Summary 1. 0 Introduction 1. 1 Research topic 1. 2 Problem statement 1. 3 Objective of the research 1. 4 Objective of the research 1. 5 Research ethics 2. 0 Literature review 3. 0 Methodology 4. 0 Time plan 5. 0 References 6. 0 Appendices PROJECT TITLE AND SUMMARY (limited to 100 words) This paper deals with organisational structure and the impact it has on various dimensions of communication, such as information flow, several communication channels and their richness and the correlation with the structure of the `DAMEN` shipbuilding branch in Vlissingen, The Netherlands.
As it is only possible to review a limited amount of literature, this study can only offer a snapshot of the research field. However, it does enable the authors to discover possible directions for future research. Most importantly, this study makes a novel contribution, as it provides the first attempt to identify the emerging research on organisational structure and communication in the shipbuilding field. Keywords 1. organisational structure 2. communication 3. communication channels 4. media richness 5. rapidness of information flow 6. pward/ downward communication DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED RESEARCH (1500 words) 1. 0Introduction 1. 1. Research topic Our research proposal deals with organisational structure and communication channels within the shipbuilding branch in Vlissingen (Damen Shipyards Group). 1. 2. Problem statement As explained in theory, the communication in companies with a diversified organizational structure tends to be one-way orientated. The headquarter gives orders to the divisions “to make them conform with its needs” (Mintzberg on Management, free press, 1989).
It makes sure that the divisions execute tasks according to the mission and vision of the enterprise. Decisions are being communicated from the top down until they reach the operational divisions. It is stated that there are only restricted possibilities for employees to give feedback in order to improve the company performance. This is, amongst others, dependent on the media richness. Therefore a lack of possibilities to improve the company’s performance is possible.
There has not been systematic study of the relation between organisational structure and information flow in the shipbuilding industry 1. 3 Objective of the research To analyse the problem the objective of this investigation is to conduct research on the organisational structure of the “Damen” branch in Vlissingen (Principles of organizational Behavior by Slocum and Hellrigel). The aim is to outline possible obstacles in the communication process and to provide directions for future research (Principles of organizational Behavior by Slocum and Hellrigel)..
It also, partly, reflects the aspect of innovation. Mintzberg’s “Theory of Organizations” is used as the foundation of our study. 1. 4 Research questions To realise our aim we are going to answer the following main question: To what extend does the organisational structure influence the communication within Damen, Vlissingen? Sub- questions: a)What defines the organisational structure of Damen? b)To what extend is the communication influenced by the structure? c)To what extent does the information flow in our theoretical assumption fit the information flow at “Damen”? . 5Research ethics In “Research Methods for Business Students” ( Mark Saunders, Philip Lewis, Adrian Thornhill; Prentice Hall, 2007) research ethic is defined as follows: “ The appropriateness of the researcher’s behaviour in relation to the rights of those who become the subject of a research project, or who are affected by that. ” To find out if our research is ethically we answered following questions: •Will the respondents be taking part in the research voluntarily? oOur contact person is pleased to support us in our research. Will the respondents be fully informed in advance of the purpose of the research and the method used? oWe presented our contact person the purpose of our investigation including our research method. In case changes need to be done, we are going inform our contact person before those changes are applied practically. •Will the data obtained from the respondents be confidential and preferably anonymously processed? oWe agreed that the data provided from our respondents will only be used in our research report and for no other reason. •Can you ensure that the research will have no negative consequences for the respondents? We can answer that question affirmatively. They will not have difficulties caused by our research. •Will the research be conducted in an honest and objective fashion? oYes, we confirm that we will conduct the research in an honest and objective fashion. 2. 0Literature review One of nowadays challenges Organisations face is the organisational structure and its impact on the communication within a company. When talking about communication, it is important to look at its various dimensions, such as information flow, communication channels and richness of media.
