Length: Approximately 1500 words (6-7 double-spaced pages)

Use APA style for title and reference pages

Cited Information:  Hynes, G.E. (2015) Managerial communication: Strategies and applications (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. ISBN-13: 978-1483358550

1.    Explain how the behavioral approach differs from the contingency approach to management communication.

2.    Read Case 1-3 of the textbook and answer the three questions related to the case. Also explain how management communication would have to change for Kathy if she were to take the company internationally and employ people over the age of 75.

Case 1–3

Like Grandfather, Like Granddaughter?

Clarence opened a farm supply store in Montana during the early 1900s. His neighbors 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 fourteen 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, handwritten 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 retort.

When Seth retired, his daughter Kathy took over the company that now has twenty-three stores with 228 employees in three states and one wholly owned subsidiary of eighteen gas stations. Kathy’s vision involves offering a broader range of products than farm supplies. She wants to sell the image of the family farm. Her stores stock western clothing; boots, hats, and jewelry; home furnishings; and even CDs featuring country and western music.

Kathy finds herself traveling extensively from the corporate office to the various stores. Finding time to manage everything is a problem, but she has a staff of twelve professionals in the corporate office to assist her. A computer network, e-mail, and fax machines help tremendously.


1.      How have communication requirements differed for Clarence in the early 1900s and Kathy in the early 2000s?

2.      How do you think the management behaviors differed for Clarence and Kathy?

3.      In what ways do you think Clarence and Kathy were alike as company presidents?

3.   Read Case 2-3 of the textbook and answer the True/False and essay questions.

We can simplify our discussion by classifying the content of a message according to four factors.

First, will the receiver perceive the message as positive, negative, or neutral? When the message is positive, the best strategy is to present the good news immediately; however, with a negative message, it is usually best to present neutral information before the negative news.13 To determine whether the message is positive or negative, consider the receiver’s perspective. What may seem positive to a manager may be negative to the receiver.

For example, the manager of an accounting firm was ecstatic as she announced a new contract with a growing firm. But staff members were unhappy with the news because they already felt overworked.

Second, does the message deal with fact or opinion? A fact may be established with concrete information, but opinion is largely based on assumption. The manager should critically analyze the objective basis of his message because he may feel so sure about his opinion, he will present it as fact. When the manager presents opinions as facts, the receivers may be deceived.

Third, to what extent is the message important to the receiver? If the message is important to the manager, but not to the receiver, the manager has to emphasize attention-getting techniques. He would structure such a message according to the needs of the receiver rather than those of the sender. A manager needs to determine how to make the content of the message important to the receiver and then integrate that importance into the information. For instance, an announcement that a staff meeting is to be held at 2 p.m. may not capture an employee’s interest; however, if the notice states one of the items on the agenda is a new incentive program, employees are more apt to pay attention.

Fourth, to what extent is the message controversial? A controversial message calls for neutral words that can reduce the emotional response. In these situations, phrases such as “Surely you realize,” “Everyone else believes,” “Can’t you see,” or “You have to understand” can make the receiver defensive and create conflict.

4.   In your own words, explain the three layers of managerial communication. Then think of a specific business situation you’ve experienced where there was a miscommunication. Use the onion model to explain where and how (which layer) the communication issue occurred, and how you would apply the material from chapter 2 to ensure this type of failure doesn’t happen again.