Annals of the International Communication Association ISSN: 2380-8985 (Print) 2380-8977 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rica20 Managerial Communication and Work Perception Terrance L. Albrecht To cite this article: Terrance L. Albrecht (1984) Managerial Communication and Work Perception, Annals of the International Communication Association, 8:1, 538-557, DOI: 10.1080/23808985.1984.11678589 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23808985.1984.11678589 Published online: 18 May 2016. Submit your article to this journal Article views: 1 View related articles Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?journalCode=rica20 Download by: [Florida State University] Date: 25 October 2017, At: 15:07 Downloaded by [Florida State University] at 15:07 25 October 2017 v e ORGAN IZATIONAL COMMUNICATION ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION 20- Managerial Communication and Downloaded by [Florida State University] at 15:07 25 October 2017 Work Perception TERRANCE L. ALBRECHT University of Washington T is an accepted notion that an individual's cognitive orientation is a function of the extent to which societal structure regulates exposure to varied kinds of experiences (Holzner, 1972; Parks, 1977). Managers in the organization world are no different; the ways they view their jobs and see themselves are shaped in large part by their positions in the social system. Their social participation roles facilitate or impede what they can do, whom they can contact, and what they can learn. As in other social aggregates, a position in the social structure of the workplace emerges from the pattern of one's communication transactions with others. A social order is established based on the configuration of strong and weak links among members. The emergent networks of information flow have consequences not only for the cognitive processes of the individuals involved but also for power and influence, politics, members' perceptions of the social climate, and the overall functioning effectiveness of the organization (Albrecht, 1979; Danowski, 1980; Farace, Taylor, & Stewart, 1978; Goldhaber, Dennis, Richetto, & Wiio, 1979; Jablin, 1980; Thurman, 1979). Although the notion of structure and the impact on individual perceptions is important for understanding motivation and behavior, it has been examined only a few times in research on organizational communication (Jablin, 1982). Recent work has generally concerned the relation between network integration and attitude formation. Albrecht (1979) found that cognitive maps representing work climate attitudes were a function of members' communication network roles in a unionized manufacturing plant. Taylor (1977) studied the relation between degree of attitude change and I Correspondence and requests for reprints: Terrance L. Albrecht. Department of Speech Communication DL-15, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195. 538 Downloaded by [Florida State University] at 15:07 25 October 2017 Managerial Communication 539 network roles of administrators in a statewide educational setting. His results supported hypotheses predicting rate of acceptance of an 00 effort based on message impact and network centrality. The present study was based on a theoretical framework integrating assumptions from uncertainty reduction theory (Berger & Calabrese, 1975), force aggregation theory (Gillham & Woelfel, 1977), and communication structure (Farace, Mange, & Russell, 1977; Rogers & Kincaid, 1981). The purpose was to investigate how managers viewed themselves and their jobs in terms of relational and motivational factors in the organization. Following the mounting empirical evidence for cognitive and behavioral differences among communication role incumbents (e.g., Albrecht, 1979; MacOonald, 1976; Schwartz & Jacobson, 1977; Taylor, 1977), we hypothesized specific ways in which perceptions would differ for those in linking or central roles versus others. This research extended previous studies in two ways: (1) The focus was specifically on the relation between communication behavior and the very personal views managers had about their self-concepts and their jobs; and (2) unlike most previous network and perception studies that have been based on data only from a single time point (e.g., Albrecht, 1979; MacDonald, 1976; Moch, 1980; Roberts & O'Reilly, 1979), this research design was conducted over three points in time. The intent was to examine whether differences in personal perceptions held across time, and how reports of those perceptions fluctuated given highly sensitive measurement techniques. