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Updated A.Y. 2019-2020

Organizational Action

and communication

(Prof. Luca Gnan)



Teaching Members Responsible for the Course:

Prof. Luca Gnan

Email: luca.gnan@uniroma2.it

Availability: Contact via email

We are committed to making this course a valuable learning experience for you. After the first month, we will spend part of a class session evaluating our progress, and we will make any necessary changes to keep us on track. However, we welcome your feedback at any time in the semester. It is easiest to reach us by email or during office hours, but we are always happy to set up an appointment. Additionally, if you have a disability that requires special accommodation, please let us know ASAP so that we can be helpful to you.

Emails, Office Hours & Feedback on Assignments

We endeavor to answer emails within 1 day. If you have not heard from us within that time, please resend the email. Grades & comments will be posted online in the materials section of the course website. We will be happy to give feedback and discuss assignments after all grading is complete for a certain assignment. Office hours are scheduled by email request.

We may answer questions of assignment clarification in class and via emails to benefit the entire class.

Pre-requisites for the Course:


Course description

Communication may act as a mean of improving efficiency, sharing emotions, but also as a conflict source. Thus, a deeper knowledge of communication is of paramount importance for understanding behavioural consequences in organizations. The most important are the actions undertaken, actions by individuals, actions by groups. During the course, we will explore it from a managerial perspective research and we will discuss practical applications on organizational behavior.

Goal of the course is to provide tools and solid analytical theory on the analysis of individuals and of behavior in different groups and organizational contexts, to:

· Acquire knowledge about the fundamental theories of communication;

· Develop skills for applying theories to practice;

· Develop problem-solving capacities, adopting the best practices in discussion and case study analysis.

The course is divided into II different sections:

• Section I: Impact of Communication on Actions and Behaviours;

• Section I: Communication Theory and Practice.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the course students:

1. Will have a deeper understanding of how the study of communication as a part of organizational behavior can aid us in improving the performance and well- being of people at work;

2. Will have understood how models, theories and concepts about communications are applied and interpreted in practice;

3. Will have a deeper understanding what actions follow certain communicational situations

4. Will have developed a richer and more complex representation of organizational politics & organizational leadership, enabling them to contribute more effectively in the workplace.

Teaching methods


Lessons will be characterized by transfer of knowledge and the strong interaction within the classroom; there are analysis of situations problems and business cases in order to facilitate participants in learning.

Regular attending students are strongly recommended to participate to all the lectures and to all the preparations and presentations of the business cases.


To meet its goals, this course uses readings, lectures, exercises, cases, individual and team assignments, and class discussion. Case assignments provide an important foundation for class discussion and must be completed prior to each class session. The due dates for all cases and other assignments are listed in the class schedule at the end of the syllabus. Lectures will be used to highlight key points from the readings and provide additional information to supplement the readings. Cases will provide you with the opportunity to apply what you have learned to real world issues and scenarios. Because each of you brings unique perspectives and experiences to the class, participation in class discussions and activities is essential to your own learning as well as that of other class members. To further enrich your learning, you will also be matched with an MScBA Teaching Assistant.

Main References


1. Wrench, Punyanut- Carter “An introduction to organizational communication”, Version 0.0 Paperback , Flat World, 2012

2. Scot Mc Lean “Business Communication for Success” Barns & Noble

3. Bauer, Erdogan: “An Introduction to Organizational behavior”, Flat World, 2015

4. Carpenter, Bauer, Erdogan “Principles of Management” - Version 1.1 Paperback, Flat World, 2010


5. Introduction to Organizational Communication

6. Mission Statements of Italian Companies

7. History of Management Thought

8. Robert McNamara and the Evolution of Modern Management

9. Communication

10. “Why Communication matters” Study.com

11. “Diversity” Study.com


13. British American Communication

14. Downside of Teams

15. Communicating in groups

16. Communication Teams

17. Classical Theories of communication

18. Relationship Conflict

19. Conflict and negotiation

20. Organizational culture 4 types

21. Leadership

22. Mentoring and Coaching

23. Approaches to Leadership

24. The Best-Performing CEOs in the World 2017

25. Followership

26. Communication-in-organizations

27. How written words drive behavior

28. Communication Types verbal and Non Verbal

29. Informal Communication

30. Formal Communication methods

31. Interim Management Report as of March31 2017

32. Formal communication methods

33. CSR Committee Report to the Board McDonalds 2014

34. TI-Financial-Operating-data-3Q-2017

35. Research in Communication

36. Developing-business-presentations

37. 5 email rules

38. Text, E-mail, and Netiquette

39. Writing

40. Business-writing

41. Productive Meeting

42. Running Effective Meetings

43. “How will you measure your life”

44. Ethics

45. Discrimination – Female

46. Discrimination Sexual Orientation

47. Mobbing in the Workplace

48. Races Discrimination

49. Rethinking Organizations 1

50. Rethinking Organizations 2

51. Rethinking the role of value communication in business corporations from a sociological perspective


52. Mission and Communication

53. Abilene Paradox.rm

54. Stanford Prison Experiment

55. Milgram Experiment

56. Hawthorne Electric Plant Studies

57. Bobby Knight Angry motivation speech

58. Bobby Knight Disappointed

59. Bobby Knight Talks about his 880th win

60. Bobby Knight throws a chair

61. Coach Knight A Winners Mind

62. A Conversation with Jack Welch Part 1 to 6

63. “Any Given Sunday” Coach Leadership speech by Al Pacino

64. “Scent of a Woman” Colonel’s Speech by Al Pacino

65. “Leadership and Trust” Collin Powel

66. Office Politics Your Hidden Superpower

67. Politics BNET


69. Angela Merkel gives Vladimir Putin epic eye roll

70. “ Yes, Prime Minister” BBC, Ministerial Broadcast

71. Present Like Steve Jobs

72. “Yes, Prime Minister” , BBC, Second Meeting

73. “Yes, Prime Minister” BBC, Man Overboard 1

74. Hidden Figures ''There's no bathroom for me here...''

Additional Readings:

75. Robbin, Judge “Organizational Behavior” 15 Edition, Prentice Hall Int.

76. James Rubin “Contemporary Corporate Communications” Darden Business School, 2013

77. Edmondson & Smith “Managing Relationship Conflict” California Management Review 11/01/06

78. “Get Your Message Across to a Skeptical Audience” HBR

79. Parker, Stone: “Development of Management Skills for Leaders” Prentice Hall International 2003, Chapter


Case Discussions

Regular attending students are expected to be fully engaged in the entire learning process. This means that regular attending students are expected to:

1) prepare the assigned readings of the cases prior to each class;

2) prepare as a group work a PowerPoint presentation on the case, based on the specific assignment;

3) come to class prepared to participate and to discuss in order to enhance the learning of the individual and the class.

On the web site of the course students find for each case the relative assignment. Please read carefully the questions before the lesson and use them for preparing the PowerPoint presentation.

Each student will be involved the class discussion on the cases and tie the assigned reading for the session. The objective is to bring all class members into the discussion. The cases are designed to integrate the concepts from the case into the context of the course. The preparation and the discussion of the cases do not exclude the study of the theoretical concepts useful for the discussion of the cases themselves and for the passing of the exam of the course.

With the cases’ discussions in CLASSROOM, each student will develop:

1. The ability to set the parameters for the problem (key concepts from the case).

2. A depth of knowledge about the case subject (understanding of material, good response to the observations of others).

3. The ability to tie-in case with other course concepts.

4. The ability to get others involved in the discussion.

In order to effectively discuss the cases, students do:

· Be prepared with facts and specific quotes from the case.

· Be prepared to make a comment, ask a question, or make an observation about the case.

During the discussion, students do:

· Take a position on a question or a point.

  • Ask clarifying questions.

· Help keep the discussion moving and on track.

· Help draw others into the discussion.

· Integrate theories and content from other cases.

During the discussion, students don’t:

· Be unprepared and show your lack of knowledge.

  • Monopolize the discussion.
  • Make irrelevant comments.

· Be insensitive to other’s desire to speak or to their opinions.

All the regular attending students are kindly invited to build up work groups (MINIMUM 3 PERSONS – MAXIMUM 5 PERSONS). Each work group should prepare a PowerPoint presentation for each case. Into the first slide, the names of the students belonging to the group should be reported.

The structure of the presentation should follow the following outline:

1. One or more introductory slides aimed at describing/reporting the story, the characters, all the necessary elements in order to clearly define the context and the boundaries of the case.

2. One slide mentioning the questions of the assignment and underlining the learning goals of the case.

3. One or more slides reporting the answers to each question of the assignment.

4. One or more slides reporting the final remarks on the case.

5. One closing slide about the lessons learned after the group discussion of the case.

How to prepare the PowerPoint presentation of the case?


Introduction – short presentation of case, short description of the problems and situations that should be coped with the discussion.

Diagnosis – Problem setting of the context and of the situation. Description of the mains facts and elements connected with the concepts and models of Organizational Behavior (e.g. organizational change, conflicts, motivation, satisfaction, leadership, managing people, group dynamics, etc.). What went wrong and which actions/situations, instead, were right? Which elements could be considered for the diagnosis?

Solution – Students should provide a possible solution to questions/problems related with the case and a viable and clear indication on how to approach the situation and how to solve it. The entire proposal should represent a consistent action plan in terms of behaviors and expected results.

Conclusions – Conclusions should not be longer than 300-500 words and should provide a description on how the situation and the problem characterized the case, on how Organizational Behavior schemata might help to solve the case, and what the proposed solution might generate in terms of organizational consequences.

Lessons learned – At the end of the presentation elements/suggestions/advices that we “take home” from the case discussion should be clearly identified and reported.

NOTE: During the case discussion, students should explicitly address the context and the different situations with concepts related with Organizational Behavior and with models and theories of this course.

Case Discussions’ Class Participation

We believe that the best way to learn, especially about ODB, is to actively participate in your education. In this class, “participation” is defined in terms of quality contributions to class discussion and exercises. There are four prerequisites for successful participation:

1. Be here on time and prepared. If you’re not here, you can’t contribute much to class discussion. If you need to miss class for a predictable reason (e.g., job interview, athletic competition), please notify us at least 24 hours in advance so that we can make arrangements for any in-class exercises and so that you can obtain the materials distributed during the class. Of course, we realize that in some cases unforeseeable emergencies arise. Although we will not directly penalize you for non-attendance, be aware that multiple absences will indirectly hurt you by preventing you from participating in class, thereby lowering your participation grade. To contribute to class discussion, you must come to class having carefully prepared all assignments (i.e., readings, cases, exercises).

2. Be brave. Everyone in this class is smart, interesting, and has unique life experiences to share. You will get the most out of this course if you ask questions, voice opinions, and express your thoughts to one another. If you feel uncomfortable talking in class, please send me an email or set up an appointment to talk with me early in the semester. We will do everything we can to accommodate each of your individual circumstances, but we can only do so if they are brought to our attention.

3. Be courteous. Successful participation includes treating your classmates in a respectful and professional manner. Listen carefully to the comments and questions that your classmates voice. You may learn something new from their perspectives, and you will be able to avoid simply repeating something that another classmate has said earlier in discussion. Also, it is perfectly acceptable for you to voice disagreement with an opinion provided by another student. Open debate often leads to the most thoughtful and informative class discussions. However, please voice your disagreement in a kind and considerate manner.

4. Be engaged. This class is “unplugged.” Once class starts, all electronics (e.g., computers, cell phones, tablets, etc.) should be turned off and put away. If you need to use a device because of a language or disability issue, you need to secure permission at the beginning of the class. The misuse of an electronic device (e.g., surfing the web or texting) will adversely affect your grade.

In order to facilitate the visioning of its own PowerPoint presentation in classroom, each work group should take a personal computer with PowerPoint installed and an available VGA connection.


By the 8pm of the day before of the case discussion, all regular attending students should send the case presentation prepared to the course’s Instructors. They have to hand over a hard copy of the PowerPoint presentation. ONLY THE HANDING OVER OF THE HARD COPY CERTIFIES THE PREPARATION OF THE CASE FOR THE DISCUSSION. ONLY STUDENTS WHO HAD HANDED OVER ALL THE CASE PRESENTATIONS WILL BE ADMITTED TO THE PRE-EXAM.


Policy for Late Assignments

As in the business world, work must be received on time in order to receive full credit. If you are late on an assignment, your access to the Pre-Exam will be compromised. You are always welcome to hand in an assignment before its due date if you know that you will be busy as the due date approaches. If you think that you will not be able to complete an assignment by the stated due date, please speak with us in advance to make alternative arrangements. Our policy on late assignments will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding the problem, and thus may differ from student to student. Providing advance notice about a late assignment will minimize the penalty you receive on that assignment, but does not guarantee that there will be no penalty for turning the assignment in late.

Other learning sources

Slides and other material will be available under the course web site.



Because of the concentrated nature of the MScBA program, attendance in class is very important.

Students with less than 85% of attendance to lectures and case discussions (including arriving late or leaving early) will be required to prepare for the exam ALL the References.

NOTE : Attendance to the first class session is mandatory. Important information about the course and the instructor’s expectations are given during the first session. If you know that you will have to be absent for one session, please contact your instructor to ensure that absence from a particular session is acceptable.


The exam is a written exam. The duration is about 3-4 hours and it includes:

a) Case discussion - You may be given a case study to which some questions may pertain in order to lead the discussion. As you respond to the questions, please use specific content and theories (use names to identify theories and models) as the basis of your analysis. You will not receive credit for your personal opinions unless backed by theory, lecture, and/or text material. Also, describe how you see the content/theory applying to the situation. Your answers will be evaluated based upon both quantity and quality. Answers that are more complete and demonstrate a higher level of understanding and analysis will receive more points.

The grading for the pre-exam will be as follows:

1. Class participation and activities:.…………..…………..10%

2. Case Analysis Jensen Shoes……………………………..10%

3. Case Analysis Army Crew………………………………10%

4. Case Analysis Rob Parson……………………...………..10%

5. Test Written exam…………………….………………….60%

Pre-Exam participation and exam grades registering on the booklet

Only regular attending students (85% of attendance to lectures and case discussions, including arriving late or leaving early) that have delivered the hard copies of ALL the case to the Instructors are allowed to take the pre-exam.


Only regular registered students on the DELPHI System will be allowed to register their grade.


The pre-exam grades will be registered on the first official exam date AFTER THE COURSE ENDING. It is compulsory to come on that date of the exam for registering the grade on the Delphi and on the booklet.


Analytical Syllabus




Case discussion



Section I:

Impact of Communication on Actions and Behaviours


1 Management in 21 Century


Textbook: Bauer, Erdogan, Ch.1



2 What is an organization?

How does Strategy and Company Life Cycle Shape organization?

