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Case Analysis - Changes in Communication Style and the Links of Communication Styles

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Autor:   •  July 29, 2011  •  Essay  •  778 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,120 Views

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Douglas, C., Martin, J. and Krapels, R. (2006). Communication in the Transition to Self-Directed Work Teams. Journal of Business Communication, 43(4), 295-321.

The main goal of this study was to identify the changes in communication style and the links of communication styles to the willingness of team members to participate in team decision-making activities. This study shows that subordinates' perceptions of managers' influence strategies affect the success of change within organizations. Using data collected over 18 months, this study examined employees' perceptions of managerial communication used prior to and during the implementation of Self- Directed Work Teams (SDWTs) at a manufacturing firm as well as the effect of team and organizational communication on team members' participation. Douglas, Martin and Krapels (2006)

The study was held at a union plant operated by a major aluminum product in southern United States. It is located in a small town with less than 20,000 residents. The authors focused on five self-directed work teams in a manufacturing firm in three areas. The areas included three plant maintenance teams, one customer service team, and one production team. The participants averaged 40.5 years of age 15.6 years of company tenure, and 8.6 years of tenure in their current positions; 80 were men and 31 were women. Each of the five SDWTs participated in every data collection over the 18-month period. Data collection occurred at the 6-, 12-, and 18-month intervals. Individual team members provided information on the communication styles and influence tactics used by their team leaders. Questionnaires were distributed during site visits and completed at the convenience of the participants to be mailed back to the researchers. A total of 180 surveys were distributed, with 111 usable surveys returned across the three time periods providing an overall response rate of 61.7%. The respondents' confidentiality was considered primary, and they were assured that their answers were completely anonymous in the study's analysis to promote more open responses in the data collection. A total of 100 structured interviews were conducted over the 18-month period using this process.

The authors used the 1991 target version of the Influence Behavior Questionnaire (IBQ) developed by Yukl, Wall, and Lepsinger (1990). In this study, they focused on the use of three hard (coalition, legitimatization, and pressure), and three soft (inspirational appeals, consultation, and rational persuasion) influence tactics. They wanted to know if the management choice of communication style affects the overall effectiveness of the team.

The results were that as the firm moved from an autocratic management style to SDWTs, the team leaders reduced their use of hard communication influence tactics, as reported by most team members. Douglas (2006) Softer communication influence styles became


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