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Managing Risk in Communication Encounters

Managing Risk in Communication Encounters
Strategies for the Workplace

January 2010 | 272 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

The first theory-driven, narrative-based examination of risky communication interactions in the workplace

"The book does a fine job of incorporating research into a narrative framework that should be accessible for students and individuals in the business community. … The most impressive aspect of the textbook is the use of specific, 'everyday person' narratives to ground the concepts."—Mary Helen Brown, Auburn University

"The advice provided in the book goes beyond simple advice on what or what not to say, but also advises individuals on how to manage the entire process. The book will be well-received in the classroom setting and by practitioners who encounter difficult interpersonal workplace challenges every day." —Patricia M. Sias, Washington State University

This book focuses on the types of risky interactions that threaten identities, relationships, and sometimes careers, including voicing dissent, repairing broken relationships, managing privacy, responding to harassment, offering criticism, and communicating emotion. Each chapter is grounded in real-life organizational scenarios, includes recent research, applies a standard theoretical framework, and illustrates a full range of communicative tactics and discourse practices. Throughout the book, authors Vincent R. Waldron and Jeffrey W. Kassing provide examples to spur thinking, raise questions, and help readers understand how organizations benefit when employees communicate in ways that manage risk.

Key Features

Ethically challenging and personally risky work situations are closely examined to help students understand the types of situations they will encounter in their working lives.

Vivid examples and narratives illustrate the inevitable tensions that emerge among ethical, relational, and performance obligations in the workplace.

The roles of discourse, interaction, and communication tactics in managing risk, constructing role identities, and promoting ethical workplaces are explained.

Real-life organizational scenarios and research on the lived experiences of workers help students understand how individual, organizational, and cultural forces shape workplace communication.

A theoretical model helps students and scholars integrate existing research, analyze situations, and generate new questions.

Intended Audience

Managing Risk in Communication Encounters: Strategies for the Workplace is intended for use as a supplemental text for undergraduate and graduate courses in organizational communication, business and professional communication, leadership communication, managerial communication, and supervisory communication

1. Introduction: A Theoretical Model for Managing Workplace Risk
The Anatomy of Workplace Risk

Forms of Risk

A Communicative Approach to Risk

A Risk Negotiation Framework

2. Delivering and Seeking Feedback
Why is Delivering and Seeking Feedback Important?

Key Research Studies

Negative Feedback and the Risk Negotiation Cycle

3. Managing Emotion
Why is Managing Emotion Important?

Key Research Studies

Coping with Emotion and the Risk Negotiation Cycle

4. Resisting Bullying and Harassment
Why is Resisting Bullying and Harassment Important?

Key Research Studies

Resisting Workplace Bullying and the Risk Negotiation Cycle

5. Negotiating Workplace Relationships
Why is Negotiating Workplace Relationships Important?

Key Research Studies

Managing Workplace Relationships and the Risk Negotiation Cycle

6. Monitoring Organization Romance
Why is Monitoring Organizational Romance Important?

Key Research Studies

Monitoring Organizational Romance and the Risk Negotiation Cycle

7. Dealing with Difference
Why is Dealing with Difference Important?

Key Research Studies

Dealing with Difference and the Risk Negotiation Cycle

8. Expressing Dissent
Why is Expressing Dissent Important?

Key Research Studies

Expressing Dissent and the Risk Negotiation Cycle

9. Proposing New Ideas
Why is Proposing New Ideas Important?

Key Research Studies

Proposing New Ideas and the Risk Negotiation Cycle

10. Responding to Difficult Team Members
Why is Responding to Difficult Team Members Important?

Key Research Studies

Responding to a Difficult Team Member and the Risk Negotiation Cycle

11. Conclusion: Risk and Next Generation Challenges
Relational Risks

Organizational Risks

Societal Risk

Risk Revisited


This text covers many topics that are important for employees at entry-level, supervisor, and management positions. It is well written; while accessible to undergraduates, it has sufficient depth for graduate courses. The case studies at the end of the chapters have thought-provoking and thorough questions - perfect for assignments that require critical thinking and the application of the authors' model. Each chapter's application of the RNF model will enable my students to develop the skills and understanding necessary to successfully employ it in their future work (and personal) settings. Great book - the right blend of theory and practical application.

Professor Eric Teoro
Business, Lincoln Christian University
April 1, 2010