Definition – Work – Towards a Definition


1 Ir proves difficult to define work .

2 However the following material shows some thinking done to try to achieve an accurate and useful definition. It should help people to think about what they mean by the word.

Some Definitions of Work

3 “The connotation of work is that it is some activity that must be carried out by a certain time and up to someone else’s standards.” (Emery & Phillips, 1976.)

4 “Work means those activities normally performed for pay.” (Bryan in Dunnette, 1973.)

5 “A Work role is defined as a set of functions to be performed by a role occupant, the performance of which contributes to the production of goods and services.” (Vroom, 1964.)

Continue reading

Definition – Perception

Perception describes the interpretation which a person’s mind gives to any particular incoming stimuli.


1  People often believe the word “perception” means understanding. However the above definition uses the one that Psychologists use. It refers to the interpretation which each person gives to the stimuli that enters his/her mind. Thus perception does not indicate something which a person understands or does not understand. Provided the mind perceives a stimulus it will give it some interpretation.

2 The definition uses the word “mind” to allow for people (their mind) to interpret a particular signal or stimulus that they get from one part of their body.

3 Examples. Tom gives some meaning or interpretation to a pain in his left leg. However 24 hours previously he had his left leg amputated.

4 Different parts of the body have different abilities to distinguish between different sensations. On a sensitive area (the first finger) people feel two points of pressure from a two-pointed instrument with the points set only a centimetre apart. However people will perceive only one point if someone places the same two points on their back.

Practical Application

5 Anyone who wishes to understand, predict, or influence the behaviour of other people (as Managers do) should give particular attention to the above idea of perception.

Continue reading

Definitions – An Introduction


1 These notes aim to help people understand why these posts emphasise definitions. They explain the meaning of a definition, the advantages if one word means only one thing, and the dangers involved in trying to define a good something. They stress the advantages of “tight” defini­tions and warn that many Writers use “loose” definitions. They discuss the dangers of expecting to use an ordinary English dictionary to find the meaning of technical terms and point out that learning a definition off by heart does not necessarily mean that the learner does not under­stand the definition. Knowing and understanding realistic definitions will help to achieve successful communications.

Advantages of Definitions – particularly where each Word only means one Thing

2 These notes emphasis definitions to help ensure that both Readers and the Writer have a clear understanding of the topic.

3 People in any field communicate more clearly and easily if they have words which describe things and ideas and each word only refers to one thing or idea.  Usually the notes give important words one specific meaning only.

4 Many (perhaps all) Social Sciences have no universally-accepted set of definitions for the ideas used in their field. Hence disagreements and misunderstandings occur because different Writers use different terms to cover the same ideas. Many Management Writers do not define the terms they use; even when they do, they often use quite “loose” (explained below) definitions.

5 Many advantages exist in having one term to stand for one specific idea where the term has world-wide acceptance. If people who discuss research, and think about Management had a universally-accepted set of definitions they would overcome much time wasting caused by unclear communications. Continue reading

Definition – Advertising

Advertising – any paid-for attempt at communicating, in an impersonal way, which aims to:  (a) persuade one or more people to accept information and (b) store it in a retrievable form.


One type of Promoting

1 Advertising rates as one type of promoting, therefore refer to the definition of “Promoting”.

Paid for

2 Probably all definitions use the idea that someone (the Advertiser) pays money to one or more people and/or Organisations for “sending” the impersonal communication.

3 However note the situation where a Communication Medium sends a mes­sage at no cost.

4 Example. A TV Station shows something which aims to en­courage Viewers to donate money. This message has most (or all) of the elements of advertising except that no-one pays for it. Or perhaps all other Advertisers who pay the Commercial TV Station share in it’s cost. In the case of a State-owned TV Station, all Taxpayers share the cost.


5 The word “attempt” means that an attempted communication (signalling which does not reach a Receiver) will rate as advertising.

Continue reading

Definition – Aggression

1 Aggression [1]: any activity carried out by a person [2] which tries to harm someone or something.



2 The word “tries” indicates that the person carrying out the activity would like to achieve a particular objective. The activity could aim to inflict harm on another person but sometimes the activity will NOT succeed. Thus the Aggressor aims to act aggressively and believes they have done so. However the target of the aggression has a different view.

