Interpersonal Communication at the Workplace
As the name implies, interpersonal communication is an exchange of information that takes place between people. Whenever two or more people talk, send each other emails, or share any other knowledge through some method, interpersonal communication takes place. It is essential to study the topic because of the implications of not communicating enough or doing so inefficiently. A lack of mutual understanding between two people can lead to unnecessary conflict and a variety of other issues. Lane (2016) highlights how employees harm their careers and miss opportunities despite being technically competent because they fail to develop skills such as communication. As such, even in professions that do not involve direct interactions with customers or the management of a team, workers will benefit from improving their ability to communicate.
In the example that the author remembers from their work, one of their colleagues realized that, due to a mistake they made, the product had a substantial flaw. It was unlikely to manifest often, but, when it would do so, the product would likely be damaged beyond repair. Due to the rarity of the issue, it was not discovered at the testing stage, and the item entered production. The ethical concern before my coworker was whether they would risk the error’s manifestation and the discovery of their misconduct or harm their career by reporting the problem. Ultimately, they chose to report the issue, forcing the company to make design changes and recall finished products.
The author’s colleague resolved the situation via honest and non-misleading communication, which is a key component of ethics. In terms of Maslow’s hierarchy, they chose to satisfy their safety need of not risking concealment over the esteem need of not having the failure in their career record. They also considered the situation from a dual perspective of themselves and the company, seeing that both would be affected by the decision. The author also believes that they were guided by Kant’s categorical imperative, knowing that the responsible action would be to report the flaw. The necessary principles of clarity and consistency in delivering quality products have been observed.
Lane, S. D. (2016). Interpersonal communication: Competence and contexts (2nd ed.). Taylor & Francis.