The paper deals with the case analysis concerning communication strategies in general and phenomenon of communication with a new staff in particular. The case represents the situation of a new corporate employee acquired to a leading position with the purpose to provide change management and increase the overall level of efficiency the department tends to display.
The purpose of the paper is to analyze the whole case and provide recommendations concerning the most efficient, relevant and consistent communication strategy in the context of corporate culture and working environment.
Analysis of the Current Organizational Culture and Climate in the Department
In order to provide relevant and constructive analysis of a particular case, it is necessary to account for the basic theoretical concepts and phenomena. Hence, it is essential to dwell on the notion of corporate culture as far as it is one of the most crucial issues in the case of Patricia Daniels.
According to Christensen (2006), “Culture is a property of an independently defined social unit — a unit whose members share a significant number of common experiences in successfully addressing external and internal problems.” As a direct consequence of such common experiences, the group of employees tends to develop in the course of time a common view and general outlook on the process of corporate performance as well as the surrounding world. Furthermore, the corporate staff is supposed to share the vision of proper and relevant methods which may be utilized for the course of problem solution that is to be effective in the context of the world conception. The corporate culture provides cohesion and team spirit as well as more significant development and improvement of the overall corporate efficiency.
As far as Zaremba (2003) describes the concept of corporate culture as “the sea we swim in – so pervasive, so all consuming, that we fail to notice its existence until we step out of it. It matters more than we think” (p. 154). Such an approach to the comprehension of the concept of corporate culture is especially crucial in the context of the situation Patricia Daniels happened to be in. This situation demonstrates complete lack of culture as far as there are no common experiences and as a consequence, no common vision. There is no discipline and properly followed working schedule within the department of the technical support.
Furthermore, the attitude to the colleagues from other departments is far from being professional and relevant. These criteria are the basic ones for the establishment of the background of the corporate culture. It is evident that if the employees fail to come to their working place in time and be, at least, polite with their counterparts at the office, there is no potential for efficient performance and significant improvement in terms of current conditions. Hence, it is essential to underline the urgent necessity of crucial and perspective alterations in the course of the corporate performance of the department. Actually, this is the supreme and foremost important target of the change agent, Patricia Daniels.
The climate is one more significant phenomenon to dwell on. It may be regarded as a peculiar quality that is characteristic to a certain internal environment of the corporation. The climate impacts all the employees of the internal environment, their behavior and, as a consequence, the ramifications of their professional activity. The climate may be regarded as a direct consequence of corporate culture conception and practical implementation. Zaremba (2003) underlines the crucial role of the corporate climate, “The ‘climate’ of the organization is more crucial than are communication skills or techniques (taken by themselves) in creating an effective organization” (p. 154). Hence, it may be concluded that it is relevant to start with the improvement of basic communication and discipline aspects of professional performance in order to move in such a way toward the establishment of a relevant and constructive corporate culture. A subsequent result may be a proper and effective climate and decent efficiency of the corporate activity.
Actually, the current state of the climate within the working department is apparently tense and inefficient. The absence of the fixed and relevant working schedule as well as apparent lack of mutual support and common vision within the staff of the department of technical support is a sufficient evidence that demonstrates the fact that there is no team spirit and therefore, no responsibility and reliability of the department in general. The reason is that the department may be responsible only in case every employee performs his/her functions and duties properly, efficiently and timely with coherent and constructive approach that aligns with the whole working process of the department. There is no separately individual and team oriented aspects in the course of corporate performance. There should be only individually performed aspects which contribute to the overall purpose achievement by the whole department. The notions of interaction and mutually beneficial cooperation within the course of working performance are crucial in the overall conception of corporate culture and philosophy.
Hence, the key goals of Daniels as a new director comprise the following: to improve the discipline, to develop the corporate culture, to motivate the team work and to establish friendly and supportive climate in the working environment. The achievement of the aforementioned goals will contribute sufficiently to the high-performing organization of the working process.
