Illustrating the Intricacies of Team Communication

23145538583_c70a403d74_zIllustrating communication and conversation in organizational teams is easier than it seems–all you need is a ball of string. The recent Management Teaching Review article “Web-of-Communication” from authors Gary Wagenheim and Jacqueline McAdam outlines a simple group exercise for students and organizational teams to better understand communication patterns and team development.

The abstract for the paper:

Current Issue Cover

The web-of-communication exercise is a fun, highly interactive experiential activity that facilitates learning about team communication patterns. A ball of string is used to visually map the communication pattern that emerges during a team conversation. The exercise helps participants learn how patterns they create reinforce or break down barriers that shape meaning and exert influence on behavior. This exercise requires only a ball of string for each team, is easy to facilitate, takes very little time, energizes participants, and provides substantial learning opportunities. The exercise works with student teams in an organizational behavior course with modules on communication, team development, power and influence, or conflict management. The exercise works well with organizational teams, too.

You can read “Web-of-Communication” from Management Teaching Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Management Teaching ReviewClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Twine image attributed to Derek Winterburn (CC)

A Visual Approach to Professional Communication

[We’re pleased to welcome Deborah C. Andrews of University of Delaware, author of the article “Making the Familiar Strange: Thinking Visually in a Study Abroad Course in Professional Communication,” published in Business and Professional Communication Quarterly.]9262075767_a9711e023b_z

Today’s intensely international, multimedia marketplace for communication places a premium on design thinking and collaboration. Such thinking has been fostered for years in art and architecture programs, which feature a studio approach to solving problems and making art.  As I’ve pursued my current research on how—or whether–21st century workspaces can be designed to foster innovation, I’ve collaborated with colleagues in architecture and design and become more aware of how they teach. Visits to professional design studies and other workspaces have also made me aware of how creating communication products is an experimental, interactive, iterative, dynamic, flexible process, much like play. Visual thinking is key, especially embracing the role of text in a visual environment of messages. My observations are confirmed by professional writer, who tell us that they depend increasingly on visual thinking and design skills to compose successful messages. University courses in professional communication, however, rarely cultivate a studio atmosphere or approach visual skills at any more than a superficial level. In this article, I describe a short course BPCQ.inddin visual communication for American undergraduate art students, taught in London by a colleague and in which I participated for three years. It provides an attractive model for bridging the gap between pedagogy and practice in professional communication, opening students’ eyes while at the same time inviting them to enjoy the game.

The abstract:

Business and professional communicators increasingly rely on visual thinking and design strategies to create effective messages. The workplace need for such thinking, however, is not readily accommodated in current pedagogy. A long-running study abroad short course for American students taught in London provides a model for meeting this need. Addressed to students in art and design and framed through principles of discovery learning, the course approach and assignments can be productively adapted to enhance the visual competence of students of professional communication.

You can read Making the Familiar Strange: Thinking Visually in a Study Abroad Course in Professional Communication” from Business and Professional Communication Quarterly free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Business and Professional Communication Quarterly? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Presentation image credited to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (CC)


Deborah AndrewsDeborah C. Andrews is a professor emerita of English at the University of Delaware. She has published textbooks and articles about professional communication, especially internationally. Her current research is on how—or whether—the physical environment of a workspace can be designed to foster entrepreneurial or scientific innovation through effective communication.

Journal of Business Communication is Now International Journal of Business Communication!

BPCQ/IJBC3.inddAs you may have noticed, Journal of Business Communication is now International Journal of Business CommunicationWhy the name change? The Association for Business Communication and International Journal of Business Communication is dedicated to the progress of business and professional communication research, education, and practice. The new name, International Journal of Business Communication, exemplifies the value of internationalization in a constantly changing and improving world of communication technology.

James M. Dubinsky, Executive Director of the Association for Business Communication and Managing Editor of  International Journal of Business Communication, explains:
The rationale for changing JBC to IJBC seems relatively transparent. Few people would argue with the notion of a globalized economy and, as a result, the significance of international business communication. To prepare students to meet the language challenges of this increasingly complex business environment and to address the questions that arise in the workplace that focus on ways in which the language of business communication crosses state and national borders, our members’ scholarship must, by necessity, cross those same borders.

Top Five: Communication Skills

The latest most-read articles from Business Communication Quarterly cover topics including crisis communication, workplace interpersonal skills, employee engagement and well-being, and more. The articles are free to access through the end of May using the links below. Please share and enjoy!

Sam H. DeKay
Interpersonal Communication in the Workplace: A Largely Unexplored Region
December 2012

bcqMelinda Knight
Communicating in a Crisis
March 2013

Judith Ainsworth
Business Languages for Intercultural and International Business Communication: A Canadian Case Study
March 2013

Geraldine E. Hynes
Improving Employees’ Interpersonal Communication Competencies: A Qualitative Study
December 2012

Karl L. Smart and Richard Featheringham
Developing Effective Interpersonal Communication and Discussion Skills
September 2006

Stay updated on the latest research in the field of business communication: subscribe to BCQ’s RSS feed, and click here to receive e-alerts about new articles and issues published online before they’re in print.

Publish Your Business Communication Research!

Business Communication Quarterly, the only refereed journal devoted solely to the teaching of communication in the workplace, is now accepting submissions.

Benefits of Publishing in This Journal
When you publish in Business Communication Quarterly, you will benefit from:

  • Rigorous peer review of your research
  • Prompt publishing
  • Guaranteed targeted, multidisciplinary audience
  • High visibility for maximum global exposure

About the Journal
Business Communication Quarterly (BCQ) is a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the teaching of business communication. It aims to present the many interdisciplinary, international, and organizational perspectives that characterize the field. It is an official journal of the Association for Business Communication (ABC).

Submit Papers In These Areas
Articles in BCQ present a variety of theoretical, applied, and practical approaches and perspectives. We invite you to submit papers in any of the following areas:

  • program design and assessment
  • the impact of technology
  • global and multicultural issues
  • qualitative and quantitative research on classroom teaching
  • case studies of best practices

Articles should be submitted via the Manuscript Central online submission system at, and authors should follow the submission guidelines provided here.