MANAGEMENT AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATION
Like Grandfather Like Granddaughter
Clarence opened a farm supply store in Montana during the early 1900s. His
neighbours 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. 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 hand written 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
When Seth retired, his daughter Kathy took over the company that now has 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 jewellery; home furnishings; and even CDs
featuring country and western music.
As the business expanded, Kathy found herself travelling extensively from the
corporate office to the various stores. Despite having a staff of 12 professionals
working with her in the corporate office, finding time to manage everything became
a problem. It was when Kathy was really struggling to keep abreast of her business
that she approached her friend Carl who was an IT consultant. Carl suggested that
she should overhaul the computer network of her business which was used primarily
for inventory management and asynchronous communication. He suggested that she
should invest in technology and social media – to not only communicate with her
geographically-spread staff, but also with her customers. He recommended that she
could hold virtual meetings instead of travelling inter-state to hold meetings. He
advised this would not only cut down her travel costs but would also enable her to
stay in touch with staff more often. He was certain that this would also help improve
staff relationships across geographical boundaries as they would be able to
communicate frequently and could also enable cross-fertilisation and collaboration.
Kathy was soon convinced that this was the way to move forward. She made a
substantial investment to upgrade the company’s computer network and to set up
Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Instant Messaging software and video
It had been a year since the introduction of these information and communication
technologies, and the outcome was far from what was envisaged. There had been
several instances of misunderstandings, miscommunication, conflict between staff,
complaints of high stress levels and lowered rather than enhanced levels of
productivity and communication. Kathy was struggling to understand why the
technological advancement of the business had delivered more problems and very
limited efficiency. She decided that it was time to get some advice from
management consultants to understand why such issues had emerged. She wanted
to seek advice to inform the way forward for the communication operations of her
business. She has employed you as her consultant and has asked you to write a
report looking at media choice and implications (positive/negative) of ICTs. She
wants you to consider any three of the following issues that have emerged in her
company over the last year and help her understand how these may be linked to the
introduction of ICTs:
1. work stress and overload;
2. flexibility and work/life balance;
4. workplace conflict;
5. employee privacy.
In answering this question:
• Show that you have an in-depth and critical understanding of relevant theories
and research on media choice and implications of ICTs.
• Discuss the communication media models and explain the implications of each
on media choice and draw insights for media choice in the given situation.
• Discuss the positive/negative implications related to your chosen issues and
any inter-relationships between issues.
• Provide examples to support your analysis and application of the
• Provide recommendations for what can be done to address the potential
issues you have identified and critically evaluate your recommendations.
The discussion, analysis, evaluation and recommendations need to be supported
with theory and research. You need to include a reference list.
1(Adapted from Hynes, G. E. (2011). Case 1-2 ‘Like Grandfather Like Granddaughter’
(pp. 22-23), Managerial Communication: Strategies and Applications, 5th edition.
McGraw-Hill Irwin: New York.)
Please read the following to ensure that your work meets required standards.
The assignment is to be submitted in a REPORT FORMAT. The report should include
the following sections:
• Executive summary
• Table of contents
• Theoretical discussion
• Issue identification, analysis and evaluation
• Appendices (if required)
It should be written in complete paragraphs (no dot point form) using double line
spacing and a 12 pt font size. Please leave at least one inch margins on all sides.
POINTS TO CONSIDER
Appropriate response to the assignment question. Full and relevant response to the
Quality of ideas: Originality, creativity and completeness of ideas.
Quality and clarity of analysis: defining terms and concepts; evaluating concepts and
critical use of research drawing on different perspectives.
Use of principles/theories and research for arguments: Appropriate use of key
concepts, frameworks and research for developing arguments to support your
analysis and discussion.
Quality of research on the topic: Completeness, relevance and range of supporting
information provided; clear evidence of thorough research. Use of research to
provide scholarly arguments in your own words demonstrating an understanding of
Specificity, concreteness and credibility: Avoidance of generalizations and jargon;
use of specific examples to support points; ensuring that
conclusions/recommendations/implications are reasonable, realistic, specific and
Organisation and writing: Overall clarity and logical organization of thoughts.
Correct referencing, citations using APA/Harvard referencing system. Following
report structure and using paragraphs. Please see more information on referencing
under the referencing section below.
See rubric for more specific information on marking criteria.
Your discussion should draw mainly on academic theory and research, but you can
also include references to publicly available information on organisational practices
or current cases where relevant. You are required to use a minimum of twelve (12)
academic/scholarly references. Academic or scholarly references can be found in
peer-reviewed academic journals and some books. In the first instance, refer to the
readings outlined for weeks 2-3. Your reading list is comprised of academic/scholarly
references and you are encouraged to use relevant materials from this resource as
well as engaging in independent library research. You can, however, only use a
maximum of three (3) references from the key and further readings.
All material used must be correctly cited and referenced, using the APA/Harvard
Referencing System which includes:
in-text citations in the body of the essay.
a reference list as the last page of your assignment (listing only the
references you have cited).