Wednesday, November 26, 2014

COMMUNICATION | Effective System of Upward Communication

After being promoted to store manager for a new branch of a large department store chain, Kathryn was concerned about communication in the store. Six department heads reported directly to her, and 50 full-time and part-time sales associates reported to them. 

Given this structure, Kathryn worried about staying informed about all store operations, not just those coming to her attention as senior manager. 

What steps might Kathryn take to establish and maintain an effective system of upward communication in this store?


  1. Kathryn can do a number of things to establish and maintain a system of upward communication for her department store branch.

    To begin, she should, as much as possible, try to establish a highly interactive style of management based upon credibility and trust.

    Credibility is earned by building personal power through expertise and reference. In regard to credibility, she might set the tone for the department managers by using MBWA—“managing by wandering around.”

    Once this pattern is established, trust will build between her and other store employees, and she should find that she learns a lot from interacting directly with them.

    Kathryn should also set up a formal communication structure, such as bimonthly store meetings, where she communicates store goals, results, and other issues to the staff and listens to them in return. An e-mail system whereby Kathryn and her staff could send messages to one another from their workstation computers would also be beneficial.

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