Critical Theory of Communication in Organizations

Powerful Essays
Critical Theory of Communication in Organizations

The critical theory of communication developed by Stanley Deetz was designed to explore ways to insure the organizations’ health while increasing the representation of diverse human interests. He does this first by showing that corporations have become political as well as economic institutions. Deetz then employs advances in communication theory to point out how communication practices within a corporation can distort decision making. Finally, he outlines how workplaces can become more productive and democratic through communication reforms.

Humanists feel that meanings are in people not words. Deetz accepts this but goes another step and wants to know whose meanings are in people. The companies meanings, the CEO’s meanings, the perception the companies give as their meanings, this is what Deetz is looking for. When people use slang in big business, they begin to put corporate values in to play. According to EM Griffin, this theory is critical in that he wants to critique the assumption that “what’s good for General Motors is good for the country.” Furthermore, Deetz feels that most people fall into the norm that is presented to them from corporate America.

Companies in today’s society are appearing more democratic. They appear as more focused on the worker, the consumer, and society than their monetary needs. Is this to say that they are not concerned with money? No. The bottom line for the company is cash. However, the latest strategy is perception. How the company is perceived, makes a huge difference in how society interprets them. This theory will help us understand consent practices in the workplace. Corporations tend to make critical decisions for the public, regardless of if they know or not.

The four criteria Deetz uses to discuss ways that public and corporate decisions can be made are: strategy, consent, involvement, and participation. These four points are how I am going to evaluate his theory.

In the first criteria, strategy, Deetz describes the problem to be managerialism, which he defines as “a kind of systematic logic, a set of routine practices, and ideology”. Managers have one thing on their mind: control. Some employees will conform to the ways of their bosses, however some will reform against them.

Deetz uses an example of stockholder...

... middle of paper ...

...heory that has many truths to it, that most corporate employees would take as a surprise. They do not want to know that this is the reality of their world. What kind of person would want to know that they are being controlled by the people that give them the opportunity to make a living? Most people already realize it. Although most people do not have much of a choice in the matter, I think that most would continue with what they are doing. What is the difference between working at PriceWaterHouseCoopers and Chili’s restaurant, besides the major salary difference. I work at Chili’s, a large corporation with so many rules that you would think I was making more than $2.83 an hour (excluding tips). They dictate the way I communicate to customers, the way I dress and the style of my attire and how I look. They don’t give the impression that work comes before family, but they do expect me to pay them for the meals I eat while at work.

Overall, Stanley Deetz has made many good points in evaluating how a corporation is organized. If only people would break away from the corporation, but this is the way we made it, the way our world is run, and it will never be the same again.
Get Access