978-1319052348 Chapter 9

Document Type
Homework Help
Book Title
Organizational Communication: Balancing Creativity and Constraint 8th Edition
Angela Trethewey, Eric M. Eisenberg, Marianne LeGreco
Communicating Leadership
Chapter 9 focuses specifically on leadership and the important relationships between superiors and subordinates
in organizations. The chapter opens by tracing the historical development of leadership in organizational re-
search. It is important to do so because students need to understand the central position that leadership research
plays in communication practice. After detailing trait and style approaches to leadership, the chapter turns to an
illustration of habits of mind, habits of character, and habits of authentic communicative performance that great
leaders appear to possess. Within this portion of the text, the authors introduce an intriguing argumentthat
great leaders do not imitate other great leaders. Rather, great leaders develop their own style of leading that
blends personal humility with professional will. By approaching their leadership responsibilities with modesty,
leaders inspire other members to act. This argument leads to a discussion of effective, open, and supportive
communication with employees. The chapter concludes by describing the dark side of organizational communi-
cation. The authors describe recent research on workplace bullying and sexual harassment as a way to illustrate
how relationships between superiors and subordinates might be abused.
Discuss the centrality of leadership in research on organizational communication.
Explain historical views on the study of leadership, including trait and style approaches.
Distinguish between situational and transformational leaders.
Define the habits of mind, habits of character, and habits of authentic communicative performance that
personify many great leaders.
Discuss what it means to lead with modesty.
Describe some of the theories used to study employee motivation.
Discuss the emergence of workplace bullying as a phenomenon in organizations.
Discuss sexual harassment and methods for dealing with unwanted behaviors in the workplace.
Although Chapter 9 places emphasis on leadership, there are several important concepts, relationships, and pro-
cesses at play in this chapter. The primary challenge that you will face is giving ample time to all of the ideas
that make up the chapter. For example, Chapter 9 provides a lot of practical suggestions for handling a variety
of situations within an organization. Although some of the material may seem like common sense or simply
friendly advice for students, it is important to emphasize that all of the information in the text has a theoretical
background. The types of communication strategies that are outlined in the text, although critical to effective
communication with employees, are rarely covered in any company handbook or training session. This is a
unique opportunity for students to learn actual techniques and tactics that can make their jobs easier. It may be
to students’ benefit for you to show some examples of corporate handbooks and to have students realize that
information about actual communication styles and patterns are generally overlooked. Students can do them-
selves a great service by viewing this chapter, along with the last few chapters of the book as a whole, as a train-
ing and development session on organizational communication. At the same time, it is also important to
consider how the discussion of leadership develops in the classroom. Your students will probably know of
many examples of great leaders. Encourage them to think beyond the conventional examples to identify great
leaders who are most relevant to their own lives. Moreover, ensure that you make strong connections between
these examples and the text, particularly to the three habits of great leaders and the concept of modesty.
Exercise 1
This exercise is a lengthier version of a discussion question that is included in the lecture notes on page 00 Start
your discussion of leadership by brainstorming a list of great leaders throughout history. After you have brain-
stormed a list of about fifteen leaders, go back through the list and name each leader’s greatest attribute. Once
this second list is generated, go through the list a third time and name each leader’s worst attribute. Then, en-
gage the class in a discussion about desirable leadership qualities and the habits of effective leaders.
Exercise 2
Place students into small groups and have them write a sexual harassment policy for a fictitious company, using
only the information from the textbook and their current knowledge of sexual harassment. Ask them to consider
some of the issues that have been raised in class and in the text. Once they have finished, hand out copies of real
policies. (You can generally find them on the Internet, such as the one for the U.S. State Department found at
<http://www.state.gov/s/ocr/c14800.htm>). Ask them to reflect on the differences between the two. What kinds
of things did students leave out of their policies? What would the results or consequences be of using the policy
that the students wrote within a real organization? Where do the gaps lie?
Exercise 3
The What Would You Do? box titled “Effective Responses to Bullies, Harassers, and Bosses Who Mistreat Sub-
ordinates” allows for a nice discussion of ways to confront employee emotional abuse. Ask students to work
through the scenario and questions in small groups. What advice would the students give Priscilla?
Exercise 4
Have students read the “When Leadership Styles Collidecase study as the end of Chapter 9. Have students
work through the discussion questions and develop advice for Nathan as he manages multiple leadership styles.
