms of society" (Mumby, 2013, p. 206). As I read further into the chapter and went beyond the context, feminism can go beyond the equal treatment of women; equality is deserved in all genres. Individuals shouldn't be treated unfairly based on sex, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, or sexual orientation. When an individual is educated and/or experienced and can complete a task or specific job adequately or extremely well, they should be given the same, equal treatment or opportunities as anyone else.
Many things will be done differently since the completion of this course. When an individual thinks about the term "communication", they often times think of the discussion(s) and/or interaction amongst individuals. However, the term organizational communication is much more complex and difficult than that. Our textbook states, "One of the problems in defining the term organizational communication is that we are dealing with two phenomena-organization and communication-that are, individually extremely complex. Placed in a dynamic relationship with each other, the level of complexity increases greatly" (Mumby, 2013, p. 6). Our text states the difficulty of defining organizational communication, but it is, in simple terms, the communication and interaction amongst one another within an organization. Being able to stand back and review situations in the workplace can be beneficial. Learning how to apply the knowledge we have gained the past several weeks in our positions can assist in higher success. Personally, I am going to closely monitor my employees and see how they communicate with one another. I have a handful of employees who don't seem to be able to effectively communicate with others, and I am now going to be able to review this and, hopefully, correct this issue.
Thomas- This class has been very informative and has opened my eyes to many new concepts. There are however, several that stand out to me as special. First, it was very interesting to learn how organizations developed. In the late nineteenth century there was only workers and the term employee did not exist. Our organizational society once consisted only of workers, but eventually evolved into one that included managers and employees. The shift in the jobs organizations provide today is the key to understanding the transformations that ultimately led to the emergence of the organizational society we enjoy in the present day (Mumby, 2013, p. 56).
Second, was the evolvement of Human Resource Management (HRM) following World War II. The U.S. economy was booming and this period after the war marked the beginning of the modern corporate organization. As our markets expanded, full employment became the norm, and large scale corporate bureaucracy came into its own. During this time, the dominance of the large organization can be described as the second spirit of capitalism, however, this evolvement also created trepidation from a management point of view. Throughout the early days of capitalism, threats and coercion were enough to motivate workers, but now conflict was escalating between workers and management. This conflict between workers and management provided the foundation of the HMR movement and created a genuine effort to motivate employees by recognizing their value to the organization (Mumby, 2013, pg. 97).
Finally, I truly enjoyed learning about the various approaches to leadership and the effect they can have on our team members and our organization. Leadership methodology has continued to evolve and can reflect on the changes taking place in the economic, political, and cultural climates in which our organizations function. Perhaps the most important lessons to take away from this class is the realization of the complexities and ambiguities between the worker and the leader. Conversely, our leadership approach distinguishes itself between the self-centered leader who believes they can control every aspect of the organization, and the leader who focuses on their followers and empowers them to have a role in the decision making process (Mumby, 2013, pg. 279).
Our organizations are living organisms that depend on every department to contribute to the overall health of the organization. As the human body depends on all of our organs to function in unison, so our organizations depends on every team member to contribute in a meaningful way to the organizational communication process.
Rebecca- Theory X and Theory Y is the concept that has been the most relevant for me in this class. Especially when I am writing compliance procedures or providing training for other departments in the bank. I think it will be helpful to step back and look at the employee’s position/job responsibilities in regards to Theory X and Theory Y before I start writing. That way I can be sure that jobs that need structure and rigidity have procedures that reflect the Theory X concept. Whereas a Theory Y type procedure may allow for some collaboration and free thinking.
The same holds true in regards to banking regulations we receive from the Federal Government that I had not considered before. There are two main types of rules/regulations. First are those that are very structured, as in “you will do this calculation in this method” that display a Theory X feel. Then there are the rules that vaguely say “based on the size and/or complexity of your institution” which in essence gives you the end game, but allows you to determine the path, in a Theory Y frame.