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND HYPOTHESES Managers in organizations communicate so as to reduce uncertainty and ambiguity (Farace et al., 1978; Weick, 1979),. thereby enabling them to gain some control over their environments. Whether a manager achieves control is determined by several things, including his or her access to information, and the quality of relations with subordinates and superiors. Hence the outcomes of moves to reduce uncertainty and ambiguity are colored by the manager's location and level of interaction with others. Meaning for significant aspects of the organization, as well as one's sense of self and work role, are negotiated products of the range and quantity of interaction with others. The central notion of force aggregation theory is that attitudes about objects develop at a level commensurate with the rate of acquisition of information about those "objects," such as an issue, a product, the organization, or the self (Albrecht, 1979; Barnett, Serota, & Taylor, 1976; Taylor, Farace, & Monge, 1976). Information is acquired through interactions with others; through this process objects come to develop definition and meaning, which is then shared among members (Taylor et al., 1976). Downloaded by [Florida State University] at 15:07 25 October 2017 540 ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION Specifically, force aggregation theory, an outgrowth of symbolic interaction notions (Woelfel & HaIler, 1971) and learning theory (Burgoon, Burgoon, Miller, & Sunnafrank, 1981), incorporates hypotheses where attitudes are a product of the amount of weighted information organization members receive about objects they perceive as salient in the organization. Information is weighted by the number of messages received, whether the messages are positive or negative, and the level of significance of the source (Gillham & Woelfel, 1977; Taylor, 1977). For managers at work, perceptions about themselves and their jobs have been developed and reinforced by many messages over a long period. Managers at all levels accumulate information about themselves by working and interacting with others in the organization; the effect is an impact, a shaping of one's self-concept, and perceptions about success on the job. These are developed through positive or negative communication over time with significant others and acquaintances. Further, the assumption of most force aggregation studies (e.g., Albrecht, 1979) has been that perceptions about objects (such as a product, a candidate, or an innovation) will be positive to the extent that individuals perceive them to be associated with themselves or "close" to their selfconcepts in their psychological distance judgments. "Positive" in this sense means they will be disposed to "buy" the product, "vote" for the candidate, or "adopt" the innovation (Albrecht, 1979; see Barnett et al., 1976; Taylor et al., 1976; Taylor, 1977). For managers in the organization, minimal psychological distance between themselves and their views of their jobs (and their coworkers, bosses, salaries, and so on) reflect strong self-definitions and imprinted involvement with work. For a manager to lack that identification with the job and the organization reflects what Westley (1979) has argued: a psychological detachment-in short, alienation. Given that messages frame attitudes and perceptions, it is important to understand the nature of a manager's access to them. Communication structure refers to the pathways of information flow that link organization members (Farace et al., 1977). One's position or communication role in the network represents the frequency of interaction, integration in the system, and degree of diversity among contacts. As noted previously in this chapter, different levels of network integration have been related to differences in attitudes and motivation (e. g., Albrecht, 1979; Albrecht, Irey, & Mundy, 1982; Moch, 1980; Roberts & O'Reilly, 1979; Taylor, 1977). Reynolds and Johnson (1982) reviewed selected findings on differences between liaisons and nonliaisons and found that liaisons were unique in terms of motivational and relational factors. Following the line of work advanced in these previous studies, the present research was designed to further explore such motivation and relationship Managerial Communication 541 factors as related to fluctuations in managers' perceptions of themselves and their jobs. The hypotheses were based on predictions of differences in cognitive orientation between managers identified as linkers (those in bridge or liaison communication roles) and nonlinkers (group members and other, more isolated roles). Downloaded by [Florida State University] at 15:07 25 October 2017 Hypotheses At the motivational level, it was expected that linkers would identify more with their jobs because they had more positive orientations to their roles in the system. This was consistent with previous findings. Albrecht (1979) found that liaisons and bridges identified more with their jobs and that their concepts of their jobs were at the center of their cognitive MDS spaces. She reasoned that key linkers would see themselves as more central, given that they had access and influence in the communication system. In contrast, nonlinkers would have less involvement in the communication flow and would encounter fewer messages to shape their perceptions. They viewed little about the organization in ways they could relate to themselves and their jobs. Roberts and 0' Reilly (1979) found that participants in a communication network of navy personnel had more job satisfaction than did nonparticipants. Finally, MacDonald (1976) found that liaisons were more satisfied with their jobs and the communication