Organizational Strategy and Communication


Textbook: Wrench, Carter, Ch. 1.1

Reading: Introduction to Organizational Communication

Reading: Mission Statements of Italian Companies

Case: UACS from III to IV

Video: VIDEO Mission and Communication



3 History of management & Classical Theories


Textbook: Wrench, Carter, Ch. 3

Reading: History of Management Thought

Reading: Robert McNamara and the Evolution of Modern Management


Lecture and Case discussion



4 What is communication


Textbook: Wrench, Carter, Ch. 3

Reading: Communication

Reading: Study.com Why Communication matters



5 History of organizational communication


Textbook: Wrench, Carter, Ch.1.3


6 Diversity in Organizations and Communication / Communicating Globally


Textbook: Bauer, Erdogan, Ch. 2

Reading: Diversity questions

Reading: Diversity Study.com


Reading: British American Communication





7 Perception


Textbook: Bauer, Erdogan, Ch. 3.4

Case: Swot Analysis



8 Groups and Teams: Roles and Norms


Textbook: Bauer, Erdogan, Ch. 9

Reading: Downside of Teams

Video: Abilene Paradox.rm

Video: Stanford Prison Experiment

Video: Milgram Experiment

Video: Hawthorne Electric Plant Studies



9 Groups and Teams Communication



Reading: Communicating in groups

Reading: Communication Teams


Lecture and Case discussion



10 Classical Theories of communication


Textbook: Bauer, Erdogan, Ch.10



11 Conflict and Negotiations

Textbook: Bauer, Erdogan, Ch.10

Reading: Relationship Conflict

Reading: Conflict-and-negotiations

Reading: Conflict and negotiation

Case: Plasteprent

Case: Plasteprent Agreement



12 Communication and Creation of Culture

Textbook: Bauer, Erdogan, Ch.1

Reading: Organizational culture 4 types


Lecture and Case discussion



13 Jensen Shoes HBSP Case


Case: Jensen Shoes -Jane Kravitz`s Story

Case: Jensen Shoes Lyndon Brook story

Case: Jensen Shoes Assignment 1

Case: Jensen Shoes Assignment 2



14 Communication and Leadership

Leadership styles


Textbook: Wrench, Carter, Ch.7

Reading: Leadership

Reading: Mentoring and Coaching

Reading: Approaches to Leadership

Case: A Tale of two coaches

Video: Bobby Knight Angry motivation speech

Video: Bobby Knight Disappointed

Video: Bobby Knight Talks about his 880th win

Video: Bobby Knight throws a chair

Video: Coach Knight A Winners Mind



15 Leadership


Reading: The Best-Performing CEOs in the World 2017

Video: A Conversation with Jack Welch Part 1 of 6

Video: A Conversation with Jack Welch Part 2 of 6

Video: A Conversation with Jack Welch Part 3 of 6

Video: A Conversation with Jack Welch Part 4 of 6

Video: A Conversation with Jack Welch Part 5 of 6

Video: A Conversation with Jack Welch Part 6 of 6

Video: Leadership Al Pacino

Video: Scent of a Woman Al Pacino Speech

Video: Leadership and Trust Collin Powel


Lecture and Case Discussion



16 Leadership and Followership


Textbook: Wrench, Carter, Ch.7.2

Reading: Followership



17 Power and politics


Textbook: Bauer, Erdogan, Ch.13



18 Politics and Influencing


Video: Office Politics Your Hidden Superpower

Video: Politics BNET





19 Army Crew HBSP Case


Case: Army Crew

Reading: Questions for Students Army Crew


20.1 Intro to Communication


Textbook: Carpenter, Bauer, Ch.12

Reading: Communication-in-organizations

Reading: Reading How Written Words Drive Behavior


Video: Angela Merkel gives Vladimir Putin epic eye roll

Video: Ministerial Broadcast



20.2 Communication Types and Elements


Textbook: Carpenter, Bauer, Ch.12

Reading: Communication Types verbal and Non Verbal


21 Informal Communication Grapevine


Textbook: Wrench, Carter, Ch.5.2

Reading: Informal Communication


Lecture and Case discussion



Section II:

Communication Theory and Practice


22 Formal communication


Textbook: Wrench, Carter, Ch.5.1

Reading: Formal Communication methods

Reading: Interim Management Report as of March31 2017



23 Formal Communication with Shareholders


Textbook: Scot, McLean, Ch. 6 and 9

Reading: Formal communication methods

Reading: CSR Committee Report to the Board McDonalds 2014

Reading: TI-Financial-Operating-data-3Q-2017



24 Introduction into research


Reading: Elements of Article review

Reading: Research in Communication

Lecture and Case Discussion



25.1 Presentations and Video Presentations, Body Talk – Non Verbal Communication

Textbook: Wrench, Carter, Ch.5.2

Reading: Developing-business-presentations

Video: Present Like Steve Jobs



25.2 Preparing a Message, Writing and Listening


Reading: 5 email rules

Reading: Text, E-mail, and Netiquette

Reading: Writing

Reading: Business-writing


26 Effective meetings


Reading: Productive Meeting

Reading: Running Effective Meetings

Video: Second Meeting - Yes, Prime Minister – BBC

Video: Yes Prime Minister Man Overboard 1

Video: Yes Prime Minister Man Overboard 3



27 How will you measure your life


Textbook: Wrench, Carter. Ch.5.2.

Reading: How-will-you-measure-your-life


Lecture and Case discussion



28 Case Analysis Rob Parson at Morgan Stanley


Case: Rob Parson