All posts by jtate008



I have thoroughly enjoyed taking organizational communications this semester. I have learned what the organizational climate is in today’s organizations, key principals, ideas, and theories of organizational communications, as well as participated in activities that allowed me to practice the different methods of organizational communications. For Digital Bade Quest 7 my group had to create a story that reflected how communication builds, maintains, and transforms organizations.

To begin with, for Digital Bade Quest 7, my group chose to create 3 different stories that reflected everything that we have learned over the semester. We included videos, articles, and tweets that emphasized how communication builds, maintains, and transforms organizations. We also wrote about how organizational and employee identity is tied to organizational communication.  The main point we wanted to drive home was that organizational communication is always changing and that we must look examine organizations with a critical eye.

The main key learning’s I will take away from this course are that organizational communication is a living breathing organism that is always changing, interdepartmental communication can make or break an organization, and happy workers who believe in an organization’s values are the most productive ones.

After taking this course, I believe that I will be the best worker that any employee has ever had. I can now identify any organizations culture and adapt to it. I plan to use this knowledge in Corporate America to prove my value and increase communication wherever I go. For example, if I am working for a marketing firm and I notice that we don’t have a crises plan in place I will champion a crises management committee.

This course has radically changed my notion of career and my professional goals. I learned in this course that I am preparing myself and gaining skills for jobs in the future that don’t even exist yet. I now think that there is no such thing as a career with one company. Through taking this course I have learned that I will most likely work for 6-8 companies during the term of my “career.” I have also changed my professional goals to include mastering the art of communicating. This course has showed me the importance of communicating within an organization. Since I want to own my own business one day, I will have to make communication one of the pillars I build my business upon.

To wrap it all, I have learned how to communicate effectively within an organization. I have also learned various techniques, methods, and ideas to increase organizational communication. Digital Badge Quest 7 allowed my group to show all that we have learned throughout the semester by creating a story that reflected how communication builds, maintains, and transforms organizations.



Can you imagine what would happen if the United States Government were to shut down? A government shutting down is one of many types of crisis that can occur in an organization. Without crisis management an issue that has been smoldering over can turn into a major catastrophe for any organization. Crisis management is important because if an organization mishandles a crisis it could ruin the organization’s reputation and legitimacy.

            To begin with, Fishman defines a crisis as “an unpredictable event which threatens important organizational values and which creates pressure for a timely response requiring effective communication (Zaremba 2010). Crises can involve people, products, services, and safety to name a few. No two crises are alike and they should all be handled on a case to case basis. The severity of a crises depends on the response time the organization addresses the crises.

            For starters, all organizations should have a crises management committee. This committee would ideally be in charge of planning for any potential crises and how the organization would handle the crises. The committee would create a crisis communication plan including securing commitment from top management to be open and honest during crises, establishing a crises communication team, brainstorming regarding crises,  identifying stakeholder’s and message preparation, choosing methods for communication messages, message sequencing, identifying a spokesperson ad establishing a communication center, recording the plan, simulation and coaching, and periodic updating (Zaremba 2010). The committee would also be responsible for preventing any future crises. Planning and preventing crises are important because crises can result in the generation of employee rumors, plummeting stock values, a lack of employee confidence, and a reduction in consumer trust (Zaremba 2010). Also, not preparing for a crises can leave an organization like a pig waiting to be slaughtered when a crises occurs.

            To explain, when an organization has a crises plan they are better equipped to handle a crises when it occurs. When an organization has prepared for crises all they have to do is work their crises plan when crises occur. There is also a consistent message that is given to the public and rate of misinformation is significantly lower.

            To make matters worse, social media has created new crises and ways to respond to crises. In generations before, an event would occur, a public relations officer would draft a response plan, that PIO would then deliver a press release to the media, and then the media would inform the public. Now, due to social media, within seconds of an event occurring images and eyewitness statements are circulating around the globe (Baron, 2011). Social media has changed crises management because organizations are forced to reply to crises within minutes of the crises happening. Before it would take days before news of crises occurring reached the public, and organizations could prepare their message. Now, organizations have minutes before the world becomes aware of a crises and demands answers immediately.

            Preparing and preventing crises are two simple steps to crises management. If crises has already occurred an organization response is not only necessary but required. The key parts to any crisis response is to be honest and truthful. An organization can only “spin” crises for so long before the truth comes out and the organization loses its legitimacy and public trust. When an organization is honest and accepts responsibility, even if they weren’t at fault, the public is more likely to forgive and forget.

