Organisational information theory is a complex theoretical framework which focuses on how an organisation adopts the information which is fundamental for them to sustain. Karl Edward Weick, an American organisational theorist developed this concept. His studies on organisational studies have been noted for the introduction of concepts such as sense making, loose coupling etc. This broad concept can be applied to reduce equivocality and ambiguousness in communication process within the organisation.
Organisational Information Theory
For an organisation to sustain it must afford the information needed to achieve the goals. The theory states that communication within the organisation regulates the environment which influences the behaviour of the people and thus the productivity. Thus the main aim is to lessen ambiguity so as to accept only the essential information excluding the excess. The organisational communication must aim at the people’s understanding of the objectives more clearly to achieve goals.
Maintaining a perspective is another method that should be adopted by the organisation to make a clear objective to the people. A narrow perspective can bring in ambiguity which effects the existence of an organisation. But a broader perspective can bring in clearer objective within the people thus reaching the goal easier. To understand the organisational communication it is important to familiarise with some of these concepts such as information environment, information equivocality, and required selection.
Information Environment– This is an important concept when it comes to the formation of an organisation. The organisation is sustained using the information they accept and by the people’s interpretation. All the available information that an organisation receive can be termed as information environment.
Information Equivocality– An organisation receives an array of information that has to be interpreted. The equivocal information creates ambiguity and thus it must be sorted out. For that the organisation divides the people into departments and other special categories to decrease the equivocality in the messages they receive.
Required Selection- The information received in an organisation can be vague and to reduce the ambiguity furthermore, the interpreters are selected. In order to make sense of the information, the organisation designs guidelines. Information is subjected to a series of communication activities to reduce the ambiguity. This process is called the cycle and the stages include
- An act- the ambiguity of the message
- A response- the reaction to the ambiguous message
- An adjustment- the formulated message by the organisation
Organisation processes the information to make it sensible. Some of the steps followed by the organisation to this purpose are
- Enactment– The organisation is divided into different departments to filter the information more effectively and to enact change. People within different groups make sense of the information that they receive out of their experience to actualise the ideas and to set goals
- Selection– In the selection process the organisation further selects methods to decrease the ambiguity and to refine the information
- Retention– The compatibility of the refined information is analysed and if the idea is productive for the organisation it is adapted for change and retained
Weick’s concept of organisational information theory is widely applied to understand the various aspects of communication within the organisation. The theory elevates the importance of communication within an organisation and how communication can be utilised for increasing the productivity of an organisation.
An organisation X decided to start an in-house ad agency to meet the requirements. So the particular organisation must be able to coordinate with the department so as to make use of the information they have and must update the information to understand the requirements of its members and to change goals accordingly.