Management Study Set 36

Business

Quiz 17 :

Managing Communication

Quiz 17 :

Managing Communication

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How does a climate of trust and openness improve organizational communication?
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A climate of trust and openness improves organizational communication by:
• Encouraging people to communicate honestly, so that management understands their real feelings and concerns.
• Allowing both positive and negative information to be shared, so that all issues are on the table.
• Suppressing retribution, so that employees can pass on negative information, knowing that it will be used for positive purposes.

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What communication channel would you select if you had to give an employee feedback about the way he mismanaged a call with a key customer? What channel would you use to announce to all employees the deadline for selecting new health-care plans? Explain your choices.
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Communicating with an employee who poorly handled a customer call would best be done in a face to face meeting. This method has advantages of being personal, provides a range of communication input including body language, and allows for immediate feedback. It does have the disadvantage of not leaving a written record, so if the meeting needed documentation (such as for an employee file) it would need to be created during or after the meeting.
Communicating with staff about deadlines for healthcare plan selection would be best done via a group email or a memo to all staff. These methods have the advantage of creating a written record showing that the information was provided to all staff members. These channels also have the disadvantages of being impersonal and one-way, but that is appropriate when sharing general information with all employees.

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Hunter-Worth Christmas was fast approaching. Just a short while ago, Chuck Moore, national sales manager for Hunter-Worth, a New York-based multinational toy manufacturer, was confident the coming holiday was going to be one of the company's best in years. At a recent toy expo. Hunter-Worth unveiled a new interactive plush toy that was cuddly, high-tech, and tied into a major holiday motion picture expected to be a smash hit. Chuck had thought the toy would do well, but frankly, the level of interest took him by surprise. The buyers at the toy fair raved, and the subsequent pre-order volume was extremely encouraging. It had all looked so promising, but now he couldn't shake a sense of impending doom. The problem in a nutshell was that the Mexican subsidiary that manufactured the toy couldn't seem to meet a deadline. Not only were all the shipments late so far, but they fell well short of the quantities ordered. Chuck decided to e-mail Vicente Ruiz, the plant manager, about the situation before he found himself in the middle of the Christmas season with parents clamoring for a toy he couldn't lay his hands on. In a thoroughly professional e-mail that started with a friendly Dear Vicente," Chuck inquired about the status of the latest order, asked for a production schedule for pending orders, and requested a specific explanation as to why the Mexican plant seemed to be having such difficulty shipping orders out on time. The reply appeared within the hour, but to his utter astonishment, it was a short message from Vicente's secretary. She acknowledged the receipt of his e-mail and assured him the Mexican plant would be shipping the order, already a week late, in the next ten days. "That's it, Chuck fumed." Time to take this to Sato." He prefaced his original e-mail and the secretary's reply with a terse note expressing his growing concern over the availability of what could well be this season's must-have toy. "Just what do I have to do to light a fire under Vicente?" he wrote. He then forwarded it all to his supervisor and friend, Michael Sato, the executive vice president for sales and marketing. Next thing he knew, he was on the phone with Vicente-and the plant manager was furious. "Señor Moore, how dare you go over my head and say such things about me to my boss?" he sputtered, sounding both angry and slightly panicked. It seemed that Michael had forwarded Chucks e-mail to Hunter- Worth's vice president of operations, who had sent it on to the Mexican subsidiary's president. That turn of events was unfortunate, but Chuck wasn't feeling all that apologetic. "You could have prevented all this if you'd just answered the questions I e-mailed you last week," he pointed out. "I deserved more than a form letter-and from your secretary, no less." "My secretary always answers my e-mails," replied Vicente. "She figures that if the problem is really urgent, you would pick up the phone and talk to me directly. Contrary to what you guys north of the border might think, we do take deadlines seriously here. There's only so much we can do with the supply problems were having, but I doubt you're interested in hearing about those," And Vicente hung up the phone without waiting for a response. Chuck was confused and disheartened. Things were only getting worse. How could he turn the situation around? What was the main purpose of Chuck's communication co Vicente? To Michael Sato? What factors should he have considered when choosing a channel for his communication to Vicente? Are they the same factors he should have considered when communicating with Michael Saio?
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National sales manager C is frustrated with the delayed delivery schedule of a new toy from the Mexican subsidiary, and is concerned that the ordered quantity won't be available in time to meet the demand during the upcoming holiday season. He sent an email to the subsidiary and received a brief response from the plant manager's secretary. In frustration he forwarded this email on to his boss, and it eventually was forwarded back to the plant manager from his boss. The plant manager called C and told him that if the message was critical, he would expect it to be delivered via phone, not email.
The main purpose of C's email to plant manager V was to determine whether the ordered toys would be delivered on time. He had the same purpose when he forwarded the email to his own boss after receiving what he felt was an inappropriate response to the message.
When choosing his communication channel, C should have considered the needs of his recipient, to make sure he was choosing an appropriate message and channel to obtain the information he was seeking. This would be the same consideration he would use when sending an email to his boss. If he had evaluated this first, he would have still communicated the same information, but he would have sent the message differently to the plant manager. An email was still an appropriate channel for the U.S. staff members, as shown by their level of responsiveness to the message.