            Let’s suppose an organization has already experienced crises or is trying to recover from one. This is what Tylenol had to do in the early 80’s when seven people died after taking pain-relief capsules that had been poisoned. Benoit’s Image Restoration Theory asserts that when an organization loses legitimacy, it can restore its image by the use of symbols. Benoit’s 4 R’s of image restoration are reputation, relationships, responsibility, and response (Zaremba, 2010). Organizations can respond to crises using a variety of methods. For example, when responding to crises an organization can attack, bolster, deny, or minimize the crises.

To add on to, the in class activity really drove home the central points of crisis communication. When the activity first started out all of the different departments were working in silos. When a crisis occurred that didn’t immediately affect my department we remained out of communication because we thought that it didn’t affect us. This is what happens in many organizations today. Because one group doesn’t think that they have a stake in the crisis they remain at the side lines. It’s not until the crisis affects their departments that they care to show interest in the crisis. This is what the class did during our crises. Although we started off working independently as more and more information came out about the crises the more and more we started working together. What started off as 5 groups spread out across the room turned into one big group circle in the center of the room. I feel that we handled the crises effectively. The main strategies we used were being honest with students and parents in our communications and forming spokespersons for each department.

Reflecting back on everything, some key lessons for other communication practitioners managing crises are to always be honest, have a crisis communication plan in place, and know who needs to receive what information through which medium. First, no matter how much you can spin a lie the truth will ultimately come out, and if you are found to have been lying then you can lose more legitimacy than you would have if you had told the truth from the beginning. Second, it was once said that “Nothing ever goes according as planned, but without plans you are doomed to fail.” The key to crises communication is being prepared and working the plan you have developed when crises occurs. Lastly, you need to be able to identify your key stake holders and what type of message they will receive, keeping in mind that you want to









Zaremba, A. (2010). Organizational communication. (3rd ed., pp. 233-253). Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.

Church, E., & Friesen, J. (2013, 11 05). Toronto mayor rob ford apologizes, but will not step down, after admitting to smoking crack cocaine . Retrieved from

Baron, G. (Producer) (2011). Social media & crisis comm: A whole new game [Web]. Retrieved from








            There are leaders and there are followers. Leaders are responsible for taking charge and leading the pack. In my Digital Badge Quest 7 interview with Queens University of Charlotte Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Zach Thomas, we explore what leadership means and what it takes to be a leader.

To begin with, not everybody is meant to be a leader. In an article about the main characteristics of a leader McKeown states that people who are leaders don’t have to lead all of the time and that great leaders see past everyone else looking for answers and solutions to problems (McKewon 2913). Zach Thomas discusses this in out interview, stating that “Being a leader is not about being in charge and holding a position.” We also discuss the theory of leaders being born verses leaders being made.

To the next point, leaders have to be willing to sacrifice their needs for the greater good of others. In today’s organizations leaders must be humble and have humility (Bobb 2013). An effective leadership style is one that focuses on relationships and inspiration. In my interview with Zach Thomas, Zach discusses this concept and elaborates on how important it is for a leader to have a clearly defined role.

To add on to, organizational leadership is always changing. During our interview Zach Thomas examines transitional leadership and compares it to situational leadership. When I asked Zach Thomas how leadership differs from management he said “Leadership is about the people and management is about the end result.” I found this ironic because in our book Zaremba states that when organizations focus on the end result that they forget how to get from point A to point B.

Lastly, when I asked Zach Thomas about historical leadership he reflected upon a time in his undergraduate school when he was the president of a major, and very active, student organization.  He stated that the leadership practices that he used back then are still the same ones that he uses today. This reminded me of the article about George Washington. In the article it talks about George Washington and how the leadership style that he used centuries ago is still used in organizations today (Bobb 2013). Although new technologies are emerging leadership is still the same. The only difference is that with new technologies leaders are now more accessible than ever before.

In conclusion, I learned a lot about leadership in my interview with Queens University of Charlotte Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Zach Thomas. Zach touched on many of the concepts of leadership that were expressed in the readings and that we discussed in class.






Zaremba, A. (2010). Organizational communication. (3rd ed., p. Chapter 5 & 9 inclusive). Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.

