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Contemporary Communication Case Study  

Select ONE Case (1-1 – 1-3) from Communicating in Contemporary Organizations, Ch.1,  and discuss the communication problem stated in it, based on the concepts you learned from Module 1 readings and additional scholarly sources. Your response should be prompted by the questions for case analysis and include your main thesis, argumentation, and conclusion (2-3 paragraphs). Please remember to cite and reference your sources in APA 7 format.

Case 1-1

Women in the White House

During Barack Obama’s presidency, women on his staff were frustrated about their lack of influence. They were often outnumbered by men in meetings. They struggled to contribute to the conversation. When they did get a chance to speak, their contributions were often ignored, or a man would repeat the idea and get the credit.

To counteract this behavior and make their voices heard, the women used a strategy called amplification. “When a woman made a key point, other women would repeat it, giving credit to its author. This forced the men in the room to recognize the contribution—and denied them the chance to claim the idea as their own.”

President Obama soon noticed the technique. He began calling on women more, and the number of women staffers increased as well.


  1. Why might women be reluctant to speak up in meetings?
  2. What are the potential consequences of letting one demographic dominate workplace discussions and decisions?
  3. What other strategies can people who have been traditionally underrepresented in the workplace use to make their voices heard?

Case 1-2

Ethics and Technology

Chris smiled as he received the analysis packet from his supervisor. He had been working from home for GEH Mortgage Company, analyzing mortgage applications, for the past 3 years. This particular application involved not just a home mortgage but also an entire farmstead, a home and business. Whenever he received an assignment, he did not know how to analyze, he would call on his friend Joel, whom he had known since high school, to help him accomplish such tasks. He compensated Joel, usually with a case of beer, when they got together on the weekends. Chris knew he could trust Joel to do a good job on the analysis, because Joel had double majored in finance and accounting at a regional university. Chris would then tailor the analysis according to the way the firm expected reports to be submitted. He quickly e-mailed the application packet to Joel.

Chris was perceived as one of the most dependable analysts in the division because of his past work, much of which had been farmed out to Joel. He had received accolades and raises as a result and was enjoying his successful career with the firm.


  1. The method used by Chris is obviously successful, and the company is satisfied with the results. Is it just good business, or is there an ethical dilemma present?
  2. Should Chris confess to his supervisor or just continue the successful deception?
  3. What are the privacy issues, given that the information used in these analyses is proprietary and sensitive?
  4. Does this activity fit the notion of plagiarism?
  5. Do electronic communication and the telecommuting arrangement make Chris’s actions more likely than if he were in the office?

Case 1-3

Like Grandfather, Like Granddaughter?

Clarence opened a farm supply store in Montana during the early 1940s. His neighbors in the county were also his customers. Every person who walked into his store felt comfortable. In fact, they would often sit, sip a cup of coffee, or shell some peanuts, and solve the world’s problems before loading up their purchases. Clarence prided himself on knowing what his customers needed to be successful farmers, and he freely gave them advice about which brand of flea dip would work best on their cattle and which tonic would help a colicky horse. By the time he retired, and his son Seth took over, the company had expanded to three stores in three towns and had 14 full-time employees.

As a youth, Seth had attended the state college and earned a degree in agricultural business. When he took over the company in 1975, he eagerly applied what he had learned to the family business. He was convinced that technology was the key to success, not personal relationships. Over the years, he struggled to convert all his father’s old, handwritten records to electronic files. Eventually, he installed a completely computerized information system that tracked inventory, personnel, and accounts. He sometimes boasted about being an entrepreneur, but Clarence snorted at that term. “Just do what’s right for your customers, and you’ll be doing what’s right for yourself,” he would retort. When Seth retired in 2015, his daughter Kathy took over the company, which now had 23 stores with 228 employees in three states and one wholly owned subsidiary of 18 gas stations. Kathy’s vision involved offering a broader range of products than farm supplies. She wanted to sell the image of the family farm. Her stores stocked Western clothing; boots, hats, and jewelry; home furnishings; and even CDs featuring country music.

Kathy found herself traveling extensively from the corporate office to the various stores. Finding time to manage everything was a problem, but she had a staff of 12 professionals in the corporate office to assist her. E-mail, laptops, and smartphones helped tremendously.


  1. How did communication practices and expectations differ for Clarence, Seth, and Kathy?
  2. How do you think the management behaviors differed for the three owners?
  3. What contingency factors might each owner have faced while they managed the company?
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