system (Reynolds & Johnson, 1982). The hypotheses are as follows: HI: The magnitude of the psychological distance between the concepts of "self" and "my job" will be less for Iinkers than for nonlinkers. H2 : The association between the concepts of "self" and "my job" reported by Iinkers will become closer over time than will the association reported by nonlinkers. Given that linkers were expected to identify more with their jobs and generally be more satisfied with their work, it was also hypothesized that they would attribute more positive concepts in connection to themselves and their jobs than would nonlinkers. It was expected that these would be perceived as an increasingly closer set of associations over time: H3: Linkers will associate their jobs and their concepts of themselves more with positive concepts than will nonlinkers. H4: Linkers will report closer associations over time between the concepts in Hypothesis 3 than will nonlinkers. At the relational level, it was expected that linkers would perceive less nistance between themselves and their coworkers and superiors because of Downloaded by [Florida State University] at 15:07 25 October 2017 542 ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION the range and frequency of their communication behavior. Amend (1971) found that liaisons had greater peer communication contact and network centrality. Hence liaisons likely perceive closer relationships between themselves and others because of greater contact. And Albrecht (1979) found that those in linking positions perceived less psychological distance between themselves and the plant foremen and general management. What this means is that the volume of interactions functions to reduce linkers' levels of uncertainty toward others, which in turn facilitates continued interaction. As Parks and Adelman (1983) noted, the reduction of uncertainty motivates further interaction by increasing levels of affiliation between persons. H5: The magnitude of the psychological distance between the concepts of "my job" and "my boss" and between "my jab" and "my caworkers" will be less far linkers than for nanlinkers. H6: The magnitude of the psychological distance between the concepts of "me" and "my boss" and between "me" and "my coworkers" will be less for linkers than for nonlinkers. H7: The distances reported by linkers between the concepts noted in Hypotheses 5 and 6 will decrease more over time than will the distances reported by nonlinkers. In understanding the perceptions linkers have about their relationships in organizations, it was necessary to consider the nature of their reported communication contacts-the strength and/ or frequency and range of contact with others. This helps construe the level of certainty linkers have over their personal communication environments. Investigating the organization system from a communication network perspective means that the phenomena under study are the retrospective accounts of people about their communication behavior (Albrecht & Ropp, 1982), a reflection of the assumptions they hold about their relationships and relative positions in the organization. These assumptions vary across organization members systemwide, to the extent that there can be much disagreement among respondents as to the nature of their links to others. That is, people may disagree not only on the number of times they communicated during a given period (strength of the link) but also on whether the link even existed at all. Hence we explored how linkers and nonlinkers differed in their perceptions of their communication patterns, as well as how others in the system reported interacting with them. High agreement with others over the nature of one's interactions indicates a level of perceived personal control and certainty over actions. Schwartz and Jacobson (1977) found that liaisons had higher levels of reciprocity (agreement over the existence of a link) than did nonliaisons. Given that Amend (1971) found that liaisons had more control over the general flow of information in the organization, it was expected that 543 Managerial Communication tinkers would have greater awareness of the scope and volume of their interactions; that they had greater certainty about the environments in which they communicated. They would be less likely to err in the estimates they reported for the range and frequency of their contacts. Downloaded by [Florida State University] at 15:07 25 October 2017 'H8 : Linkers will have a higher level of reciprocated contact and less discrepancy in the volume of their perceived interactions with others than will nonlinkers. H9 : The reciprocity and discrepancy levels in Hypothesis 8 will remain stable over time more for tinkers than for nonlinkers. METHOD The organization used for the research site was an electronics manufacturing plant in the Southwest. Respondents were all salaried personnel (n = 65). The number of respondents at each time point were (I) 89 percent, (2) 80 percent, and (3) 75 percent. Of the respondents at time 1, 65 percent were male. The age range was 19-58 (mean = 38, s = 8.9). The average length of time employed in the facility was 3.02 years (s = 