Goodier, B. C. (n.d.). The circle of truth. An Examination of Values, Truth-Telling, and Alignment at Mount Carmel Health,
McKeown, L. (2013, 06 18). 3 signs your meant to be a leader. Retrieved from

Bluestein, A. (2013, 10). Follow the map to find your leadership style. Retrieved from

Buchanan, L. (2013, 06). Between venus and mars: 7 traits of true leaders. Retrieved from

Parr, S. (2013, 08 22). 7 tough leadership lessons from a navy seal commander. Retrieved from

Bobb, D. (2013, 09 27). Benjamin franklin, george washington, and the power of humility in leadership . Retrieved from

Crowley, M. (2012, 10 15). Why you need to lead with your heart . Retrieved from

Hamel, G. (2010, 03 18). W.l. gore: Lessons from a management revolutionary. Retrieved from





Organizational culture can’t be copied or replicated.           Organizational culture defines an organization and how well it operates. Organizational culture is the attitudes and rituals of an organizations members and the role they play in the organizational climate.  I believe that if an organization has a strong culture that it will drive the organization to success.

To begin with, I first learned about organizational culture through a classroom activity in my Organizational Communication class. The activity forced my group to work toward a common goal with limited restraints. I believe this activity forced us to become cultivators because we had lots of responsibility and support from our teacher (Lewin & Regine, 2001).

In today’s world, many people believe that intangible items, such as culture, can produce tangible objects, such as profits. Culture reflects an organizations soul and generates human energy (Lapin, 2012). If an organization has a strong culture and people’s souls are connected to the organization then the organization will thrive.

Moving on to the next point, no matter which organization you are a part of there will always be conflict. Conflict should be looked at as a good thing. Conflict is only bad when you have too much of it. Conflict can be due to a lack of clarity, poor communication, and conflicts of interest (Matuson, 2012). Regardless of the amount, conflict should be addressed and properly managed (Zaremba, 2012). When there is proper conflict resolution the organization is strengthened and maintained.

To continue, I chose to evaluate the office of Student Financial Services at Queens University. The office climate is very friendly and has a culture of love. They even bring in cake and sing Happy Birthday when some has recently had a birthday. I believe it’s this sense of love and knowing that everyone supports each that allows the office to run so efficiently. More importantly, I believe it’s the offices clear line of communication that allow this climate to be maintained.

In addition, organizations need emergent teams during specific times in their growth (Lewin & Regine, 2001). The challenge with this is that emergent teams have no direct leadership and are collectively steered. A suggestion to strengthen emergent teams is to have them assemble in times of chaos and dissemble in times of peace.

Lastly, organizations may manufacture an excellent organization climate but risk losing it when forced to expand. When I spoke to India about the Spellman Gardens case study she suggested that in order to maintain the organization climate that each new employee be interviewed to ensure that they fit the mold, and have the same values, of the organization. I said that they should just have the organization culture explained to them in an intimate way so that they understand the climate of the organization.

In conclusion, I believe it’s possible to manufacture a particular organization culture. When we examined Southwest’s website in class it demonstrated their culture before you were ever an employee and made you want to join their team. If we are to create and maintain truly great organizations we must establish culture from day one and never lose sight of it. We must also avoid group think and Asch effect, becoming independent thinkers.

Works Cited

Zaremba, A. (2012). Organizational communication. (3rd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 180-207 INCLUSIVE). Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.

Lapin, D. (2012, June 20). How intangible corporate culture creates tangible profits . Retrieved from

*Eisenberg, E.M., Goodall, H.L., Jr., & Trethewey, A. (2010). Organizational communication: Balancing creativity and constraint (6th Edition). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Lewin, R., & Regine, B. (2001). Weaving complexity & business. New York, NY: Texere LLC.

Matuson, R. (2012, January 25). Conflict in the workplace: Can’t we just put everyone into time out? . Retrieved from

[Print Photo]. Retrieved from



Modern day organizations have changed through time. New forms of control are exerted through covert power and manufactured consent (Zaremba, 2010). I believe that Critical Theory plays a major part in today’s society. Furthermore, if we don’t look at an organization from the perspective of a critical theorist secret hegemonic ideologies will continue to exist and operate, alienating the rights of the employee.

To begin, many societies have patriarchal culture. In Russia, laws have been placed that oppress women. In resistance to this overt means of control, a group of masked feminist called the Pussy Riot Band have begun challenging Russian government though public events of self-expression, rebellion, and protest (Morris, 2012). Critical theorist would argue that by challenging the accepted ideology in Russia these group of women are bringing awareness to the social-injustices they face, and ultimately working toward eliminating those practices (Zaremba, 2010).

