The fact that communication plays a crucial role in improving and advancing managerial strategies is undeniable. Therefore, a great number of books and scientific researches are dedicated to the description of organizational work. In this regard, the book Communicating for Managerial Effectiveness provides sufficient coverage of the communicational pillars contributing to management advancement (Clampitt). Phil Clampitt, the author of this work, has managed to present standard material originally and interestingly. The book does not merely present a report about the main communicational strategies, but encapsulates some fresh insights and propositions and provides clarification of some common assumptions. More importantly, the author makes a strong focus on the areas that are often underestimated by other researchers.
In the book, a greater emphasis is made on the implementation of successful communicational strategies and principles. In particular, the author clearly identifies an apparent connection between organizational management and communicative skills. The author tries to disclose the notion and veritable scope of communicational processes stating that communication is a mere transition of signals that are differently interpreted by people. In addition, the book is aimed at enabling managers to distinctly view the level of their communication abilities, challenges, and dilemmas.
In his book, the researcher presents worthy propositions and concepts. In particular, Clampitt underlines the connection between message interpretation and contextual environment forming the basis of communication. The book emphasizes the idea that context plays a key role in communication. For instance, when introducing three approaches to the communication process (Arrow, Circuit, and Dance), the author explains that the failure to successfully render the intended message is primarily predetermined by an improper understanding of the scope of the language. Indeed, communication should not be perceived as a tool for giving commands, but as a means of achieving understanding. According to the author, managers “fail to appreciate the listener’s or reader’s challenge of accurately reconstructing the message from the sender’s signals” (Clampitt, 2010, p. 6). About communicational context, the managers are often unable to realize why their message was not properly perceived by the listeners. The problem is that “language has a prominent place in communication, perhaps because it is largely explicit and, therefore, is more easily amenable to consciousness” (Usunier and Lee, 2009, p. 343).
Approaching theoretical methods of successful communication, the author proposes a phenomenal idea to compare dance and communication to the extent that one can hardly see the difference between those. This metaphorical synthesis does not have analogs embodying almost all nuances of successful communication and shatters the previously existing stereotypes. In accordance with these theories, communication should be well oriented and coordinated being based on relevant patterns. In addition, the participants, especially the sender, should know how to start, what to say, how to introduce the idea, and when to end (Clampitt, 2010, p. 40).
Though the comparison is original, its alternative interpretations are implicitly reflected in other works. In his work called Pattern of Sociation and Cognitive Structure, Albrecht (1997) proves that communication also implies movement and constant interaction and, therefore, it cannot be perceived as an event. Arising from this, there is an inherent connection between social structure and individual cognition. Though the content of Albrecht’s assumptions is similar to Clampitt’s, the form is still too loose to embrace all nuances within one comparison.
The author has also applied the previously mentioned metaphorical assumption to the consideration of the corporate culture of an organization. In this respect, the author attempts to highlight the importance of cultural issues for such managerial aspects as decision-making, organization change, performance level, and employees’ motivation. More interestingly, his ideas on culture are closely intertwined with communication management. Proving his hypothesis, the strength of corporate culture has a great impact on high performance because it is always aimed at working on adjustment of changes. Sorensen (2002) firmly believes that strong culture whose main component is proportional information distribution and effective verbal communication contributes to the respectable image of a company. Once again, Clampitt’s particular absorption with communicational policies and definition is fully justified as this process is considered to be the pillar of management infrastructure.
Under the principles of qualitative communication, the book presents no less interesting and viable ideas on information management and exchange within an organization. Clampitt’s presentation of effective strategies of data sorting is closely associated with communicative policies. More importantly, some of the concepts are reminiscent of the previously mentioned ones. In this way, the author manages to draw the parallel between oral and written communication where explicit information and knowledge are of paramount importance. Hence, communication serves as a productive way of delivering information. About this function, the effectiveness of transition directly depends on the quality of the channel itself, because in case the information is misinterpreted at a particular stage, the communication process stops leading to information distortion (Hurd and Meldrum, 2008, p. 196). Therefore, to minimize the chain of information transfer, it is necessary to perceive communication as a means of human thinking, cooperation, and interaction (Trenholm, 2001). Correspondently, Clampitt’s conceptions of communication are highly applicable to the sphere of management because the instructions described in the book accurately reiterate the above rules.
