Key Issues in Organizational Communication

By Dennis Tourish; Owen Hargie | Go to book overview

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The crisis of management and the role of organizational communication
Dennis Tourish and Owen Hargie
Introduction
What does the future hold for the theory and practice of management? What role, if any, is there for organizational communication in these deliberations? Exactly which aspects of communication contribute centrally to the core of corporate practice? This book addresses itself to these and other key issues. In this chapter our objective is to contextualize the book by examining a number of areas central to this overall ambition.
We look at the business context in which most organizations now work. Many if not all are under enormous external pressure. The agenda faced by managers is crowded to breaking point. These pressures sometimes see organizations fragment rather than cohere. A primary focus on the bottom line has often elbowed other considerations, including communication, to the sidelines. In the process, the theory and practice of management has entered into crisis. Many aspects of this crisis are explored in this book, and we showcase some of the main themes in the present chapter.
We explore whether organizational communication makes any difference to how organizations function and how their internal relationships are managed. Recent years have seen a voluminous research literature into the human dimensions of organizational functioning. Communication has contributed to this, directly and indirectly. Our discussion of these issues does not presume that all members of organizations share a common set of interests and a readily agreed set of priorities or goals - what some researchers would describe as a ‘unitarist’ or ‘functionalist’ bias. Rather, it is to emphasize that while many management theorists have been developing inclusive agendas of involvement, participation and empowerment, most management practice has been marching to the beat of a different drum, and in the opposite direction.
We discuss precisely what we mean by the terms ‘communication’ in general, and organizational communication in particular. Our intention is to alert readers at the outset to the themes that they will find in the chapters to follow. Contributors to this volume repeatedly discuss the communications

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