After students have had a chance to discuss the case study, take things a step further. Suggest that despite your
advice, the relationship with Owen doesn’t improve and he continues to bully Nathannow even more overtly
and publicly. What are some of the professional and personal consequences that Owen’s behavior might have
for Nathan? How should Nathan proceed?
Exercise 5
The Everyday Organizational Communication box titled “Grooming Servant Leaders through Service Learning
and Community Engagement” provides an opportunity for students to reflect upon the possibility of learning
about leadership through service learning and community-engaged research opportunities on their campus. Af-
ter your students have had a chance to read this box and work through the discussion questions, ask them to
think about how they would act as “servant leaders” in an organization. Moreover, ask students to identify the
positive and negative experiences that they have had regarding leadership and service learning/community
Exercise 6
This activity allows students to role-play relationships between superiors and subordinates. Pair the students up,
preferably with partners with whom they have not yet worked. Designate each student to play either A or B in
one of the situations below. They should not share the information they receive for their roles; it should emerge
through the role-play.
Situation 1
A. You are a newly appointed and trained manager of a work team. You are very conscientious about the qual-
ity of your coaching and believe that your first trainee, a new member of the team, could provide you with
feedback that you could use to improve your coaching.
B. You are a new member of your work team. Your manager has asked you for feedback about his/her coach-
ing skills. You are very uncomfortable about offering feedback, so you try to avoid it. You believe that the
manager’s heart is in the right place but that he/she is not giving you the skills necessary to be an effective
member of the team.
Situation 2
A. You have noticed that one of your employees is always on time, well prepared, and works quickly. Howev-
er, perhaps because of a concern for speed, the employee makes a lot of errors and doesn’t seem too con-
cerned when these errors are pointed out.
B. You believe that you deserve some recognition for your work. Unlike many coworkers, you are always on
time, well prepared, and work quickly. Sometimes you make mistakes, but these seem quite minor and are
always corrected down the line.
Situation 3
A. You notice that a trainee is often unprepared for the training sessions. The trainee occasionally does not
finish the practice assignment from the previous lesson. You want to offer some feedback about this lack of
B. You are often unprepared for your training sessions. You occasionally do not finish the practice assignment
from the previous lesson or do not review material in preparation for the new lesson. When your manager
approaches you with feedback about your performance, you respond angrily and defensively. Make excuses
and be creative. Eventually give the real reasons: sometimes you don’t complete the assignments because
you don’t know how to read the documentation. At other times, the assignments are too easy; they are not
challenging, and you don’t feel motivated to complete them.
Situation 4
A. You are a supervisor at a manufacturing plant. An important project has come up, and you know just the
person with the knowledge and expertise to take charge of it. The problem is that this person may not want
the leadership position. You need to convince this employee to take the job.
B. You are an employee at a manufacturing plant. You have a lot of experience, and periodically your supervi-
sor tries to talk you into taking on more responsibility. You don’t want it. You want to put in your eight
hours and then go home.
Exercise 7
Sexual harassment has been an issue for years, but the issue was revisited in a very public arena when high-
profile journalist Gretchen Carlson filed a harassment lawsuit against the powerful Roger Ailes in July 2016.
Even these powerful news personalities deal with what women in the workplace have endured for a long time.
See < http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/fox-and-fiends-the-end-of-roger-ailes>.
Have students research sexual harassment cases in recent years. Consider how the women in the cases dealt
with the harassment. How could companies better communicate proper interpersonal relationships in the work-
place? How does sexual harassment hinder communication in an organization?
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 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7 lend themselves to this conversion.
All the Way LBJ (2016, 121 minutes). Use this HBO TV movie to examine the leadership style of the accidental
president after the assassination of JFK. Johnson passes civil rights legislation and many other social reforms
while leading the fight in Vietnam. Johnson had an in-your-face type of leadership that caused people to either
love him or hate him.
Big Brains. Small Films: The Technologista Series (2013) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWxRowQjuf4).
This video clip features short interviews between young girls and ten technology leaders at IBM. The video is
related to a web-based series of resources that can be accessed at <http://ibmblr. tumblr.com>.
Confirmation (2016, 110 minutes). On October 11, 1991, Anita Hill was called to testify during the Senate
confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas’s appointment to the Supreme Court. She said she was testifying as
to the character and fitness of Thomas to serve on the high court and was ambivalent about whether his alleged
conduct had in fact risen to the level of being illegal sexual harassment. The HBO movie is a discussion starter
about the nature of sexual harassment in an organization.