By describing the main principles of effective communication, the author implicitly intends to reveal the connection between communication management and competitive advantages. Hence, his intelligible explanations and hypothesis impel the readers to conceive the way communication and socializing effects the overall managerial process, both inside and outside a company. As proof for these arguments, Arnold (1992) puts forward an idea that communication competence is the main condition for impetuous career promotion. Indeed, one can hardly encounter job descriptions with any reference to excellent communication and writing skills. Unveiling the curtains, the managers have already realized that bad communication and negotiation can lead to a company’s bankruptcy and decline in products demand. Therefore, each managerial level should relevantly use those skills.
Taking into consideration the above-presented theories, it should be stressed that the book is a real treasure for managers because the author manages to present the standard material most originally. His delicate usage of metaphors allows readers to easily comprehend the main secrets of successful communication. Being crammed with numerous quotations, the book can serve as a guide to the wisest philosophical ideas. The flow of the paragraphs and the style of writing is so logical and consistent that readers might not think that the book is aimed at devising strong business strategies. This captivating narration is focused on evaluating communication as a starting point for organizing a decision-making process and developing viable solutions.
Arising from the strengths described, the author has succeeded in relating communicational strategies to management challenges and competitive advantage. Many aspects have been covered in the book that postulates the standard and rules of handling the business successfully within the world of vigorous competition. Despite a plethora of metaphors applied by the scholar, this reference cannot be passed unnoticed as each element and definition is followed by the analysis of its value for the managerial process.
Though the book is perfectly structured and has interesting ideas, there are some limitations and misconceptions preventing readers from comprehending some metaphoric phrases. At a glance, all the comparisons and similes fit accurately the actual content but taking all metaphors separately, there arise a lot of misinterpretations. For instance, imparting the information exchange with qualities of food is ambiguous because it does not manage to describe all the qualities of knowledge, information, and material management. In addition, this analysis of information itself contains a lot of sophisticated syntheses which are hard to grasp.
It is impossible to deny that the book has made an enormous contribution to the development of consistent strategies aimed at improving management communicating and eliminating management challenges. For example, the book persuades the potential audience that communication cannot be neglected because failure to understand is the beginning of the end. Communication improvement is a preventive stance rather than a corrective one, as constitutes the basis of human interaction and successful cooperation.
Reading between the lines, the book dictates principles of person-oriented management as, according to the author, “assessment not only identifies potential problems but also communicated to employees that their opinions are values by the organization” (Clampitt, 2010, p 260). This phrase is supported by the proponents of a person-oriented policy. In particular, Heneman (2002) states that this approach can provide a better idea of a person’s skills, abilities, and qualities necessary for carrying out employees’ obligations. The same can be induced when considering the communication process through which it is possible to cognate the core strengths and weaknesses of a person.
About the above-presented strengths and weaknesses, this book will be of great use for students who have just begun their penetrations to the facets of management. This book allows them to comprehend the basics of business cooperation and interactions. For more experienced scholars, this book can inspire the study of the management process through the prism of communicational theories. In this respect, Clampitt creates a solid platform for further exploration.
Concluding, it should be stressed that the book deserves the reader’s attention and further consideration. This is primarily because of three reasons. First of all, the author has succeeded in articulating the common concepts and theories in a sophisticated and original way. Combining the incompatible, Clampitt has managed to insert quotations and metaphors appropriately. Second, the author has presented his interpretation of the communication process comparing it with dances. Though the comparison is not business-like, it comprehensibly depicts the scope and values of human interaction. And third, apart from the original style of writing and structuring, the author provides evidence and cites reliable sources that can be easily identified. On whole, the book contributes much to the study of the managerial process.
- Albrecht, L. (1997). Pattern of Sociation and Cognitive Structure. Developing communication theories. US: Suny Press. pp. 7-25
- Arnold, V. D. (1992). The Communication Competencies Listed in Job Descriptions. The Bulletin. pp. 15-17.
- Clampitt, P. G. (2010). Communicating for Managerial Effectiveness. NY: Sage Publications.
- Heneman, R. L. (2002). Strategic reward management: design, implementation, and evaluation. US: IAP.
- Hurd, A. R., and Meldrum, J. T. (2008). Leisure Services Management. US: Human Kinetics.
- Sorensen, J. B. (2002). The Strength of Corporate Culture and the Reliability of Firm Performance. Administrative Science Quarterly, 47(1), 70+
- Trenholm, S. (2001). Thinking through communication. US: Allyn and Baconn.
- Usunier, J.-C. and Lee, J. A. (2009). Marketing Across Cultures. UK: Pearson Education.