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Case Studies in Courageous Organizational Communication

Research and Practice for Effective Workplaces

Alexander Lyon

Alexander Lyon presents 31 case studies in organizational communication that explore issues of courageous communication. Through case studies on many well-known organizations such as Google, the Miami Dolphins, NASA, Comcast, the Boy Scouts of America, Netflix, Taco Bell, Massachusetts General Hospital, Merck Pharmaceuticals, and others, the book articulates a communication-based model of courage around four themes: Courageous communication is collaborative, upward, transparent, and engaging.

The book presents both effective and cautionary portraits of organizations as they responded to complex issues. It situates the case studies in existing literature and provides practical guidance for enacting courageous communication in professional settings.


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Part IV: Moving from Impersonal to Engaging Communication


Part IV Moving from impersonal to Engaging Communication 10 Impersonal Communication and Case Studies Do we even know what rudeness is any more? Can I just pick up a magazine and put it in front of your face and read it while you’re talking? Is that okay? —Jerry Seinfeld, speaking about cell phones Most people in professional settings experience impersonal communication. NBC’s show The Office centers on a small paper supply company called Dunder Mifflin that competes with the “big box” office supply chain stores. in one epi- sode, “The Salesmen,” characters Dwight and Jim, drive to pitch their services to a potential client who prefers to do business with a big chain store because of the low prices. to show the contrast between Dunder Mifflin and large compet- itors, Dwight says, “May i borrow your phone?” He puts the call on the speaker without explanation, gets routed through a big competitor’s automated phone system, and is put on hold. Jim continues to tell the client about Dunder Mifflin. During a pause in Jim’s pitch, Dwight looks at the phone speaker and says to the manager, “This is one of those big guys. i’ve been on hold this whole time.” at that moment, Jim calls Dunder Mifflin’s office and a cheerful employee instantly answers. Jim hangs up and explains the superior service and personal touch his company offers. The difference between doing business with big or small com- panies may resonate with readers’ experiences. This chapter looks at the grow-...

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