The Intern (2015, 121 minutes, Rated PG-13). The movie tagline, “Experience never gets old,speaks to the
nature of organizational culture. Robert DeNiro plays a senior citizen intern who helps to change the company
culture and encourages the boss to be the leader. This movie provides not only an example of organizational
culture but of authentic communication.
The Internship (2013, 121 minutes, Rated PG-13). Vince Vaughn developed this movie script after watching a
60 Minutes episode about the Google work culture. This movie illustrates organizational culture and leadership.
Kitchen Nightmares: “Amy’s Baking Company” (2013, Season 6, Episode 16, 43 minutes, Rated TV-14). This
episode of Gordon Ramsay’s kitchen makeover series has received a great deal of attention in online circles.
The episode features a husband-and-wife team who own and operate Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale,
Arizona. The episode demonstrates the dark side of organizational leadership as the couple creates a negative
environment for their employees and customers. In a particularly ironic twist, the owners go so far as to suggest
that they are being bullied by online restaurant reviewers. Ask students to consider the negative implications of
how Amy’s is organized as well as why our society tends to be so fascinated with stories like this.
Lincoln (2012, 150 minutes, Rated PG-13). Use this movie to examine Lincoln’s leadership style in terms of the
concepts presented in this chapter. Was Lincoln a situational or a transformational leader? Define the habits of
mind, the habits of character, and the habits of communicative performance displayed in the movie. Did Lincoln
lead with modesty?
A Moment in Time: Conversations with Legendary Women (2006, 150 minutes, Not Rated). This documentary
features conversations and interviews with influential female leaders. Included are a conversation between Glo-
ria Steinem and Coretta Scott King, an interview with Indira Gandhi, and Princess Grace’s final interview.
Office Space (1999, 99 minutes, Rated R). This comedy is about unmotivated and disengaged employees.
Through the movie’s humor students can examine poor leadership communication and the impact on office cul-
ture and performance.
The Art and Science of Leadership (http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/leader.html). This site bills itself
as a comprehensive site for research articles and activities for leaders. Ask students to review the site and evalu-
ate how comprehensive it is, as well as how similar the site’s suggestions are to those outlined in the course
The Center for Creative Leadership (http://www.ccl.org/leadership/index.aspx). This not-for-profit organization
focuses on offering the best information about leadership that is currently available. There are excellent resources
on this website. Encourage your students to spend some quality time learning more about creative leadership.
Facts about Sexual Harassment (http://eeoc.gov/laws/types/sexual_harassment.cfm). The U.S. Equal Employ-
ment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)’s homepage on sexual harassment contains basic information about
sexual harassment and links to other EEOC pages about sexual harassment, including a page on Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, pages that contain factual and statistical information about sexual harassment, and
policy guidance documents related to sexual harassment. Ask students to explore the site, including the process
of filing a charge of harassment.
Forbes: Leadership (http://www.forbes.com/leadership/#6643589157a7). This website is a repository of articles
about leadership.
Forbes: The World’s Most Powerful People (http://www.forbes.com/powerful-people/list/). This list, updated
annually, features some of the top leaders and influential people in the world. At the time of production, U.S.
president Barack Obama and German chancellor Angela Merkel topped the list. Ask your students to view the
current list of powerful people. What are some of the qualities that make these individuals so powerful and in-
fluential? How does the list seem to change over time? Are Obama and Merkel still at the top of the list?
Franklin Covey Leadership (http://www.franklincovey.com/leadership/). According to FranklinCovey, the cul-
ture of an organization is created by the behavior of the leader. Their website states, “At FranklinCovey, we’ve
learned that the very best leaders bring both great character (personal and interpersonal effectiveness) and com-
petence (ability to achieve results) to their leadership style, at whatever level of the organization they work in.
LeaderShape (http://www.leadershape.org). LeaderShape is an institution that specializes in training and “shap-
ing” young leaders. They have a very media savvy website that outlines their curriculum, quality measures, and
facilitator profiles. Ask your students to examine this website and determine whether or not they would be in-
terested in attending a program like this. Have your students pay close attention to how language is
used to construct ideals of leadership. Also, apply the habits of effective leadership to the curriculum advocated
on this site. How well do they complement each other? If, as Chapter 9 argues, great leaders tend to develop
their own way of leading, how would an institute that attempts to “shape” leaders help you?
