978-1319052348 Chapter 10 Part 1

Document Type
Homework Help
Book Title
Organizational Communication: Balancing Creativity and Constraint 8th Edition
Authors
Angela Trethewey, Eric M. Eisenberg, Marianne LeGreco
119
CHAPTER%10%
Organizational Alignment: Managing the Total Enterprise
CHAPTER SUMMARY
Chapter 10 focuses on organizational alignment through various processes and practices, particularly computer-
assisted technologies. The first half of this chapter looks at how managers consider the entire organization
through positioning and strategy. The authors highlight the need for a strong competitive strategy and strategic
alignment. This is critical for an organization’s survival in competitive environments. The chapter frames strat-
egy and positioning as processes based on communication. The 7-S model is an example of the performance of
these processes. Next, the chapter explores human resources management in terms of the idea that sophisticated
companies work to attract, develop, and keep talent. The second half of the chapter discusses new technologies
and mediated interactions within the organizational communication framework. The chapter considers utopian,
dystopian, neutral, and contingent views on technology. Finally, Chapter 10 discusses growing privacy concerns
over growing reliance on technology.
TEACHING GOALS
Define strategic positioning and strategic alignment.
Define competitive strategy and discuss the basic characteristics of such strategy.
List the two main types of strategies along with several examples of the differentiation strategy.
Illustrate how strategy changes over the course of a business life cycle.
Outline the steps to strategic alignment involved in the 7-S model.
Discuss recent advances and progressive approaches that are involved in the field of human
resources.
Describe some of the new technologies that are changing the world of work and the various views that
exist about the impact of these technologies.
Discuss some of the ethical concerns, particularly those associated with privacy, that arise out of the
use of communication technology and business environments in general today.
Describe the proliferation of mediated forms of interpersonal communication.
TEACHING CHALLENGES
Chapter 10 will engage your students with increasingly familiar concepts and processes. Organizational align-
ment has become more practiced and computer-assisted technologies have become more commonplace. Find
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out how your students have encountered both organizational alignment and new technologies in their everyday
lives. Moreover, your students will likely relate to issues of positioning and strategy because of the role that
consumerism has played in many of their lives. They will most likely be aware of many examples from market-
ing and advertising that illustrate these concepts. The most significant challenge that you will face in this chap-
ter is linking the examples that your students discuss to the theoretical anchors in the text. Many of the practices
of modern organizations are rooted in theoretically rich concepts, and Chapter 10 is a clear example of that.
CLASSROOM EXERCISES AND ASSIGNMENTS
Exercise 1
This exercise is designed to help students understand the concept of positioning and strategy. As a class, select a
small or local business in your community. Ask students to do a little background research on the busi-
ness/organization. Divide the students into small groups. Ask half of the groups to develop a competitive strate-
gy based on a differentiation approach, and ask the remaining groups to develop a competitive strategy based on
a lowest-cost strategy. Have each of the small groups present their strategy to class, and note the similarities and
differences between each group’s approach.
Exercise 2
This exercise encourages students to think about the rewards of work. Part of human resource management sug-
gests that employees need clearly defined rewards that match the work being done. Divide students into small
groups of four or five. Ask the students to pretend that they are a workgroup whose organization is going
through a large-scale strategic alignment. Among the many changes that are taking place, each individual
workgroup is allowed to construct their own employee benefits package. Management has generated a list of
potential benefits; however, in order to ensure the flexibility in those packages, each group must choose four
benefits from the list of twelve options. The list of potential benefits includes the following: 80 hours of paid
vacation, 4 months of paid family leave (maternity and paternity leave), family health insurance, flextime, re-
tirement funding, 80 hours of personal leave (sick time, personal time), new laptops for the team every two
years, free admission to the company daycare program, education reimbursement, holiday bonus package
(based on annual company earnings), stocks or shares in the organization, and the option to work at home. Each
group should offer a justification for their choices. Moreover, each group should design a system of checks and
balances to ensure that employees are earning these benefits.
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Exercise 3
Read the What Would You Do? box titled When a Tweet Costs You a Career.” This box demonstrates the
widespread and permanent effects that improper use of social media can have on an individual or an organiza-
tion. Have students read through the material and work through the questions.
Exercise 4
If you did not get a chance to do this exercise as a part of Chapter 8, you have another chance to engage stu-
dents in this activity about privacy concerns on the Internet. Begin by having a class-wide discussion about the
argument that there is no such thing as privacy on the Internet. Once a picture, comment, or status update is
posted on a site such as Facebook or Twitter, no matter what your privacy settings, you run the risk of having
that information publicized. This information can have negative repercussions as students start applying for
jobs, internships, and memberships in organizations. Following this discussion, divide students into small
groups, and ask them to construct a list of best practices or a code of conduct for posting personal information
on social networking sites. To make this assignment unique to Chapter 10, you might want to provide students
with copies of Facebook’s user and privacy policies to show how their information might be used.
