Human Relations and Communication in Organizations

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Directive and evaluative

Directive communication is an important component in organizational psychology and training since it determines the action and reaction of groups and teams at the workplace. Vanaerschot (2007) points out that the foundational science of directive communication is crucial in influencing team dynamics. This in turn plays a central role in cultivating collaborative work cultures, high-performance levels, and effective leadership in an organization.

In a workplace, the use of directive response calls for communicators to be transparent, specific, and clear while conveying a response. A leader’s directive response skills must exhibit knowledge, firmness, and authority while expressing a strong belief in the message being communicated. This may be demonstrated when elaborating on a particular brand or giving directives to workers.


While all forms of communication encompass meaningful interaction, Paul Watzlawick indicates that interpretive communication focuses on individuals’ ability to deduce or construe what they hear. As such, the interpretive style of response requires the centering of ideas, views, and arguments given by other individuals and reflecting on them through observations, attitudes, and personal experiences.

In a workplace environment, the use of interpretive response is not just about replying to presented information, but being strategic in translating the communication. This can be realized by following Tilden’s interpretive principles such as provoking curiosity using ‘why’ questions and relating to the message communicated (Ashley, 2006). Another interpretive principle by Tilden is a revelation. It is a response that comes in form of an answer. To make revelation effective, it should be done at the end of the communication. Besides, an interpretive response should address the whole issue which has been communicated.


Management scholars posit that supportive response while communicating with workers in an organization is critical for an organization to succeed in terms of work performance (Ashley, 2006). The argument hinges on the notion that supportive communication is normally not personal oriented, but rather problem-oriented. In agreement, Brown et al (2008) point out that the use of supportive response at the workplace is crucial when determining personal appraisals by focusing on events and behavior. Managers and employees should be able to see things the way others do and try to be supportive when dealing with overt behaviors.

Besides, the supportive response should have its foundation based on congruence. Brown et al (2008) continue to point out that congruence aids in relating feelings and thoughts to nonverbal and verbal communication. In a workplace, supportive response builds the best relationships, interpersonal communication, and limits incongruence. Besides, the supportive response is descriptive, valid, specific, conjunctive, and requires listening.

Probing, questioning

A probing response has been considered as one of the most effective ways through which a listener can be able to effectively understand and show interest in what a communicator is saying (Ashley, 2006). Keefe-Perry (2010) argues that the reason behind probing and asking questions is to enable a listener to acquire additional information. In a workplace, different workers and decision-makers have diverse views on how the business operation should effectively be conducted.

A manager may also require information or advice from experts. In both instances, probing plays a crucial role in deriving appropriate responses. Smith, Blandford, and Back (2009) point out that the four types of probes which may be used in communicating responses include reflective probes, repetitions probes, clarification probe, and elaboration probe.

Understanding, empathic

Empathic response during communication should reflect structures and skills that aim at generating collaborative and creative results by fostering empathic connections (Ashley, 2006). Pollak et al (2010) point out that empathic response is a process that involves speech and imagination to bring good results. In a workplace where conflicts are quite a norm, the use of empathic communication creates a solution by ensuring that workers’ values and fundamental needs are satisfied. Managers seeking to effectively respond to diverse workplace problems among workers place themselves in the position of workers to share and understand their feelings, motives, and concerns.


McClelland’s theory of needs

McClelland’s theory of needs is one of the major motivation theories which reflects how important it is to meet the various needs of workers as a way of motivating them. This theory employs a thematic aptitude test (TAT) to determine how affiliations, achievements, and the need for power influence motivation among different people (Kemper & Brandes, 2007). In a workplace environment, some workers feel motivated when their work is appreciated, and when they emotionally feel liked and accepted. Others feel motivated when their achievement needs are openly recognized.

This group prefers making unique and standard accomplishments, a consideration that is attained via performing challenging and difficult tasks. According to McClelland, workers in an organization require their various needs to be met to feel motivated.

