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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Gina S Neff
COM 475
Seattle Campus

Organizational Communication

Role of communication in organizations, the types of problems arising, and approaches to their resolution. Communication in the human relations and productivity of organizations. Applying communication skills in various organization roles.

Class description

How do organizations work? How do people use and share information within organizations? Questions that organizational communication scholars address include how are decisions made, how information flows among people within an organization, how conflict is managed, and how power is negotiated. This course examines these questions in communication processes in "informal" organizations and examines the importance of networks and informal groups to information sharing.

Organizations themselves are not, however, stable structures nor are organizations limited to firms, a fact sadly overlooked in many organizational communication texts. We will use examples from a wide variety of organizations -- from corporations, to museums, even to military sorties -- to explore communication patterns and processes in different settings. This course will also have a particular emphasis on what happens to organizations and the people within them when communication technology changes.

Student learning goals

* Define formal and informal organizations and differentiate among different kinds of organizations. Understand the basic functioning of organizations in for-profit and non-profit settings alike, as well as identify the challenges facing temporary organizations.

* Identify and evaluate different theoretical perspectives on organizational communication including systems, cultural, and critical approaches to understanding organizational communication.

* Describe the relationship between changes in communication technology and organizational structure.

General method of instruction

This course will be an interactive lecture course. Students should be prepared in each class to discuss the readings.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

This course is a writing-intensive course. There will be short papers due most weeks along with a final project at the end of the term. There will be no final exam in this course.

Grades will be assigned based on writing assignments, in-class participation, and a final project.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Gina S Neff
Date: 06/28/2008