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SSC351--Communicating in the Office

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SSC351--Improving Office Productivity Through TQM
SSC351--Work Measurement and Work Standards
SSC351--Managing Human Resources
SSC351--Communicating in the Office
SSC351--Administrative Office System
SSC351--Appraising The Office Worker's Performance
SSC351 Study Guide

  1. Interoffice memo announcing a meeting.
  2. Telephone call in which a customer is quoted a price and shipping date for goods ordered.
  3. Insert for employee handbook explaining a new benefit.
  4. Sales meeting to present new products to marketing staff.
  5. Press release announcing the selection of a new CEO


  1. Personal conversation in which a coworker is requested to serve as a vollunteer in a fund-raising effort.
  2. Fax announcing benefits gained by the extension of a contract time period.
  3. Report to management on the need to purchase new word processors.


  1. Performance appraisal records.
  2. Quality control report summarizing the output of word processing center.
  3. Budget performance report that compares amounts budgeted with expenses incurred.


  1. Instruction manual for operating a personal computer.
  2. Directions given orally to coworkers for reconciling a bank statement.
  3. Instructions given by vendor to mail room personnel on proper use of postage equipment.


  1. "Small talk" ("Hello, how are you today?" "Have a good weekend?" "Are you free to bowl tonight?") before, during, and after business hours.
  2. Note inviting workers to participate in annual fitness run for charity.
  3. Announcement of free Word Series tickets to be given as incentive to improve attendance record.


A communication network is the pattern of channels used to communicate messages to and from, or among, a group of people.

  1. Formal.
    • The formal communication network is based on the chain of command, and its line of authority flows from the top of the organization down.
    • Messages are transmitted up and down the structure through the channels identifies with heavy lines.
    • Used to transmit official messages, policies, procedures, directives, and job instructions (downwards).
    • Formal upward communication such as attitude surveys, grievances, suggestion, and performance appraisals.
  2. Informal
    • Informal communication network do not flow through a formal network when transmiting any message - oral and not vital to office operation.
    • Occur when office employees socialize and pass along information that they believe.
    • The grapeview is an informal communication network in which messages are rapidly transmitted, usually orally or on a one-to-one basis.
    • The effect of these messages transmitted can cripple productivity and seriously disturb the climate of the organization.
  3. Communication Audit
    • An organization conducts a communication audit to evaluate how effectively and efficiently its communication system is working.
    • An inventory is taken of all the firm's communication activities - group meetings, hiring and exit interviews, company publications, bulletin boards and supervisor-worker meeting.
    • These activities are then analyzed to determine whether the firm communication policies are being followed.
    • Network analysis (to study its formal and informal communication network) is a communication research technique that is used to find out where workers go to get their needed information.


In the flow of communication, the office supervisor serves as a "linking pin."  As a person "caught in the middle," the office supervisor must carefully select communication channels that will clearly transmit the message to the receivers whose feedback shows their clear understanding of the contents of the message.  To be successful, communication must be two-way - up and down between supervisor and employees.

  1. Downward Communication -- Downward communicatin flows vertically from the top to one or more levels below and carries the message that translate top management planning and decision making into orders that direct office employees.
  2. Upward Communication -- Flows vertically from one level in the organization to one or more levels above.  An effective flow of upward communication aids in motivating office workers.  Upward channels involve oral, written, and electronic communication media.
  3. Lateral Communication (Horizontal) -- Occurs among personnel at the same level.  Essential in order to coordinate the activities of coworkers and to facilitate their interactions as they perform their job.  It is encouraged as long as both managers have authorize it.
  4. Diagonal Communication -- Occurs when employees communicate with other workers at higher or lower levels in the organizatin.  Such diagonal communication regarding routine office operation is encouraged by most organizations to aid in efficiently solving problem involving two or more segments of the organization.  Both diagonal and lateral communication enables employees to plan jointly when establishing policies and procedures that affect several department, to share information, and to resolve conflicts.  Both provide for the direct exchange of messages more quickly.

What specific topics should you focus when studying the chapter on Communicating in the Office?  To find out, please refer to the SSC351 Study Guide page.  Detailed information about the topics can be found in Chapter 3 (Zane & Quible) pages 33 - 52 and Chapter 5 (Keeling & Kallus, 1996) pages105 - 127.