ERG theory

Like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the ERG theory supports the need for motivating workers by meeting their diverse demands. According to this theory, workers’ basic needs such as psychological and existence needs must be met first (Pot, Koningsveld & Erg, 2009). also, managers should ensure that the safety needs of employees are guaranteed through the provision of a safe working environment. Besides, there is a greater need for management in organizations to create coherence and relatedness as employees can be effectively motivated when connected and working as a group. Lastly, the theory calls for leaders to minimize the development of the frustration-regression process that comes when self-actualization and personal achievement needs are not met.

Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory

The dual scale found in the existence of dissatisfaction and satisfaction of workers at the workplace has become a disturbing management issue in many organizations. Herzberg notes in his motivation-hygiene theory that some of the de-motivators in a workplace are hygienic factors (Marques, 2011). Employees who are working in an unhealthy environment are prone to health threats and may become unhappy with their jobs. Ensuring that employees work in a safe environment may enhance their motivation levels and create job satisfaction. Therefore, there is a need for managers to create a sense of achievement, responsibility, and recognition to boost motivation among employees.

Mc Gregor’s theory X and theory Y

Treating employees correctly forms an important pillar that supports motivation. In his theory of X and Y, McGregor points out that the issue of lack of ambition coupled with a lack of job security may cause a worker to avoid work or dislike it (Marques, 2011). This calls for managers to provide their workers with assurances of job security to enhance motivation. Besides, theory Y has been widely used today by managers. In this theory, McGregor points out that forming teams and working through them motivates workers to be creative, self-empowered, and responsible.

Team dynamics and leadership


The efficiency of a team in accomplishing its goals is based on the set objectives. The objectives must be clear and proper strategies should be set to accomplish them. In a workplace, managers ought to ascertain that the existing teams know their priorities, have measurable objectives, and are coordinated with the organizational goals.


In team dynamics, size plays an important role in determining how effective it can be in the processes of communication, cooperating, and carrying out tasks. Many teams have come to prefer small sizes since it is faster in performing tasks, prevents loss of process in team maintenance and cost of development, and also reduces social loafing. Even so, large teams are also effective in terms of offering psych support and team diversity. A team’s size depends on its leadership and the process to be undertaken. In the workplace, managers may not have the direct power to determine the size of a group.


These are important elements that direct a group on what it should do and the routines to follow. In teamwork, norms are critical in ensuring desirable behaviors and maintaining the consistent ineffective performance of tasks. It is important to point out that norms are developed spontaneously through team interactions and routines. In the workplace, managers need to be well acquainted with the norms a team has. In the case of negative norms, managers need to confront the teams and form agreeable norms.


This refers to a component that brings team members to close relations, a factor that enhances high levels of performance. Teams that stick together are those which are more cohesive. Cohesiveness can be influenced by factors that include success, competition, participation, homogeneity, size, and objectives. Cohesive team members have less hostility and tensions, are more trusting. In the workplace, managers need to be involved in ensuring cohesiveness among workers. Their involvement ensures the development of cohesiveness.


The element of status is crucial as it encompasses the relative ranking of different members of a team. This depends on cohesiveness, norms, and the objectives a group has. The higher the status a group has the better its performance. In the workplace, managers will become effective in a functional group when they assume a high status. Therefore, good human relations between a manager and a team are crucial, and any form of lack of congruence should be eliminated by the existing leadership.


Members of a team have roles that they are required to accomplish. The roles which teams normally have are always based on their expectations, the organization’s expectations, and individual ambitions. As such their roles in a workplace may vary and include self-interest goals, maintenance roles, and task roles. The element of roles encompasses task roles and maintenance roles. The latter is crucial for sustaining group dynamics and they include compromisers, encouragers, gatekeepers, harmonizers, consensus seekers, and formers. Task roles are important for accomplishing task roles and may include controllers and leaders among others.

Teams and creative problem solving

One of the stickiest problems facing various teams in an organization is decision making (Ashley, 2006). In a workplace, certain instances call for inputs and options from groups to come up with an appropriate decision. The advantage of a group decision-making process is that it does away with the authoritarian style of decision making where other members opinions are disregarded. Besides, group decision making gives room for brainstorming where more innovative ideas are produced and team cohesiveness is advanced.

