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Org. Comm Exam 3 Study Guide

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Chapter 6 Critical Approaches
Critical Approaches
o Unitary - common goals, conflict rare and negative, power is prerogative for agreement
o Pluralist many groups with different goals, conflict is positive
o Radical conflict and power reflect struggles in society (survival of the fittest)
What is different about the critical frame of reference?
o Adopt a radical frame of reference by considering organizations as sites of domination. See
theory as a force that can emancipate individuals from these dominating organizational forces or
consider how employees resist organizational dominance. Theorists take an activist role in
instigating and encouraging organizational transformation
What is power? What role does power play in critical approaches
o Power a defining, ubiquitous feature of organizational life (constructs of control and
o Traditional Approach power is a stable entity that people or groups possess, researchers ask
questions about the factors that lead to an organizational power and the impact on outcomes
(ex. Job satisfaction and performance)
o Symbological Approach power is a product of communicative interactions and relationships,
researchers are interested in how communication constitutes understandings of power through
socially constructed organizational relationships
o Radical-Critical Approach theorists are concerned with the “deep structures” that produce and
reproduce relationships in the organizational life. Explore the ways in which economic, social,
and communicative relationships produce and maintain organizational power relationships
Modes and means of production.
o Modes - economic conditions that underlie the production process
Imbalances between workers and owners
Not aware of this process
Conflict will eventually lead to revolt
o Means the actual work process, how products are made and services rendered
Classical approaches are dehumanizing and alienate from work and work products
Further elaborated by technology
Owners and managers have control, leads to oppression
Control of organizational discourse
o Power relationships are produced and reproduced through organizational discourse. Socially
constructed through communicative interaction. Reality created through discourse is the site of
o Ideology taken-for-granted assumptions about reality
Structures our thoughts and shapes the understanding of what exists, is good and
These assumptions are rarely ever questioned
Can influence behaviors
o Hegemony process in which dominant group leads another to accept subordination
Accomplished by shaping ideology
o Ultimate goal is emancipation the liberation of people from unnecessarily restrictive traditions,
ideologies, assumptions, power relations, identity formations, and so forth, that inhibit or distort

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opportunities for autonomy, clarification of genuine needs and wants, and thus greater and
lasting satisfaction
o Resistance how workers can exert counter pressure on this exercise of power and control. Seen
in collective and organized processes such as unionization, strikes, boycotts, and large-scale
social movements
2 critical approaches
o Theory of Concertive Control attempts to explain how power relationships can be transformed
in an era of team-based and alternative form organizations.
Control new form of control has emerged , called concertive control, control shifts
from management to workers
Identification perception of oneness with or belongingness to a collective, where the
individual defines him or herself in terms of the collective in which he or she is a
Discipline reward and punishment of behaviors that conform or deviates from the
values identified as important by the work group
o Feminist Theories of Organizational Communication - gender issues permeate organizational life.
Traditional and bureaucratic forms are patriarchal. Most valued commodities are stereotypical
male characteristics of logic, aggressiveness, and competitiveness. Stereotypical female
characteristics such as emotion, empathy, intuition, connectedness, and cooperation are likely to
be downplayed.
Framing of Sexual Harassment the way women frame the harassment, they often
normalize it and suppress further discussion of harassment as an oppressive feature of
the workplace
Discourse at a Woman-Owned Business life can be different in an organization that
exemplifies feminist values such as cooperation, emotion, and support. Everyone in
organization talks the talk, but the owner doesn’t walk the talk. Communication in this
organization was often marked by emotion and conflict. The women in this organization
played into the sexual stereotypes of women
Disciplined bodies organizational context, as well as society and culture in general,
serves to discipline women in terms of bodily display. Women are faced with a
conundrum in the workplace, though the professional body is strong and competent,
might contradict the nurturing soft body of traditional femininity.
What method of study is used in Critical Approaches?
o Ideology critique researchers attempt to show how specific interests fail to be realized owing
partly to the inability of people to understand or act on those interests.
o Deconstruction taking apart a text in order to reveal social and political meanings
o Critical modes of being most important aspect of understanding critical approach. Critical
scholars should be filled with care in their empathetic approach to others, filled with thought in
their consideration of the social and political ramifications of organizational experience, and
filled with good humor in appreciating the irony and contradictions that are always a part of
organizational life.
Chapter 14 The Changing Landscape of Organizations
What are the issues associated with globalization and the postmodern world?

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o Additional completion from countries, companies, and parts of the world. Manufacturing
anywhere, call-centers anywhere
o The Disposable worker
Growing number of “contingent” workers disposable, seasonal, temporary, part-time,
contract, on-call workers, consultants, some virtual and teleworkers, “free agents,” etc.
Alternative work any job in which an individual does not have an implicit or explicit
contract for long term employment or one in which the minimum hours worked can
vary in a non-systematic manner
o Service Economy
US economy moved to service industries health care, financial services
Service is a large part of today’s organizations Starbucks, Nordstroms
o Identity
There is an increased importance on organizational identity and image
Who an organization is, what they do or sell and where they stand on certain
issues McDonalds, Starbucks, K-Mart
Purposeful vs. happenstance Rupert Murdoch’s promise to the Dow Jones vs.
Abercrombie and Fitch
o Transparency
Self-Reporting information provided by an actor on its own behaviors
Other-reporting information provided by an actor on other actors’ behaviors
Problem-reporting nonbehaviorial aspect of the problem itself, actors monitor a
problem and seek information on trends
What is organizational crisis
o A major, unpredictable event that has potentially negative results and may significantly damage
an organization
o Involves urgency, media, and the interruption of normal operations
o How a crisis is handled will impact both the short-term image and long-term survival
Chapter 12 Organizational Diversity Processes
Why is diversity an important aspect in today’s organizations?
o Low turnover, better pool of candidates and workers, product marketing, increased innovation,
increased creativity, increased problem solving
What is the difference between stereotyping and discrimination?
o Stereotyping negative attitudes based on culture group
Not always overt and simplistic, people in organizations often move beyond irrational
serotypes and engage in stereotyping that might be seen as more sophisticated or as
o Discrimination observable behavior
What are relational barriers?
o Aspects of organizational relationships and systems that lead to differential experiences for
women and minorities in organizations
o Informal communication networks experience limited access to or exclusion from informal
communication networks. Critical because of the widespread importance of informal
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