Proposal Eliminating Communication Barriers in IT Development With the Rest of the Departments Term Paper

Pages: 6 (1825 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Communication

¶ … eliminating communication barriers in it/Development with the rest of the departments

Communication barriers between it/Development and the rest of an organization's departments

This paper is aimed at making the company's management aware of the communication's implications to the well-going of the overall activity, productivity and career advance. The research proposal attempts to reach its goal by briefly depicting the results of other researches that have been carried out in the same field and by suggesting a methodology which may prove extremely useful in terms of investigating the communication's major role within the framework of an organization.

In her article - a CIO's Guide to Communication Basics (2006), Deborah Gilberg proved the considerable influence that effective communication exerted on desired outcomes by briefly describing a case from the healthcare industry. In her example, a doctor tells his patient that he suffers from chronic heartburn in very sophisticated words and explains the consequences of not treating the disease without taking into account the impact that such news has on his client. Moreover, as he mentions cancer among the possible consequences, the patient becomes terrified at this perspective and, by omitting other explanations, faints. This means that despite his noble intentions, the physician hasn't managed the communication act properly and this has resulted in an undesired outcome.

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When translated to the it field, improper communication may lead to negative consequences in terms of altering the general workplace atmosphere, the outcomes of employees' work and, and implicitly, the company's image.

The importance of this issue can be proved by resorting to the numerous researches that specialists have carried out as a result of their constant preoccupation with this field.

Term Paper on Proposal Eliminating Communication Barriers in IT Development With the Rest of the Departments Assignment

For instance, Finneran (1994), cited by Becker, Insley and Endres (1997) stated that, nowadays, communication has become a must even for the most technical personnel. As an example, he mentioned those employees who offered user support and who were required non-verbal and interpersonal skills for being able to tailor their speech according to the client's knowledge and framework. Moreover, the same author stressed the importance of presentation skills which have become compulsory for technical employees.

One may also find interesting the results of Leitheiser's survey (1992) who investigated the perception of managers with regard to the technical, interpersonal, programming, and business skills. His research concluded that listening and writing were the most important. Presentation skills also appeared in the hierarchy's top positions (Becker, Insley, Endres, 1997).

Other specialists have stated that communication has become critical for it employees because of the decentralization of the information system (IS) function. Consequently, the authority coordinating functions has disappeared and it employees have become responsible for properly interacting with their colleagues from different departments (Becker, Insley, Endres, 1997).

As Crockett and Pastore (1993) suggest, interpersonal skills have also become a must as IS employees have turned into "effective team players." This trend is clearly highlighted by Edward Schulman (1975) who referring to the Integrated Semester course he teaches at the School of Advanced Technology, emphasizes the importance of the socialization week when students get to know each other and overcome their ego or inhibition. Organizations have noticed the importance of the synergy effect, too. Therefore, for ensuring the success of a project, managers send the employees involved in its completion on a canoe weekend trip or to a desolate mountain cabin. The rationale behind such actions is that by confronting all employees to the same critical situation, the cohesive force which emerges among them will be preserved within the framework of the project they have to draw up (Becker, Insley, Endres, 1997).

Researchers have also outlined the inappropriate teaching methods which encourage interpersonal hostility. For instance, in 1989, Simon stated that business schools did a great job in terms of conveying technical information, but lamentably failed in terms of developing communication skills. In this context, the 1991 DPMA IS Model Curriculum Study becomes significant. The study concluded that at least five communication courses should be introduced. These encompass two courses on English composition and three courses dedicated to introducing communication, small group dynamics and public speaking (Becker, Insley, Endres, 1997).

