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Chapter 1

COM 320 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Permafrost, Terrorist Threats, Linkedin

Course Code
COM 320

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Com 320: Organizational Communication Textbook Notes
Chapter 1: The Challenge of Organizational Communication
After reading this chapter you should:
Be able to describe how today’s world is complicated by globalization,
terrorism, climate change, and changing demographics.
Understand the concept of requisite variety and appreciate the need for
complex thinking to cope with complex situations.
See ways in which we can complicate our thinking about organizations both
by considering a variety of organizational forms and by viewing
organizations that are often paradoxical and contradictory.
Understand the distinction between a transmission model of
communication and a constitutive model of communication
Be familiar with the seven conceptualizations of communication and the
ways in which these domains of understanding can change our view of
organizational communication.
)t’s complicated. This is a almost defining phrase of this generation – our work, our
families, our politics and government, our lives. Social media/networking sites, such
as Facebook, LinkedIn have become a bigger and bigger part of day to day life for
many individuals.
Nowhere is this complexity more apparent than in a consideration of
communication processes or in a consideration of organizations, institutions, and
social groupings.
Our Complicated World
There are a lot of ways in which the complexity of today’s world can be illustrated.
Four aspects of our world that were barely on the radar several decades ago but
today dominate much of our thinking (and news coverage): globalization, terrorism,
climate change, and changing demographics.
We live in a global economy and participate in a global marketplace.
As transportation and telecommunication systems improve, our world becomes
ever more connected, both on a personal and organizational level.
Politial changes have facilitated such an economy.
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Com 320: Organizational Communication Textbook Notes
Some see globalization as a largely positive (and unstoppable) development.
Others argue that globalization can lead to problems such as domestic job loss, the
exploitation of workers in third-world nations, and environmental problems . some
scholars raised important questions about the extent to which models of capitalism
developed in the US should be exported to nations with very different governmental
and cultural systems.
The field of organizational communication can contribute a great deal to these
debates about globalization. The challenges of globalization are not just economic
they also concern messages, relationships, and systems of understanding.
Some questions that organizational communication scholars now consider in the
area of globalization include:
How can organizational members communicate effectively in the contracted
time and space of global markets?
How can communication be used to enhance understanding in the
multicultural workplaces that are a crucial feature of our global economy?
How can communication processes in business, government, and
nongovernmental organizations be used to protect the rights of workers in
the United States and abroad?
(ow does organizing occur in the realm of the political and economic policy
debates that are critical to the long term direction of the global economy?
How do corporations communicate about the balance between providing
goods and services at a price preferred by consumers and providing a safe
and economically secure workplace for their employees?
For individuals and organizations in the post-9/11 world, the implications of
terrorism are everywhere, but can be especially seen in two widespread areas the
war on terror and homeland security.
Perhaps, the most basic concern is for an understanding of how terrorist networks /
organizations operate and grow. Such an understanding would involve a
consideration of how terrorist organizations recruit and socialize members, how
terrorist cells make decisions and develop leadership, and how terrorist networks
form interconnections through technology and interpersonal contact.
Organizational communication scholars can also respond to the complexities of
terrorism through a consideration of homeland security.
For organizational communications scholars, then, critical questions revolve around
how to develop communication systems to enhance border security, improve
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