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Hunter-Worth Christmas was fast approaching. Just a short while ago, Chuck Moore, national sales manager for Hunter-Worth, a New York-based multinational toy manufacturer, was confident the coming holiday was going to be one of the company's best in years. At a recent toy expo. Hunter-Worth unveiled a new interactive plush toy that was cuddly, high-tech, and tied into a major holiday motion picture expected to be a smash hit. Chuck had thought the toy would do well, but frankly, the level of interest took him by surprise. The buyers at the toy fair raved, and the subsequent pre-order volume was extremely encouraging. It had all looked so promising, but now he couldn't shake a sense of impending doom. The problem in a nutshell was that the Mexican subsidiary that manufactured the toy couldn't seem to meet a deadline. Not only were all the shipments late so far, but they fell well short of the quantities ordered. Chuck decided to e-mail Vicente Ruiz, the plant manager, about the situation before he found himself in the middle of the Christmas season with parents clamoring for a toy he couldn't lay his hands on. In a thoroughly professional e-mail that started with a friendly Dear Vicente," Chuck inquired about the status of the latest order, asked for a production schedule for pending orders, and requested a specific explanation as to why the Mexican plant seemed to be having such difficulty shipping orders out on time. The reply appeared within the hour, but to his utter astonishment, it was a short message from Vicente's secretary. She acknowledged the receipt of his e-mail and assured him the Mexican plant would be shipping the order, already a week late, in the next ten days. "That's it, Chuck fumed." Time to take this to Sato." He prefaced his original e-mail and the secretary's reply with a terse note expressing his growing concern over the availability of what could well be this season's must-have toy. "Just what do I have to do to light a fire under Vicente?" he wrote. He then forwarded it all to his supervisor and friend, Michael Sato, the executive vice president for sales and marketing. Next thing he knew, he was on the phone with Vicente-and the plant manager was furious. "Señor Moore, how dare you go over my head and say such things about me to my boss?" he sputtered, sounding both angry and slightly panicked. It seemed that Michael had forwarded Chucks e-mail to Hunter- Worth's vice president of operations, who had sent it on to the Mexican subsidiary's president. That turn of events was unfortunate, but Chuck wasn't feeling all that apologetic. "You could have prevented all this if you'd just answered the questions I e-mailed you last week," he pointed out. "I deserved more than a form letter-and from your secretary, no less." "My secretary always answers my e-mails," replied Vicente. "She figures that if the problem is really urgent, you would pick up the phone and talk to me directly. Contrary to what you guys north of the border might think, we do take deadlines seriously here. There's only so much we can do with the supply problems were having, but I doubt you're interested in hearing about those," And Vicente hung up the phone without waiting for a response. Chuck was confused and disheartened. Things were only getting worse. How could he turn the situation around? Based on Vicente Ruiz's actions and his conversation with Chuck Moore, what differences do you detect in cultural attitudes toward communications in Mexico as compared with the United States? Is understanding these differences important? Explain.
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Assume that you have been asked to design a training program to help managers become better communicators. What would you include in the program?
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A survey conducted in 2008 by the Society for Human Resources Management found that 54 percent of human resources professionals had documented an uptick in gossip or rumors about recession-related downsizing or layoffs. As a manager, what communication strategies would you employ during a time of uncertainty in the workplace? What are the advantages and disadvantages of gossip during a time of uncertainty?
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What are the characteristics of an effective listener? How would you rate yourself on those characteristics?
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Lee's Garage is an internal Walmart Web site that CEO H. Lee Scott uses to communicate with the company's 1.5 million U.S. employees, A public relations associate screens employee questions and Scott dictates his responses to an aide, who then posts them on the Web. What would you predict are the advantages and potential problems to this method of upper-level management's connecting with employees?