1.75). There were 17 percent considered upper-level managers, 20 percent middle-level, and 63 percent lower-level. Nearly all were white. Atotal of 48 percent had completed one year of college; 51 percent had finished college. Measurements. Job and self-perceptions were measured using a paired comparison technique developed in attitude measurement (Gillham & Woelfel, 1977; Woelfel & Fink, 1980). The form of measurement is a set of paired comparisons among concepts and attributes salient to organization members and native to their shared code system. These words were identified through content analysis of personal interview data collected just prior to the main study with a random sample of 20 percent of the salaried individuals. Respondents were asked open-ended questions concerning their descriptions of the work environment, their jobs, superiors, coworkers, and so on. Concepts and attributes mentioned most frequently across respondents were chosen for the final study instrument and included "teamwork," "knowledgeable," "effectiveness," "pressures," "problems," "frustration," "my salary," and "my boss." Concepts added as part of the research purpose were "me," "my job," and "coworkers" (see also Albrecht, 1979; Taylor, 1977). Each word was paired with the concepts "me" and "my job." The items for the final instrument were the paired comparisons; respondents were asked to indicate the degree of perceived similarity between the concepts of each pair by making distance judgments. The judgments were made using open-ended ratio scales (Gillham & Woelfel, 1977). Communication structure properties and communication role were as- Downloaded by [Florida State University] at 15:07 25 October 2017 544 ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION sessed using network-analytic techniques developed by Richards (1975). The work network among salaried persons was measured by asking respondents how often they had talked with other personnel during the previous week about their jobs, work in the plant, or the general day-to'-day business of the company. The roster method (Rogers & Kincaid, 1981) was used to facilitate memory recall for respondents. Names of all respondents were listed on the instrument in alphabetical order. The data were analyzed using program NEGOPY (Richards, 1975) to determine each member's communication role. Those managers classified by the program as bridges or liaisons were coded as communication linkers. Group members, dyad members, and isolates were coded as nonlinkers. Values for additional communication properties used for the reciprocity and discrepancy analyses were obtained from the NEGOPY results. Reciprocity. This variable referred to the extent to which two people independently agreed they had a communication link (Farace et al., 1977; Richards, 1975). If a respondent reported that communication with an individual took place but the individual did not report the occurrence, the link was considered unreciprocated. Level of reciprocity was calculated for each respondent based on the ratio of reported reciprocated links to total links (reciprocated and unreciprocated). Link strength Following Richards (1975) and Farace et al. (1977), link strength was measured by reports of communication frequency. Although two managers may have agreed they had a communication link, they mayor may not have agreed on the number of times they communicated during the specified period. Hence, "outgoing reciprocated link strength" referred to the respondent's total report of frequency of communication with all of his or her reciprocated contacts. "Incoming reciprocated link strength" was the total frequency of interaction that all the respondent's contacts reported they had with him or her. A similar analysis was made of the respondent's unreciprocated links. "Outgoing unreciprocated link strength" referred to the total number of interactions reported by the respondent with others who did not report any connection to him or her. "Incoming unreciprocated link strength" was a measure of all reports of communication frequency with the respondent (who did not acknowledge that such transactions occurred). Finally, discrepancy totals were calculated to reflect the sum of differences between the repondent's record of reciprocated and unreciprocated interactions and the number of interactions reported by those others with the individual. Data collection. Data were collected in two stages: (1) telephone interviews and (2) distribution of final study questionnaires at three points in time. The study was a three-wave panel design with one-week intervals between data collection time points. The first collection was held formally on plant premises. Verbal instructions were given to small groups of mixed- 545 Managerial Communication level managers participating in the study. Assurances were made regarding confidentiality of the data for each individual. For the second and third waves of data collection, respondents were asked to complete the forms on their own time during each of the two designated 24-hour periods. The company was given a final report of summary trends in the data. Downloaded by [Florida State University] at 