Communication in Traditional and Network Organizations

Communication in Traditional and Network Organizations

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5930-6.ch004


In this chapter, the authors compare communication systems of network and traditional (hierarchical) organizations. They will also examine the factors that affect smooth functioning of modern communication systems. They are particularly interested in the role of ICT as a determinant of the operation of such systems. Communication systems of organizations depend on many factors. The crucial ones are the purposes that these systems are to serve and the resources allocated to them. Communication systems are analyzed in numerous works of literature on organization and management sciences. Those interested in these issues can be recommended to read the multi-volume Encyclopedia of Information Technology and Communication edited by M. Khosrow-Pour (2017). In order to present communication in organization management, the authors will employ a model approach that outlines managerial communication in a simplified way. The selection of analyzed sources is anchored in the study of literature and research reports as well as in their own experience as designers and researchers. The authors also point out that the issues highlighted in this chapter are elaborated on in other parts of this monograph.
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Models Of Communication Systems And Their Elements

The cybernetic model of contemporary communication was first presented in the literature by Shannon and Weaver. The Shannon–Weaver model of communication has been called the “mother of all models” (Woods & Hollnagel, 2005). It is considered when many senders and receivers exist and when information channels are broadened and extended. Thereby, we can prove that when analyzing the extended model presented in the figure, the risk of losses and changes in information being sent increases. This model justifies the assertion that IT systems allow the information transmission process to be organized in such a way that we reduce the possibility of noise as an element of information loss.

Figure 1.

Communication model according to Shannon & Weaver

Source: (Shannon & Weaver, 1948)

The notion of communication model is applied in various contexts, and research into communication is multidisciplinary. Such research is associated with the theory and research in the fields of psychology, economics, sociology, political science, and sciences. As claimed by W.F. Eadie and R. Goret (2013), despite its deep roots in research, communication has, however, a relatively short history as a scientific discipline. The most extensive ancient texts that address issues related to communication were written by Greek and Roman societies. The importance of communication as well as the ability to communicate effectively was an indispensable part of the education of the ancient man. Rhetoric, or the art of discourse, was also a component of classical education in later centuries, representing the “trivium” of liberal arts (Lat. septem artes liberales), together with dialectics and grammar.

Thus, until the 19th century, the art of communication was an essential element to be learned by every educated man.

In our discussion, we focus on management and organization. We analyze the processes pertaining to two key management issues, namely efficient transmission of reliable and up-to-date information and knowledge to all authorized members of the organization. Today’s communication system fulfills the following two tasks:

  • 1.

    Transfer of information;

  • 2.

    Transfer of knowledge, including the transformation of information into knowledge by means of BI information systems.

The primary objective of communication projects is to design such a process of information and knowledge transfer within an organization that will satisfy user needs. At the same time the implementation process should be effective, smooth and efficient. In the related literature, similar aspects of communication processes were addressed by many researchers. One of the broadest analyses was performed by already mentioned William F. Eadie and Robin Goret (2013). They examined the communication model in the following dimensions: the element influencing public opinion and culture, the language used, the way of transmitting information, and the developer of relationships. A comprehensive monograph on the theory of communication processes was offered by Werner J. Severin and James W. Tankard (2014). They point out that the assessment of communication processes within an organization is multidisciplinary (interdisciplinary) and requires an analysis of many of its aspects. This fact was noted by B. Bloom (1956). His works outlining so-called Bloom’s taxonomy contain a classification of learning objectives. Although developed in 1956, the taxonomy is still a very useful tool. In addition to the classification of learning objectives, Bloom’s taxonomy shows a model of the development of knowledge transfer systems. It consists of three domains: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. The cognitive domain is particularly important, comprising both knowledge and intellectual skills.

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