Journal of Business Communication
New York University, Graduate School of Business Administration. His work has been published in Journals here and abroad. He is currently at work on a book on communications in industry. Employee performance. ‘ Perhaps of much greater importance is the possible effect of downward distortion upon the public at large.
Might the consequence be public mistrust, suspicion and alienation of the citizens from their government and its leaders? Now, if executives pursuing their administrative, organizational, or other goal, distort downward communications-what about the distortion of upward communication by subordinates in pursuit of their goals? This question is of vital importance to executives, since they must rely heavily in making decisions upon information they receive from subordinates.
If such information is distorted by the subordinate, the quality of the superior’s decision will undoubtedly be imperiled. This paper, in the hope of increasing our understanding of the process of organizational distortion, will discuss some &dquo;whys&dquo; and &dquo;wows&dquo; of the distortion of upward communication by subordinates. It will suggest, as well, that the two distortions-upward and downward-are interrelated and part of a dynamic process linked to organizational climate.
Two aspects of motivation theory are important here. The first is concerned with the nature of a person’s needs and goals and their role as motivators of behavior. Briefly, this theory asserts that behavior is motivated by unsatisfied needs, and postulates a hierarchy of needs in terms of their potency as motivators of behavior,’ I. E. , the lower- order needs are proponent to high-order needs as motivators. Until lower-order needs become relatively satisfied, highlighter needs are not operant as motivators of behavior.
There is considerable empirical evidence confirming this aspect of motivation theory; it suggests that the need for security and the need for achievement are among the most important motivators of individual behavior. 6 The other aspect of motivation theory that has gained prominence of late is concerned with the relationships between a person’s goals, goal attainment, and his behavior. Known as paths-goals, or preference-expectation theory, it asserts that behavior is goal-directed; I. E. The individual will choose actions (paths) he considers instrumental to the attainment of his goals. ‘ But since these choices are often made in the face of uncertainty, not only the individual’s perceived path-instrumentality but also his risk-taking propensity and expectations will affect his choices. 8 45 Finally, there is a organizational climate behavior.