15:07 25 October 2017 RESULTS Communication Role Analysis Of the 58 respondents at time 1, 22 were identified as tinkers. Of those, 32 percent were upper-level managers, 23 percent were middle-level, and 45 percent were lower-level personnel. Thirty-six persons were identified as nonlinkers in the organization. About 11 percent were upper-level managers, 19 percent middle-level, and approximately 69 percent were lowerlevel personnel. The two groups did not differ markedly in terms of representation of management level. Results of a chi-square test showed that the two distributions of management levels were not significantly different (X 2 = 4.42, p > .05, df = 2). Differences in Motivational Factors Hypotheses 1 and 2. In general, linkers tended to identify more closely with their jobs than did nonlinkers. They consistently reported lower mean interpoint distances (Tables 20.1 and 20.2) and were less variable in their perceptions (see the lower standard deviations). The difference in perceptions was significant across time (Table 20.3). Hypothesis 2 was also supported, in that linkers tended to perceive that the concepts of self and job moved closer over time. In contrast, the pattern for nonlinkers remained relatively steady; managers who were nonlinkers. at time 3 perceived their jobs more than three times as distant from themselves as did linkers. Hypotheses 3 and 4. The results show some support for Hypothesis 3. In contrast to those in nonlinking positions, tinkers tended to associate their jobs with the notions of teamwork and effectiveness; they also saw more of a parallel between their jobs and their salaries. They clearly characterized themselves as knowledgeable. Linkers consistently reported the least association with feelings of frustration, a notion that moved further away in space over time. Interestingly, although linkers saw closer associations with positive factors, they also saw their jobs more in terms of problems and pressures than did nonlinkers. They also reported a closer tie to problems at 546 ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION Table 20.1 Descriptive Statistics for Job Concept Pairs Concept Pairs Downloaded by [Florida State University] at 15:07 25 October 2017 My job and my boss linkers nonlinkers x Time 1 (5) x Time 2 (5) x Time 3 (5) 32.73 (27.93) 33.49 (32.05) 25.25 (17.05) 22.74 (23.55) 21.05 (16.72) 26.20 (27.60) My job and pressu res 31.82 (25.89) linkers 35.24 (30.57) nonlinkers 34.05 (29.01) 38.39 (26.03) 32.11 (27.55) 29.50 (26.17) My job and my salary linkers 26.59 (29.70) nonlinkers 33.68 (29.80) 35.71 (29.64) 45.65 (34.25) 36.39 (36.70) 42.67 (34.56) My job and problems linkers 25.62 (29.09) nonlinkers 33.76 (31.80) 27.14 (26.25) 35.32 (23.24) 22.63 (25.46) 29.67 (27.67) My job and coworkers 25.91 (24.53) Iinkers nonlinkers 28.65 (29.56) 28.25 (23.91 ) 26.94 (25.19) 28.42 (24.84) 31.50 (29.42) My job and teamwork 17.05 (18.62) linkers nonlinkers 23.28 (30.74) 18.57 (16.97) 28.91 (27.23) 20.26 (20.85) 25.00 (21.81) My job and effectiveness 15.91 (14.93) linkers 22.36 (26.39) nonlinkers 19.52 (17.24) 22.58 (24.66) 15.79 (15.21) 25.50 (29.46) My job and me linkers nonlinkers 8.81 (11.50) 19.36 (24.79) 6.32 (12.00) 20.50 (28.20) 15.00 (20.18) 22.32 (30.57) a personal level than did the nonlinkers at time 1 (though this did not hold stable across time points 2 and 3). The results generally did not support Hypothesis 4. Cootrary to expectation, tinkers did not tend to perceive a steadily closer association between themselves and their jobs with the more positive concepts. The only relationship where this occurred was with an increased self-characterization of being knowledgeable. Differences in Relational Factors Hypotheses 5, 6, and 7. There was little consistent support for Hypotheses 5 and 6. Linkers and nonlinkers did not differ consistently in their perceptions of their relationships with bosses and coworkers. Although the 547 Managerial Communication Table 20.2 Descriptive Statistics for Self-Concept Pairs Downloaded by [Florida State University] at 15:07 25 October 2017 Concept Pairs x Time 1 x (s) Time 3 Time 2 (s) x (s) Frustration and me Iinkers nonlinkers 50.23 45.78 (31.45) (31.92) 74.29 (114.87) 44.65 (31.92) Problems and me linkers nonlinkers 37.50 41.54 (32.98) (36.96) 42.86 35.32 (35.73) (27.02) 39.17 36.70 (33.97) (31.97) My boss and me linkers nonlinkers 29.32 30.54 (26.43) (33.90) 26.75 28.55 (21.42) (27.73) 19.21 33.00 (15.12) (33.67) Knowledgeable and me 21.36 linkers 26.08 nonlinkers (23.96) (28.41 ) 15.43 26.94 (19.76) (26.10) 12.50 27.33 (13.20) (30.65) Coworkers and me linkers nonlinkers 16.14 28.54 (14.22) (31.71 ) 26.43 26.94 (28.07) (28.97) 18.16 31.00 (16.18) (32.28) My job and me linkers nonlinkers 15.00 22.32 (20.18) (30.57) 8.81 19.36 (11.50) (24.79) 6.32 20.50 (12.00) (28.20) 102.63 (160.90) 51.50 (32.59) Table 20.3 t-Test Results for Differences Between Communication Roles for All Concept Pairs Over Time (one-tailed tests) Concept Pa;rs df Time 1 t df My job and my boss My job and pressures My job and my salary My job and problems My job and coworkers My job and teamwork My job and effectiveness My joband me Frustration and