Maricopa Community Colleges  COM250   20042-99999 

Official Course Description: MCCCD Approval: 11-25-2003

COM250  2010 Spring - 9999

LEC  3.0 Credit(s)  3.0 Period(s)  3.0 Load  Acad

Introduction to Organizational Communication

Introduction to the study of communication in organizations including identification of variables, roles and patterns influencing communication in organizations.

Prerequisites: None.


Course Attribute(s):

General Education Designation: Social and Behavioral Sciences - [SB]

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MCCCD Official Course Competencies:


COM250  2010 Spring - 9999

Introduction to Organizational Communication



Describe the nature and functions of communication on all levels in organizations. (I)


Identify the variety of approaches to the study of organizational communication recognized in the field. (I)


Describe the views and approaches of the different schools of thought.(II)


Describe the organizational design issues which impact communication in a variety of different organization structures. (III)


Describe the channels, barriers, and options for improvement for the formal and informal communication channels found in an organization. (IV)


Define and describe the four major functions of communication in organizations. (V)


Define and describe the areas of observation in organizations and the variety of tools used to assess each area. (VI)


Define and describe the differences between leadership and management in function, method of coordination, and response to change. (VII)


Define and describe the variety of formal and informal message channels within the internal communication system. (VII)


Define and describe the specific areas of the external communication system which impacts the organization. (IX)


Define and describe innovation, change and the diffusion of information within different types of organizations. (X)


Define and describe the types of field research utilized in analyzing organizations. (XI)


Define and describe the specific methods and instruments used in conducting field research. (XII)


Define and describe the methods and processes used in diagnosing organizations. (XIII)


Define and describe the variety of training models used for communication at all levels within an organization. (XIV)


Define and describe the methods, practices, procedures, and ethics which impact the communication consultant. (XV)


Identify potential sources of conflict and describe approaches to conflict management. (XVI)


Define and describe the process of organizational change and the specific approaches of organizational development. (XVII)

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MCCCD Official Course Outline:


COM250  2010 Spring - 9999

Introduction to Organizational Communication

I. Nature of Organizational Communication

A. Importance of Organizational Communication

B. Studying Communication in Organizations

C. Main Elements of the Communication Process

D. Nature of Communication Research

E. Component Approach

F. Linear Models to Systems Approach

G. Biases in Past Research

H. Research in Communication

I. Network Analysis

II. Schools of Thought on Organization Behavior

A. Scientific Management School

1. Mechanistic/Structure Approach

2. Taylorism and Communication

3. Critical Reactions

B. Human Relations School

1. Hawthorne Studies

2. Relationships and Communication

3. Critical Reactions

C. Systems School

1. General Systems Theory

2. View of Communication/Open System

3. Critical Reactions

D. Contingency School

1. Situational Needs/Demands

2. Internal/External Contingencies

3. Critical Reactions

III. Communication Within Organization Structures

A. Organization Design Issues Which Impact Communication

B. Division of Labor

C. Unity of Command

D. Span of Control

E. Line - Staff Relationships

F. Tall vs Flat Structures

G. Centralization vs Decentralization

H. Organizational Chart vs Reality

I. Design Variety

J. Formal Communication vs Informal

IV. Organizational Communications System

A. Communication Channels

B. Communication Networks

C. Serial Communication

D. Upward

E. Downward

F. Horizontal

G. Informal Groups

H. Informal - Grapevine

I. Communication Network Structures

J. Improving Communication Channels

V. Function of Communication in Organizations

A. Information Function

1. Internal

2. External

B. Command and Instruction

1. What and How

2. To Whom and When

C. Influence and Persuasion

1. Control

2. Inclusion

D. Integration and Maintenance

1. Operations

2. Confirmation

VI. Areas of Assessment: Things to Look At and Tools to Use

A. Organization Structure

B. Upward/Downward/Horizontal Channels

C. Informal Groups/Networks/Grapevine

D. Physical Environment

E. Psychological Climate

F. Organizational Culture

G. Listening Habits/Behaviors Perceived

H. Nature of Interpersonal Relationships

I. Interviewing

J. Group/Staff Meetings - Teamwork/Decision-Making

K. Leadership and Supervision

VII. Communication in Leadership/Management

A. Leadership Function

B. Management Function

C. Determinants of Leadership Effectiveness

D. Styles of Leadership and Impacts

E. Reactionary vs Visionary Leadership

F. Leadership and Organizational Dysfunction

G. Management of Change

H. Leadership Emergence and Assessment

I. Coordination Function Leader/Manager

VIII. Internal Communication Systems

A. Formal and Informal Communication

B. Management Function

C. Structure and Communication

D. Motivation and Control

E. Climate and Internal Messages

F. Ethical Dimensions

G. Coordination with External Communication

IX. External Communication Systems

A. Interdependent Relationship of Organization and its Environment

B. Sending and Seeking Environmental Information

C. Types of External Communication

1. PR - Marketing - Advertising - Lobbying

2. Recruitment - Legal - Coordinating

D. Ethical Dimensions

E. Organization Responsibility for External Accountability

X. Innovation and Change in Organizations

A. Innovations and Innovativeness

B. Process of Innovations

C. Stepwise Process

D. Performance Gaps

E. Knowledge and Reinvention

F. Accountability

G. Diffusion of Information

H. Change and Acceptance Process

I. Consequences

J. Assumptions

K. Research on Innovation Management

L. Perspectives and Problems

XI. Designing Field Research

A. What is Field Research?

B. Conceptualizing Research

C. Problems of Research in Field Settings

D. Designing Future Research

E. Examples of Research

F. Recommendations

XII. Conducting Field Research

A. Implementing Research in Organizations

B. Organizational Communication Procedures

C. The Communication Audit

D. Conceptual Structures

E. Appraisal of Communication Systems

F. Data Gathering - Analyzing Techniques

G. Writing the Research Reports

H. Problems and Choices

XIII. Diagnosing Organizations

A. Methods, Orders, and Processes

B. Challenges and Dilemmas of Diagnosis

C. Ethical and Professional Dilemmas

D. Guidelines for Diagnosis

E. Using the Open System Model

F. Feasibility of Change and Interventions

G. Individual Behavior

H. Group Behavior

I. Assessing Performance and Quality of Work Life

J. Environmental Conditions

XIV. Communication Training

A. General Training Model

B. Communication Training Model

C. Pre-Training Communication Analysis

D. Communication Training Objectives

E. Communication Training Techniques

F. Communication Training Evaluation

XV. Communication Consulting

A. Organization Development (OD)

B. Communication Consulting Models

C. Establishing Relationships

D. Diagnosis and Prescription

E. Intervention Activities

F. Practical Problems of Intervention

G. Ethical Considerations

H. Maintenance of Ongoing Relationships

I. Termination of Consultant/Client Relationships

XVI. Managing Conflict in Organizations

A. Sources of Conflict

B. Efforts of Conflict

C. Approaches to Managing Conflict

D. Model of the Conflict Process

E. Operational Steps to Conflict Management

F. Organizational Design/Structure Influences

G. Communication and Conflict

XVII. Organization Development and Communication

A. Process of Organizational Change

B. Specific Approaches to OD

C. The Total Organization

D. Individual Perspective

E. Group/Team Perspective

F. Problems and Strategies of OD

G. Causes of Resistance to OD

H. Strategies to Decrease Resistance

I. Communication Approaches for OD


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