Edward Schulman (1975) is another researcher who presents a coherent speech on the increased importance of communication skills in the IS field. He emphasizes that contemporary corporations have commuted the focus from hardware to software, the latter being the major expenditure of an it firm. This change has determined a higher preoccupation with program quality and programmer productivity, two goals which managers try to achieve by recruiting experienced professionals and training graduates. Still, neither training, nor recruiting professionals by asking quantitative questions (e.g. How many projects have you developed so far?) instead of qualitative interrogations (e.g. Were those projects successful?) haven't proved efficient enough because managers have neglected the human coordinate of the programming activity, an activity which is individual and social, at the same time. As the Human Sciences and Technology Group (HST) has pointed out, the highest potential can be reached only by "studying and capitalizing on this human element and not trying to eliminate a certainty."

The major role of interpersonal skills has been also stressed by studies who established the perceived importance of communication skills (table 1) and the percentage of time dedicated to communication (table 2). As it may be inferred from the tables below, employees have become increasingly aware of this aspect as long as most quotations are higher than 3 points (the medium importance on the Likert scale) and the percentage of time spent not communicating never reaches 50%, regardless of the job type surveyed.

Table 1 - Perceived importance of the six core communication skills to each job type

Job Type












All are statistically significant at.05 level

Source: Becker, Insley, Endres, 1997.

Table 2 - Perceived percent of time spent using the six communication skills by IS job type

Job Type Writing Reading Speaking Listening Presenting Nonverbal Not Communicating Total Managerial 15.8% 16.8% 19.8% 24.9% 8.5% 8.2% 6.8% 100.8% Technical 16.8% 18.2% 12.0% 19.5% 5.9% 9.5% 18.7% 100.6% Operational 7.6% 14.8% 12.1% 19.2% 2.7% 9.2% 35.5% 101.1% Support 14.1% 13.2% 17.8% 24.3% 4.0% 8.5% 18.8% 100.7% F-value 9.50 3.48-13.59 4.72-21.48.46-26.05 - p-value. - Source: Becker, Insley, Endres, 1997.

Proposed program pertinent research can be carried out by combining both longitudinal and in-depth analyses.

The former consist of monitoring the behavior of individuals over a longer period of time. In this context, there should be designated 2 groups (a and B) encompassing it specialists who are supposed to work together at the same project. These panels will include employees from all the areas commonly involved in working at a project (analysts, programmers, maintainers, and users - Schulman, 1975).

Group a will be used for testing methods proposed by Edward Schulman (1975) for improving teamwork: Heuristic Problem Solving, Integrated Semester, and Problem Resolution Processes. The first one will stimulate a creative attitude towards problem solving and will emphasize the importance of problem definition by presenting situations with misleading details. The entire process will be videotaped and afterwards displayed to participants in order to make them aware of the pluses and minuses of their behavior. The method will be combined with the second one mentioned above. This means that the subjects will focus on a single project whose completion will be preceded by the "socialization week" earlier described. The third method (Problem Resolution Processes) will compel participants to try the systems they have created in order to express opinions from the users' perspective. In other words, this technique claims that you can't understand the user's point-of-view, unless you are in his shoes.

At the end of the experiment, the group coordinator will draw conclusions referring to the benefits of effective communication by offering clear examples observed and recorded during the study. Moreover, participants will be encouraged to talk about their experience and to comment on their behavior and the behavior of their teammates that are played by the video recorder. Additionally, they can be given a short questionnaire inviting them to evaluate the 6 core communication skills (writing, reading, listening, speaking, presenting and non-verbalizing skills) in the context of the experiment they have just taken part in and to state the percentage of time they have spend communicating and non-communicating. For the first question, the tool used will be a Likert scale ranging from 1 to 5 (1 meaning very low importance, 5 - very high importance). For the second question, the interviewees will be asked to distribute 100 points among 7 items (writing, reading, listening, presenting, speaking, non-verbalizing skills and non-communicating).

Group B. will be used as a comparison term. This means that other persons will work at the same project, for the same period of time, without being exposed to the three methods above described. Their behavior will be recorded and they will also be invited to fill in the same questionnaire and express opinions on the project.

In the end, the two videotapes and sets of questionnaires will… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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