Organizational Communication

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last updated 10/25/2016

Motivation and Control in (Traditional) Organizations
through rules, norms, and rewards & punishments

 Requirements of the rule system:

  1. Right level of precision
  2. Legitimate (applied equally, fairly and objectively, produced impersonally for org. goals
  3. Linked effectively to rewards and punishments.

 Norms can control behavior (somewhat  like informal rules) but they -

  1. must be consistent with rules and organizational goals,
  2. must be taught to newcomers, and
  3. must be linked to social sanctions
  4. Resistance to rules occurs through

    1. malicious (perfect) obedience
    2. regression to minimum
    3. withdrawal

 Communication in reward systems (expectancy theory)

  1. purpose of reward system is to increase effort for any given ability level
  2. rewards are effective in so far as employees:
    1. perceive the value of the reward  (valance)
    2. see connection between rewards and performance (effort-reward probability)
    3. view the system as fair/legitimate  (see Equity Theory)
  *Organizations say they desire ...    But they actually reward ...
Teamwork and collaboration The best team member
Innovation and risk taking Proven methods and mistake avoidance
People skills Technical accomplishments and skill
Employee participation and empowerment Tight/tough control over operations
High achievement More of the same

* adapted from S. Kerr (1995) On the folly of rewarding A while hoping for B,  Academy of Management Executive, 9, 7-16

Employees need the following information in a reward system

    1. knowledge of past rewarding of effort
    2. information leading to expectations of future rewards
    3. information that system is and will be fair
    4. information suggesting successes and failures are consistent with employees self images

Communication requirements of reward system (Zorn's Theory)
[employee poor performance is usually not a "personality" but an organizational problem]

    1. persuade workers rewards are valuable and will continue in the future
    2. provide immediate, clear, comprehensive performance feedback
    3. persuade employees rewards have and will be based on performance and will be equitable.

Punishment is often rewarding to the person in power but is not effective (in the long run) in CREATING desired behavior and PUNISHMENT increases resistance

 Discussion item for Tuesday:

    • What Motivators, Rules and Rewards work for classes?  For Student Organizations?  on your past jobs?
    • What MRRs fail?