Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tonia Rivera- Chapter 2-3, Office Space

In chapter 2, three levels of dialogue are defined to better understand how individuals communicate. The level that I found most interesting was dialogue as real meeting. It states that communication can occur between people and everyone's perspective can be measured as equally valuable to the conversation. "We learn to speak from experience and to listen for experience" (Eisenberg, Goodall Jr, and Trethewey, 2007, p. 51). When we engage in genuine conversations with others, we are to some degree opening up our world to them and allowing them to build on who they are by what they see in us. By sharing ones experience with another they are giving their listener experience that they may not have encountered until that moment. The idea of dialogue as real meeting is intriguing because I never thought about learning more about myself in context with other people. I also like the fact that everyone's insight is considered and in an organizational setting that alone can create a positive work environment. Sometimes employees not only want the opportunity to be heard but they want to know that their ideas, suggestions, or complaints are not being taken for granted.

In chapter 3, scientific management was introduced as a theory under the classical management approach. This theory stood out to me because it reminded me of how things operated at my last job. The communication was one-sided most of the time. Managers gave their staff orders and expected them to do as told. Dialogue was not promoted and an employee was made to feel like an outcast if they asked questions. Employees often time rebelled by using company time to take care of personal business and doing just enough work to get by. The morale was low and the turnover rate was high. In an office environment the scientfic approach is not effective because it eliminates a persons voice which is dehumaninzing. The human resources approach would have been proved to be a better and more effective method on my last job because it would have increaseed employee involvement through dialogue.

In the movie "Office Space", the main character Peter, received no satisfaction out of his job. There were no incentives and his work was repetitive. He had eight managers and the only time he saw them was when he did something wrong because it was a reflection on them. The morale and the productivity was low due partly to the classical management approach and the other part due to lack of challenges. Challenging employees produces motivation and that was something that the company lacked. The Division Vice President, William, would spark conversations with staff by asking them "what's happening?" The question was not asked out of concern or a desire to know what was going on with the staff but actually an opportunity to drop orders and walk away. One of the questions I asked myself during the movie was why did William think that it was okay to infringe on employees personal time? I don't understand why he felt that he could make Peter come to work on his days off and their be no questions asked about it. William had really went to the extreme of treating employees like machines and as a result employees rebelled by skipping work and burning down the building.

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