Case Studies Question


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Page Requirement: 5-6 pages, 12 point font, double-spaced.

WHY: This assignment will help you develop and improve writing and analytical skills using the case method. You will gain familiarity with and confidence in using the case study method to examine communication concepts and learn how they play out in real?world situations.

WHAT: In this assignment, you will apply course concepts to the analysis of a real-world case study, Internet Development, CCS, and Customers. You will examine the challenges faced by Trent McGuire, a manager in communication & customer services at a large mutual fund company, whose department is not communicating with the Internet Development department which created serious customer service issues.

The failure of the two departments to communicate has led to numerous issues: the company has become reactive to customer response rather than proactive, and customer satisfaction has gone down. The conflict between them* has caused morale to dip at the company to the point where coworkers in other departments mock the situation.

In order to bring about organizational change, the dysfunctional interdepartmental communication at this mutual fund company should be addressed.

Your analysis should address the following questions:

  1. What can McGuire do to facilitate effective communication between his department and the Internet development team?
  2. How do systems theories, cultural theories, and critical theories of organization and communication relate to this case and its key players?
  3. Does it matter if “the grapevine” (people not directly involved that circulate rumors and/or false information) is making fun of these two departments within Internet services?
  4. Should top management be involved? Why or why not?

*The case study references a conflict between the Hatfields and Mccoys who were two rival American families with a bitter feud that fought and killed each other during and after the American Civil War. Their hatred of each other has become a piece of American lore.

This assignment requires you to apply the concepts introduced in course readings (i.e. the Zaremba textbook and assigned readings) to support your analysis. You must use a minimum of three direct in-text references(although you will likely use more) in your analysis, and you must use APA citation in your essay. You must also include a references page at the end of the essay that follows APA formatting.

You must use a thesis statement to guide your essay. You must also use the provided rhetorical form to structure the essay. Guidelines on both are found below.

HOW: Gather your evidence in order to support your thesis.

  • Read the case three times.
  1. First reading: Identify key facts, issues, themes, and role-players.
  2. Second reading: Highlight and annotate text that discusses problems within the company and between the two departments.
  3. Third reading: Highlight and annotate text that discusses the various negative effects the lack of communication between departments has had on the communications department’s ability to address customer concerns.
  • Write a thesis statement.


***NOTE: this sample thesis is not to be copied directly; it is a working draft to support your own writing and words. ***

Trent McGuire’s communications department has failed to clearly communicate with the internet services department because ______________________________________; (list as many causes as you discover) therefore, he should____________________________________ (list as many recommendations as you are offering in your final section) in order to establish effective communication, restore morale within the division, and raise customer satisfaction.

  • Write a rough draft and support your thesis with references to the case and course readings.
  • Make sure your rough draft and final draft use the rhetorical arrangement written below
    Required Sections Guidelines
    I. Executive Summary
    • One to two paragraphs in length
    • Summarize the critical events from the case that will be covered in the analysis
    • Briefly identify the major problems facing the main player
    • Summarize the recommended plan of action and include a brief justification of the recommended plan
    II. Identification of Key Stakeholders
    • Identify the key players in the case
    • Include stakeholders who are impacted because of the critical events
    • For each key player, identify events in the case that the stakeholder finds troublesome and would consider a problem; in doing so, quote the case
    III. Statement of the Problem
    • State the problems facing the main player
    • Identify and link the symptoms and root causes of the problems
    • Differentiate short-term from long-term problems
    • Conclude with the decision facing the main player
    IV. Causes of the Problem · Provide a detailed analysis of the problems identified in the Statement of the Problem

    • In the analysis, apply theories and models from the text and/or readings
    • Support conclusions and /or assumptions with specific references to the case and/or the readings
    V. Brainstorm 2 or 3 Suggestions for Solutions:
    • Identify criteria to evaluate these solutions (i.e. time for implementation, communication strategies, acceptability to management)
    • Explain each criteria in 1-2 sentences
    • Brainstorm two or three possible suggestions for solutions
    • Evaluate the pros and cons of each suggestion against the criteria listed
    • Suggest additional pros/cons if appropriate
    • Using models and theories, identify why you chose these suggestions, how they would work, and why
    VI. Recommended Solution, Implementation and Justification: Choose one of yourBrainstorm Solutions from Section V and DEVELOP and FINALIZE it here.
    • Identify who, what, when, and how in your recommended plan of action
    • Solution and implementation should address the problems and causes identified in the earlier sections
    • Evaluate the recommended plan via the criteria in the previous section
    • Include a contingency plan(s) to back up the ‘ideal’ course of action
    • Describe the difficulties you expect to encounter in actually implementing the course of action under consideration, including any new problems
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