Organizational Communication Analysis
- Choose a full-length feature film or a minimum of three episodes of a television drama or a minimum of five episodes of a television comedy that depicts organizational life. (They do not have to be three or five episodes in a row. The point is that you must be familiar enough with the show to draw some conclusions.) The organization should be the primary setting for the artifact you choose, almost as if that organization is a character in the film or show.
- As you watch, consider which organizational communication concepts and theories from class are displayed.
- Write a 5-7 page paper or 1600-2250 words (typed in a standard serif font such as Times 12 pt, double spaced, one inch margins, no cover page) plus reference list in which you:
- Explain and apply a minimum of three course concepts to the film or series you watched
- Use a minimum of three concrete, specific and detailed examples from the film or series
- Demonstrate how these examples support (or contradict) the concepts you’ve included
- Use appropriate APA citation for the course concepts in the body of your paper
You must CITE THE DAINTON AND ZELLEY TEXTBOOK to pass the assignment.
Failure to explicitly cite the textbook will automatically earn no more than a “D” even if the quality of the paper is otherwise good.
Your focus in the paper is to explain and apply some of the concepts from our chapter on organizational communication, demonstrating your understanding of communication theory. These are the theories from which you will select your concept applications:
Organizational identification and control
Weick’s organizing theory
Write as if your audience consists of readers who are well educated but have no special expertise in organizational communication. You therefore must explain the text ideas clearly enough that your audience will understand them solely from reading your paper. If you wish to include concepts mentioned in class but not the text, go ahead and cite the lectures—just be sure to include at least two references to the textbook.
Explain the course concepts in your own words. Do not use quotations from the book. As long as you cite your sources, your paper will be much more effective if you do not rely on direct quotations and instead paraphrase meaningfully.
Choose a contemporary piece of realistic fiction (not historical fiction, science fiction or animation) where an organization plays a substantial role. Be sure your choice of media text really centers on work life. For example, the characters in Friends allegedly have jobs at times, but we don’t see enough of their workday to choose Friends for this analysis. Use the depictions in the piece you chose as your data set to view through the lens of course concepts.
Please do not choose The Office, Office Space, The Devil Wears Prada, Morning Glory, or Gung Ho or any film or show in the posted sample papers.
Take the events and characters from the media text as your data or examples, which you will examine through the lens of communication theory. You don’t need to describe the overall plot or characters in detail; just provide a sentence or two for the reader to get a general sense. Give enough details within each of your concrete examples for the reader to understand and be compelled by your application.
Your paper should be carefully proofread and demonstrate a high level of competence in written communication appropriate for a university student. Allow yourself enough time to write, rest, revise, sleep on it, and then do a final proofreading.
By my definition, good writing:
avoids overstatements and generalizations
makes clear arguments
provides support for the claims made
uses all words for a purpose (doesn’t just try to sound like good writing)
does not state the obvious
is grammatically correct
is free of spelling and punctuation errors
Enjoy the process.
References for the Application Assignment
Example of citing lecture (for our class purposes, we’d like you to give a citation although APA style would actually handle a lecture as a personal communication):
Pierson, J. K. (2019, November 6). Groups and organizations: Groupthink. Lecture presented at the University of Southern California. Los Angeles.
Examples for citing film and tv shows (from the APA Style Blog, a great resource):
Burton, T. (Producer), & Selick, H. (Director). (1993). The nightmare before Christmas [Motion picture]. United States: Touchstone.
Kaufman, M. (Producer), Jørgensen, S. G. (Producer), & Vinterberg, T. (Producer & Director). (2012). The hunt [Motion picture]. Denmark: Zentropa.
Roman, P. (Producer & Director). (2000). Grandma got run over by a reindeer [Television special]. Atlanta, GA: Cartoon Network.
Sager, T. (Writer), & Scardino, D. (Director). (2007). Ludachristmas [Television series episode]. In T. Fey (Executive producer), 30 Rock. New York, NY: National Broadcasting Company.
Smith, G. (Executive producer), Hemion, D. (Executive producer), & Binder, S. (Director). (1978). The Star Wars holiday special [Television special]. New York,NY: CBS Broadcasting.
Stem, J. D. (Writer), Weiss, D. (Writer), & Muzquiz, R. (Director). (1996). Chanukah [Television series episode]. In V. Coffey, G. Csupo, & A. Klasky (Executive producers), Rugrats. New York, NY: Nickelodeon.
You should list each episode that you’re using for your paper if you’re choosing a television show. The 30 Rock and Rugrats episodes above are examples of how to cite a single episode.
However, in the body of your paper, you really only need to cite the show or film once in the beginning. For our class purposes, after your first citation of the media artifact, just treat the characters as if they were real people you have studied yourself. See the posted examples for more info about this style point.
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