COMM12025 - Organisational Communication
Term 2 - 2017

All details in this unit profile for COMM12025 have been officially approved by CQUniversity and represent a learning partnership between the University and you (our student). The information will not be changed unless absolutely necessary and any change will be clearly indicated by an approved correction included in the profile.


Communication is an integral part of any organisation. It is especially important for managers or those individuals who may be working within a communications department. This unit will introduce students to the structure of organisations and develop an understanding of the different types of communication processes used. Students will conduct a communication audit as a means of applying communication theory to organisational policy and practice. Issues and crisis management skills are also important to prevent organisations from making critical communication errors.


Career Level Undergraduate
Unit Level Level 2
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band 1
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125

Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

Prerequisite: Minimum of 36 credit points

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).


Term 2 - 2017
  • Distance
  • Rockhampton


This unit has a website, within the Moodle system, which is available two weeks before the start of term. It is important that you visit your Moodle site throughout the term. Go to Moodle

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Class Timetable

Assessment Overview

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Group Work 50%
2. Written Assessment 50%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%). Consult the University’s Grades and Results Procedures for more details of interim results and final grades.

All University policies are available on the IMPortal.

You may wish to view these policies:

  • Grades and Results Procedure
  • Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework)
  • Review of Grade Procedure
  • Academic Misconduct Procedure
  • Monitoring Academic Progress (MAP) Policy and Procedure – Domestic Students
  • Monitoring Academic Progress (MAP) Policy and Procedure – International Students
  • Refund and Excess Payments (Credit Balances) Policy and Procedure
  • Student Feedback – Compliments and Complaints Policy and Procedure
  • Acceptable Use of Information and Communications Technology Facilities and Devices Policy and Procedure

This list is not an exhaustive list of all University policies. The full list of University policies are available on the IMPortal.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Feedback Source Recommendation
Team work assessment is conducted well and marked fairly, but there are too many options for due dates. Student unit evaluation feedback. Maintain approach to team work assessment and have all teams' assessment due on one date, rather than different dates for different teams.
Communication strategy assessment is practical and well liked, however a hypothetical topic option would be appreciated by students who are not personally involved in an organisation. Student unit evaluation feedback. Maintain approach to assessment. A hypothetical assessment topic will be introduced for students who would prefer less flexibility in their assessment.
This is a well respected unit, structured in a best practice manner. It is innovative and practical, resulting in engaged students. Professional Communication planning day, staff discussion. Student Voice Awards 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016. Vice Chancellors Award in Learning and Teaching, 2016 Maintain approach to unit, assessment and student engagement.
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  1. Analyse and assess major theoretical perspectives relevant to communication within organisations.
  2. Apply key research skills and techniques.
  3. Analyse an organisation’s communication policies and practices.

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes

Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3
1 - Group Work
2 - Written Assessment

Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes

  • Introductory Level
  • Intermediate Level
  • Graduate Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3
1. Communication
2. Problem Solving
3. Critical Thinking
4. Information Literacy
5. Team Work      
6. Information Technology Competence
7. Cross Cultural Competence      
8. Ethical practice  

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes

  • Introductory Level
  • Intermediate Level
  • Graduate Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 - Group Work
2 - Written Assessment    


Date Updated Information
05-Jun-2017 15:26

A new edition of the textbook has been released, the 6th edition of Communicating for Managerial Effectiveness by Clampitt.

We will be using the new edition. The 5th edition can still be used, however page numbers and some content will be different to the 6th edition. Where possible, changes to page numbers between editions will be noted in the unit lessons on Moodle.

The 6th edition is available from the CQU Bookshop.