Besides, a group-based decision-making process creates room for a voting-based method (Ashley, 2006). This method is preferable for a group that has various potions and wants to reach an optimum solution. In a workplace, team decision making demonstrates a collective strength and understanding vital for accomplishing goals. Besides, when decisions are made in a team process, a greater group commitment is fostered and a team spirit is imbibed among members.

Involving all members of a team in the decision-making process without a doubt comes with immense disadvantages some of which may make the process fail. One such disadvantage is that different members in a group may show bias due to some preconceived notions, a factor that may hinder success (Ashley, 2006). Besides, group decision making is time consuming compared to the authoritarian style of decision making. In the workplace, group decision-making may make accountability and responsibility among members not to be equally shared. The effect may result in potential splits and hamper the efficiency levels of a team.

Organizational change and culture

Organizational change has been considered as one of the key pillars that enhances overall performance and profitability in a business as it introduces new cultures and systems of operation (Ashley, 2006). However, different members of an organization may become resistant to change due to factors that include

  1. The threat of comfort: Change has been a process that has been known to cause a shift which may cause personal and group discomfort. In my workplace, the reporting time to work was set at 9.00 am. When the need to increase work levels and boost gains came, reporting time was shifted from 9.00 am to 7.30 am, a factor that caused massive discomfort and considerable resistance from workers.
  2. Job security problems: many organizations making changes especially to adopt new systems of operations like technology often leave many workers fearing for layoffs. As such, resistance to this process may be expected from workers whose positions will be affected.
  3. Misunderstanding of the change process: Lack of understanding of a process in many cases causes resistance from employees and stakeholders. Many employees become curious about change processes and normally attribute them to plans to either eliminate them or take away their roles. In my workplace, leadership changes and shifts among teams cause resistance as individuals develop feelings of loss of status.
  4. Fear of the unknown: change in an organization is a process that takes people and the organization itself to an unknown future. The uncertainty of a transformation process is in itself a reason to cause panic among managers and workers and considerable resistance.

Change and its resistance in an organization may lead to the development of certain variables which may include decision balance, situational temptations to develop certain behaviors, and self-efficacy. Overcoming change resistance calls for effective setting up of assurance measures that a process is beneficial to an organization. This can be through creating an understanding of the process among workers and giving of compensations where necessary.

Conflict resolutions

To initiate a solution between Chris and me, the first step will be to plan an approach. My XYZ statement will be:

  • X-when you cook, eat and leave dirty dishes.
  • Y- it becomes a burden to me and time consuming as I have to wash them first before cooking my meals.
  • Z- All this makes me feel frustrated and sometimes unable to cook.


Ashley, S. (2006). Heritage institutions, resistance and praxis. Canadian Journal of Communication, 31(3), 639-658.

Brown, L. D., Shepherd, M. D., Merkle, E. C., Wituk, S. A., & Meissen, G. (2008). Understanding how participation in a consumer-run organization relates to recovery. American Journal of Community Psychology, 42(1-2), 167-178.

Keefe-Perry, L. (2010). Divine exploration and invitation. Cross Currents, 60(1), 89- 137.

Kemper, R. V., & Brandes, S. (2007). Obituaries: George McClelland foster jr. (1913- 2006). American Anthropologist, 109(2), 425-428.

Marques, J. (2011). Turning inward to connect outward: Interbeing as motivational path in today’s workplace. Interbeing, 5(1), 19-29.

Pollak, K. et al. (2010). Do patient attributes predict oncologist empathic responses and patient perceptions of empathy? Supportive Care in Cancer, 18(11), 1405-11.

Pot, F. D., Koningsveld, E. & Erg, E. (2009). Quality of working life and organizational performance – two sides of the same coin? Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 35(6), 421-8.

Smith, P., Blandford, A., & Back, J. (2009). Questioning, exploring, narrating and playing in the control room to maintain system safety. Cognition, Technology & Work, 11(4), 279-291.

Vanaerschot, G. (2007). Empathic resonance and differential experiential processing: An experiential process-directive approach. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 61(3), 313-31.

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