Assignment Paper

Assignment Paper

Chapter Reaction Paper Prompt
A 400-500 word reaction paper will demonstrate that you have critically read, analyzed, processed, and critiqued the chapter for class discussion.  You should focus your writing on one section, theory, or concept in the chapter to demonstrate both your knowledge of the content and your ability to apply it to organizational communication. It should be in APA format including references.

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Chapter 5: Cultural Approaches to Organizational Communication


Culture affects communication


Culture can create barriers that prevent us from understanding others


Ideologies and paradigms guide our thinking and impact our understanding of the world around us

Case Study: Avianca Flight 052

Avianca Flight 52 was flying from Columbia to New York


Due to poor weather, the flight had been repeatedly held up, leaving both pilots panicking about fuel levels


After Air Traffic Control again told them to wait, the pilots did not question the command


After running out of gas, the plane crashed, killing half of the passengers


What cultural dimensions may have influenced this event?

Defining Culture

The acquired learning of a group that gives its members a sense of who they are, of belonging, and works to make that group recognizably different from other groups


Organizational culture is very similar to traditional culture in that it provides a system of shared values, beliefs, and holds meaning to employees


Globalization and Culture

Globalization has a tremendous impact on the way we communicate between and within organizations

Geert Hofstede (2001) created a model of five dimensions that act as a broad framework for understanding the cultural differences between nations

Power distance


Uncertainty avoidance

Long-term vs. short-term orientation

Masculinity and femininity

Case Study: The New Job and Organizational Culture

Zeb served for five years as the branch manager of an established local bank

Zeb always adhered to the rules of operation that governed customer and employee expectations

Though satisfied with his job, Zeb took an opportunity to work at Google

Zeb was startled by the very different culture of Google’s expansive office complex, group lunches, opportunities for innovation and creativity, and flexible work hours

Why is a workplace like Google so appealing to many?

Organizational Culture

Defining organizational features of a company, that separates that company from others in terms of operations, employee relationships, and interorganizational behavior


Moving from one organization to another can prove difficult when the organizational cultures are vastly different


Substantial differences can cause culture shock in new employees



Work Environment

Characteristics of the work environment are dictated by organizational culture


Expectations of time

When does the business day begin and end?

How many hours and days of the week are expected?


Expectations for dress

What is appropriate for the workplace?


Expectations of communication behaviors

Southwest Airlines – fun and hard work

Critical Thinking Questions – Environment

What are the time expectations for your classes?

What are the dress expectations at your institution?

What are the behavioral expectations at your institution?

Organizational Commitment

Commitment to organizations is changing, as college students now average over 10 job changes in their lifetime


Different generations experience different life conditions, which influences commitment to the job


Increasing choices and opportunities impact our lives in many ways, including careers

Organizational Identity

Core aspects of an organization’s culture include:

Innovation and risk-taking

Attention to detail

Outcome orientation

People orientation

Team orientation



Organizational Subcultures

Cultures are not always uniform in organizations

Subcultures have unique values, attributes, or behaviors


According to Schein (1983), organizational cultures become . . . a pattern of assumptions that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel . . .” (p. 14)

Critical Thinking Questions – Subcultures

What are some examples of subcultures at your institution?

How do those subcultures still maintain their organizational identity?

Changing Organizational Culture

Is it possible to “make” organizational change happen?


Material symbols, rituals, and even specific language used by an organization can be used to reinforce, differentiate, and strengthen culture


Strong organizational cultures are pervasive but knowing when to adapt and change the organizational culture to better fit the competitive environment is sometimes difficult

Paradigm Shifts & Organizational Culture

Defined as a set of rules and regulations, paradigms do two things:


Establish and define boundaries

Tell employees how to behave inside those boundaries to be successful


Paradigms are effective at standardizing interactions, but can become a hindrance if they prevent organizations from seeing opportunities outside that specific thought pattern


At the individual level, paradigms can interfere with our ability to see the value in other cultures, both ethnic and organizational

Critical Thinking Questions – Paradigms

How do your paradigms help navigate your everyday lives, and how can they hinder you?

How do your paradigms influence your communication styles and behaviors?

Context Matters

Consider the implications of organizational culture in the context of these different types of industry segments:

For-profit organizations

Entrepreneurship – small business

Nonprofit organizations

Government sector