Prescribed Textbooks

Communicating for Managerial Effectiveness
Author/s: Phillip Clampitt Year: 2013
Edition: Fifth Publisher: Sage Publications Inc
City: Thousand Oaks State: California
Country: United States of America
View textbooks at the CQUniversity Bookshop

IT Resources

You will need access to the following IT resources:
  • CQUniversity Student Email
  • Internet
  • Unit Website (Moodle)
All submissions for this unit must use the American Psychological Association (APA) referencing style (details can be obtained here). For further information, see the Assessment Tasks below.
Unit CoordinatorCeleste Lawson (
Note: Check the Term-Specific section for any additional contact information provided by the teaching team
Week Begin Date Module/Topic Chapter Events and Submissions
Week 1 10-07-2017

Module 1 - Organisational Structures and Communication

Knowing about the components of communication does not necessarily mean we understand the communication process. In this foundation module, we will revisit the basic theory of communication learned in earlier units. This will allow us to introduce propositions or assumptions that frame how we communicate. If we now add information about organisations and how they are structured, we can start to see why organisational communication is such a complex skill.

Clampitt, Chapters 1, 2 and 3

Week 2 17-07-2017

Module 2 - Conflict and crisis management

Issues are events or factors that have the potential to negatively impact on organisations. If managed poorly, issues can affect an organisation’s reputation and, at worst, can result in a crisis. Issues can generally be predicted and planned for. If the issue begins to affect the organisation, actions can be taken to reduce the negative impact. This is known as issues management, and it is a complex field. The management of issues is a significant part of the communication function of an organisation. This module will explain the nature of issues and explore the link with organisational communication. The topic will identify various techniques to identify and manage issues.

Readings as advised on Moodle

Week 3 24-07-2017

Module 3 - Organisational culture and communication channels

A thorough understanding of organisational communication can not occur without an understanding of organisational culture. Culture is the shared understanding of experiences, and culture can affect the way people communicate within an organisation as well as what they communicate about. This module will explain organisational culture including how to recognise culture in an organisation.

Clampitt - Chapters 4 and 5

Week 4 31-07-2017

Module 4 - Teamwork, feedback and managing data

This module starts to combine the elements of each of the previous modules to identify effective communication strategies. We consider how we make sense of all the information that is provided to us, so we can determine who to send it to, why and how. This module will explore the benefits of teams within organisations, especially as decision-makers. The module will then consider feedback as a means by which a manager can keep employees informed. When employees are kept informed, they are likely to be happier in their job, which can contribute to reducing conflict. Allowed to escalate, conflict can progress to significantly affect the organisation. Knowing how to address conflict can reduce the impact on both the individual and the organisation.

Clampitt - Chapters 6 and 7

Week 5 07-08-2017

Module 5 - Boundary spanning, leadership and change

Boundary spanning is the technique used to communicate across boundaries in an organisation. In this module we learn about the five main boundaries in organisational communication – context, language, culture, location and structure. We look at how change affects an organisation, how people react to change and techniques for managing change with the least impact on the organisation. This module explains what is meant by the term “leader” and the role of leadership within different organisational structures. Leaders operate in the context of organisational change and organisational communication.

Clampitt - Chapters 8, 9, 10 and 11

Vacation Week 14-08-2017

Have a break!

Week 6 21-08-2017

Module 6 - Communication audits and communication strategies

A communication audit is a form of research for an organisation. It will show the organisation how the communication is working (or not), which methods are effective and which are being misused. This module describes several common methods of gathering data in order to conduct an audit and make recommendations for change. The module then explains how to convert these recommendations into a workable communication strategy.

Clampitt - Chapter 12

Week 7 28-08-2017
Crisis communication case study Due Friday (01 Sep 17) 05:00 PM AEST
Week 8 04-09-2017
Week 9 11-09-2017
Week 10 18-09-2017
Week 11 25-09-2017
Week 12 02-10-2017
Review/Exam Week 09-10-2017
Communication Assessment and Strategy Due Monday (09 Oct 17) 05:00 PM AEST
Exam Week 16-10-2017

This unit is presented in an intensive style, with the unit's content condensed into the first six weeks of term. From weeks seven to twelve, there is no additional content and students will be directed in assessment based study, which includes a significant research component.

1 Group Work

Assessment Title Crisis communication case study
Task Description

This assessment requires students to review a crisis and present findings on that crisis within an organisational communication context. You will work in teams due to the size of the task.

Each team will research a crisis topic. These topics are specified by the Unit Coordinator.

