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1.5 Chapter Exercises

PLEASE NOTE: This book is currently in draft form; material is not final.

Real World Case Study

Around the world this nonprofit has many different names: Albania, Rruga Sesam, Egypt, Alam Simsim; India, Galli Galli Sim Sim; Indonesia, Jalan Sesama; Israel, Rechov Sumsum; Palestine, Shara’a Simsim; Serbia, Ulica Sezam; South Africa, Takalani Sesame; and The United States of America, Sesame Street. In all, there are 20 versions of Sesame Street being produced through the Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. The goal of the Sesame Workshop is to improve the lives in children and their societies in four specific domains: health & wellness; respect & understanding; literacy & numeracy; and emotional well being.

In the 2006 documentary The World According to Sesame Street, the filmmakers introduce you to a world coping with violence (Kosovo), AIDS (South Africa), poverty (India), and gender inequality (Egypt). And all over the globe, the Sesame Workshop teaches students their alphabets and numbers because the Sesame Workshop realizes that the only way to ensure a child’s future is through education.

  1. Of the four types of organizations discussed by Blau and Scott (1962), which type of organization is the Sesame Workshop? Why?
  2. The Sesame Workshop is constantly attempting to address local issues with their international programs. If you were going to create a Sesame Street for corporations, what lessons do you think they need to learn?
  3. If you were producing a new Sesame Street in Iraq, what kind of inputs from the environment do you think you would need?

Real World Case Study

Erik Lie and Randall Heron, two University of Iowa associate professors in finance, conducted a research study in 2005 that determined that many Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) were manipulating their stock-option accounting rules in order to increase their annual salaries. In fact, Lie and Heron found that upwards of 29 percent of all public corporations have major stock-option irregularities. Basically, organizations were delaying their stock paperwork for months in an attempt to look back and select the most lucrative dates for reporting, which is a violation of federal law. Lie and Heron found a way to actually determine whether or not an organization was perpetuating this type of fraud. When the researchers realized what they had found, they contacted the United States’ Securities & Exchange Commission and showed The Wall Street Journal how to use options records to look for fraud.

As a result of their research, Lie and Heron established a consulting firm that examines whether accounting irregularities are simple paper-work mistakes or something more fraudulent. The two make more than $400 an hour examining corporations’ accounting records and working with plaintiffs’ lawyers as expert witnesses. In a world where CEOs are often being led out of their corporations in handcuffs, organizations and lawyers are forced to take Lie and Heron’s research findings very seriously.

  1. While this specific case study examines accounting problems, do you think there are any communication problems that can lead to lawsuits?
  2. Do you think a university researcher should be able to financially profit from her or his research?
  3. While more than 2,000 organizations have been found to have options irregularities, Lie and Heron suspect that some of those organizations may be innocent. Could putting their research out into the public have a negative effect on innocent organizations? Do you think putting innocent organizations under more scrutiny in order to find guilty organizations justifiable?

Real World Case Study

On October 9th 2007, Harris Interactive found that in the United States (32%) and Spain (28%) the most important aspect of one’s job was their salary. While salary was found to be important elsewhere in Europe, Great Britain (33%), France (30%), Italy (29%), and Germany (25%); Europeans found the interesting nature of their jobs more important: Great Britain (36%), France (44%), Italy (37%), and Germany (44%). Whereas, in the United States (28%) and Spain (25%), lower percentages of people found the interesting nature of their job to be the most important.

The study also asked the international participants to what degree they liked their current Bosses. In the United States (65%), Great Britain (56%), and France (52%), the majority of individuals polled liked their bosses. However, in Italy (48%), Spain (34%), and Germany (47%), the majority of individuals polled did not like their bosses.

  1. Why do you think individuals in the United States and Spain consider salary more important than the interesting nature of their job?
  2. Why do you think individuals in Great Britain, France, Italy, and Germany find the interesting nature of their job more important than their salary?
  3. Does it surprise you that individuals in the United States are considerably more satisfied with their bosses than the other countries polled?

End-of-Chapter Assessment Head

  1. Joana works for an organization that prides itself on openness and transparency. However, the organization tends to actually insulate itself from what’s going on with its various competitors, its local community, and even governmental regulations. Based on this information, what can you say accurately about Joana’s organizations relationship with its external environment.

    1. the organization has open boundaries
    2. the organization has closed boundaries
    3. the organization has a tall hierarchy
    4. the organization has a flat hierarchy
    5. the organization has limited outputs
  2. Stewart sat down with a set of spreadsheet data and quickly realized that if his coffee shop was going to last the summer it really need to spend more time focusing on business from tourists because they were his only real potential for growth. Which of Edward Gross’s organizational goals is Stewart faced with?

    1. output
    2. adaptation
    3. management
    4. motivation
    5. positional
  3. Diana works for an organization that on the surface says it’s very creative and always looking for new ways of doing business. However, every time Diana brings up a new idea she’s immediately shot down with a “but we’ve always done it this way” attitude from her management. Which of the dialectical tensions of control is Diana facing?

    1. systemization vs. autonomy
    2. agreement vs. dissent
    3. conventionality vs. innovation
    4. organization vs. self-focused
    5. organizational vs. individual rights
  4. Who is considered to be the Father of Organizational Communication?

    1. Elton Mayo
    2. Chester Barnard
    3. Lee Thayer
    4. Fredric M. Jablin
    5. W. Charles Redding
  5. Which of the three methodologies used by organizational communication scholars uses survey, experiments, and content analyses to examine organizational communication phenomena?

    1. social-scientific
    2. qualitative
    3. interpretive
    4. critical
    5. rhetorical

Answer Key

  1. b
  2. b
  3. c
  4. e
  5. a

PLEASE NOTE: This book is currently in draft form; material is not final.