A few continents over, subordinates in Greece are protesting differently. Angry citizens protest their political frustration by throwing Greek yogurt at politicians. This practice is known as “Yaourtoma”. This is an accepted ideology and has a minimal sentence that involves being publically humiliated (Eplett, September ). Some politicians in Greece even accept that they will have Greek yogurt thrown at them during their career. Since this action is actively practiced it has become an act of manufactured consent by the people on the government. Although this rare, when the people resist overt power and raise public awareness, the oppressor loses the power of exploitation over its people.

To add on to, in today’s society social media can be used to protest. However, we have to realize the limits of digital advocacy. In an article written by Taylor Morris, Morris states “Social media activism may prove to be a durable force in Russian politics, but in these early days it’s no match for an offline might” (Morris, 2012). Even though social media activism can raise world-wide awareness it has its limits. For example, even though thousands have raised concerns by signing a petition to release members of the Pussy Riot Band form prison, the women still remain incarcerated (Morris, 2012).

To the next point, citizens are constantly being oppressed. For example locals in Africa have been subject to strict government regulations on a traditional alcoholic beverage (Mwahanga, September). This is an insidious hegemonic practice by the government because its sets the precedent that the government can rule without the input of the people. This act, if unopposed, can create manufactured consent if practiced over time. Locals are resisting oppression by operating private breweries and speaking out against the government.

In conclusion ideologies still play a major part in society today. Different forms of manufactured consent are being placed on people without their knowledge. I believe that Critical Theory plays a major part in today’s society. Furthermore, if we don’t look at an organization from the perspective of a critical theorist hegemonic ideologies will continue to exist and operate, alienating the rights of the employee. For example, in the Hunger Games the participants had to kill each other for the entertainment of the powers at be. If the participants had recognized the hegemonic influences in play they could have rebelled against the system and taken back their personal freedoms.

Works Cited

Zaremba, A. (2010). Organizational communication. (3rd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 69-76 inclusive). New York: Oxford University Press.

Morris, T. (2012, September). [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Carr, D. (2012, March 25). Hashtag activism, and its limits. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Eplett, L. (September , 16 2013). Culture of resistance: Protesting greece’s politics with yogurt. Scientific American. Retrieved from

Mwahanga, S. (September, 15 2013). Locales resist rules on mzano drinking as popular custom gets out of hand. Retrieved from

[Print Photo]. Retrieved from


Systems Theory DBQ

Fredrick Taylor’s classical style of management is now being phased out (Wheatley 1997). Modern day companies are implementing systems theory and relying more heavily on interdepartmental collaboration. Two of the basic tenets of systems theory that were exemplified and illuminated in my experience were requisite variety and hierarchical ordering. I support systems theory as an effective means to sustaining an organization because it allows the organization to remain flexible in changing environments, as well as grow and learn from various internal and external inputs.

To begin with, even with a hierarchical ordering system organizations can still fail. For example, in August 1949 there was a deadly forest fire that raged in the mountains of Montana (Weick, 1996). A crew of 16 well trained smoke jumpers with a hierarchy in place failed to extinguish the fire, and in the end only 3 remained (Weick, 1996). There was a hierarchy in place, but the system wasn’t sophistically structured inside, and when an input from the environment was received the system collapsed and the organization failed.

To counter, Apple is one of the world’s most successful companies. When I walked into the Apple store it seemed just like any other store. Although it seemed to me as if there was no real order, I could see that more was going on that met the eye, as multiple Apple employees frequented the back of the store. I also noticed that all of the employees behaved the same way and maintained a positive attitude. After watching a video about Apples strict employee policy, I now know that Apple is requisite variety savvy and has a sophisticated interior structure.

Now, let’s explore the notion of self-organizing systems. In today’s chaotic marketplace it’s easy to see how one can think that self-organizing systems would never work. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest art gathering in the world, generating 225 million annually (William, 2011). The festival has over 42,000 performances of 2,542 shows hosted by 258 venues and featuring 21,192 performers (William, 2011). The interesting thing about this very successful festival is that there is no order. The organizers don’t decide who will play, the combination of the performances, or which venues will be displayed. Instead, they market the festival, making it as compelling as possible to as many participants as possible- and then let the participants themselves decide what happens (William, 2011). This is a helpful idea because it takes the stress of organizing off of the organization and allows participants to decide their fate.