Within your team, you will be required to:

  • Conduct research on a crisis topic;
  • Synthesise information about a crisis and an organisation’s response to that crisis so it can be understood by others;
  • Collate your findings in the form of an online presentation;
  • Submit your presentation.

Crisis communication will be covered in the Module 2 materials for the unit.

Online presentation

As a team, you will be required to submit a recorded presentation with a slideshow. You can use PowerPoint, Prezi or some other form of slide presentation. Voiceover must be provided on the presentation, and the format of the presentation must be seamless as if produced by one voice. There is no limit to the number of slides. As a guide, aim for a presentation of between 10 and 15 minutes, although there is no time limit. You can choose to have one team member voice the presentation, or each student can provide a contribution to the voiceover. All slides must follow the same theme, and be professionally laid out. It is expected that the voiceover will contain the bulk of the information for the presentation, while the slides will contain dot point or pictorial accompaniment. Information on how to record voice on PowerPoint is provided on Moodle. Information about how to lay out professional presentation slides is also provided.

The final assessment must include the following elements:

  • Summary of crisis event;
  • How the organisation responded;
  • The result;
  • The issues/lessons for the organisation;
  • References/Further Reading

It is expected the team will:

  • Conduct thorough research of media (and social media if relevant) about the event (perhaps presented as a graph or infographic). Students will need to identify the extent of media coverage received about the event, and the media coverage during the reactive phase.
  • Conduct thorough research on the organisation, its structure and its executive. This is required to assess the appropriateness of the response to the crisis. For example: was a spokesperson assigned for the duration of the crisis, and was the spokesperson the best choice for the task?

Examples are provided on Moodle. This assessment is worth 50%.

All presentations require a list of references on the final slide. Any use of photographs must be attributed.

Working in teams

Teams are required for this assessment. Team members are responsible for communicating with each other and negotiating tasks. You will nominate to join a team by Week 4, and teams will be allocated by topic. The topics will be listed on the unit Moodle site. Information about working in teams will be provided, and individual tasks for team members will be suggested.

All team members will conduct a self and peer assessment, whereby each team member will evaluate the performance of themselves, and their peers. This will be worth 20% of the overall mark (10 marks). (You may opt out of a team in extenuating circumstances only. Students not participating in a team will be ineligible for the peer mark.) Details of how to conduct a self and peer assessment will be provided.

The assessment will be submitted via Moodle. Total file size is a maximum of 100MB. Please be mindful of this restriction if you use graphics in your presentation. You may have to resize photo/graphics quality to reduce the overall size of the presentation.

A detailed marking criteria is available on Moodle.

Assessment Due Date Week 7 Friday (01-Sep-2017) 05:00 PM AEST
Assessment will be due between Week 7 and 10 depending on topic selected on Moodle.
Return Date to Students Week 8 Friday (08-Sep-2017)
Assessments will be returned one week after submission.
Weighting 50%
Assessment Criteria

A marking criteria sheet is available on Moodle. Elements include:

  • Summary of crisis
  • Organisational response
  • The result
  • Issues/lessons
  • Structure of presentation
  • Evidence of research
  • Referencing
  • Presentation
  • Attention to requirements of task

Self and peer assessment details will be provided via Moodle.

Referencing Style American Psychological Association (APA)
Submission Online

Maximum file size is 100 MB. Only one file per group is required.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. Analyse and assess major theoretical perspectives relevant to communication within organisations.

2. Apply key research skills and techniques.

3. Analyse an organisation’s communication policies and practices.

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Communication

2. Problem Solving

3. Critical Thinking

4. Information Literacy

5. Team Work

6. Information Technology Competence

7. Cross Cultural Competence

8. Ethical practice

2 Written Assessment

Assessment Title Communication Assessment and Strategy
Task Description

You are required to identify an organisation with which you are familiar. This could be a club, a church, or your workplace, for example. This group must operate as an organisation as defined in Module 1.

You will conduct a communication assessment of this organisation. (Please note that some organisations may require you to obtain permission to conduct an assessment. Discuss your choice of organisation with the Unit Coordinator if you have any concerns or queries.)

