A Case Study of Organizational Communication in a Multicultural US Corporation and Its Effect on the Bottom Line


Organizational communication is an evolving field that includes communication theory, intercultural communication principles, and organizational behavior. Relatively little information exists linking organizational communication to organizational success. In this paper, I attempt to highlight how one company’s organizational communication function contributed to the company’s financial failure.

Telco, a fictitious name of a telecommunications company based in the US with offices in ten US cities, was the site for my research. Telco is a multicultural company that employed up to 550 people and had $450 million in investment. In July and October of 2001, the company conducted massive layoffs and as of January 2002, only 20 employees remained.

The main question I asked in my research was: How did the organizational communication process play a role in the demise of a US multicultural corporation? As a point of clarification, this paper does not assume organizational communication was the reason the company failed. It examines the company from a communication perspective to ascertain the contributory factors of the organizational communication function.

To answer the question, several research techniques were utilized. First, to identify the communication needs of the company, I conducted a survey. To help identify how communication problems were impacting work performance, qualitative interviews with personnel were conducted. The process of document review using the Executive Management’s meetings was applied to assess why communication problems were occurring and what inhibited their resolution. Conversations with personnel, observations of behavior witnessed and field sites conducted to office locations were documented to also help with this analysis.

In the discussion section of the paper, I talk about how the role of power and a lack of understanding intercultural communication principles contributed to the failure of a company to reach its revenue targets. It is the hope of this study to add to the minimal data that exists in supplying hard evidence that communication does have an effect on the bottom-line.


Business Administration, Management, and Operations | International and Intercultural Communication

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