By Kimberly Shannon
(SPC student Kimberly Shannon reflects on her experience taking Organizational Communication with Dr. Shirley Oakley)
I thoroughly enjoyed this organizational communication class. It has helped to broaden my perspective of how organizations use communication in an ever-changing world. What I would like to explain is what I intend to do with the information that I learned in this course.
First of all, I learned about my own personal conflict management style. I took a self-assessment to analyze how I deal with conflict. My unique style is strongest in a collaborating way, like a wise owl. My belief is that two people working together can produce better answers and solutions than either can produce on their own individually. Then next strongest is my competing and compromising feature. What I learned about myself is that I have learned and grown tremendously throughout the years as I used to avoid and accommodate conflict. Whereas now, I hit it head on using a proactive approach.
Next, my observation of an organization by just watching people, their interactions with others as well as with customers and not being pre-occupied with my own transaction or involvement within was an eye-opening experience as well. Often times, we miss the obvious because we are so wrapped up in our own little world that we miss details. This opened my eyes for me to see what is actually happening behind the scenes so to speak. It led me to reflect upon my own work experience and wonder what my customers might be observing as they wait for their tour, or a potential interviewee waits and watches before her interview. What might they have learned about us just by observing? Did we portray a family cultural atmosphere? Were we caring enough and respectful of their time? Did they hear any negative comments while waiting? By conducting this observation, it has helped me to look at this from an entirely different perspective from the customer’s point of view. It also helped me to choose and associate the style of classical theorists from the text to what I actually observed, which was a real-life experience.
Next, the Case Study helped me to communicate via text, phone call and email alone, with my partner to discuss and identify one of our college campus’ problems. In doing so, I had to trust my partner as I had never seen a St. Petersburg College Campus with my own eyes, nor was I aware of any problems that I had encountered as an online student. We had to put a case study together researching the identified problem and then find a solution to that problem. In doing so, we were able to put theories from the text to good use to examine management styles and solutions to the problems. The text laid out great information and research as well as case studies that I can now use in my daily work as communication is huge in my industry.
Lastly, the generational video was eye-opening as well. I did not realize that so much has changed 2 generations ago. I interviewed my mother who is 90, who was born in 1926, lived through the Great Depression, worked in a factory and can distinctly remember Kennedy’s assassination when it came over the loud speaker. So much has changed in her lifetime. Even when interviewing my older brother, who is a baby boomer, so much has changed. It made me realize that in my lifetime I see things changing. More importantly, I need to have a mindset of change, otherwise, I will get left behind and find myself without a job. What other changes will happen in my children’s lifetime? Will they be prepared for change?
In conclusion, this course helped prepare me by seeing differing perspectives, that I would not have otherwise been exposed to. It has made me look through the eyes of others and see what they see. More importantly, it has made me a better communicator within my organization.