COMM 333-Organizational Communication

last updated 11/20/2009

Communicating with Peers and Co-workers
Adapted from S. DeWine and D. Modaff, Organizational Communication: Foundations, Challenges and Misunderstandings.  Los Angeles:  Roxbury, 2002.  Ch. 11

I.  Principles in Developing Work Relationships

  1. Proxemics affect relationship development.

  2. Relational messages convey information and impose behavioral expectations.

  3. Relationships can be symmetrical or complementary (and can shift depending on context).

  4. Each party has different interpersonal needs.

  5. Co-workers CAN have more control over peers than supervisors.

  6. Differential treatment and whether it is seen as fair or unfair has consequences for both relationships and the work group.

II.  Strengthening Work Relationships

  1. Provide positive feedback to peers

  2. mediate conflict

  3. Metacommunicate

  4. Thoughtfully manage relationships

    1. Have closest relationships (at least some) outside of work

    2. Beware of having intimate relationships on the job

    3. Recognize gender differences in friendships


Discussion items:  Consider (and write down) your MCC team culture/norms in terms of : 

  • Decision procedures
  • Work procedures/patterns
  • Criticism/conflict processes/norms
  • Cohesion
  • Stress handling, etc.