The selected scenario concerns communication issues that employees have encountered in the workplace. More precisely, in the given case, employees ineffectively use digital communication tools, which results in their dissatisfaction and may even undermine their performance, as in the case of an individual who receives many work-unrelated emails. This paper aims to apply organizational behavior concepts of diversity and global mindset to this scenario and suggest digital communication tools and strategies for effective communication within the organization.
The most suitable digital tools for formal communication between employees and the organization’s senior management are emails, the intranet, and voice or video communication. Emails are a speedy way of delivering information to employees and are appropriate for communicating policies and procedures or emergencies (“Managing organizational communication,” n.d.). The intranet, on the other hand, is fit for informing employees about the latest organizational updates that do not require quick delivery. Voice or video communication technologies are useful for communicating information about restructuring, downsizing, bankruptcy, or benefit changes because such messages require managers to show empathy to employees (“Managing organizational communication,” n.d.). Dividing information depending on urgency and purpose is important because it will reduce the total number of emails received by employees and ensure that the mode of delivery is appropriate for the circumstances. This, in turn, may positively affect employee engagement.
Furthermore, managers should consider employee diversity when devising a digital communication strategy. Diversity refers to interpersonal differences, both surface-level, and deep-level (GreggU, 2018b). Individual communication preferences can be considered a deep-level dimension of diversity, and managers should take them into account to maintain communication effectiveness and employee engagement. Although it may be impossible to develop individual communication strategies for each employee, the organization can provide email training to its personnel. Employees can be educated about sorting and filtering functions, writing proper emails, as well as behaving respectfully and civilly in the virtual space (Stich et al., 2018). Such training should be part of organizational guidelines, which should also regulate the appropriate timeframe for digital communication between employees and senior management.
The best tools for team interaction are multi-feature online platforms like Amazon Chime, Google Hangouts, or Slack. This is because they provide many features that may be required for team communication, such as instant messaging, collaboration, and file sharing, as well as video, voice, and screen sharing. This tool is better than social networks because they are much less likely to be used inappropriately. They also seem to be better than emails because they provide more communication options in one place, while the speed of message delivery remains the same. Finally, multi-feature online platforms allow for taking into account employees’ diverse communication preferences. For digital communication between team members to be effective and mindful of diversity, the organization should establish guidelines and provide employee education on the proper use of technology. For example, the company can conduct internal surveys of employees’ attitudes toward technology use and then discuss the results at collective meetings (Stich et al., 2018). Being attentive and respectful toward colleagues’ communication needs is important for everyone in the team, and through training, the organization can foster these respectful attitudes and behaviors.
The most suitable digital tools for communication among departments are emails and audio or videoconferencing. Emails are useful for sharing urgent information because of their high speed of delivery and users’ ability to send messages to a large number of people in one click. Audio-conferencing is appropriate when there is a need for a group discussion, and videoconferencing is especially useful when visual information, such as a product presentation, needs to be shared. Audio- and videoconferencing may foster employee engagement because they are more personal than emails.
Finally, communication across geographical sites can be conducted by means of multi-feature online platforms and videoconferencing. This is because the geographically dispersed workforce needs to feel connected and collaborate to resolve problems (“Managing organizational communication,” n.d.). With multi-feature platforms, international teams will be able to exchange instant messages, which resemble real-time conversations and are fast and engaging. Videoconferencing will also contribute to the effectiveness of workplace communication and employee engagement because of its personal nature. When managing communication across geographical sites, organizations should pay attention to the cultural diversity of their employees. Employees with different cultural backgrounds can be subject to stereotyping, which means judging people based on one’s perception of the group to which they belong (Robbins & Judge, 2017). Stereotyping can lead to lower performance, decreased motivation and engagement, and higher turnover intentions (Robbins & Judge, 2017). In order to address cultural diversity in the workplace, everyone in the organization should develop a global mindset. It includes understanding and being sensitive to cultural differences and contexts, as well as being open to new ideas.
The organization can use the Hofstede model to develop its culturally-sensitive communication strategies and employee training. This model consists of six dimensions: individualism/collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, masculine/feminine, long-term/short-term orientation, power distance, and indulgence/restraint (GreggU, 2018a). The theory explains the differences in people’s values that should be taken into account in the workplace. Educating employees about these cultural differences is important for enabling effective communication because it will help avoid stereotyping and misunderstanding among staff members.
In conclusion, the organizational behavior concepts of diversity and global mindset can be used to solve the communication problem encountered by employees in the selected scenario. Employees’ diversity consists of their different communication preferences and cultural backgrounds. Therefore, the organization should help employees develop a global mindset by educating them about diversity and implementing strategies that would take into consideration individual differences. The Hofstede model can be used to guide employee training because it explains the values of people from different cultures, thus helping avoid prejudice and misunderstandings.
GreggU. (2018a). Cross cultural differences and similarities [Video]. YouTube. Web.
GreggU. (2018b). Types of diversity [Video]. YouTube. Web.
Managing organizational communication. (n.d.). SHRM. Web.
Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2017). Organizational behavior (17th ed.). Pearson.
Stich, J.-F., Tarafdar, M., & Cooper, C. L. (2018). Electronic communication in the workplace: Boon or bane? Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, 5(1), pp. 98-106. Web.