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A study reported in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that people are more willing to lie and feel more justified doing so when using e-mail than when using pen and paper, even if told their lie would be discovered. What might be some reasons for this? Should managers limit the use of e-mail in their organizations? Discuss.
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On trial 92 When Werner and Thompson, a Los Angeles business and financial management firm, offered Iranian-born Firoz Bahmania a position as an accountant assistant one spring day in 2007, Bahmani felt a sense of genuine relief, but his relief was short-lived. With his degree in accounting from a top-notch American university, he knew he was more than a little overqualified for the job. But time after time, he'd been rejected for suitable positions. His language difficulties were the reason most often given for his unsuccessful candidacy. Although the young man had grown up speaking both Farsi and French in his native land, he'd begun to pick up English only shortly before his arrival in the United States a few years ago. Impressed by his educational credentials and his quiet, courtly manner, managing partner Beatrice Werner overlooked his heavy accent and actively recruited him for the position, the only one available at the time. During his interview, she assured him that he would advance in time. It was clear to Beatrice that Firoz was committed to succeeding at all costs. But it soon also became apparent that Firoz and his immediate supervisor, Cathy Putnam, were at odds. Cathy was a seasoned account manager who had just transferred to Los Angeles from the New York office. Saddled with an enormous workload, she let Firoz know right from the start, speaking in her rapid-fire Brooklyn accent, that he'd need to get up to speed as quickly as possible. Shortly before Cathy was to give Firoz his three-month probationary review, she came to Beatrice, expressed her frustration with Firoz's performance, and suggested that he be let go. "His bank reconciliations and financial report preparations are first-rate," Cathy admitted, "but his communication skills leave a lot to be desired. In the first place, I simply don't have the time to keep repeating the same directions over and over again when I'm trying to teach him his responsibilities. Then there's the fact that public contact is part of his written job description. Typically, he puts off making phone calls to dispute credit card charges or ask a client's staff for the information he needs. When he does finally pick up the phone... well, let's just say I've had more than one client mention how hard it is to understand what he's trying to say. Some of them are getting pretty exasperated." "You know, some firms feel it's their corporate responsibility to help foreign-born employees learn English," Beatrice began. "Maybe we should help him find an English-as-a-second-language course and pay for it." "With all due respect, I don't think that's our job," Cathy replied, with barely concealed irritation. "If you come to the United States, you should learn our language. That's what my mom's parents did when they came over from Italy. They certainly didn't expect anyone to hold their hands. Besides," she added, almost inaudibly, "Firoz's lucky we let him into this country." Beatrice had mixed feelings. On one hand, she recognized that Werner and Thompson had every right to expect someone in Firoz's position to be capable of carrying out his public contact duties. Perhaps she had made a mistake in hiring him. But as the daughter of German immigrants herself, she knew firsthand both how daunting language and cultural barriers could be and that they could be overcome in time. Perhaps in part because of her family background, she had a passionate commitment to the firm's stated goals of creating a diverse workforce and a caring, supportive culture. Besides, she felt a personal sense of obligation to help a hard-working, promising employee realize his potential. What will she advise Cathy to do now that Firoz's probationary period is drawing to a close? What Would You Do? 1. Agree with Cathy Putnam. Despite your personal feelings, accept that Firoz Bahmani is not capable of carrying out the accountant assistant's responsibilities. Make the break now, and give him his notice on the grounds that he cannot carry out one of the key stated job requirements. Advise him that a position that primarily involves paperwork would be a better fit for him. 2. Place Firoz with a more sympathetic account manager who is open to finding ways to help him improve his English and has the time to help him develop his assertiveness and telephone skills. Send Cathy Putnam to diversity awareness training. 3. Create a new position at the firm that will allow Firoz to do the reports and reconciliations for several account managers, freeing the account assistants to concentrate on public contact work. Make it clear that he will have little chance of future promotion unless his English improves markedly.