Quiz: What’s Your Leadership Style? (http://psychology.about.com/library/quiz/bl-leadershipquiz.htm).
About.com offers a quick and fun leadership quiz. Your students can answer eighteen questions online to de-
termine their predominant leadership style.
Start with Why (https://www.startwithwhy.com/). This website is dedicated to Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle.
The website explains that[i]n this model, [Sinek] seeks to boil down the motivation process into a simple but
profound difference in how leaders think and speak about their work.”
Workplace Bullying Institute (http://www.workplacebullying.org). The Workplace Bullying Institute is an or-
ganization dedicated to the eradication of workplace bullying. Their site contains a wealth of information on
workplace bullying. Included are articles on the problem and impact of workplace bullying; suggested solutions
to workplace bullying; scholarly research articles; and various learning tools, such as videos, podcasts, and tuto-
Why is leadership so important to organizational communication theory and practice?
What are the different categories that constitute the research on leadership styles?
What does it mean to have a vision for an organization? Why is having one so important?
How does the concept of discursive leadership make organizational communication re-
search unique from other approaches to leadership?
Why does the text suggest that great leaders do not copy other great leaders?
What does it mean to lead with modesty? How does modesty relate to habits of mind and
habits of character?
Why is open and supportive communication among employees important?
Describe and differentiate how empowerment operates as a form of motivation for em-
What are some of the features of workplace bullying? How is workplace bullying a viola-
tion of an emotional boundary?
Explain the differences between the two types of sexual harassment.
Explain Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle.
trait theory A leadership theory that focuses on the physical and social attributes
that make an individual a good leader.
leadership style A taxonomy of leadership behaviors that suggests good leaders adopt
packaged sets of practices.
Situational Leadership® The idea that appropriate leadership emerges from behavior that is
responsive to varied situations.
transformational leadership The idea that foregrounds organizational change as the essential task
of effective leaders.
change agent Transformational leaders who carry organizations through turbulent
global business environments through the strategic use of
vision A credible and compelling view of the future.
discursive leadership The social, linguistic, and cultural aspects of leadership as reflected
in concrete interactional processes.
habit of mind A patterned way of thinking that defines how a person approaches
issues and conceives of alternative ways of resolving or dealing with
habit of character A way of being in the world, the most important of which for a lead-
er is simple modesty.
modesty Balancing personal humility about one’s accomplishments alongside
a profound commitment to the good of the company.
authentic communication Excellent communication that has a keen ability to influence and
motivate others.
open communication An interaction in which participants view other interactants as recep-
tive listeners and avoid disconfirming feedback.
supportive communication An interaction that emphasizes active listening and taking a real in-
terest in others.
theory of leader-member exchange A popular leadership theory that stresses the supportive relationship
between leaders and members in an organization.
motivation The degree to which an individual is personally committed to ex-
pending effort in the accomplishment of a specified activity or goal.
empowerment Enhancing feelings of self-efficacy on the part of the employee.
bullying A dark side of organizational communication that involves direct and
indirect verbal communication such as name-calling and gossip,
nonverbal communication such as inappropriate gestures, and ma-
nipulating the work environment such as withholding needed
harassment A form of communicative behavior that degrades or humiliates people.
sexual harassment Any verbal or nonverbal communication of a sexual nature that inter-
feres with someone’s work. There are two primary forms: quid pro
quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment.
Begin a lecture by asking students to identify someone they consider a leader. As you brainstorm this list,
ask students to identify specific characteristics about that leader that make him or her such a powerful
Explain the importance of leadership and the need for meaningful leadership research. Describe the his-
torical views and theories as well as the traits, styles, and attributes of effective leaders.
Focus on the connections between communication and leadership using the idea of discursive leadership.
How has leadership been reconsidered by more contemporary authors? Pay specific attention to the hab-
its of mind, habits of character, and habits of authentic communicative performance. These unique com-
binations of habits often produce great leaders.
Explain the importance of effective communication with employees and the characteristics that are in-
volved in this process.
Discuss the various emotional boundaries that exist within an organization and some examples of poten-
tial violations.
Synthesize the different approaches to leadership outlined in this chapter. Along with
your students, summarize how these different approaches are related to concepts of or-
ganization and communication as well as the habits of mind, character, and authentic
communication performance laid out in this chapter.

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