Thursday, 24 November 2011

Organisations as communication

Businesses and organisations are still very driven by and seen as money transactions and efficient processes. I’m not saying that the bottom line doesn’t matter. Moreover,  in order to gain more profound picture of the whole system we need to see organisations as communication.

Esko Kilpi puts it in his blog: ”We still don’t understand that work is communication: we live and work in a network of conversations.”

For many years, leadership and management books, innovation theories and literature concerning learning and change are full of stories about communication and its importance. The quality of communication and our work relationship are very much connected to business, and that’s why it could be useful for the management in organisations to pay attention to the so called soft side of the organisations. 

”Communication is the generative force that shapes the quality of working relationships and outcomes of organizational activities”, states Barnett Pearce (2011), the author of CMM theory (Coordinated Management of Meaning). This theory applies communication perspective to organisations, and explores the patterns of communication. CMM is one of the main theories in my dissertation.

The starting point of the theory is that we engage in patterns of communication which create and sustain things. We are communicators and participants in making our social worlds, no one can escape from that responsibility. The meaning and results of our experiences in the workplace are not pre-determined by external factors but rather shaped by the quality and patterns of our interactions with others. The key point here is to become able to transform patterns of communication. In organisational context this means: to create capacity to renew organisations, to adapt and to create better patterns of communication that support creativity and innovations. We get what we make. In order to get new things, we need to make new things. 


  1. Kiva kuulla CMM:stä lisää! Luin aiemmin tänä vuonna mielenkiintoisen esseen "At Home in the Universe with Miracles and Horizons: Reflections on Personal and Social Evolution" Tää kaveri on selvästi ehtinyt pohtia asioita!:)

  2. Iiro, tarkoitus olisi jossain vaiheessa kirjoittaa CMM:stä lisääkin. Kiitos linkistä. Käypä kurkkaamassa muuten CMM-instituutin sivut:

    To others: I hope to write more about CMM at some point. In the meanwhile you can have a look at the website of CMM institute: