Perceptions of Work Scenarios and Organizational Communication

Respond to the following work scenarios according to this scale: 

A – Always 

B – Sometimes 

C – Never 

  1. I believe and trust everything that my superior tells me. 

C – Never 

  1. With communication, I process and filter the details to my advantage. 

B – Sometimes 

  1. Information is shared across my organization efficiently. 

B – Sometimes 

  1. Open and honest communication is always encouraged. 

A – Always 

  1. Rumors and grapevine are effectively managed. 

C – Never 

After honestly answering the above questions, I realize that although I love my job and appreciate my teams, my managers, my peers, and the owners above me, there is a lack of trust in my organization that has been created by years of inconsistency, withholding facts, and even manipulation. 

Oftentimes over the years, I have been lured into performing by a carrot held in front of me by an owner:  “If your revenue gets to $5 million, I’ll give you a $200,000/year salary” or “After getting this deal, you’ll be able to write your own check and give yourself an amazing raise.”  In reality, my salary has been exactly the same for the last six years, despite amazing performance.  Despite leading the team and hitting every target and expectation, the goal line always moved, and I never received the promised reward.  This has created a distrust and led me to understand that any promise or incentive that came out of the owner’s mouth was a lie.  Lying is a barrier to communication, and it taught me to distrust and create my own barriers (Ingham, 2019).  The constant manipulation also taught me that I was not valued although I made him rich. 

I find that I process and filter details to my advantage sometimes.  Whenever presented with new information, I hold them against my previous experiences and reduce my own uncertainty by turning the information into something that works to my advantage (Jackson & Hogg, 2010).  It is a defense mechanism and a survival instinct to process the information in a way that benefits myself and my ego. 

Most of the time, information is shared efficiently in my organization, although sometimes people withhold information in the misguided belief that information gives them power.  Some people in the organization believe that there is a cost to sharing the information.  They feel that they will lose an opportunity to gain.  They feel that they are keeping a secret and it gives them power to choose who they want to share it with (Jiang, 2019).  This can be detrimental when the information is impactful or important.  Sometimes, they withhold the information because they are ashamed or embarrassed.  For instance, if they did not close a deal or if a customer cancelled their contract, some people withhold that information, when it is important to respond and plan for that change in revenue. 

At my company, we always encourage open and honest communication.  It does not always happen, but we do what we can to encourage it.  From creating andon cords to encouraging constant feedback and creation of feedback loops, we try to encourage that communication.  Unfortunately, dishonesty and keeping secrets poisons what could be a perfect flow of information. 

Lastly, the rumor mill and grapevine are never managed.  Everyone in the company chats constantly with everyone else, and there are a lot of personal rumors that get passed quickly throughout the company.  We have absolutely no control over them and no handle on them.  The rumors go unchecked and add to the sense of dishonesty and secret-keeping in the company. 

References: 

Ingham, T. (2019, August 10). Barriers to Communication. https://tobyingham.com/barriers-to-communication/ 

Jackson, R. & Hogg, M. (2010). Perceptual filtering. In Encyclopedia of identity (Vol. 1, pp. 538-538). SAGE Publications, Inc. https://www.doi.org/10.4135/9781412979306.n173 

Jiang, Z. (2019, November 14). Why Withholding Information at Work Won’t Give You an Advantage. https://hbr.org/2019/11/why-withholding-information-at-work-wont-give-you-an-advantage 

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