Problem Solving

Problem Solving– Instructions




Use a decision-making model of your choice to discuss an organizational communication problem you have experienced.


    • Competency: Analyze business communication situations.
  • Describe an organizational communication problem.
  • Competency: Analyze the interrelationships of communication within organizational systems.
    • Explain a decision-making model.
    • Describe a solution to an organizational communication problem using a decision-making model.
  • Competency: Communicate effectively.
    • Consistently apply appropriate APA style and formatting.




Problem Solving


The acts of solving problems and making decisions involve considering the possible options and then selecting of the best option to solve an organizational issue. Problem solving and decision making can be done as individual or team processes. Effective organizational communication supports how we think through, discuss, and choose resolutions for issues.


Other organizational activities that rely on communication competencies include interviews, written correspondence, and presentations:

  • We gather and exchange information during the interview process.
  • Written correspondence uses media to communicate without corresponding verbal messages.
  • Presentations are formal communication events designed to educate, inform, or persuade.




Organizational Conflict


Many probably agree that life revolves around relationships. Because we are all unique, we each bring our own beliefs, preferences, communication styles, wants, and needs to our various relationships. As such, conflict is bound to occur. We all frequently experience opportunities for negotiation in our personal, professional, and social lives.


As part of the Harvard Negotiation Project, Fisher and Ury (1991), Harvard Law School professors, helped to devise principled negotiation, a decision-making process based on the merits of issues rather than on a haggling process focused on what each side says it will or will not do. They explain principled negotiation as follows:

  • It suggests that you look for mutual gains whenever possible, and that where your interests conflict, you should insist that the result be based on some fair standards independent of the will of either side. The method of principled negotiation is hard on the merits, soft on the people. It employs no tricks and no posturing. Principled negotiation shows you how to obtain what you are entitled to and still be decent. It enables you to be fair while protecting you against those who would take advantage of your fairness. (p. xviii)


In principled negotiation, all sides work together to creatively come up with a solution that works for both parties and, ideally, is better than what any side initially had in mind.


Stephen R. Covey incorporates the theory of principled negotiation in Habit 6: Synergize of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Signature Program. Covey (2005) believes that “[p]eople who are truly effective have the humility and reverence to recognize their own perceptual limitations and appreciate the rich resources available through interaction with the hearts and minds of other human beings” (p. 127).


Many organizations have incorporated training programs to address successful conflict resolution. You can see why these types of training programs would rely heavily on effective communication competency levels.


Strategic Management


Strategic management can be described as a set of decisions and actions that result in the formulation of plans designed to achieve a company’s objectives. One of the fundamentals of strategic management is the formulation of a mission statement that serves as an overall guide for all aspects of an organization’s efforts. Often, organizations also develop a statement of philosophy or company creed that reflects or specifies the basic beliefs, values, aspirations, and philosophical priorities upon which the mission statement is based.


Communicating Change


The successful design and implementation of a change-related communication plan depends on professionals who possess excellent communication competency skills. Changes—planned and unexpected—are realities in all facets of our lives.


Why is structured management and communication of change such a necessary focus in organizations today? Why does change seem to be happening faster and faster? Globalization and technological advances have resulted in broad-based, fast-paced change becoming the new norm. Even our attention spans have been evolving to match the short, fragmented timing patterns of television commercials and the pace of video games.


Stop and think about it for a moment, if you can find the time! Did you know that Ford’s Model T was virtually unchanged for almost twenty years? How long will this year’s car models stay the same? Tools from the Stone Age went unchanged for thousands of years. When was the last time you upgraded your cell phone?


There are many other examples of how quickly things change.


As rapid change becomes the norm, individuals and organizations are gaining valuable experience in managing change successfully. As a result, more and more resources become available every day for others to research and use.





Information Technology


Information technology heavily supports these communication methodologies. In fact, communication competencies would be incomplete without considering the influence of technology and electronic communication. Therefore, constant competency development and an attitude of openness to change and lifelong learning are keys to success.


Technology has continuously changed the face of social and economic systems, beginning with simple tools, through production automation, to the use of technological interfaces. One benefit of technology is that it enables communication between individuals across geographical distance and time zones.


It has also led to information overload.


With all of its benefits, the most fundamental change that technology growth is driving, however, is that of changing the way individuals interact, thus challenging our concepts of communication to the core.


Many teams consist of individuals who:

  • Have never met face-to-face.
  • Belong to different organizations.
  • Belong to different cultures.
  • Reside in different time zones.
  • Have different competencies in working with technology.



Covey, S. R. (2005).The 7 habits of highly effective people signature program. Salt Lake City, UT: FranklinCovey.

Fisher, R., &Ury, W. (1991).Getting to yes: Negotiating agreement without giving in. New York, NY: Penguin Books.




Complete the following:

  1. Choose an organizational communication problem you have experienced in your workplace or other organization with which you are involved. Examples of organizational communication problems are as follows:
    • The leaders of an organization know they have to downsize (that is, fire) a large number of employees but do not effectively communicate the situation.
    • Policies at a company are not followed in different departments or at different locations because the policies are not communicated well by a central office.
    • Employees with inappropriate skill sets are hired because individuals familiar with the requirements do not communicate with the individuals hiring for the position.
    • Two leaders within an organization provide different directions on how employees should conduct their work.
  • Search for resources to examine decision-making models, and select one to apply to the organizational communication problem you have chosen.
  • Write a paper in which you address the following:
    • Describe the organizational communication problem
    • Explain the decision-making model you chose that applies to the problem.
    • Use the selected decision-making model to describe solutions to the problem.


Additional Requirements

  • Written communication: Written communication is free of errors that detract from the overall message.
  • APA formatting: Resources and citations are formatted according to APA (6th ed.) style and formatting. Include a properly formatted title page and references page.
  • Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.


Last Updated on February 10, 2019

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