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Describe the elements of the communication process. Give an example of each part of the model as it exists in the classroom during communication between teacher and students.
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Hunter-Worth Christmas was fast approaching. Just a short while ago, Chuck Moore, national sales manager for Hunter-Worth, a New York-based multinational toy manufacturer, was confident the coming holiday was going to be one of the company's best in years. At a recent toy expo. Hunter-Worth unveiled a new interactive plush toy that was cuddly, high-tech, and tied into a major holiday motion picture expected to be a smash hit. Chuck had thought the toy would do well, but frankly, the level of interest took him by surprise. The buyers at the toy fair raved, and the subsequent pre-order volume was extremely encouraging. It had all looked so promising, but now he couldn't shake a sense of impending doom. The problem in a nutshell was that the Mexican subsidiary that manufactured the toy couldn't seem to meet a deadline. Not only were all the shipments late so far, but they fell well short of the quantities ordered. Chuck decided to e-mail Vicente Ruiz, the plant manager, about the situation before he found himself in the middle of the Christmas season with parents clamoring for a toy he couldn't lay his hands on. In a thoroughly professional e-mail that started with a friendly Dear Vicente," Chuck inquired about the status of the latest order, asked for a production schedule for pending orders, and requested a specific explanation as to why the Mexican plant seemed to be having such difficulty shipping orders out on time. The reply appeared within the hour, but to his utter astonishment, it was a short message from Vicente's secretary. She acknowledged the receipt of his e-mail and assured him the Mexican plant would be shipping the order, already a week late, in the next ten days. "That's it, Chuck fumed." Time to take this to Sato." He prefaced his original e-mail and the secretary's reply with a terse note expressing his growing concern over the availability of what could well be this season's must-have toy. "Just what do I have to do to light a fire under Vicente?" he wrote. He then forwarded it all to his supervisor and friend, Michael Sato, the executive vice president for sales and marketing. Next thing he knew, he was on the phone with Vicente-and the plant manager was furious. "Señor Moore, how dare you go over my head and say such things about me to my boss?" he sputtered, sounding both angry and slightly panicked. It seemed that Michael had forwarded Chucks e-mail to Hunter- Worth's vice president of operations, who had sent it on to the Mexican subsidiary's president. That turn of events was unfortunate, but Chuck wasn't feeling all that apologetic. "You could have prevented all this if you'd just answered the questions I e-mailed you last week," he pointed out. "I deserved more than a form letter-and from your secretary, no less." "My secretary always answers my e-mails," replied Vicente. "She figures that if the problem is really urgent, you would pick up the phone and talk to me directly. Contrary to what you guys north of the border might think, we do take deadlines seriously here. There's only so much we can do with the supply problems were having, but I doubt you're interested in hearing about those," And Vicente hung up the phone without waiting for a response. Chuck was confused and disheartened. Things were only getting worse. How could he turn the situation around? If you were Chuck, what would you have done differently? What steps would you take at this point co make sure the supply of die popular new toy is sufficient to meet the anticipated demand?
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Assume you manage a small online business that sells herbal supplements. Without your knowledge, a disgruntled employee has posted damaging information about your company in the company's blog, including false information about dangerous ingredients in your best-selling supplement. What specific steps would you take to minimize the risk of this crisis?
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Some senior managers believe they should rely on written information and computer reports because these yield more accurate data than do face-to-face communications. Do you agree? Why or why not?
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