There seems to be general agreement that communication involves the transfer of information between from a sender to a receiver. (Alblas et. al. 2011, thetimes100) Alblas et. al. 2011 divided between three types of communication channels: 1. Vertical Communication, meaning information is passed from top- to bottom-level in order to support managerial control (Forza and Salvador, 2001) 2. Horizontal Communication, referring to information being passed on to organisational units at the same level (Forza and Salvador, 2001) 3.
Direct Communication, implying organisational units at different levels having direct contact with each other without using other communication channels. Moreover, Baker (2002) illustrated the Upward Communication as information being passed on from bottom to top, emphasising that certain factors are likely to decrease the willingness of employees to provide feedback. However, in the HR magazine (2008) it is argued that within a good company a two-way-communication is significant. For passing on information it is also essential to choose a suitable medium.
Hence, the Media Richness Theory (MRT) is an interesting concept to consider. A diagram about MRT can be found in the appendix. Daft and Lengel (1986) defined information richness as the ability of information to change understanding within a time interval. In order of decreasing richness, the media classifications are: face-to-face, telephone, personal documents, impersonal written documents and numeric documents. This implies that the lack of face-to-face contact on electronic communication may negatively impact message understanding (DeSanctis and Monge, 1998).
When it comes to defining the structure of an organisation, Child (1977) talked about the allocation of tasks and responsibilities to individuals or groups and the design of systems to ensure effective communication and integration of effort. Marcus et. al. (2007) were consistent with this statement, however, they added that the structure also sets out the pattern of relationships between positions. McMillan (2002) put it more practically and described it as the visible and invisible architecture, which connects and weavers all aspects of an organisation’s activities together, so that it functions as a complete and dynamic entity.
Regarding the performance, Clemmer (2001) talked about performance shortfalls due to strategic planning in centralised structures. Mintzberg characterised diversified organisations as market based, unrelated divisions loosely coupled together under central administrative headquarters. These divisions realise outputs individually instructed by the head-quarter. As this happens in a practiced manner, these organisations are likely to drive structures of divisions towards machine configuration with lacking possibilities for feedback leading to issues such as missing innovations.
Keuning et. al. (2007) extended this definition by specifying diversification. They defined the concentric diversification as a form, where the products are related to each other. Based on the research question a conceptual model was developed to display the relationship between variables investigated in this research: organisational structure and communication. As illustrated in the appendix the variable “organisational structure” directly influences the second variable “communication”.
To come to a conclusion, organisational structure theoretically has an impact on the communication process, as it determines the information flow as well as the communication channels in a certain way. In this investigation the diversified organisational structure theoretically is said to stipulate an information flow from top management toward employees. Having explained the background of this research, we discuss in the following the first part of our multi-method research. 3. 0Methodology To succeed in our research of the proposal a special methodology will be used.
It is necessary to analyse all degrees of our subject with different techniques. 3. 1Data collection method According to “Research, this is it” by Ben Baarda (First edition 2010), the methodology to do a research must be clear, precise and referring to the subject. To lead to the topic “organisational structure and communication” the favourable technique is a quantitative exploratory research due to our knowledge on the topic. To carry on a good pursuit it is fundamental to begin by some statistical research and to understand the link in the proposal.
Then, one of the basic points of this kind of study is to make an observational list setting things out in advance to focus on our proposal. Moreover, many pieces of literature should assist us in our study. All of them are taken from available sources analysed in “Research Methods for business students” by Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill. 3. 2Population and sample To answer our main question, it is prescribed to know the population we will study. In Damen (Vlissingen), the population is defined by managers and employees in different departments.
The aim of our proposal is to understand the relationship between organisational structure and communication in the company. It is logical to analyse the situation in all departments at Damen, Vlissingen to have a more precise panel of the relationship between them. According to this explication, the sample is clearly a selective sample. As we would interview one person of each department, the most appropriate method is the quota sample, which fits our strategy of choosing our contact person in each department randomly. . 3Measurement instrument To find all this information it is necessary to conduct some interviews in the ship building company, Damen. We choose to conduct these interviews in two ways. While using the semi-structured explanatory method we can either conduct our interviews face-to-face or by telephone (Research Methods for Business Student by Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill). Furthermore, it is necessary to build up a range of open ended interview questions in an appropriate order to get as much information as possible.
