The author of the article Michael E. Pacanowsky describes organizational communication and functioning of the police force through the categorized image of its representatives, who are seen as “the organizationally-produced identities”. The author emphasizes the importance of cultural symbolism and “moral activity” within the existence of organizational identity, which depends on the coordinated actions and choices of its members (p. 32). Therefore, it is fair to state that the main theme of the article is focused on pragmatic, cognitive, and moral self-presentations of corporate culture representatives, who use developed system of symbolically-expressed forms to build attitudes towards organizational climate and character.
Furthermore, the article touches upon questions of the Independent-Mindedness Theory and aspects of the law enforcement community. For that purpose, it should be pointed out that the author switches from the notion of interactions-based collaborative social process, but focuses on the conveyance of specific message by the means of unskillfully-encoded thoughts and opinions of the main source of communication process. In addition, the article opposes dependence of the organizational effectiveness on the sequence of coordinated information sharing of its members, whose main goal is derived from the outcome of such interaction.
Scope and Limits of the Subject Matter
The author places emphasize on the importance of individual’s induction, which could “contribute to the effective functioning of the organization”. In respect to this, organizational communication is considered equivalent to decision-making process as an element of interpersonal relations. This correlation helps assess communication as the coordinator of actions and outcomes of the organization. Furthermore, self-presentation aspect of the particular individual within specific identity is conveyed by the collection of appropriate cognitive data and its transmission during the communication process.
Considering the fact that the writer does not consider the importance of communication skills during informational sharing, the limits of the subject matter involve obscene speech of police sergeants that were decoded by the receiver and used as the background for law enforcement communication research, since “the story’s relevance is not immediately obvious”. Therefore, it is fair to agree that the author supported sergeants’ self-interested calculations from the pragmatic point of view (Anderson, 2011). Other limitations included single-person’s message conveyance within the set communication process. The author evaluates discursive patterns of sergeants’ cognitive experience and knowledge in a one-way monologue communication process, which shows “new stage in the moral development of the cop”.
Furthermore, author's theoretical perspective considers cultural approach rather than systematic approach of communication process’ sequence and ascertains “what organizational functioning contributes to the person’s communication”. The philosophical perspective considers the importance of moral and cognitive activity of these sergeants’ self-presentation within their “stages of transformation”. Therefore, the author opposes common concern regarding “the relationship of organizational communication and organizational effectiveness” and assesses the sergeants’ “presentation of organizational self occurs when they locate themselves in particular relation to their work”.
Interests and Controversy
The author concludes that people can be “outputs” and “inputs” in the communication process and “organizational functioning” regarding personal experience that they develop in specific organization. Furthermore, the author claims that moral perspective remains persistent within gradation of sergean’s status. Therefore, the focus of the article is on situational and fragmented accumulation of sergeants’ organizational dissent of their behavioral communication traits. Hereby, sergeants’ contradictory opinions and “negative response to people” are the results of the attitude formation, which was gained with the “frustrating experience”.
The controversy of the article is based on author’s shifting from “the systematic way” in the research approach and its subsequent suggestion for the future “investigation of the organizational identities”. In this respect, the organization functioning can be seen in the light of collaborative social process, which can be achieved with interactions of organizational members, whose actions are intended for the creation of the identity. Therefore, the correlation of organizational communication and organizational effectiveness depends on the systematic sequence of the appropriate data encoding, transmitting, and decoding, and should be regarded to organization’s definition.
Implications, Strengths, and Weaknesses of the Author’s Research
The article describes “four identifiable stages in the police career”, which are rookie, supercop, journeyman cop, and old soldier in the light of their knowledge accumulation and attitude formation during specific organizational situations and processes. Therefore, it is fair to agree that the author implicates sergeants as the “self-presented organizational identities”, whose purpose is aimed at the outcome of the interactions of the organizational members.
In this respect, strengths of the article are based on the cultural conceptualization of the organizational entity, which is considered imperative in induction of its personnel for effective creation of the identity. Other strengths are based on the importance of communication within the organizational entity, whose environment and climate accumulate attitude formation and alert sufficient moral response. Weaknesses of the article are based on the evaluation of single-person’s monologue communication type, when internal organizational communication is reflected by specific thoughts and contradictory opinions of separate sergeant’s categorized self-presentation.
The author used qualitative interview-based methods, which did not require subsequent data analysis calculations and assessed symbolic message conveyance. In this respect, the author had to make his conclusions regarding the decoded information that he obtained. The author concluded that “lack of opportunity for professional advancement” can explain cynicism among the highest grade sergeants (old soldiers), which they have accumulated by “frustrating experiences” of working as the “office clerks” rather than performing proper policemen’s job. Therefore, the author explains refocusing of attention from “personality traits and communication strategies” towards organizational identities, which are developed by organizational members “as a consequence of their organizational experience”.
These assumptions seem sound in the light of the social science theory, which sees identity as an outcome of collaborative social process. The author provides convincing evidence of the efficiency of the proposed cultural approach to assessment of organizational communication within the law enforcement entity by demonstration of the obscene speech, which reflects moral activity of each type of police sergeants. However, usage of such speech does not show immediate relevance to the subject matter and alerts clear representation of scientific theoretical arguments.
In order to support these assumptions, the author offers “two particular arenas for future research”. For that purpose, the author specifies that communication activity should not be presented with the “set of numbers with pre-packaged interpretations reflecting attitudes”. Hereby, such activity can be regarded to the aspects of the Independent Mindedness Theory, when individuals are free to express their thoughts and opinions for the sufficient reflection of the communication process within the specific organization).
The research is based on the qualitative interview-based methods that helped support the arguments that organizational functioning adversely influences organizational communication through “negative-dissatisfying, frustrating –experiences”. The author of the article puts emphasize on the impacts of the processions and situations on the identity creation within the law enforcement entity, which is represented with single-person’s monologue conveyance. Regardless of the fact that aspects of communication skills’ effectiveness are excluded from the scope of the research, the author highlights the importance of “moral activity” presence within the pragmatic and cognitive creation of the organizational communication.
In addition, the author supports the claims of the descriptive evaluation of the communication activity rather than its numeral value reflection, considering research’s cultural approach toward fabrication of the categories of organizational identities. Furthermore, the author offers systematic approach towards organizational identities’ descriptions, which are assessed by self-presentation and subsequent elaboration of the communicative features of each of the researched categories. Additionally, in this respect, the author switches from common conceptualization of the organization, which coordinates people to perform their duties, towards organization's functioning that affects direction, process, and outcome of its members’ interactions.
The described research can be considered valuable, because it brings insights of the police department organizational culture and concludes reasons of the formation of the “negative experience” and attitude within the specific organizational communication. The article contributes to the theoretical perspective of the social science field and practical perspectives of contemporary theories of organizational communication. The article is worth reading because it shows attempts to describe entire organizational identity with single-presentation of specific categorical grade of its representatives. However, organizational communication should be regarded to the two-way communication approach, which includes two or several participants and helps analyze reasons of negative attitudes’ formation and possible moral degradation with its adverse impact on the effective organizational functioning.