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Assignment 4: Organizational Communication Style

Caryl Dolinko - # 332385


Royal Roads University
IICS 551: Organizational Communication and Culture
Julia Jahansoozi
Sunday, September 20th, 2015

What is my organization's communication style? That is a great question and it is hard to answer. The
corporate culture is in development every day in this new office, which houses over one hundred employees
of Lower Mainland Publishing, owned by Glacier Media, one of Western Canadas largest media and
publishing conglomerates.
The most interesting aspect of this company with over one thousand employees, is that there is a
board with nine directors, ten presidents, and over fifty managers, and not a single, dedicated
communications position exists. Communication is the backbone of culture and it is astounding that with this
media and publishing conglomerate, there is no person, position or department focused on unifying and
framing the company identity by sharing the rules, values and expectations of the organizational culture.
Glacier Media has brought together, under one roof in a new office, a multitude of community papers, from
mergers and acquisitions from Black Press. There may be a plan to hire somebody for the role of
Communications Director, but I am not privy to that level of information as I am at the very bottom of the
bureaucratic hierarchy. When I complete this Royal Roads Masters Degree next year, I will be able to apply
for that role or create a need in the company for the position and volunteer to fill it!
The final office shuffle occurred this past Friday, September 18th when people packed up their
belongings and were relocated to new desk and location in the office. Moving every employee into a new
desk in the office was done with a strategic seating plan, yet because this has just happened, I have no idea
what communication patterns, internal relationships and organization behaviours will shift. I imagine that the
shuffle will allow for an increase in informal conversations and open communication while developing a new
web of inclusion, and greater connections between colleagues within departments and papers. The physical
manifestation of this in our environment is that we are able to decorate our cubicles as we wish yet nothing is
to be on top of the cabinets to ensure that an open view across the entire office space without obstruction.
From this point on, there will be ideologies and meaning assigned to aspects within the corporation and an
office culture will be created as communication patterns be created. Relationships will now have a chance to
develop between new teams of publications and easier access to all members of the publication who are now
in the same office space.
There is evidence that team identity is valued at the company as two publications, the Westender and
Vancouver Courier, are now being referred to as Team Vancouver. Within this team, there is the
understanding from sales meetings that we will now be working towards a common goal. There is now a
need to ensure all network channels are open for communications, as noted by scholar Richard Farace in
Cheney et al (2010, p. 161) With such common and interdependent goals, production networks must be open

to ensure work tasks can be accomplished, innovation networks must be nourished to ensure new ideas
emerge and maintenance networks must be managed to ensure all relationships are open and engaging.
With this new office, there is the opportunity for interorganizational relationships to develop and the
scope of collaboration to be enhanced. Real Estate Weekly (REW) is one of the Lower Mainland Publishing
papers, and because of kitchen conversations new synergies have been created that will pool resources and
use our expertise to develop common strategies to generate greater revenue and higher sales.
An example of a vertically integrated interorganizational business relationship as described by
Cheney et al (2010, p. 165), that has now developed is between Team Vancouver and Business in Vancouver
(BIV) another LMP publication. A new magazine is being sold and there was a need for a highly targeted list
of businesses in Vancouver to contact. The cubicle across from me sits a representative from BIV who has
access to a list of all the businesses in Vancouver. Because LMP owns both publications and we are both in
the same office, the sharing of intellectual capital and working together in a collaborative manner is easy,
natural and apparently, now encouraged.
With this shuffle, there have been new positions created within the already complex organization
hierarchy, creating one more leadership level away from the top. The new position, Sales Team Lead, will
now oversee the sales teams, and all communications from sales Manager will be handled through this new
channel. There is no authority associated with this role, yet there is power affiliated with this added element
of bureaucracy. Not only has this created a new power dynamic between colleagues, but there is an invisible,
yet unconscious barrier that interrupts direct communication and proximity with the overall managers.
As mentioned by Cheney et all (2010, p. 261) an important element of power is whether somebody
views another of being powerful and how much power that person actually has. The team lead is seen by the
younger members of our sales team as powerful and they listen intently without questioning or challenging
the authority granted the position. There are a couple reps like myself, who are senior, experienced, and of
older age, and because of this, and the young age of the team lead, there is little effect their position will hold
and next to no authority that will be given to this person by the senior sales team. This relates to Schiens
(1985) assumptions which note that legitimate power is called into question. With the team lead, this is
certainly the case.
I have only been in the office two months and have now started to develop relationships with
individuals outside my specific publication. With sales teams now sitting in close proximity, editors and
writers in one area, and technology in another, we will be able to interact in a holistic manner and our
corporate culture is slowly being developed. Informal communications happen on a regular basis with people

talking to each other at their cubicles, or common areas such as the kitchen or the file cabinets which are in
the center of the office area. At times, I have found that there is a lot of chatter and it is not always business
related but of a social nature. It can be distracting to people and the office manager has even sent out a note
telling people to book a boardroom if conversations are to occur in open places. This message from the top
is not respected nor acknowledged as open dialogue is continuing to occur in the public spaces.
There is a definite cultural difference between reps with different publications, yet our common the
job responsibilities and experiences transcend geographic boundaries as our skill sets are highly specialized
to our positions within the bigger company. Being a sales rep is our shared experience and bests the
publications where we work. Working in close proximity is a bonus as there is an understanding of our role
and it is as though there is a secret community as we share a common culture in the greater corporate
structure. As Daumard notes (2001), a corporate culture generates that feeling of belonging is vital if an
organisation is to function properly (p. 68).
A social committee was formed a couple of weeks ago, and the first event held last week to celebrate
the final move in the office and a welcome to the office barbeque. Many employees in the company come
from a variety of countries, and diverse cultural backgrounds yet there is a common bond which is that we all
work in the same office now for Glacier Media. Daumard (2001) also notes that a strong corporate culture
can boost performance and has a positive impact on staff motivation (p. 68).
The open and informal party was open to everybody and all tastes and dietary restrictions were
considered in the food purchased and meals available for everybody. Most employees bring their lunch to
work so the function of the barbeque had to feed all the employees in the building. It was also the first
opportunity that Glacier has had to create an event which allowed peers to develop influential relationships
which can evolve, and develop shared beliefs and create group cohesion though those united assumptions
(Cheney et al, 2010, p. 155). As the afternoon progressed, and the wine and beer were being consumed, the
banter between colleagues, managers, publishers and presidents was blooming and values were being shared
to create a friendly, fun, engaging organization culture.
This barbeque is not the norm, but norms have not yet been established at the company. There is a
plan to have more social events and opportunities for group dynamics to develop. The nature of the
organization will shift over time as people start to interact and rituals and traditions are created, memories are
made and we become a single entity under one big umbrella organization, Glacier Media.

References
Cheney, G., Christensen, L.T., Zorn, T.E., & Ganesh, S. (2010). Organizational Communication in an
Age of Globalization: Issues, Reflections, Practices. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Daumard (2001). Enterprise culture and university culture. Higher Education Management 13(2): 6774.
Morgan, G. (2006). Images of Organization. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Schien, E.H. (1985). Organizational Culture and Leadership: A Dynamic View. San Francisco, CA:
Josey-Bass.