You will need someone to interview for this assignment. This should be someone who is willing to talk with you in depth about his or her workplace experiences, and it should be someone who has worked at the same organization for at least five years.
You will ask this person to describe one specific incident or example involving an organizational issue/problem or misunderstanding. The incident should illustrate the important role of communication. For example, your interviewee might share a particular conflict with her boss that was not handled so well, or your interviewee might tell you about how confusing and problematic his hiring and training was.
Step 1: The Interview
Ask your interviewee to “Think back on your work experiences of the past few years. What stands out as a significant issue/problem?” Encourage your interviewee to focus especially on a situation that is comprehensive and where communication played an important and significant role. Simple misunderstandings happen all the time in organizations; you are looking for something bigger – a significant issue, conflict, or problem that was perhaps complicated and may or may not have been fully resolved. There needs to be a bigger story here for you to learn about and analyze.
Below are a series of questions for you to consider asking your interviewee:
Tell me what happened, from start to finish.
What parties, departments, units, or other organizations were involved?
Why does this particular incident stand out in your memory?
What was the misunderstanding(s) in this incident?
What did you or others do to try to resolve the situation? What worked well? What didn’t work so well in this case? Please explain.
Was there a lack of good understanding, communication, or coordination in this case? Please explain.
What lessons can you draw from the experience? What might you do differently or similarly if confronted by a similar situation in the future?
These interview questions are a good start, but you will have to probe more to obtain enough detail in order to write the paper. You can conduct your interview face-to-face (preferred) or by phone or e-mail. I encourage you to record the interview to aid in writing up the incident.
Step 2: Write the incident in narrative form, and write an analysis of the incident
After you conduct the interview, write a detailed description and analysis of the incident. Organize your paper into four sections:
Section 1: Introduce who you interviewed, and his/her company, title, and length of service. Describe where and when the interview took place and the length of the interview.
Section 2: Describe the incident in sufficient detail – tell the story
Section 3: Analyze the incident based on at least two different theoretical approaches (chapters 2 – 6). What theories and concepts explain this incident? What you choose to apply to this “case” is dependent on the incident. At minimum, you must make connections to two of the theory chapters, but more is always encouraged. Several concepts, ideas, and terms from those chapters should be applied and discussed in your paper.
Section 4: Conclusion –Provide some final conclusions and evaluations of your own: from your perspective, what lessons were learned, what was done well, what could have been done differently, and what suggestions can you offer? Again, draw on theories and concepts from chapters 2 – 6 in your conclusion.
To make for a thorough analysis, you should draw on as many ideas from chapters 2 – 6 as you can in analyzing this incident. Do not limit yourself here! Your story will highlight many of the theoretical principles (chapters 2 – 6) and these connections should be clear and thorough.