Analysis of Key Audiences to Reach
Patricia Daniels should reach every type of audience she has in the department. Hence, it is appropriate to organize the introductive meeting in order to underline the significance of the team spirit that obviously lacks in the department. Furthermore, it will be an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with the team of the technical support department as a whole and form the initial impression. It will contribute to further analysis and communication strategy development.
Furthermore, it will be appropriate to acquire a general picture of the corporate staff in the informal atmosphere. In order to provide such a possibility, it is recommended to organize some party as a symbol of entrance of a new member to the team. The next step will require more individual and specific approach. It means a personal conversation with each of 20 employees of the department. As far as there are numerous problems and drawbacks, in order to deal with it, it is essential to get to the bottom line of every problem. It means that Patricia Daniels should detect and comprehend the reasons and motives of such a behavior. The first and the most apparent reason that may explain to certain extent such an attitude of the employees to the professional performance, duties, and responsibilities is the misleading policy of the previous director of the department. The excessive liberation of the working process is obviously the background for the current frivolous attitude to working process.
The Communication Strategy for Three-Week Period
The initial stage of the professional performance is tremendously crucial for further efficiency and constructive cooperation. It is especially essential in the situation of leading position as in the case of Patricia Daniels. Therefore, the selected communication strategy should be efficient, consistent, and flawless.
First of all, it is necessary to establish such basic elements of the professional performance of the department as authority and responsibility. The messages Daniels conveys to the employees of her department should be sufficiently informative, confident, and constructive. All the tasks the employees receive should be reported about and subsequently, properly assessed by the supervisor. Moreover, the control of all the projects should be performed by Daniels. Such an approach will help Patricia to position herself as authoritative, responsible and determined director.
It is more appropriate to talk to the full-time and part-time employees separately after the general meeting. The reason is that their working conditions are different. Hence, their schedules are also different. As a consequence, neglecting discipline, rules, and duties is a common problem, but the variants of solution may sufficiently differ. Hence, the general meeting is to introduce and outline the major scopes of problems and drawbacks in the course of working process, but the decisions are to be taken gradually and according to certain sub-department.
It is significant to follow the unity of direction and the unity of command. These aspects are also essential as far as they contribute to team work improvement and sufficiently increase the level of corporate efficiency. Furthermore, they tend to contribute to the major purposes and tasks the employees are to achieve and to perform respectively. The more precisely and clearly the final target is outlined, the better result should be expected. This message should be conveyed personally by the director of department. Such an approach will strengthen the position of Daniels as the leader and as the authority within the department.
The final version of the policy statement developed by Daniels should be announced during the general meeting as well as sent as e-mail to every employee of the department.
The intranet should be used only for business discussion and urgent announcements. The welcoming note will be inappropriate. Moreover, it may distract the attention of the employees from the working process even more, and the employees may possibly conclude that their new director is “too sociable” and resembles the previous one. Hence, the invitations should be conveyed in the other way.
The communication with the associate director requires special approach. It is wise to have a conversation with this person before the general meeting. There are many reasons for such a strategy as far as the associate director was at the same position earlier and knows the staff as well as the department quite well. However, discussion of plans is not necessary at this stage. The discussion and sharing of the future plans and strategies will be more appropriate in a week. The input of every employee of the department may be a wise action provided it is performed properly and consistently. It is appropriate to cite Kotter (1995) in the context of discussion of wise and efficient actions when acquiring a leading position as a change agent, “Leaders who successfully transform businesses do eight things right (and they do them in the right order)” (p. 96). Therefore, it is so essential to start properly.
Thus, the position of a new director of the department, especially in the role of ‘change agent,’ is very responsible, controversial and challenging. The first impression is always essential. Therefore, the efficient and perspective communication strategy should be implemented as far as any type of work starts with the conversation and discussion of the issues. Hence, three-week period should be used by Daniels for the establishment of own authority as a new director, introduction of the corporate culture and principles of team work, improvement of discipline and the employees’ motivation and finally, provision of relevant background for further development and improvement. These aspects are considered to be primary for the initial stage of Daniels’ corporate performance at a new position.