Exercise 5
As an optional assignment, try to convince some of your students to “unplug” for 24 hours. Ask them to avoid
using their cell phones (unless in case of emergencies), set an automatic reply to their e-mail accounts, and log
out of Facebook for a full 24 hours. Ask students to document their experiences as they try to navigate modern
life without some sort of assistive device (such as a smartphone or wireless Internet access). Let students know
that they should be honest about their experienceeven if means admitting that they gave up before the 24
hours ended.
Exercise 6
The “Strategically Aligning School Food Policies” case study at the end of Chapter 10 gives students a chance
to examine and discuss the complexities of actually trying to align the language, goals, and policies of an organ-
ization. Using school food policy as a backdrop, the case study focuses on different elements of the 7-S model
in a unique way. Divide your students into small groups and ask them to work through the discussion questions
that are given at the end of the case study. Then, ask them to discuss what makes strategic alignment an ironi-
cally messy process.
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Exercise 7
The Everyday Organizational Communication box titled “Helping Colleges and Universities Do What They Do
Best” offers your students an opportunity to think about strategic trends on their own campus. Many colleges
and universities are developing Quality Enhancement Programs (QEPs) as a way to strategically align their or-
ganizations. Ask your students to work through the discussion questions related to QEPs. Spend some time en-
gaging in discussion about what a QEP would look like on your own campus.
Taking exercises online: Many of these suggested exercises can be made digital for those teaching hybrid or
online classes. Simply conduct discussions on your online forum, discussion boards, or course management
systems. In particular, Exercises 3, 4, 6, and 7 lend themselves to this conversion.
CLASSROOM MEDIA RESOURCES
Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004, 106 minutes, Rated PG-13). This comedy provides insights into compet-
itive strategies and strategic positioning as a local barbershop goes head-to-head with a popular chain.
In Good Company (2004, 109 minutes, Rated PG-13). This light comedy offers some excellent commentary
about the tensions of competitive strategy and strategic alignment as an organization goes through a merger,
older employees are replaced by younger employees, and the company works to meet new levels of quality.
Kinky Boots (2005, 107 minutes, Rated PG-13). This comedy film, later developed into a Tony Awardwinning
Broadway musical, features the story of a young man who inherits his father’s failing show factory. He draws
on the help of a drag queen to reinvent the business and redevelop his competitive strategy. It gives students the
opportunity to discuss how organizations must often reinvent their competitive strategies in order to remain
viable and sustainable.
Moneyball (2011, 133 minutes, Rated PG-13). Billy Beane attempts to build a major league baseball team on a
budget. While building a championship team in a new way an important concept emerges: The collective capa-
bilities of the whole are more important than the individual capabilities of any single member.
Mr Selfridge (2013, Season 1, Episode 1). In this first episode, notice how Harry uses strategic positioning to
win over customers and beat competitors. See how competitive strategy and competitor analysis help Selfridges
become a shopping mecca. Also see the documentary The Secrets of the Selfridges.
Steve Jobs (2015, 122 minutes, Rated R). Examine the leadership style and the organizations Jobs built as CEO
of Apple.
ONLINE RESOURCES
Adfreak (http://adweek.blogs.com/adfreak/). This website combines two different ideas from Chapter 10 in a
rather unique way. The site is a blog that offers observations about advertising and, ultimately, strategic posi-
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© 2017 Bedford/St. Martin’s. All rights reserved.
tioning. Thus, students gain understanding of new technologies and competitive strategies. Ask your students to
do a thorough search of this blog to gather examples of advertisements and other statements of strategic posi-
tioning that organizations use. Have them comment not only on the advertisements themselves but also on the
ease of using the blog to gather social commentary about the topic.
Apple (http://www.apple.com). Since the publication of the last two Instructor’s Manuals, the Apple Corpora-
tion has made some significant advances regarding the strategic thinking and positioning of their organization.
Between the 5th and 6th editions, consumers saw the introduction of the iPhone. Between the 6th and 7th edi-
tions, consumers saw the introduction of the iPad, the iCloud, and the fifth generation of the iPhone. Apple also
lost their chief visionary and innovator, Steve Jobs, to pancreatic cancer. Apple has been experimenting with
ways to strategically align their brand and use new communication technologies to improve everyday practices.
