One aspect of the ethics of electronic communications is that people feel an insular autonomy, not necessarily true but implied by the format and that often times people chose to communicate at many times of the day and night, sometimes regretting that the communication was not made with appropriate forethought and skill. The social aspect of work communications must not be ignored as the dynamic of email communication can seriously alter the human dimension of work. (Rooksby, 2002, pp. 2-3) in the management employee relationship, depending upon the size and structure of the organization, the dynamic of distance may be assumed and even relied upon for the foundation of authority. While in contrast the goal of management may be to connect more personally with individuals to ensure then that there is a common vision and understanding as well as a relationship that is demonstrative of teamwork and employee empowerment. Management may choose a delivery method that is more personal, through electronic means, personal letter, or memo hardcopies or even a face-to-face meeting, regarding an important issue. The method is at the disposal of the manager but the delivery method can slant the message and give it more or less meaning, depending not only on content but delivery.
With any written communication there are challenges, regarding content communication and style. If a manager is to be effective certain individual characteristics must be communicated, in addition to the core of the message. Personalization and humor can be challenging to express via written communications, though they are said to be essential to being a good manger. (Green & Knippen, 1999, p. 45) if communications all revolve around the written form, and especially the electronic written form, there could be a loss of the personal that is so essential to appropriate social culture within the workplace. The effective manager is capable of balancing the markedly necessary characteristics of a good manager that link individuals together in a common expressed vision and action plan and the manager must do this by appropriately choosing delivery methods that express the correct level of communication for the message being sent.
Consistency vs. Inconsistency
Consistency is essential to appropriate communications as it establishes a standard that individual employees recognize as the communication of the common goal, as it revolves around the vision. In the case of inconsistent communication, the message is fractured and the employee may feel that the timeliness of communications and messages does not meet the needs of goal development and implementation for team building. Another form of inconsistency can also occur if agents all see differing perspectives based upon the nature of their particular job set, and if these perspectives are not given appropriate weight in communications. Though it is essential that agents with a narrowed view communicate effectively the goal of the particular local needs there is also a sense that the communications centered from local needs can potentially undermine the central communication, and vise versa. (Xuan & Lesser, 2002, pp. 2-3) Inconsistency is generated between local agents and underlings when the goals stated in local messages and/or department messages do not demonstrate the broader vision or the reverse. This can create in an employee the sense that there is not only a lack of a common goal but a demonstrative breakdown in the communication between local agents, i.e. team mangers and those above them. The differing messages can then create confusion in goals and job tasks for the employee, leaving them in a position of not being able to independently decide on the next appropriate action and a lack of motivation. The employee loses motivation if he or she has no clear sense of their own role in the process of the common goal, and this is exacerbated when goals seem contradictory or ill matched. As Massey points out inconsistent communication in crisis management is the most fatal and crisis can in fact be a result of original inconsistent communication.
The reason organizations should engage in consistent crisis communication is that "audiences may challenge the truthfulness of the account" (Ginzel et al., 1993, p. 240) if inconsistent responses are given. As Coombs (1999) states, "consistency is essential to building the credibility of the response. A consistent message is more believable than an inconsistent one" (p. 117). Furthermore, if the organization provides inconsistent crisis responses, the image of the organization can be tarnished. "Such behavior can destroy the trust that might have been put in the company.... The ideal is to be able to speak with one voice" (Massey, 2001, p. 153)
Not only can the credibility of the entire organization be challenged but inconsistent communication can challenge the credibility of the individuals involved in it. In a crisis state or even in a normal state inconsistent or contradictory communication can seriously undermine employee motivation and satisfaction, as it may make the individual feel as if management is not capable of dealing with a common goal or defining the needs and responsibly of any given department or individual.
Conversely consistent communication can unite team members to a common set of goals and vision, as long as such communication does not become so consistent that it is considered perfunctory and ignored. When individual are in moments of indecision and must seek guidance, consistent communication can be a guide. When everything is running smoothly overly consistent, monotonous communication may be ignored, even when crucial information is imbedded within it. (Crossman, 2003, p. 72)it is therefore the responsibility of the manager to recognize the need to vary communications just enough that the individual receives all pertinent information, without monotony and/or overly inconsistent messaging. The manager must look to information, based upon the level of its importance and create an appropriate method of delivery that reflects its essential nature. So, while the general rule of consistency is a good one delivery method consistency may be a trap that sets information in a place of obscurity, even when it is essential to the development of common goals and shifts in global or local needs.
Strategic Project Management, is an essential team building exercise that employs all aspects of strategic planning and can develop through strategic planning steps that if applied correctly seem concrete to those involved, creating both short-term and long-term decision making and action. (Grundy & Brown 204) Strategic project management also employs collaboration and teamwork as an essential element. Through strategic project management, teams can complete concrete tasks, that best suit each member's needs, abilities and points-of-view and then cultivate completed works through dimensions that had previously been a mystery to the many arms of the organisation. Consistency is developed through a balance between the team and the leader as well as through the ability of the individual team members to fulfill project-based tasks to effectively meet the needs of all those involved in the project. Essentially strategic project management is a new and essential aspect of many HROs.
According to Hatton and Raymond, businesses that work are those that most effectively bring together all the information that is needed to successfully complete tasks, in a manner that is reflective of the tasks being done and the structure of the business. Hatton and Raymond rely on primary sources and theories that are seminal to business research.
Thompson (1967) originally suggested three types of task interdependence: pooled, sequential, and reciprocal. A task that requires pooled interdependence brings all information, communication, and materials to one point where the work is done.... Automobile assembly lines are historical examples of sequential interdependence; information and materials to do the work is passed from station to station down the assembly line. The final type of interdependence, reciprocal means the completion of the work depends on many varying sources of information and materials. Often the work will proceed recursively, being recycled based on updated information. (Hatton & Raymond, 1994, p. 76)
In a sense the traditional model runs on the idea that the type of business one is doing will determine which communication style and structure best works for it. Some businesses choose to diverge from tradition through innovative communication and styles, in an attempt to better deliver the goals of the business, but for the most part communication style is a standard based upon behavior, motivation and psychology and must only be tweaked to meet the needs of the business vision and its congruency and its ability to be communicated. Communication skills at al levels, i.e. management and subordinate are so crucial to success that many firms are seeking additional communications training for employees to support and develop essential communications with in the organization. (Roebuck, Sightler & Brush, 1995, p. 99)Those who do so have been proving to be those who are succeeding in the modern business world of fast paced mutable goals and business structures and constancy of employee shifts in level and responsibility.