(Tentative Syllabus—Check with instructor to confirm.)

Instructor: Dr. Ron Price
Office: 114 Music Building
Office Phone: 581-2475
Office Hours*:
Mon., Tues. & Fri

8:30-9:00 AM
11:00 -11:30 AM
12:50-2:00 PM

Tues. & Thurs 1:45 - 3:30 PM

*This period of time is primarily devoted to office hours, committee work, learning and
applied scholarly activity. If you wish to visit with me, it would be best to phone first and
set up an appointment.
There may be occasional exceptions to this schedule this semester.


Conrad, Charles. Strategic Organizational Communication: An Integrated Perspective. 5th edition. 2002.

Catalog Description of the Course

The theory and function of communication within businesses, government, hospitals, Schools, industrial firms, and other organizations with emphasis on concepts and principles needed for effective communication. Lecture 3 hours.

Course Objectives

At the conclusion of the course the students should be able to:

  1. Recognize that strategically effective communication management may facilitate the attainment of organizational goals.
  2. Recognize that modern organizations are open systems and viewing them as such can help us understand their complexity.
  3. Understand how the nature of the organization's design can affect the type, amount, and quality of communication that occurs in the work environment.
  4. Understand how the job effort in classical/ traditional organizations is managed through formal communication networks, role patterns, and expectations.
  5. Learn that strategically effective communication skills assist organizations in managing information, resolving problems, handling conflicts, and regulating behavior.
  6. Understand that relational (the human relations tradition) methods of communication advocate decentralization and participatory decision-making and that such consequences and behaviors can result in resistance on the part of employees and greater job satisfaction for others.
  7. Recognize that informal communication networks (the grapevine) are an inevitable characteristic of organizations and that their presence can have both deleterious and positive effects.
  8. Understand that open and supportive communication in supervisor-subordinate relationships is currently being attempted through "transactional," "contingency," and "transformational" leadership tactics.
  9. Appreciate the "organizational culture perspective" which argues that organizations are created through communication and rely on symbolic acts such as myths, metaphors, and stories to regulate the behavior of employees.
  10. Understand the significance of electronic communication as manifested in the following contexts: data processing, management information systems, decision support systems, office automation, and expert systems.
  11. Appreciate the increasing complexity of organizations due to electronic mediation and its consequent "flattening" effect on organizational structure.
  12. Understand the communication concepts of "rhetorical sensitivity," image management and influence strategies such as persuasion, accusation and defense, and strategic ambiguity.
  13. Appreciate the multifaceted nature of organizational power and politics and its relationship to communicative interaction.
  14. Understand the ways people "frame" conflicts, develop an appreciation for how conflicts escalate, and recommend ways that conflict can be effectively managed.
  15. Enhance one's writing skills through the critical analysis of corporate/organizational accusation/defense.
  16. Present one's research findings in a videotaped speech using computer generated visual aids.

Main Divisions of the Course

The structure of the course follows the textbook closely. The classroom activities, however, may diverge sharply from classroom experiences you may have had on this campus or in the department.

Classroom Activities

Class sessions will include the following:


Attendance Policy

Upon the 7th absence the student will receive an "F"or an incomplete in the course. This is a communications course and the student who is absent is depriving other class members of feedback critical to the development of interpersonal communication skills. Consequently, non-attendance is evaluated differently than in some other courses offered by the university.

Evaluation Procedures

The final grade will be based on the following:

  1. EXAMS (objective and essay) over the textbook will be given approximately every three weeks and will constitute 40% of the total grade. The professor must be contacted prior to any exam which is missed. Even when arrangements have been made in advance, the student will receive one letter grade deduction on the makeup exam. No student will receive a grade in the course unless all four exams have been completed satisfactorily. The makeup exam date and time will be determined by the instructor in consultation with the student.

    The selection of the text is one of the most important decisions of the course. Students are expected to achieve some mastery of the text with regard to the essay portion of the examination. Unacceptable essays will require rewriting. No credit will be given for the rewrite. It is expected that students will read the text in more than just a cursory fashion. Basic language mechanics are also a concern at the undergraduate level. Students whose writing skills are deficient will be asked to go to the Writing Lab.

  2. One CLASSROOM work grade based on the two/three following factors: 20% total.
    1. Class ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION - 20%. Perceptive comments during the classroom discussion and/or informed references to the text. (These are known as ORAL QUIZZES/ WRITTEN QUIZZES MAY BE GIVEN).
      1. An attendance grade is rewarded based on the following: (10% -100 points)

        0 Absences -100% 1 Absence- 95% 2 Absences- 90% 3 Absences- 85%
        4 Absences- 80% 5 Absences - 75% 6 Absences- 70%  

      2. Participation: (10% -100 points) This grade is based on the student's participation in class and is an evaluation by the instructor of the student's preparation for class discussion.