The interview questions should be as precise as possible and have to ensure answers for the following main themes: communication, strategy, culture, organisation and structure, decision making, themes, learning and motivation. To reach that, the length of the interview needs to ensure lasting concentration on both sides. A sample of questions can be found in the appendix. 3. 4Data analysis method Every detail of information the interview partner provides us, is important for our research. The easiest way to ensure that no information gets lost, is to record the whole conversation.
For that we need the authorisation of the interview partner. In addition to that taking notes ensures us to structure the interview and to react actively to the interview partner. In case the person does not agree, we need to take notes of every detail regarding our study. After the interview the information has to be analysed, compared to our theoretical conclusions and put in our research report. 4. 0Time plan 5. 0 Literature references (APA-standards) a. Scientific articles Daft, R. L. & Lengel, R. H. (1986).
Organizational Information Requirements, Media richness and structural design. Management science, 32(5), 554 – 569. Saunders, M. , Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2007). Research Methods for Business Students. (4th ed. ). Harlow: FT Prentice Hall. b. Research reports Forza, C. & Salvadore, F. (2001). Information Flows for high performance manufacturing. International journal of production economics, 70(1), 21 – 36. Adler, P. , Heckscher C. & Prusak, L. (2011). Building a Collaborative Entreprise. Harvard Business Review, 89(8), 95 – 101.
Retrieved October 5, 2011. c. Books Alblas, G. , Wijsman, E. , Van Noort, M. & Du Pon, C. (2011). Organisational Behaviour. Groningen: Noordhoff Uitgevers. Baarda, B. (2010). Research: This is it! Guidelines for setting up, doing and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research. Groningen: Noordhoff Uitgevers. Child, J. (1977). Organizations: A Guide to Problems and Practise. New York: Harper & Row. Keuning, D. , Bossink, B. & Tjemkes, B. (2011). Management: An Evidence-based Approach. (3rd ed. ) Groningen: Noordhoff Uitgevers. Mintzberg, H. 1989). Mintzberg on Management, Inside our strange world of organizations, Henry Mintzberg. New York: The Free Press. Slocum, J. W. & Hellriegel, D. (2008). Principles of Organizational Behaviour. (12th ed. ) Cengage Learning International Office: South-Western. Van Dam, N. & Marcus, J. (2007). Organisation and Management, An International Approach. Groningen: Noordhoff Uitgevers. d. Internet articles Borenstein, N. (2011). Regaining by empowering people. Sciencedirect, 2011(7). Retrieved October 2, 2011. De Sanctis, G. & Monge, P. (1998).
Communication Processes for Virtual Organisations. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. 3(4), Retrieved October 7, 2011. Mc Millan, E. (2002). Considering organisation structure and design from a complexity paradigm perspective. Sciencedirect, Retrieved October 5, 2011. Society for Human Resources Management. (2008). Effective organizational communication: A competitive advantage. 53(12), Retrieved October 3, 2011, from Business Library, Interactive Business Network Resource Library. The Times 100 (n. d. ). Working Together: Business Communciation. The Times 100.
Retrieved October 3, 2011. e. Documents available on a web page Baker, K. A. (2002). Organizational communication. Retrieved October 5, 2011. from site: http://www. au. af. mil/au/awc/awcgate/doe/benchmark/ch13. pdf Clemmer, J. (2001). Decentralized Organizations Empower and Energize. Retrieved September 29, 2011, from ManagerWise, site http://www. managerwise. com/article. phtml? id=227 Marken, G. A. (n. d. ). Successful company communications. Retrieved October 4,2011, from All About Public Relations. site: http://aboutpublicrelations. net/ucmarkena. html.