Have your students examine Apple’s website and make observations about how this organization has achieved
its strategic alignment. Ask them to consider how Apple might maintain their alignment without the presence of
Steve Jobs.
California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (http://www.cfilc.org). This not-for-profit organization
encourages students to think a little differently about the role that assisted technologies play in contemporary
organizing. This organization is committed to bringing independent-living resources to disabled communities.
Part of their work centers on issues of assisted technologies. Ask your students to visit the website and examine
how this group talks about the importance of technology.
Facebook Data Use Policy (https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy). This site provides greater detail regard-
ing how Facebook uses their members’ data. You can use this site to discuss issues of online privacy with your
students. Begin by asking how many of them have Facebook pages and how many of them have actually read
the Data Use Policy. Ask students to work through the individual elements of the policy and discuss how com-
fortable they are with how their information might or might not be used.
Human Resources (http://education-portal.com/academy/topic/human-resources.html). This site provides les-
sons on various aspects of human resources management. Each lesson has an accompanying animated video
clip that discusses the content of the lesson. Ask your students to view these lessons and videos and compare the
approaches to those featured in the text.
Starbucks McKinsey 7S Framework (http://research-methodology.net/starbucks-mckinsey-7s-framework/). This
framework is applied to the successful coffee chain.
The Strategic Management Process (http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/the-strategic-management-
process.html). This site offers students some additional insights into developing and implementing a competi-
tive strategy. The site contains a lesson and video that presents a four-part model that involves environmental
scanning, strategy formulation, strategy implementation, and strategy evaluationvery similar to what most
public health programs advocate. Ask your students to consider some of the similarities between the approach
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advocated here and other competitive strategies, such as the 7-S model. Are there places where one model is
more appropriate than the other?
Top 10 Corporate Interview Processes for Hires That Fit (https://www.smartrecruiters.com/blog/top-10-
corporate-interview-processes-for-hires-that-fit/). The Washington Post uses targeted selection in their interview
process. Tesla and Apple use collaborative hiring process, while Pizza Hut’s hiring process is a form of speed
dating.
Total Quality Management (TQM) (http://asq.org/learn-about-quality/total-quality-
management/overview/overview.html). This website provides a summary of TQM and training. The site also
offers a list called “Total Quality Management Principles: The 8 Primary Elements of TQM.
ESSAY/DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Why do most business strategies change over the course of the business life cycle? How do they change
as the business environments change?
Why is alignment necessary for a full business strategy to be realized?
What does each “S” stand for in the 7-S model? Is there an order that this process should follow?
How do some more current human resources techniques contribute to strategic alignment? How might
these new human resource concepts impact you as a potential employee?
Define what is meant by organizational learning. Why is it important? What are the concerns surround-
ing privacy issues and new technologies?
What are some necessary workplace skills? What foundational abilities are required? What are some
learning areas?
What is the Clemente Course? Explain its work in organizational learning.
KEY TERMS
strategic thinking Collecting relevant environmental data and making conscious choic-
es about organizational values, positioning, and direction.
strategic positioning Selecting a strategy or purpose that distinguishes the organization
from its competitors.
competitive strategy A clear statement of why customers should choose a company’s
products or services over those of its competitors.
competitor analysis Identification of similar products and services that are offered by
other companies as well as past attempts that have failed in launching
a product or service.
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lowest-cost strategy A business strategy that involves a commitment to offering a product
or service at the lowest possible price.
differentiation A popular business strategy that involves highlighting the unique or
special qualities of a product or service.
strategic alignment The process of modifying organizational systems and structures to
support the competitive strategy.
superordinate goal A broad outcome that everyone in an organization is motivated to
achieve.
total quality management (TQM) Large-scale strategic alignment that involves a company-wide, com-
prehensive effort to create a culture of quality.
targeted selection A systematic job-interview process through which selected experts
assess job candidates on the key dimensions of each job.
performance management Any system that tracks and gives feedback to employees about how
well they are accomplishing objectives tied to each of their key job
dimensions.
training and development Formal and informal efforts to develop employee skill.
organizational development (OD) Human resources subfield that deals with the purposeful facilitation
of strategic systems change.
computer-assisted communication Various methods of text, voice, and image transmission
technology including fax, e-mail, the Internet, and smartphones.
computer-assisted decision-aiding Online management information systems, group decision
technology support systems, and other expert systems or programs that
provide technical information.
utopian view A view of information technology that serves to equalize power rela-
tionships at work by bridging time and space, thereby improving
both productivity and work life.
dystopian view. A view of information technology that sees communication technol-
ogy as benefiting the economic elite and progressively limiting our
freedoms.
neutral view A view that communication technology has no significant effects on
human behavior.
