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Ethics of Strategic Ambiguity

It is broadly known that communication inside an organization is normally uncertain and ambiguous. Even though clarity is generally considered enviable for organizational communication, ambiguity might be more helpful in some circumstances in an organization. While common in many organizations, concerns have been raised that the use of strategic ambiguity minimizes the importance of ethics. This paper will illustrate the significance of strategic ambiguity and also suggest a model which will assist in illustrating the ethicality of strategic ambiguity.

Eisenberg (1984) applies the expression strategic ambiguity to mean “the occasions when people use ambiguity mainly to achieve their goals” (p. 230). It can be said that Strategic ambiguity can be mainly helpful in any organizations via endorsing a unified miscellany, protecting senior positions, and also easing in organizational changes (Eisenberg & Goodall, 1993). The goals and missions of an organization are time and again purposely ambiguous given that they “allow different understandings to coexist and that they effectively encourage different factions to work jointly”.

The different values of an organization can be articulated at stages of abstraction at which conformity can be achieved. The use of strategic ambiguity requires all communicators in an organization to concur only in the conceptual and thus protect the plurality of different voices in the discourse of an organization. To add on, strategic ambiguity can be used in addressing complicated issues, humanizing interpersonal affiliations and also settling of conflicts that may occur among employees in an organization.

It lets complicated issues to be tackled when the situations seriously limits the likelihood of successful arguments” through restricting discrepancies and getting individuals to mainly center on the more abstract notions that they agree on and not the exact points on which they differ, Clampitt, P. G. (1991). It should be known that strategic ambiguity offers a mechanism in which a range of constituencies can declare victory” (Eisenberg, 1984, p. 423). The use of strategic ambiguity may also improve a communicator’s reliability within the organization.

When there is no clear disconfirming communication, an individual who receives the message will connect a meaning that matches with his stances, thus absorbing the message. The use of strategic ambiguity as a sort of personality insurance for individuals who are professed as credible. The other vital aspect of strategically ambiguous communiques is deniability, Clampitt, P. G. (1991). The deniability aspect is particularly useful in conserving future options, letting individuals save face, impediment conflict, analyzing responses to ideas, and evading individual responsibility.

Regardless of these advantages, Eisenberg and Goodall (1993) propose that the use of strategic ambiguity in avoiding blame may limit its value in organizational ethical communication. It may give emphasis to attainment of organizational goals at the cost of ethics. Given that the use of strategic ambiguity in communication influences the vagueness intrinsic in lingo, a clear deliberation of the ethicality of strategic ambiguity is necessary.

Whereas strategic ambiguity may generate outcomes that are beneficial for both receivers and senders in organizations, the deniability aspect of vague messages lets senders to evade liability for their messages, Michalos, A. C. (1995). Whereas the receivers are said to be at a greater threat of being held accountable for alleged communique efficacy, does strategic ambiguity reduce the significance of ethics? Can strategic ambiguity be an ethical substitute for some individuals and not for others?

Can communicators choose if strategic ambiguity is an ethical communique strategy for a meticulous situation? The answers to these queries can boost communicators’ chances to ethically use strategic ambiguity in organizations. To define ethics, one can say that ethics are broad theories which tackle Socrates’ subject of how we ought to live. Morals (Ethics) entails as to what is right and good, a subject of substantial difference amongst philosophers. Things that are regarded as right or good in a particular ethical system might not be right or good in another system, Michalos, A. C.

(1995). There are those who weigh good and bad of a certain action via looking into the outcomes of such actions. Kant envisages of right act as acting with the right intent. There is also social contract theory which stipulates that the only correct act to do is to go by the rules that normal people concur with for their common benefit. The common cultural relativism refutes general ethical truth and instead gives emphasis to cultural systems to which people should abide to. Ethical egotism is normally found on the view that individuals should do things that are of their own self-interest.

The lack of conformity on the things that are right and good obscures any ethical psychiatry of communique, Clampitt, P. G. (1991). A manager may often use strategic ambiguity while passing a message orally and he or she really commits in writing based on the ethical standards that are used in the organization. This deliberate lack of written commitment influences ambiguous oral communication via rising the capacity of the executive in place to escape responsibility if ever there will be any poor outcomes, and defends the executive’s self-interest.

Intrapersonal moral psychiatry judges these actions as unethical given that the manager’s deliberate lack of written commitment is contrasting with ethical rules which are based on Kant’s categorical importance, Eisenberg, E. M. (1984). When communicators in an organization have not thoroughly observed their own moral standards, then their adopted-ethics frequently diverge from their ethics-in-use. Archetypal communicative acts will be matching with the ethics-in-use, but devoid of rational, sensibly reliable adopted-ethics then the ethicality of those actions is imprecise.

The Ethics-in-use and matching communicative actions might seem unethical or ethical to the receivers, but the determining of ethicality is impractical since espoused-ethics are found on naive or illogical arguments Ethics and Strategic Ambiguity The form of intrapersonal moral psychiatry that has been discussed in this paper offers people with diverse ethical structures that can assist in talking about the ethics of communication in an organization.

