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This reaction and response exercise explores how plots, characterizations, and themes in movies and TV shows become culturally significant

Differentiate between formal and informal communication and how each affects performance

Describe techniques and behaviors to overcome communication barriers and provide effective feedback
Describe assertiveness techniques that can be used to improve communication

This reaction and response exercise explores how plots, characterizations, and themes in movies and TV shows become culturally significant "lessons" in communications, assertiveness, and workplace performance.

Summary and reference page

You'll watch, listen to, and learn from a movie or a TV series that is related to supervision, communications, and leadership styles. Have paper and a pen or pencil handy to take notes. You'll create a three-column list with the headings WATCH, LISTEN, and LEARN.

Here are a few suggestions for movies and TV series:

Movies 9 to 5
Norma Rae
The Devil Wears Prada
TV Series:
The Office
Ugly Betty
Grey's Anatomy

Watch the movie or TV show related to supervision and make notes.
Divide your note taking into three areas:

Under the headings:

Column 1. WATCH: You will name and describe physical and work skills of three main characters in the movie or TV show. (At least one character should be a supervisor.)

Column 2. LISTEN: You'll listen for and note memorable script (or setting) situations where the character's performance is a great example of either negative or positive workplace communications (for example, jot down a quote from Norma Rae's "on the table" scene).

Column 3. LEARN! While watching and listening, make particular note of situations where you observe:
Examples of formal and informal (both negative and positive) communications that seem to be impacting the character's performance.
Examples of techniques and behaviors used to overcome communication barriers
Examples of assertive behavior being used to improve communication
following information:

Name of the movie or TV show that you watched.
A quick plot summary/main idea paragraph that explains the story (using the TV guide or film case is fine).
Name and brief description of the characters being discussed.
Short analysis/critique with opinions stated and supported to describe in one or two detailed sentences what lessons you learned from each character's ability to problem solve, resolve conflicts, or professionally or personally "grow" from his/her situation.
Finally, state and support your opinion of the movie's "message"; concluding your analysis with a short critique.

Solution Preview

Formal and informal communication is the norm in organizations. In some cases, both methods of communication are often intertwined within small to large corporations. People that work in a corporate setting become relaxed around their co-workers as a result of spending a significant amount of time with them on a daily bases. I've worked in organizations in which certain staff members would tell the rest of their coworkers about the wild time they had over the weekend. Informal forms of communication may be a distraction during normal business hours. Although, I've never watched the show "the Office," until now, I can safely say that some of the daily activities within an organization are similar to the sitcom. Several employees crossed the boundaries of what is and is not acceptable forms of communication. Andy Bernhard (played by Ed Helms) is the office manager who replaced Michael Scott (played by Steve Carrell). He is the person who is responsible for making strategic decisions that may or may not affect the organization directly. Pam Beesley-Halpert is an insecure employee who is responsible for training a new employee/receptionist who will soon replace Pam during maternity leave. Jim Halpert (played by John Krasinski) is a salesman for the company.

On an episode I watched titled "Pam's Replacement," Pam spent the entire day obsessing about whether her husband Jim found her replacement attractive or not. This scenario prevented Pam from conducting the task at hand. Her mind was focused on her own insecurities which first began when her co-workers kept talking about how beautiful Pam's replacement is. ...