Simulating Organizational Life: Self-Directed Teams in the Classroom.Report as inadecuate

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During the past decade, many American companies have shifted their work styles from classically controlling management styles to self-motivating teams. For this reason, a few communication educators are now exploring alternative models of teaching. If students have the opportunity to experience many of the concepts covered in organizational communication, they will be more likely to remember the information when faced with the same phenomena in the business world. By structuring an organizational communication course around the concept of self-directed teams, students take responsibility for their work and communication, improve their performance, and experience many of the facets of organizational communication. Collaborative or cooperative techniques help students get a better understanding of work in the real world. In a model, created by both a professor and students, organizational life was simulated for the classroom. Decisions regarding texts, general content, and loosely structured assignments were made by the professor with room for student input. Teams implemented their own rules which were appropriate for members, and the shape of assignments was decided by the class. Student ideas permeated the course content. In their final evaluations, students reported having a positive experience. Probably the most glaring weakness of this model was lack of student motivation, perhaps due to the lack of identification of a concrete shared goal. (Contains 12 references.) (CR)

Descriptors: Communication Skills, Educational Environment, Experiential Learning, Group Dynamics, Higher Education, Instructional Innovation, Learning Strategies, Organizational Communication, Organizational Culture, Self Directed Groups, Simulation, Student Motivation, Teacher Student Relationship, Team Training, Teamwork

Author: Mazloff, Debra C.


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