Marshall hosts panel on communication

first_imgThe Marshall School of Business hosted a discussion, “What a Communication Perspective Brings to the Study of Organizations,” as part of the school’s Expert Speakers Series in Business Communication, at Ronald Tutor Hall on Thursday evening.The keynote guest speaker was Dr. Stanley Deetz, professor emeritus at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Other panelists included Valerie Folkes, professor of marketing; Patricia Riley, director of master of arts in global communication program at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism; Bob Feldman, co-founder of the consulting firm PulsePoint Group and lastly, Jim Fleigner, managing partner at Impact Consultancy LLC.The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Robyn Walker, the associate professor at the Center for Management Communication.Deetz began the talk by highlighting the lack of proper communication and empathy within companies — a problem that he explained could be easily solved through a change of perspective.“I went into groups and organizations and they always have ‘problem people,’” Deetz said. “But I don’t think there are problem people. There are just a lot of really bad conversations. I do fun things in some organizations; like in small group discussions I pin little things on employees’ foreheads, which give them different kinds of personality characteristics. And I find that they rapidly reproduce those.”Deetz then explained how our communication is affected by social constructions, which limit positive results in companies.  He discussed how the way we define meaning in our lives are derived from information sponsored by other people.Deetz also argued that some of our current central issues are caused by a lack of proper communication, not a lack of knowledge.“If we did a careful analysis of much of the debate around climate change, we would see that this is not a knowledge question at all,” Deetz said. “It really is a competing set of narratives about the ‘good life’ and how life works and the fear that one’s very life form is going to be given away.”After Deetz finished his presentation, Feldman gave a different perspective on communication, one that took the reality of power structures within companies more into account. He revealed the importance of identifying company stakeholders — individuals who drive reputation, sales and business performance.Fleigner added to this response, stating that market forces affected communication in the newspaper industry more than a change in individual perspective did. He explained that communication in the newspaper business has been dysfunctional for the last hundred years, but also included that things are changing for the better.Fleigner mentioned that interdisciplinary communication is now more important than ever before, as industrial sectors are becoming more dependent due to the increase in technology use.“Information is everything in terms of making good decisions in [the newspaper business]. So if you are in IT within a newspaper, people are coming to you [who] never used to speak with you before,” Fleigner said. “Information is everything in terms of making good decisions in [the newspaper business]. So if you are in IT within a newspaper, people are coming to you that never used to speak with you before.”last_img

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