The goal of this project is to apply organizational communication research to address a communication-related issue within an organization to which you currently belong

Organizational Communication Project Proposal

Project Goal:

The goal of this project is to apply organizational communication research to address a communication-related issue within an organization to which you currently belong (ideally) as an employee, volunteer, student, etc. Begin by identifying an organization and a communication issue (broadly defined).

Then, using research, define the specific organizational communication issues at hand and plan a robust mix of communication messages and methods to facilitate authentic dialogue and mutual understanding across groups/levels, as well as attainment of project goals and longer-term support of a healthy communication climate and culture. The end project should be something that you would feel comfortable and confident presenting to one of the organization’s leaders and recommending it for implementation.

Stage 1Topic Proposal  2 – 3 pages, double-spaced; 5-7 journal article references                        Includes: 4 sections: Organizational Background, Problem Definition, Literature Review (theoretical framework for analysis, and Proposed Solution (initial overview of project deliverable).  
Stage 2Stakeholder Identification & Analysis and 1 sample communication 3 – 4 pages plus 1 sample communication  Includes [10 pts. each]: Stakeholder summary [additional section of Proposal doc]Draft of stakeholder ID matrix [Excel]1 sample stakeholder communication Review of two peers’ sample communications  
Stage 3Final Project Proposal w/Stakeholder ID Matrix, 2 Sample Communications, and References 10 – 12 pages plus 2 sample communication & 10 – 15 references.Includes:                           Report = 60 pts (expanded sections from Stage 1)Final Stakeholder Matrix & 2 sample communication documents = 40 pts  

Stage 1 Topic Proposal (2-3 pages double-spaced)

Organization Background (.5 page double-spaced)

Provide a brief overview of the history, relevant recent events, and current situation. At a minimum, this section should provide a thorough, yet concise and clearly written overview of:

  • Company age and history, type of industry
    • Approximate number of employees and locations
    • Recent events relevant (examples may include – but are not limited to – leadership change, layoffs, new product launch, new competitor, global expansion, etc.)
    • Specific worksite and/or team targeted for this initiative (location, size, complexity/number of roles)
    • Any other details you feel are important/relevant

There should be a smooth, clear transition into the Problem Definition section as well.

Problem Definition (approx. .5 page)

In short, what is the need you see? This section will present a robust, yet concise description in practical terms of a current (or upcoming) workplace situation or project that would benefit from more robust communication support.

Examples include (but are not limited to), a struggling team, an organization suffering from low morale and/or high turnover, the need for more effective communication from managers (or leaders), a current or upcoming organizational change initiative, communication needs/issues related to a recent team restructuring or company merger/acquisition, communication challenges within a global or otherwise geographically-dispersed organization, and/or helping individuals who have lost a job or are seeking to return to the workforce after an extended absence, etc.

  • Consider Craig’s 7 Lenses and the Organizational Ecology model (Sias, Krone and Jablin) in crafting and describing your problem definition and describe the “communication issue(s)” at hand.

There should be a smooth, clear transition into the Literature Review section as well.

Conceptual Framework & Analysis (Literature Review) – Stage 1: approx. 1.5 pages

[Stage 3: 4-5 pages]

  • IMPORTANT: Must include proper in-text citation (APA format). Please be SURE you are using APA format for in-text citations (i.e., citations in the body of your paper – this is different than MLA or Chicago style. Check out the “Purdue OWL” (online writing lab website for quick reference).

In this section, your will draw on organizational communication research to craft a framework for analyzing the problem defined in the previous section. Class readings and specific concepts should be appropriately cited to illustrate and support issue identification. Here as well, consider Craig’s 7 Lenses and the Organizational Ecology model (Sias, Krone and Jablin).

A general framework for this section is a preview a paragraph of the concepts you are using and overall analytical framework you are constructing, then proceed into your analysis and constructing a well-crafted, integrated research-based framework for your project.

The bulk of the section will focus on using the selected organizational communication concepts/theories to offer a meaningful organizational communication-based strategy for addressing the issue you’ve identified.

  • For the final stage 3 paper, you should include a minimum of 10 – 15 journal articles / references (you may supplement these with popular press books or online articles containing practical examples of the issue being addressed.)

A final paragraph or two will connect the concepts and summarize why you feel the selected concepts/theories will be particularly helpful in addressing the organizational communication issue you have identified.

There should be a smooth, clear transition into the Proposed Solution section as well.

Proposed Solution – Overview of project deliverable; Stage 1: Half to 1 page/                        Stage 3:  1-2 pages

In this section, you will provide a high-level overview of your communication plan. Highlight the following:

  • Overview of the communication strategy – what it is, who it is designed to support, topic(s) it will cover, why this content is important, initial thoughts on the types of communication that will be used (training class, team meetings, coaching/mentoring, emails, one-one-one conversations, etc.)
  • Why, based on research and your knowledge of the organization, these types of communication are most needed and will be most effective
  • Time and resources required for a successful implementation
  • Summary paragraph

Note: For Stage 1, skip to the Conclusion after this section.

There should be a smooth, clear transition into the Stakeholder Overview section as well.

**For the Stage 1 proposal, be sure to include a paragraph of conclusion to close out your proposal.

DUE for Stage 2 and 3 only: Stakeholder Overview (approx. 3 pages)

Use this section to provide an explanation of your approach to selection and targeting of your selected stakeholders. In essence, this section should walk the reader through your Stage 2 Stakeholder ID Matrix, discussing the strategic importance of each selected stakeholder (individual or group) and the messaging that will address their concerns as it relates to the sources of their legitimacy, urgency and power in relation to your project. In short, this section will offer a narrative explanation of your ID Matrix.

For this section, you will want to review the Lewis (2007, 2011) readings, as well as the supplementary journal article by Mitchell, Agle and Wood (1997) found in the Extra Articles link on Blackboard.

Conclusion (.5 page)

Craft a conclusion that resummarizes your project and clearly articulates how your overall organizational communication lens and robust stakeholder communication will help result in a meaningful outcome for your organization, its members and its broader stakeholders.

Note: For Stage 1, skip to Referecnes after this section.

Appendixes – Stakeholder Identification Matrix (Stages 2 and 3) and sample stakeholder communications (one for stage 2 and two for Stage 3)

This is the Excel document from Stage 2, including edits based on previous feedback.

Be sure that your message themes clearly tie to the stakeholder values and motivations (concern about finances, concern about the workload for the team they manage, concern about its impact on their professional reputation or that of their team or the company, etc.)

This also includes your first sample stakeholder with edits based on feedback from Angie and peers, as well as a second stakeholder communication for a different stakeholder (be sure it is clear who the stakeholder(s) is for this second communication as well.


Stage 1: 5-7 communication studies/organizational communication journal article references.

Stage 3: 10 – 15 communication studies/organizational communication journal article references.

References must be in APA format – please note formatting and grammar matters here. While APA (and other academic formatting styles) can be tedious, they are a key marker of graduate-level academic professionalism.

  • Please leave yourself appropriate time to craft and edit formatting of your references (both in-text and in the References pages). Please note that References are not included in the page count for the project proposal. 

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