Organizational Development

Evolving Beyond Blurred Lines

Much of my work as a certified training specialist heightens employee self awareness related to how their behaviors impact coworkers and align with organization structure. Most of them don’t care about the overlapping lines between organizational communication, organizational behavior, and business communication. They are typically just trying to get through the day with a sense of accomplishment and some sign indicating their work is appreciated.

Even on a managerial level, most people I’ve worked with put interpersonal oral skills and written communication in the same bucket they refer to as “business communication”. However, college courses teaching “business communication”, may focus primarily on various types of written messages. Professional public speaking and managerial communication sometimes get special mention under the umbrella of organizational skills that may need improvement. These interconnected disciplines are, as Aristotle pointed out in his reference to rhetoric and dialectics, “the general kin of all [employees] and belong to no definite science.

A 1983 article written by Smeltzer makes a bold observation: “Managerial Communication is a hybrid…Knowledge of rhetoric, linguistics, small-group dynamics, grammar, business administration, psychology, and sociology should hypothetically be required.” This week consider how a systematic integration of these skills could benefit the leaders at your organization. How might culture be impacted if private sector managers and supervisors and college Chairs, Deans, and VPs got on board with such rigorous requirements?

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