Changing Organizations (201700004)

This module addresses the question of how communication processes can be optimized in organizations. Organizations are changing in many ways: traditional organizations are being replaced by more flexible ways of organizing, while new work-based technologies, ICTs, and applications are making it possible for employees to work when and where they want. Other organizations are seeking to run their businesses using self-managing teams, without hierarchical managers that lead them. And yet other companies operate on such an international level that almost every meeting is held using virtual methods. 

Although literature offers many insights into effective organizational communication, it is important to investigate how these insights are evolving in the light of the ever-changing context of modern organizations. For example, what does leadership mean in organizations with self-managing teams? How do people identify with a virtual organization, when there is no physical space in which to meet colleagues? How do new work-based technologies impact on collaboration between employees, their work attitudes, and optimal functioning? In this module, students will offer managers advice on such topics, based on both literature and empirical data. 

This module provides an introduction into several topics and organizational processes that are related to organizational communication. Students work on a qualitative research project in which they relate developments in modern organizations and society to these topics and processes. 

This module includes four parts:

  1. 2.4 Project: Leadership & Communication in Modern Society
  2. 2.4 Theory: Organizational Communication
  3. 2.4 Research Methodology: Qualitative Methodology 3
  4. 2.5 Academic and Professional Skills: Consultancy 

2.4 P: Leadership & Communication in Modern Society
The project of this module will be a qualitative research project. The ultimate goal is to provide members of organizations with hands-on recommendations on how to deal with various current developments in society (e.g., the spread of robotics, globalization, flexible contracts). To do this, students form small research teams to analyse how such developments can affect how organizational communication needs to be managed. We identify major developments in organizations and society, and the different research teams will pair up to study one of these developments and its specific consequences for organizational communication. Each development will be studied by several research teams. At the end of the project, the research teams will organize a workshop, in which they interactively present their most important research findings and managerial recommendations. 

2.4 T: Organizational Communication
In this module component, students gain insight into the literature on organizational communication. They learn to reflect on the role of various communication processes and functions in organizations and how these relate to optimal functioning of both individuals and organizations. In the study material, different subdomains of organizational communication will be introduced, including: organizational climate and culture, leadership and mentoring, identity and identification, teams, technology and innovation, and communicating work-life issues. Students will deepen their understanding of these topics by comparing and contrasting relevant literature in these subdomains and by reflecting on how current developments in society and in the labour market are influencing these domains of organizational communication. The aim here is to apply these insights to their qualitative research project.  

2.4 R: Qualitative Methodology 3
Organizational communication involves complex and dynamic processes. Various actors are involved, all with different perspectives and interests, and their individual perceptions are shaped by interactions with others. Given their flexible and cyclical nature, qualitative research methods are highly suitable for analysing organizational processes. In this part of the module, students further build on their knowledge of qualitative research methods. They learn how to set up a small-scale mixed-methods research project from beginning to end. Students also develop their skills on qualitative data analyses (e.g., transcribed interviews, field notes), using ATLAS.ti. 

2.4 S: Consultancy
This module component consists of two parts. First, students will review literature in a subdomain of organizational communication (e.g., leadership, identification, work-life issues) and write effectively about the latest developments in this subdomain. Second, students will present the results of their qualitative research project (e.g., their main findings, managerial implications) in a workshop.