    2. INTERVIEW -(10% - l00 points)
      Small groups of students (no smaller than four and no larger than five) will conduct an in class" videotaped interview of a key organizational leader. This person may come from the profit or non-profit sector. The task force group should:
      1. Submit the name of the selected interviewee by Monday, September 29th, 2003 (7th week).
      2. A schedule of questions/topics should be submitted one week prior to the interview.
      3. The interview may be conducted no earlier than Monday, October 27st, 2003 (llth week) and no later than Monday, November 10th 2003 (13th week). The interviews will be conducted in class.

    1. Corporate/Organizational Accusation and Defense Paper -15%. The first draft of the paper is due on October 20th, 2003 (10th week). Students who do not turn in the first draft on the date due or the final paper on the due dates will receive one letter grade deduction. Final papers will be due two class periods before presentation. Students should use the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), 4th edition. The student will turn in the original copy of the first draft with the final draft.

      Students will write a corporate/ organizational public relations office for statements defending some grievance committed against consumers/the public. Upon receiving such a statement, the student will write a fifteen page paper on this accusation and defense.

      Guidelines for the analysis will be provided by the instructor. Examples of organizations that have been researched by and have received requests from Org. Comm. students in the past include Abercrombie & Fitch, Alpine Industries, American Airlines, American Eagle and the Federal Aviation Administration, AT&T, Audi, Binney & Smith (Crayola), Lizzie Borden, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, Bridge-Firestone and the U.S. Labor Dept, Brilliant Pebbles (Strategic Defense Initiative), British Crown vs. Anglican Church, Bumble Bee Seafoods, Burger King, Burroughs Wellcome (Sudafed), Neil Bush and the Silverado Bank Savings and Loan, Chernobyl, Chrysler, The Citadel, Liz Claiborne, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Coalition of Film Makers vs. the American Family Association, Coca-Cola, Dartmouth, David Letterman and NBC, Democratic Party, Denny's, Dow Corning, Eastern Airlines, Exxon, Food Lion, Fort Sill/West Range Artillery accident, General Motors and Roger and Me, Gerber, Goodyear Auto Repair Stores (20-20 Broadcast), Goodyear (Lawton Plant), Granite Reformatory, Haggar, Intel and Advanced MicroDevices, Michael Jackson, Jack In The Box and Foodmaker, Jamahiriya (Lybian Govt), Johnson and Johnson, Katzenberg Memo (Disney Studios), Silkwood and Kerr-McGee, Lawton Cablevision, Eli Lilly, Los Angeles Police Department, Mad Cow Disease and the British Gov't., Microsoft, Miller Brewing Company, McNeil (Tylenol-'82 & '86), Microsoft, and Philip Morris.

      NASA and the GAO, National Cheerleader Association, National Endowment of the Arts, NASA/Challenger, National Football League (substance abuse policy) National Rifle Assn., Nestle, New Strategies & Don Lapre Enterprises, New York Times, (The Pentagon Papers), Nike, NBC and GM's Dateline Incident, Northwest Airlines, OU Athletic Department, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, Oklahoma Natural Gas and Southwestern Bell, Pan Am, Parker-Hanifin, Leonard Peltier (American Indian Movement), Pepsi Co., Perrier, Playtex, General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church( human sexuality report), Proctor and Gamble, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Proposition 187 and Governor Pete Wilson, A.H. Rollins, R.J. Reynolds, John Rocker, Roman Catholic Church, Rockwell International and the U.S. Dept. of Energy, Tailhook and the U.S. Navy, Time Warner (Ice-T), Three Mile Island, Salomon Brothers, Inc., Saturn, Inc., Sears Auto and Tire Centers, Shady Sam's Pawn Shop, Six Flags, Southern Pacific Transportation Company, Southwestern Elementary School and Jonathan Prevett, Suzuki, Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, Tenneco, Time Inc., Thomas-Hill Hearings, Trans World Airlines, United Way, U.S. Air, U.S. Army (policy on homosexuality), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Gray Wolf Reintroduction Plan, U.S. Navy and the U.S.S. Iowa, U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Olympic Committee and Tonya Harding, VamJet, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Governor David Walters, J.C. Watts and the Environmentalists, Wisconsin and the Environmental Protection Agency.

      Letters to organizations should be sent by the end of the second week. The student will present the findings in a formal speech given in class during the last two-three weeks of class and the final exam period. Writing techniques such as multi-drafting will be utilized in class.

    2. (15%) Formal presentation of the research findings in a 15-20 minute videotaped speech given at the end of the semester. Guidelines for the presentation will be provided. Students may be required to do a self-analysis of their speech.

Important Dates

Last day to drop or withdraw with an automatic 'W' ..November 12. 2003
Last day to drop or withdraw with from a single class ..December 1. 2003

Final Exam

Friday, December 12st - l:00pm - 3:00 PM

___________________________________ ___________________________________
Student's Name (Printed) Student's Signature

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