The material in Module 6 will explain what is usually involved in a communication assessment. The communication assessment will draw on theoretical material covered in the first six weeks of the unit. The communication assessment must be very well supported by the various theories covered in the unit.

The communication assessment will answer the following questions about communication between workers in the organisation selected:

  • What are the existing channels of communication? (meetings, newsletters, etc) The assessment may focus on one aspect of communication, rather than attempting to address all communication methods in use.
  • What are the communication goals for the communication channel? (sharing information, providing recognition, etc)
  • What types of messages are typically transmitted in this channel? (business results, future plans, personnel news, etc)
  • Who are the target audiences for the channel? (managers, line employees, etc)
  • What are the problems or issues identified with the communication channel, goals, messages or audience?
You will then prepare a communication strategy to address one particular issue of focus identified in the communication assessment.
  • Using the information gathered in the communication assessment, develop a communication goal. The communication goal must link with the organisation’s goals.
  • Develop a series of key messages. The messages must support organisational goals. Identify relevant internal audiences and channels for the messages.
  • Align the messages, the audience and the communication channels as a series of communication strategies which address the identified issue or problem.

Hint: The messages must be written to suit the organisation, and they must be in response to an issue identified in the communication assessment.

Students are NOT required to implement the strategies.This is a theoretical assessment only.


This assessment will be presented as a report in the style and manner of a real Communication Strategy as discussed in the unit material. Write the report as if it was being developed for the person in charge of the organisation.

The structure of the report will include:

  • Introduction: Background to the organisation (including style/type of organisation, its worldview, culture); and any relevant issues identified that may influence the communication assessment and communication strategy (for example that the organisation is virtual and communication must be undertaken electronically, or that the organisation is informal and follows an ad hoc process). In this section, you set the scene for the communication channel or problem being investigated.
  • Communication Assessment: This section addresses the communication assessment dot points posed above. Additional subheadings can be added as appropriate (for example: Communication channel, Communication messages, Target audiences).
  • Communication Problem: Includes identification of the issues and problems uncovered or investigated during the communication assessment.
  • Communication Strategies: The following content must be included as a minimum: the communication goal, key messages, audience and channels. Use subheadings as appropriate for your strategies. It is likely you will identify multiple strategies to fully address the communication problem.
  • Considerations for implementation: Students are not required to implement the strategies. This section is prepared as if the Communication Strategy was being provided to the organisation for implementation. This section lists issues or considerations of which the organisation must be aware in order for the Strategy to be potentially achievable.
  • References: Students are expected to provide evidence of the organisational goals and structure (through a website, annual report or other document). Where possible, students are expected to provided references that support the choice of strategies. APA referencing style is required.

Word count is between 3,000 and 3,500 words. This is strict and assessable. Please note that the word count is designed to be challenging. Focus on a specific issue, rather than attempting to solve all communication problems. This will help meet the word count.

A detailed marking criteria is available on Moodle.

If extenuating circumstances mean that a student can not identify a suitable organisation from their own experience, a negotiated and hypothetical topic may be provided. This option is only as a last resort, as selection of an appropriate organisation is part of the assessment requirements. The Unit Coordinator will provide further details on an as-needs basis.

Assessment Due Date Review/Exam Week Monday (09-Oct-2017) 05:00 PM AEST
Return Date to Students Exam Week Friday (20-Oct-2017)
Weighting 50%
Assessment Criteria

A detailed assessment criteria is available on Moodle.

Elements will include

  • Background to the issue
  • Communication channel - goals, messages and audience
  • Communication problems
  • Gathering data
  • Structure
  • Linking with communication assessment
  • Communication goals
  • Message strategy
  • Evidence of research and integration of theoretical perspectives
  • Writing standard
  • Referencing
  • Presentation
  • Attention to requirements of the task, including word count
Referencing Style American Psychological Association (APA)
Submission Online

Maximum file size is 100 MB.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. Analyse and assess major theoretical perspectives relevant to communication within organisations.

2. Apply key research skills and techniques.

3. Analyse an organisation’s communication policies and practices.

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Communication

2. Problem Solving

3. Critical Thinking

4. Information Literacy

6. Information Technology Competence

8. Ethical practice

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