me Problems and me My boss and me Knowledgeable and me Coworkers and me 57 0.51 57 2.45** 57 4.83*** 57 5.41 *** 57 1.40 57 4.87*** 57 6.09*** 57 5.72*** 57 2.84*** 57 2.34** 57 0.82 57 3.63*** 57 10.20*** 49 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 49 50 50 *p < .05; up < .025; ***p < .005. Time 2 t 2.15** 2.84*** 5.59*** 5.96*** 0.97 8.21 *** 2.59** 9.82*** 1.33 4.29*** 1.28 8.96*** 0.32 Time 3 df t 47 3.80*** 47 1.64 46 2.90*** 47 4.47*** 48 1.94* 47 3.75*** 47 6.99*** 47 11.02*** 47 1.58 46 1.23 47 8.90*** 46 10.30*** 48 8.61 *** 548 ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION 50 45 Downloaded by [Florida State University] at 15:07 25 October 2017 40 Pressures 35 My salary Problems My boss My boss 30 Pressures Coworkers My salary 25 Problems Coworkers 20 Teamwork Teamwork Me ~ EtfeCIiVeness/ 15 '" Me 10 5 My job (Linkers) Time 1 Figure 20.1. My job My job Time 2 Time 3 My job My job (Nonlinkers) Time 1 Time 2 My job Time 3 Differences in job perceptions between linkers and nonlinkers across three points in time. association between themselves and their coworkers was closer for linkers than for nonlinkers, it was not significant at time 2. The findings did provide some evidence for the prediction in Hypothesis 7 that linkers would report increased identification with others over time. This was not true for their perceptions of their coworkers, but the interpoint distances between self and job with the boss moved increasingly closer across the time points. 549 Managerial Communication / 50 Frustration Downloaded by [Florida State University] at 15:07 25 October 2017 45 Frustration ---_-JI' 40 Problems 35 30 ~oo.s~ C.W.'kers~ My boss 25 Knowledgeable My job 20 Coworkers 15 My job 10 5 Me (Linkers) Time 1 Figure 20.2. Me Time 2 Me Me Me (Nonlinkers) Time 3 Time 1 Time 2 Me Time 3 Differences in self-perceptions between linkers and nonlinkers across three points in time. Summary of paired comparisons. The ways in which linkers differed from nonlinkers are better depicted by a visual representation of the average distances reported. Figures 20.1 and 20.2 are comparisons of the approximate mean interpoint distances between the concept pairs tested in Hypotheses 1-7. ORGANQAnONALCOMMUN~AnON Downloaded by [Florida State University] at 15:07 25 October 2017 550 As shown in Figure 20.1, linkers associated their jobs most closely with themselves and the characteristics of being effective and the spirit of teamwork. This pattern held strongly across all three times measured. In contrast, although Iinkers associated their jobs most with themselves, and effectiveness and teamwork, these notions were psychologically more distant in their frames of reference. Further, it was interesting that the notions of being effective and working as a team tended to move further away over time. Similarly, while linkers felt a notably increased sense of being knowledgeable, nonlinkers did not have that level of self-perception. It was also interesting that whereas linkers perceived their bosses to come closer to their concepts of self and job over the three time points, nonlinkers showed much more fluctuation in their patterns. And although both groups perceived increased incongruency between their jobs and their salaries, this was a greater distance for nonlinkers. Finally, there was considerable fluctuation in the perceptions reported by both linkers and nonlinkers over time. Interwave correlations of responses (Table 20.4) show that the groups were steadiest between their time 2 and time 3 judgments. Table 20.4 Stability Analysis of Association Judgments for All Concept Pairs a Concept Pairs Lb '12 My job and my boss .24 My job and pressures .51 My job and my salary .50* My job and problems .12 My job and coworkers .59** My job and teamwork .39 My job and effectiveness .07 -.01 My job and me Frustration and me .28 Problems and me .42 My boss and me .10 Knowledgeable and me .54* Coworkers and me .14 r13 r13 NL c L NL L NL .66*** .33 .71 *** .26 .64** .71 *** .79*** .81 *** .87*** .53** .81 *** .68*** .18 .38 .72*** .26 .39* .37* .58*** .22 .46** .30 .64** .57** .90*** .66*** .68*** .28 .34 .33 .35* .44* .42* .26 .58*** .79*** .64** .66** .93*** .63** .72*** .71 *** .70*** .14 .63*** .18 .17 .17 .30 .02 .73*** .44* .51** .12 .55** .49** .28 .48* .35* .82*** .83*** .14 .19 .09 a. Correlations are based on data obtained over time for waves 1, 2, and 3. b. L = linkers. c. NL = nonlinkers. *p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001. 