COMM001 Study Guide

Unit 4: Organizational Communication

4a. Identify the characteristics of organizations

  • What is the difference between small groups, teams, and organizations?
  • Name and describe the five perspectives for understanding organizational communication.

Understanding this basic concept is key to our understanding of organizational communication. To review the definition and characteristics of organizations, see Organizational Communication.


4b. Identify competencies in interpersonal communication that occurs in organizations

  • Define organizational communication.
  • Identify five functions of organizational communication.

To review the definition and functions of organizational communication, see Organizational Communication.


4c. Describe the interpersonal relationships between coworkers and their supervisors

  • Define self-disclosure in the workplace.
  • What types of conflicts occur in the workplace?
  • Describe the ways that we manage our emotions in the workplace.
  • What is the difference between evaluation and criticism?
  • How must our listening skills change when we engage in interpersonal communication with supervisors and coworkers?
  • Name and describe the five stages of the conversation model.

Relationships in the workplace – between coworkers and between employees and supervisors – can create some challenges. Concepts we learned in Unit 2 (Interpersonal Communication) must be revisited in light of the power relationship between employees and supervisors and between coworkers.

To review communication among coworkers and between supervisors and subordinates, see Internal Communication and Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Business Communication.


4d. Explain the differences between informal and formal messages

  • Define the formal network and the informal network.
  • Explain the difference between formal and informal messages.
  • Who is more likely to share informal messages?

There are typically two communication networks through which messages travel within an organization. For a quick refresher of communication networks and messages, see Communication in the Organization.


4e. Define the concept of information overload

  • Define the concept of information overload.
  • Explain why information overload is a concern for organizational productivity.

To review, see Social Media in the Workplace.


4f. List ethical concerns regarding organizational communication

  • List ethical concerns that could be of concern in organizational communication.
  • Explain the key concepts of the NCA code of ethics as these apply to communicating in organizations.

Ethical behavior is expected in all our communication transactions. It is a core competency for organizational communication. We often hear the cliché "knowledge is power". The National Communication Association (NCA) code of ethics makes it quite clear that we are responsible for how we communicate and what we communicate and the consequences thereafter.

To review, see Organizational Communication and Communication.


Unit 4 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you answer some of the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful on the final exam.

  • Bureaucracy
  • Complexity
  • Defensive Climate
  • Equifinality
  • Homeostasis
  • Negative entropy
  • Permeability
  • Requisite variety
  • Sociability
  • Solidarity
  • Supportive Climate
  • Values