The distinct assessment of this approach is that, despite the disparities in the ethical systems existing among communicators, the results of ethicality are found only on the meticulous ethical structures adopted and used by an individual person. The intrapersonal moral assessment is a normative representation of communique ethics which can be used to respond to the queries that were posed earlier concerning the morality of strategic ambiguity in communications, Eisenberg, E. M. (1984).

It can also be said that intrapersonal ethical assessment does not distinguish between strategically ambiguous communication strategy and other strategies used in communicative and it should also be noted that both unethical and ethical communicators use strategic ambiguity while passing messages. The other thing is that strategic ambiguity by itself does not reduce the significance of ethics in any organization but instead the deliberate unethical use of strategic ambiguity and the inexperience of communicators may reduce the moral use of it in any organization.

The other thing to be noted is that strategic ambiguity is an ethical substitute for communicators in an organization who adopt a balanced, sensibly reliable ethical structure. Adopted-ethics are basically moral conjectures that arrange the motives that validate human acts. Moral options are at times made when organizational communicators adopt the human aspect of reason to assist on their choice in strategic ambiguity communicative acts. Nevertheless, when adopted-ethics are not reasoned well nor constantly put into action, then the ethicality of the strategically ambiguity in communicative performance is imprecise.

The Intrapersonal ethical assessment offers a structure to assist communicators in coming to conclusions of whether strategic ambiguity has any ethicality in an organization’s particular situations, Eisenberg, E. M. (1984). It should be known that strategic ambiguity is said to be ethical when communicative actions are matching with communicators’ balanced, sensibly consistent adopted-ethics. The other thing is that strategic ambiguity becomes unethical when it is derived from ethics-in-use that are different with the communicators’ adopted-ethics.

Also strategic ambiguity becomes immoral once it is the result pressure from the management to act different to one’s adopted-ethical standards. By putting into action their adopted-ethics to the pertinent actuality of a particular situation, the communicators in an organization can decide whether strategic ambiguity communication tactic is an ethical substitute, Clampitt, P. G. (1991). Whereas vagueness is common in organizational communication systems, modest pragmatic research subsists which depicts the proper use of strategic ambiguity in many organizations.

Further research ought to be done so as to explore the utilization of strategic ambiguity in any organizational structures. The outcomes of using strategic ambiguity as a communication tactic on attaining organizational goals are mainly important as it is an objective-directed strategy of communication, Michalos, A. C. (1995). As to what extent does strategic ambiguity as a communication tactic actually endorse a combined diversity, protect senior managerial positions, or facilitate changes in an organization?

The answers to this query will influence the ethicality verdicts founded on teleological morals by means of providing ethical mediators with supplementary information concerning the effects of strategic ambiguity. An additional open subject concerns the discrepancy in effects of understandable and ambiguous communications on the receivers. How are vague messages distinguished in relation to clear messages? What perception do receivers form on regards to the senders of ambiguous communications?

What are the ascriptions made regarding the senders of vague messages? What approaches does the receivers embrace towards senders of ambiguous communications? And also what is the discrepancy outcome of ambiguous communications on consequential receiver behaviors? The answers to these queries will have an effect on the ethicality of the judgments founded on both teleological and deontological ethics through providing ethical agents with extra information on the effects on the use of strategic ambiguity on other ethical agents.

There are arguments that can be raised that ethics in communications in any organization are more suitably scrutinized at group, dyadic, or organizational levels. For example there are those who advocate for ethical psychiatry based on synchronized management of meaning premise that identifies the significance of both individuality and sociality, putting the in such a manner which is not dualistic. Supplementary efforts in this area can give more understanding of the moral characteristics of the use of strategic ambiguity in communication.

The other thing that should be noted is that the expediency of the intrapersonal structure of the ethical psychiatry illustrated in this paper is reliant on the ethical growth of individual communicators. Also in the closing assessment, some of the communicators who may not be able to adopt a coherent, logically reliable ethical philosophy on which their acts are founded should think for substitutes to strategic ambiguity, Michalos, A. C. (1995).

Communicators who are self-aware can assess the ethicality in their acts of communication, whereas morally inexperienced communicators act on grounds of ethical indeterminacy. This underlines the instability of the inexperienced communicator’s position. So as to make it more effective; the use of strategic ambiguity can be enhanced through trainings programs in organizations which mainly centers on the principles of ethics and rational reasoning. References

Michalos, A. C. (1995). A pragmatic approach to business ethics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Eisenberg, E. M. , & Goodall, H. L. , Jr. (1993). Organizational communication: Balancing creativity and constraint. New York: St. Martin’s Press Eisenberg, E. M. (1984). Ambiguity as strategy in organizational communication. Communication Monographs, 51, 227-242 Clampitt, P. G. (1991). Communicating for managerial effectiveness. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications

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