University of Technology Sydney

21878 Organisational Dialogue: Theory and Practice

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2021 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Business: Management
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject is designed to develop students' sensitivity to the importance of organisational communication and dialogue. It enables students to evaluate communication practices in terms of their capacity to facilitate shared understanding among various organisational stakeholders. By integrating current management and communication theory, the subject emphasises the link between communication and the broader strategic and socio-cultural contexts of organisations. Cultural issues and leadership challenges are specifically considered to develop an understanding of the complexity of facilitating organisational dialogue. On a practical level, the subject assists students in developing their communication skills for academic and professional purposes.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
1. demonstrate an understanding of effective business communication skills
2. appraise key communication issues in organisations
3. critically evaluate the factors contributing to effective organisational communication.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following program learning objectives:

  • Convey business information effectively to colleagues and stakeholders to achieve desired business outcome (3.1)
  • Interact with colleagues and stakeholders to work effectively to achieve desired business outcomes (3.2)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject contributes to the MBA through developing students’ understanding of effective communication in organisations. Students learn how to evaluate communication practices and their implications for individual, group and organisational performance. By assisting students in developing their academic and professional communication skills, the subject also provides a foundation for enhanced performance in other studies.

This subject contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

  • Communication and interpersonal skills

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject is delivered through a variety of face-to-face and online teaching strategies. A combination of interactive lectures and online modules will expose students to key issues in organisational communication and provide a theoretical foundation for skills development. Lectures draw on active learning strategies such as video case analysis, peer-to-peer discussions, and brainstorming activities. In addition, students will attend 1.5h tutorials, which provide an opportunity for more practical engagement with the subject content. Tutorials include a range of collaborative learning activities (e.g. team building activities, role plays, presentation training, group discussion) and offer ongoing opportunities for in-class peer and tutor feedback on students’ communication skills development.

Research has shown that passive learning environments whereby the lecturer simply covers vast amounts of theoretical material from the text, with little opportunities to explore or question, encourage rote learning and is counterproductive to skill development. Students are therefore provided with pre-learning materials via the learning management system and asked to engage with these materials prior to class, as a foundation for class contributions and learning activities.

The subject involves individual and group work assessment components which allow students to critically reflect on the implications of communication behaviours on organisational culture and performance; make recommendations for enhanced practice; and develop their business writing, presentation, and group collaboration skills. The learning management system provides students with access to all essential materials required to complete the assessments, including weekly readings and/or online modules and briefing sheets. Students are given pre-learning activities with writing components and have the opportunity to seek formative feedback on their contributions in class from peers and tutors before the census date.

Student-based group work is an integral part of studying at UTS. This subject is committed to providing students with opportunities for developing their graduate attributes in the area of teamwork through a group case study project. At the end of this subject, students will have developed their ability to interact effectively with others in order to work towards a common outcome (PLO 3.3). Materials to support students’ group work will be provided in class and via the learning management system. Please be aware that other students will be asked to evaluate your contributions to the overall performance and success of your group’s assignment, just as you will evaluate your team members' performance. Tutors will take these peer evaluations into consideration in their final assessment of a student's work along with other sources of information (e.g. student's attendance and participation in class).

Content (topics)

  • Foundations of communication
  • Evaluation of organisational communication
  • Leadership communication
  • Intercultural aspects of communication
  • Business communication skills


Assessment task 1: Learning Log (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):


This addresses program learning objectives(s):


Weight: 50%

1300 words max.

Assessment task 2: Project Proposal (Group)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2 and 3

Weight: 20%

2000 words max.

Assessment task 3: Project Presentation (Individual & Group)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2 and 3

This addresses program learning objectives(s):

.3 and 3.2

Weight: 30%

3 continuous minutes per student for a total time of approx 15 minutes (depending on group size)

Minimum requirements

Students must achieve at least 50% of the subject’s total marks.

Required texts

A number of weekly eReadings and Online Modules has been compiled for students and is accessible via Canvas. The content of readings and online modules will inform tutorial discussions and activities so please ensure that, each week, you prepare the assigned materials prior to class. Come to class ready to discuss and participate. Class contribution will include:

  • Making observations that integrate concepts and discussions;
  • Citing relevant personal examples;
  • Asking key questions that lead to revealing discussions;
  • Engaging in devil's advocacy; Challenging an author's view or commonly held assumptions about various theories, concepts and models when the difference of opinion serves both as a counterpoint and a way of exploring all sides of a concept; and
  • Working with others to come to a common understanding of topics

Recommended texts

The purchase of a textbook is not required. However, if you are looking for a textbook that is aligned with the content of this course, we recommend:

Knight, J. 2016, Better Conversations. Coaching Ourselves and Each Other to Be More Credible, Caring, and Connected. Corwin, Thousand Oaks.

Further to this, the following resources provide a useful background for your group project 'Communication Culture Change':

Hargie, O. & Tourish, D. 2009, Auditing Organizational Communication: A Handbook of Research, Theory and Practice, Routledge, London. (Available via Library Open Reserve)

Tourish, D. & Hargie, O. 2004, 'Communication Audits: Building World Class Communication Systems', in S. Oliver (ed.), Handbook of Corporate Communication and Public Relations, Routledge, London, pp. 131-44. Available from:


Dixon, N.M. 1998, Dialogue at Work. Making Talk Developmental for People and Organizations, Center for Creative Leadership, London.

Downs, C.W. & Adrian, A.D. 2004a, Assessing Organizational Communication. Strategic Communication Audits, Guilford Press, New York.

Dwyer, J. 2012, The Business Communication Handbook, 9th edn, Pearson Australia, Frenchs Forest. (Available via UTS Library Open Reserve)

Eisenberg, E.M., Goodall, H.L. & Tretheway, A. 2009, Organizational Communication: Balancing Creativity and Constraint, 6th edn, Bedford/St. Martin's, Boston.

Eunson, B. 2012, Communicating in the 21st century, 3rd ed., Wiley, Milton QLD.

Gerard, G. & Ellinor, L. 2001, Dialogue at Work: Skills for Leveraging Collective Understanding, Pegasus Communications, Waltham, MA.

Gergen, K.J., Gergen, M.M. & Barret, F.J. 2004, 'Dialogue: Life and Death of the Organization', in D. Grant, C. Hardy, C. Oswick & L. Putnam (eds), The Sage Handbook of Organizational Discourse, Sage, London, pp. 39-59.

Fairhurst, G.T. 2007, Discursive Leadership, Sage, Thousand Oaks.

Isaacs, W.N. 1999, Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together: A Pioneering Approach to Communicating in Business and in Life, Currency, New York.

Mazutis, D. & Slawinski, N. 2008, 'Leading Organizational Learning Through Authentic Dialogue', Management Learning, vol. 39, no. 4, pp. 437-56.

Miller, K. 2012, Organizational Communication. Approaches and Processes, 6th edn, Cengage Learning, Boston.

Tourish, D. & Hargie, O. 2004, Key Issues in Organizational Communication, Routledge, London.

Walker, R. 2011, Strategic Management Communication for Leaders, 2nd international ed., South Western, Mason.

Other resources

This course involves engagement with a number of communication online modules (via that will help support your assignments and professional practice.

In addition, Canvas provides a range of useful resources on academic and business writing. You may also find the following links useful which provide information on academic writing, assignment preparation and UTS Harvard Referencing.