Management Communication: A Case-Analysis Approach

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9780130109965: Management Communication: A Case-Analysis Approach

This interesting and fun-to-read paperback focuses on the processes involved in management communication, and concentrates specifically on ways in which readers can become more effective as managers by becoming more knowledgeable and skilled as communicators. It is an introduction to issues that are central to future success as a manager or executive in the 21st century. Chapter topics cover management communication in transition; communication and strategy; ethics; speaking; writing; listening and feedback; communicating non-verbally; communicating in intercultural and international contexts; managing conflict; business meetings that work; and dealing with the media. For anyone who runs a business, wants to run a business, or hopes to work for someone who does.

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From the Inside Flap:

PREFACE

Many years ago, as an Air Force officer assigned to a flight test group in the American Southwest, I had the opportunity to speak with an older (and obviously wiser) man who had been in the flying business for many years. Our conversation focused on what it would take for a young officer to succeed—to become a leader, a recognized influence among talented, trained, and well-educated peers. His words were prophetic: "I can think of no skill more essential to the survival of a young officer," he said, "than effective self-expression." That was it. Not physical courage or well-honed flying skills. Not advanced degrees or specialized training, but "effective self-expression."

In the years since that conversation, I have personally been witness to what young managers call "career moments." Those are moments in time when a carefully crafted proposal, a thorough report, or a deft response to criticism have saved a career. I've seen young men and women offered a job as a result of an especially skillful speech introduction. I've seen others sputter and stall when they couldn't answer a direct question—one that fell well within their area of expertise—during a briefing. I've watched in horror as others simply talked their way into disfavor, trouble, or oblivion.

Communication is, without question, the central skill any manager can possess. It is the link between ideas and action. It is the process that generates profit. It is the emotional glue that binds humans together in relationships, personal and professional. It is, as the poet William Blake put it, "the chariot of genius." To be without the ability to communicate is to be isolated from others in an organization, an industry, or a society. To be skilled at it is to be at the heart of what makes enterprise, private and public, function successfully.

The fundamental premise on which this book is based is simple: communication is a skill which can be learned, taught, and improved. You have the potential to be better at communicating with other people than you now are. It won't be easy, but this book can certainly help. The very fact that you've gotten this far is evidence that you're determined to succeed, and what follows is a systematic yet readable review of those things you'll need to pay closer attention to in order to experience success as a manager.

What This Book Is About. This book will focus on the processes involved in management communication and concentrate on ways in which business students and entry-level managers can become more effective by becoming more knowledgeable and skilled as communicators.

The second premise on which this book is based is also simple: writing, speaking, listening, and other communication behaviors are the end-products of a process that begins with critical thinking. It is this process that managers are called on to employ every day in the workplace to earn a living. The basic task of a manager, day in and day out, is to solve managerial problems. The basic tools at a manager's disposal are mostly rhetorical.

Management Communication supports learning objectives that are strategic in nature, evolving as the workplace changes to meet the demands of a global economy that is changing at a ferocious pace. What you will find in these pages assumes certain basic competencies in communication, but encourages growth and development as you encounter the responsibilities and opportunities of mid-level and higher management, whether in your own business or in large and complex, publicly-traded organizations.

What's Different About This Book. This book is aimed directly at the way most professors of management communication teach, yet in a number of important ways is different from other books in this field.

First, the process is entirely strategic. We begin with the somewhat non-traditional view that all communication processes in successful businesses in this century will be fully integrated. What happens in one part of the business affects all others. What is said to one audience has outcomes which influence others. Without an integrated, strategic perspective, managers in the New Economy will find themselves working at cross-purposes, often to the detriment of their businesses.

Second, the approach offered in Management Communication integrates ethics and the process of ethical decision-making into each aspect of the discipline. Many instructors feel either helpless or slightly uncomfortable teaching ethics in a business classroom. Yet, day after day, business managers find themselves confronted with ethical dilemmas and decisions that have moral consequences for their employees, customers, shareholders, and other important stakeholders.

This text doesn't moralize or preach. Instead, it offers a relatively simple framework for ethical decision-making that students and faculty alike will find easy to grasp. Throughout the book, especially in case studies and role-playing exercises, you will learn to ask questions that focus on the issues that matter most to your classmates and colleagues. The answers won't come easily, but the process of confronting the issues will make you a better manager.

Third, this text includes separate chapters on Listening and Feedback, as well as Communicating Nonverbally, Communicating in Intercultural and International Contexts, and Managing Conflict. These are topics that are often either ignored or shortchanged in other texts. Interpersonal communication skills such as these are clearly central to the relationship-building and personal influence all managers tell us they find indispensable to their careers.

Finally, Management Communication examines the often tenuous but unavoidable relationship that business organizations and their managers have with the news media. A step-by-step approach is presented to help you develop strategies and manage relationships—in both good news and bad news situations. Surviving a close encounter with a reporter while telling your company's story—fairly, accurately, and completely7#151;may mean the difference between a career that advances and one that does not.

The Added Value of a Case Study Approach. You will observe that each chapter of this book contains at least two original, classroom-tested case studies that will challenge you to discuss and apply the principles outlined in the chapter. Some chapters include role-playing exercises. You'll find an appendix entitled "Analyzing a Case Study" that will introduce you to the reasons business students find such value in cases and show you how to get the most from those included in this book. A rich, interesting case study is always an opportunity—to show what you know about business and communication, to learn from your professors and classmates, and to examine the intricate processes at work when humans go into business together. Reading and analyzing a case are always useful, but the more profound insights inevitably come from listening carefully as others discuss and defend their views.

The Rest Is Up to You. What you take from this book and how you use it to become shrewder and more adept at the skills a manager needs most is really up to you. Simply reading the principles, looking through the examples, or talking about the case studies with your friends and classmates won't be enough. You'll need to look for ways to apply what you have learned, to put into practice the precepts articulated by successful executives and discussed at length in this book. The joy of developing and using those skills, however, comes in the relationships you will develop and the success you will experience throughout your business career and beyond. These aren't simply essential skills for learning how to earn a living. They're strategies for learning how to live.

About the Author:

James S. O'Rourke teaches management and corporate communication at the University of Notre Dame, where he is Founding Director of the Eugene D. Fanning Center for Business Communication and Concurrent Professor of Management. In a career spanning four decades, he has earned an international reputation in business and corporate communication. Business Week magazine has twice named him one of the "outstanding faculty" in Notre Dame's Mendoza College of business. His publications include MANAGEMENT COMMUNICATION: A CASE-ANALYSIS APPROACH from Prentice-Hall, now in second edition, and BUSINESS COMMUNICATION: A FRAMEWORK FOR SUCCESS from Thomson Learning. Prof. O'Rourke is also senior editor of an eight-book series on Managerial Communication and is principal author or directing editor of more than 100 management and corporate communication case studies. Prof. O'Rourke is a graduate of Notre Dame with advanced degrees from Temple University, the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in Communication from the S. I. Newhouse School of Syracuse University. He has held faculty appointments at the United States Air Force Academy, the Defense Information School, the United States Air War College, and the Communications Institute of Ireland. He was a Gannett Foundation Teaching Fellow at Indiana University in the 1980s, and a graduate student in language and history at Christ's College, Cambridge University in England during the 1970s. Prof. O'Rourke is a member and trustee of The Arthur W. Page Society, a member of the Reputation Institute, and the Management Communication Association. He is also a regular consultant to Fortune 500 and mid-size businesses throughout North America.

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