To wrap it all up, we have much to learn from adopting a systems theory approach. Pervious communication theories that we have studied did not factor in environmental variances and would have never even thought about allowing an organization to self-organize and operate. I support systems theory as an effective means to sustaining an organization because it allows the organization to remain flexible in changing environments as well as grow and learn from various internal and external inputs.

Works Cited

Weick, K. (1996). Prepare your organization to fight fires. Manuscript submitted for publication, Harvard Business Review.

Wheatley, M., (1997). “Goodbye command and control.”

Leader to Leader, July, Retrieved September 7,

William, T. (2011, August 18). How the seemingly chaotic but wildly successful fringe festival makes it work. Retrieved from

Zaremba, A. (2010). Organizational communication. (3rd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 60-66 inclusive). New York: Oxford University Press.




Assembly Line Produciton Pic

In today’s world of management where the bottom line is all about efficiency and production it’s easy for managers to forget that workers are human beings. Henry Ford once said “Why is it that when I ask for a pair of hands I also get a human being?” This is a mindset of classic management that has been adopted by many modern day companies. For example at Qdoba, one manager opposes employee’s opinions and stifles any employee feedback when it may arise. Although this method, which treats organizational communications as a machine, may be an effective means to increasing production, it can cause a high employee turn overrate and leave employees at the mercy of their superiors. Ultimately, I believe the command and control structure is archaic, ineffective and should be replaced. This is important because the new structure of business is a living breathing organism that is always changing and adapting.

When I first went to Qdoba I noticed an effective system. Customers would come in, order their food, and pay their bill, all within 45 seconds to a minute. As I examined the employee’s faces I noticed a grim reality. The employees hated their job. Employees tried to be cordial but as the line of irritated, hungry customers stacked up during busy hours they focused less on the customer and more on completing their assigned task. This method was an effective means of productions but devalued the customer and only recognized their money.

The theory of classic management was once applied to one of the world’s largest organizations, Home Depot. Military veteran Robert L. Nardelli applied the command and control model to Home Depot as a newly hired C.E.O. of the company. Nardelli enforced a militaristic style of leadership and ran the organization like a well-oiled machine.  At first profits increased and productivity raised for the first few years. After that profits began to stagnate and employee morale was at an all-time low. What started off as an effective means to increase productivity ended up hurting the organization and causing it to fall behind of its competitors.

Classic management is used by many assembly line organizations such as Burger Barn.  In one incident, Burger Barn bought out a local ice cream shop, evaluated the shops operations, and began to implement changes. What was once a mom and pop shop where the same employee made your order from start to finish began to turn into an ice cream assembly line productions organization.  Slowly over time less people were eating inside of the ice cream shop and more customers began to purchase take-out orders. Profits slightly increased and management begin to take more juristic measures in the name of profits, such as deciding whether or not to continue the sale of exotic ice cream toppings. While this method increased efficiency there was no evidence to show the slight increase in profits would maintain over time, especially with upper management constantly evaluating the production line and making changes.

There is one special case of classic management that is unique amongst any others in its field. This special case is an organization called Chic-Fil-A. This organization focuses on being swift and attentive, all while developing a personal relationship with each one of its customers. This focus on developing authentic relationships with customers is highlighted in a article as being the new bottom line in business. By simply respecting the customer and saying a respectful my pleasure at the end of every transaction could explain why Chic-Fil-A has received “best drive-through in America” by the quick-service restaurant trade journal QSR 2 years in a row.

In conclusion, the takeaways of classis management are that it is dehumanizing while effective. Although classic management is an effective means to production it devalues customer service, the way you treat your employees, and operates as well-oiled machine. Like any phenomenon in life you will always have an exception, as such the case is with Chic-Fil-A and classic management theory. The fact of the matter is that this archaic style of management is being phased out by new methods of management and is slowly being deemed ineffective.

Works Cited

Miller, K, 2003, Organizational Communication Approaches and Processes 4th Edition, Belmont, California, Holly J. Allen

Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine, March 05, 2006, Renovating Home Depot,,

Salter, C, 2013, Chick-fil-A’s Recipe for Customer Service, Chick-fil-A’s Recipe for Customer Service,, 2013, Relationships: The New Bottom Line in Business,