045** 551 Managerial Communication Downloaded by [Florida State University] at 15:07 25 October 2017 Table 20.5 Descriptive Statistics for Network Variables Time 1 Time 3 Time 2 Variable x Reci procity level linkers nonlinkers 0.47 (0.11 ) 0.38 (0.13) 0.45 (0.11) 0.39 (0.10) 0.45 (0.11) 0.41 (0.19) Outgoing reciprocated link strength linkers nonlinkers 224.59 (179.11 ) 66.32 (88.20) 165.86 (123.15) 91.04 (103.79) 128.44 (99.02) 78.69 (80.57) Incoming reciprocated link strength Iinkers nonlinkers 181.23 (96.39) 93.88 (58.66) 147.10 (80.22) 97.00 (48.12) 120.17 (70.62) 82.31 (49.38) 86.05 (62.17) 30.09 (34.67) 64.38 (37.31) 33.71 (33.84) 52.00 (40.58) 22.42 (22.85) 18.32 (19.32) 48.06 (56.43) 20.55 (20.81) 29.00 (25.11) 21.14 (34.25) 24.36 (23.99) 113.90 (90.27) 93.61 (75.74) 85.83 (64.68) 65.27 (58.18) Outgoing unreciprocated link strength Iinkers nonlinkers Incoming unreciprocated link strength linkers nonlinkers (5) Discrepancyof reported link strengths linkers 131.10 (104.20) nonlinkers 79.06 (77.38) X (s) X (s) Hypotheses 8 and 9. The results showed that tinkers had a higher level of reciprocity in their relationships, although this was not significantly higher than the levels for nonlinkers at times 2 and 3 (see Tables 20.5 and 20.6). The level was, however, more stable over time for linkers than for nontinkers (Le., time 1 and time 2 correlations: z = 7.31, p < .05; time 1 and time 3 correlations: z = 5.13, p < .05). See Table 20.7. However, there was no support for the hypothesis that linkers would have a generally lower level of discrepancy in their perceptions of the volume of contacts they had with others. They did have a mean discrepancy rate consistently higher than the one for nonlinkers, but the difference was significant only at time 1. It is noteworthy that the discrepancy levels for nonlinkers reflected more unstable perceptions about their communication over the duration. An additional breakdown and analysis of the data provided several in- 552 ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION Table 20.6 t-Test Results for Differences BetvJeen Communication Roles for Network Variables Over Time (one-tailed tests) Time 2 df t Time 3 t df 3.00** 47 0.67 42 0.80 54 4.46** 47 2.30* 42 2.11* 54 4.28** 47 2.72** 42 2.09* Outgoing unreciprocated 54 link strength 4.38** 47 3.00** 42 3.07** Incoming un reciprocated link strength 54 2.42** 47 1.25 42 0.37 Discrepancy of reported link strengths 54 2.14* 47 0.85 42 1.10 Downloaded by [Florida State University] at 15:07 25 October 2017 Time 1 Variables df t Reciprocity level 54 Outgoing reciprocated Iin k strength Incoming reciprocated link strength *p < .025; **p < .005. Table 20.7 Stability Analysis of Communication Linkage Patterns (work network)a '12 Va,iable Lb '23 NL C L NL L '13 NL Reciprocity level .78** .30 .62** .s5*"" .72** .42* Outgoing reciprocated link strength .74** .32 .86** .70** .68** .63** Incoming reciprocated link strength .72** .28 .94** .66** .74** -.10 Outgoing unreciprocated link strength .66** .52** .56** .51** .44* Incoming unrecipro· cated link strength .31 .61** .06 .30 .10 .88** .38* Discrepancy of reported link strengths .79** -.02 .43* a. Correlations are based on network data obtained overtime from waves 1,2, and 3. b. L = linkers. c. NL = nonlinkers. *p < ,,025; **p < .005. .37* .02 .25 Downloaded by [Florida State University] at 15:07 25 October 2017 Managerial Communication 553 teresting trends. Linkers tended to report significantly greater link strength for their reciprocated and unreciprocated contacts than did nonlinkers. They also had contacts who reported stronger relationships with them than did the nonlinkers' contacts, and they were fairly stable levels. The most unstable findings were the reports of incoming unreciprocated link strengths, which could be interpreted as the most random data given. Finally, we found that in comparing the reports on the strengths of contact, linkers continually p~rceived more interactions with their reciprocated and unreciprocated contacts than those people reported having with them. In a sense, they overreported rather than underreported their communication frequency. This finding was not significant in every case, but it was a consistent trend. Conversely, nonlinkers did not report the levels of contact with others that those people reported with them. The difference was not significant, but nonlinkers did tend to underreport rather than overreport their interactions. DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS Glazer and Moynihan suggested in their book Beyond the Melting Pot (1963) that in America, you are what you do for a living. This is particularly true for those in a culture where values center on success and "getting ahead" as important to the purpose of one's life. So much of what we do for work is tied up with our self-concepts; self-definition is often a consequence of the nature of our jobs. It is in work and the workplace that we receive many messages about who we are as contributors, what we are capable of doing, and how well. Managers are certainly individuals whose concepts of self are especially a function of their work. An important reason is that good management is often related to many personal (as well as task or expertise) factors such as skills in persuasion, impression management, information processing, and political tact. We found in this study that identification with work was particularlya function of one's position in the network of communication patterns that exist in the organization. Our findings extended earlier research on these issues by demonstrating that over repeated measurements, the reports of those in potentially powerful linking roles in the social order saw increased congruency between who they were as people and who they were as managers. That the concepts of self and job moved closer