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contingent view A view of communication technology that suggests the effect of a
given innovation depends on the context or situation in which it is
adapted.
synchronicity The capacity of a technology to allow for two-way (or multi-way)
communication.
media richness The number of multiple channels of contact afforded by a communi-
cation medium, in which each channel generally corresponds to one
of the five senses.
mediated interpersonal communication New forms of communication that eliminate face-to-face interactions
in favor of telephones, fax machines, computers, and other services.
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LECTURE NOTES
Explain the importance of strategic thinking as well as the temptation to avoid managing the total enter-
prise.
What does strategically positioning an organization mean? What does it allow an organization to do?
Discuss why competitive strategy is crucial for long-term business success. Include examples of various
kinds of strategies most businesses choose.
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Describe the process of strategic alignment. Explain the 7-S model as a process of strategic alignment.
129
Discuss the idea behind progressive human resources management and why it is vital for
organizational success today.
What lessons from organizational development relate to the nature of strategic change in organizations?
Discuss some of the ways that organizations are playing a role in the overall learning process of
individuals.
Describe the new technologies that have become woven into the fabric of organizational life.
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© 2017 Bedford/St. Martin’s. All rights reserved.
Discuss the various perspectives regarding the potential effects of communication technology on the
workplace.
What aspects of communication technology are communication scholars particularly interested in?
Discuss the potential secrecy and privacy issues that result from communication technologies.
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What is mediated interpersonal communication? How is this concept connected to virtual offices and dis-
tributed workers?
Summarize and review the material regarding strategic alignment with your students. As you do so, ask
them to consider how the ideas from this chapter have been informed by the previous nine chapters.
APPX1
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PART"IV"
APPENDICES))
ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION QUESTIONNAIRE
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Name: Age:
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Major:
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Reasons you chose this major:
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Hometown and state:
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Previous business courses:
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Previous speech and communication studies courses:
APPX2
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Work experience (companies, job titles, and job descriptions):
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What are the three most important things you have learned from these work experiences?
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Describe the job you want when you graduate:
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Describe a typical working day performing this job:
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How much money do you think this job will pay? How many hours a week will you work?
Describe the
job you see yourself performing fifteen years after you graduate:
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How much money do you expect to be making then? Describe your lifestyle fifteen years
from now:
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Explain why I should hire you for the job/career you described:
APPX3
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Check the following communication skills you think you currently have:
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Oral presentations
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Group work
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Conflict management
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Relational development
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Sales
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Other (please describe):
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General Knowledge
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Briefly explain the following organizational terms:
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1.
Revenues:
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2.
Costs:
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3.
Profits:
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4.
Management:
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5.
Customer service:
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APPX4
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6.
Bureaucracy:
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7.
Downsizing:
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8.
Restructuring:
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9.
TQM:
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10.
Self-managing teams:
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11.
Interpersonal relationships:
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12.
Communication:
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13.
Network:
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14.
Empowerment:
Written
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Group leadership
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Negotiations and bargaining
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Public relations
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Media coordination
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Theory of Life
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On one or more separate sheets of paper, please describe your general theory of life.
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What is the one thing you think I should know about you that is not included on this
questionnaire?
APPX6
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APPENDIX B
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Supplemental Materials for Chapter 6, Classroom Exercises and
Assignments, Exercise 1
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THE CENTRALITY OF THE CORPORATE INSTITUTION
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Situation: E & G Corporation is a multibillion-dollar corporation in New Brunswick, New
Jersey. E & G
has been headquartered in New Jersey for over fifty years, employing
approximately six thousand employees in this location. The company has recently
purchased a medium-size company in Spartanburg, South
Carolina. Management has
decided that the two businesses should be integrated into one. The CEO of E &
G has
decided to move the headquarters from New Jersey to South Carolina to escape New
Jersey’s high
property prices and taxes. This move will mean that several people in New
Brunswick will be let go and
the rest will have to move to South Carolina if they want to
keep their jobs. E & G will reduce its staff by
almost one-third but expects that the
combination of the two facilities will lead to doubling annual revenue.
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Main Question: What kinds of effects does this decision have on both your professional and
personal life?
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MASTER LIST OF ROLES
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CEO: You made the final decision for the move and layoffs. You will be moving to the
new office in
South Carolina. You must report the productivity level and the bottom line to
the Board of Directors at the
quarterly meeting in three months’ time.
"
Company Executive: You are a fifty-five-year-old executive for E & G. Because of
redundancy, your position
has been eliminated. You have worked for E & G for twenty-five

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