3 Example. Frank classes the Aggressor’s remark as a joke.

4 One person can attack another person i.e. act aggressively but not harm the other person.

5 Sometimes the failure of the aggression to succeed will frus­trate/annoy the would-be aggressor and will cause them to try another aggressive activity.

Continue reading

Definition – Authority


Authority – the relationship existing between two or more people such that one or more people will try to do what another person wishes them to do


Some Relationships between People do not amount to Authority

1 Relationships can exist between people which do not constitute an authority relationship. Two people can talk together and have a rela­tionship but not an authority relationship. However, often two people communicate with each other and authority relationships inevitably oc­cur.

2 Examples. Tom says to Mary: Stop butting in on my points and Mary tries to avoid doing so. Jane says to Harry: Can you think of an example and Harry tries to do so. Helen asks Pat to pass the salt and Pat does so.


3 A person does not have to succeed in doing what another person wants them to do for “authority” to exist. Hence, the definition uses the word “try”.

Position and Personal Authority Relations

4 Often some higher-level person in an Organisation encourages the authority relationship discussed above. These notes call this type of relationship – Position Authority.

5 Example. A Manager says: All people in Department “Y” should obey the new Department Head.

Continue reading

Definition – Butterflying

1 Butterflying – a discussion between two or more people which in­cludes a high number of topics within any one time period.



2 The word “high” in the definition rates as vague but later para­graphs define it.

Generalised Example of Butterflyinq

3   Readers who observe Conferences will find that the following occurs quite often. Person A talks on Topic 1. Person B comments on Topic 1. C introduces Topic 2. B comments on Topic 2 and introduces Topic 3. D comments on Topic 1.   E introduces Topic 4. A returns to Topic again. F comments on Topics 1 and 4. And so on.

4 The process of Butterflying makes it difficult to:

(a) Reach agreement on any topic.

(b) Know whether people understand what other people have said. This point does not apply if people comment on what others have said. Even so, usually only a few people comment on the ideas of other discussion Members. In such cases evidence exists only for whether a small number of Members understand a particular contri­bution or topic.


5 Members who want to stop Butterflying will have to:

Continue reading

Definition – Bypassing – Authority

1 Bypassing – Authority:  –   a communication between two members of the one organisation who hold positions which have at least one organisa­tional level between them and the communication sender has the position authority to give orders to the receiver.


“Communication between Two Members”

2 Bypassing must involve communication between at least two people. This communication does not necessarily have to mean intentional commu­nication. Sometimes Communication Receivers gain information which a Communication Sender does not intend to send; i.e. unintentional commu­nication occurs.

“Two Members of the One Organisation”

3 Bypassing must involve two Members of the same Organisation. “Which have at least One Organisational level between them”

4 Bypassing of the authority type (as defined above) requires at least one level between the communication sender and receiver. Without the inclusion of this phrase the communication would occur between Subordi­nate and Immediate Manager.

Continue reading

Definition – Bypassing – Non-Authority

1 Bypassing – Non-Authority – a communication between two members of the one organisation who do not hold positions on the same level and the communication sender has no position authority to give orders to the communication receiver and no communication on the subject exists with a person to whom the communication receiver directly reports.


“Communication between Two Members”

2 Bypassing must involve communication between at least two people This communication does not necessarily have to mean intentional commu­nication. Sometimes Communication Receivers gain information which a Communication Sender does not intend to send; i.e. unintentional commu­nication occurs.

“Two Members of the One Organisation”

3 Bypassing must involve two Members of the same Organisation.

“Who do not hold Positions on the same Level”

4 Bypassing of the Non-Authority type as defined above cannot occur between people on the same level. It can occur between people on different levels.The number of levels between them does not affect whether they fit with the above definition of bypassing.

“The Communication Sender has no Position Authority to give Orders to the Receiver”

5 Consider the following organisation chart. The dashed lines show level.  The full lines with an arrow-head at each end show Non‑Authority bypassing.

Continue reading