together over time dramatized the strong identification with work held by linkers, unlike others with more restricted interaction patterns. This was certainly not a surprising result. Linkers in the organization have tremendous potential access to diverse communication channels; they Downloaded by [Florida State University] at 15:07 25 October 2017 554 ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION are generally more active and involved in the workplace than are others. They often emerge as people who are influential and have control over the direction of the decisions that are made. From a force aggregation standpoint, their intense activity easily brings them many messages of a selfdefining nature, messages that help them see themselves in terms of their jobs. Of course, if these messages enable these same people to see themselves as knowledgeable, part of a team effort, and effective, that is an important bonus. Contrary to expectation, this study did not find that linkers had any greater cognitive orientation toward their coworkers and bosses than did others in the organization. This was probably because the linkers selected in this study were from the job network, where the sense of affiliation is likely tempered by strong task orientation and competition. Perhaps the linkers identified in a more social-personal network might reveal a closer association pattern. But is was useful to find also that tinkers did not have to have a close cognitive association with others to perceive a stronger sense of teamwork. This may demonstrate that it is the work of the company that is the salient objective first, and sheer relational activity comes second. And it was interesting that over time, the concept of "my boss" moved closer and closer to the idea of self and job for linkers but showed a highly fluctuating movement for nonlinkers. This may be due to the need linkers have to reduce their ambivalence or uncertainty toward their bosses in such a way that enables them to accomplish tasks. Communication with superiors likely has a direct effect on linkers' perceptions, one that is picked up readily with this form of measurement. In contrast, nonlinkers may have more distance because of less interaction with higher-ups and more uncertainty toward those roles. The data showed that linkers were not without problems and pressures, however. Clearly, involvement and personal investment in the uncertain business world is stress producing, as are linkers' diverse patterns of interactions (Albrecht et al., 1982). Linkers are no more immune to problems at a personal level than are others; they are probably more vulnerable given their high internalization of the job. This points out a double bind of the linking role. Strong cognitive orientation to one's work means that success, as well as difficulties, is going to have its effects. However, linkers are also able to see themselves with more positive attributes that may serve as a buffer to the stress. Nonlinkers, on the other hand, identify less with the job and are thus able to achieve more distance from pressures and problems at a personal level. However, they perceive less in terms of rewards associated with profeSSional life. Based on these data, it is clear that there are costs and benefits to be borne in either set of roles. 555 Downloaded by [Florida State University] at 15:07 25 October 2017 Managerial Communication A final distinguishing feature of linkers and nonlinkers is the way they perceive their communication environments. Linkers had a slightly higher level of agreement with others over contact, which reflected more of an awareness and monitoring in their relationships with others. However, in both reciprocated and unreciprocated contacts, they perceived that substantially more interactions took place with others than with those individuals acknowledged having with them. This is not a case of who was right in their reports of whether the interactions occurred; rather, it is an issue of perception about one's communication in the organization: the salience, concern and sensitivity one has to those behaviors, perhaps even to the point of exaggeration. It is likely that linkers attach more of a premium to the act of communication than do nonlinkers, as a critical function of production processes. Nonlinkers had the converse pattern in their data: They generally did not report having had as many interactions as others reported having with them. This type of discrepancy reflects less communication awareness among managers who occupy nonlinking roles. Their vision of the organizqtion and their behavior in it may be colored by their more restricted interactions. They are more likely to discount the worth of many of their interactions, or not understand their potential effects on others. In short, they could be missing a sense of their own importance, possibly not thinking of communication as a strategic means the way linkers might. Their scope of certainty is more limited; in reporting their relationships, nonlinkers tend to identify close ties to work cliques and hence reflect a more limited image of themselves. 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