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Organizational Communication

Organizational Communication
Perspectives and Trends

November 2007 | 472 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc


Communication in organizations has changed drastically since the release of the first edition of this bestselling textbook. This fully revised and updated edition delves into state-of-the-art studies, providing fresh insights into the challenges that organizations face today. Yet this foundational resource remains a cornerstone in the examination of classic research and theory in organization communication.

Beginning with an extended analysis – from an organizational communication vantage point – of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, this groundbreaking edition weaves recent and memorable case materials with up-to-date research and theory, creating a meaningful and comprehensive view of organizational communication.

The authors take the unique path of describing and evaluating communication in organizations by focusing on three major perspectives for understanding organizations: traditional, interpretive, and critical. Because these perspectives differ in the ways that they study communication and in the assumptions that they make about the nature of organizations, the authors are able to offer diverse insights into communication in organizations. These three perspectives are used to examine communication functions and structure, organizational culture, information technology; cultural control, diversity, and change; new forms of organizing such as lattices and heterarchies, group relations, leader-member relations, power, conflict, and strategic communication; and new millennium thinking about organizations.

Packed with current case studies and commentary, Organizational Communication features an impressive range of contemporary global institutions such as General Motors, Triyo Industries of Japan, Enron, Wal-Mart, Ben & Jerry's, The Carter Center's Peace Programs, Canada's public health programs, social change programs in rural India, and more.  

Important new topics in this edition include
  • New Communication Structures 
  • Cultural Diversity and Empowerment 
  • Implications of Information Technology 
  • Affirmative Action and Supreme Court Cases 
  • Transformational Leadership 
  • New Millennium Trends

Instructor's Resource CD Available  
An easy-to-follow instructor's manual on CD is available for qualified textbook adopters. This valuable instrument includes PowerPoint presentations, keyword definitions, discussion and exam questions, suggested activities, sample syllabi, recommended assignments, hyperlinks to complementary Internet video, and more.

IRCDs are available for qualified instructors only. To request an IRCD for this book please contact Customer Care at 1.800.818.7243 (6 am – 5 pm Pacific Time) or by emailing with course name and enrollment and your university mailing address to expedite the process.

1. An Orientation to Organizational Communication
Organization and Communication

Perspectives on Organizational Communication

2. Communication and Its Functions
A Precaution: Function and Structure Relationship

Communication, Information, and Meaning

Functions of Communication

3. Organizational Communication Structure
Traditional Approach to Structure

Formal Communication

Informal Communication

Communication Structure as a Network

Interpretive Approaches to Communication Structure

Critical Approaches to Communication Structure

4. Organization Theory: Prescriptions for Control
Scientific and Classical Management

Transitional Theories

The Human Relations Movement

Human Resource Development

5. Organization Theory: Metaphors of Biology
System Theory

Weick's Theory of Organizing

Luhmann's Social Systems Theory

Evolutionary Psychology

6. Organizational Theory: Communication and Culture
Communication and Culture: A Way to Understand Organizations

Approaches to Understanding Organizational Culture

Describing Organizational Culture: The Case of Ben & Jerry's

7. Information Technology
Information Technology and Change

Traditional Perspective

Interpretive Perspective

Critical Perspective

8. Cultural Control, Diversity, and Change
Cultural Control

Organizational Culture and Diversity

Traditional Perspectives on Cultural Control, Diversity, and Change

Interpretive Perspectives on Cultural Control, Diversity, and Change

Critical Perspectives on Cultural Control, Diversity, and Change

The Ethics of Diversity

9. Group Relationships
Traditional Perspective on Group Relationships

Interpretive Perspective on Group Relationships

Critical Perspective on Group Relationships

10. Leader-Member Relationships
Limitations of Leadership Theory and Research

Traditional Perspective

Interpretive Perspective

Critical Perspective

11. Power
Traditional Views of Status and Power

Interpretive Perspectives on Power

Power in the View of Critical Theory

Power and Conflict: Connected and Separate Phenomena

12. Conflict
Traditional Perspectives on Conflict

Interpretive Perspectives on Conflict

Critical Perspectives on Conflict

Ethics in Conflict

13. Strategic Communication
Characteristics of Strategic Communication

The Traditional Perspective

The Interpretive Perspective

The Critical Perspective

14. New Millennium Thought: Perspectives and Trends
Perspectives on the New Millennium

Traditional Perspectives and the New Millennium

Interpretive Perspectives and the New Millennium

Critical Perspectives and the New Millennium

Trends Influencing Organizations Today


I chose a newer book.

William Turner
Communications, Southwest Tenn Cmty Clg-Macon
September 19, 2019

Good organizational communication textbook with thorough discussion of various perspectives. Could be improved by new edition with updated case studies.

Dr Shari Hoppin
Speech Theatre Dept, Troy University - Troy
July 25, 2013

very useful book for students studying organizations and communication. covers a lot of organizational/communicational aspects.

Mrs Anna karina Kjeldsen
Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus University
April 18, 2013

no longer teaching the course

Dr Carolyn Cunningham
Communication Arts Dept, Gonzaga University
May 17, 2012
Key features
  • Focus on traditional, interpretive, and critical perspectives of organizing and communicating
  • Real life case studies and questions at the end of each chapter help students see the application of theory to practice
  • Separate chapters on culture and diversity and on power and conflict reflect the continued interest and need for understanding of these topics
  • The coverage of organizational culture includes the critical perspective along with traditional and interpretative perspectives, further showing the vitality of the field
  • Commentary from corporate leaders and descriptions of communication within organizations around the world
  • Chapters include topic outlines and summaries; key terms are bolded throughout; activities, discussion questions, and complete references are located at each chapter's end

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

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