Media Use in Organizational Contexts
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Area of Study
Taught In English
Course Level Recommendations
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Recommended U.S. Semester Credits3
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units4
Hours & Credits
To get acquainted with ethnographic research methods, such as keeping fieldwork diaries, participant observation, interviews and short questionnaires;
To learn to observe different communicative events and routines with the help of ethnographic research methods;
To learn how to interpret and analyze ethnographic observations;
To learn how communicative events and communicative routines in organizations are related to different modes of communication;
To reflect on organizations' uses of different communication modes to fulfill different tasks.
In this course students will investigate how people in organizations use different modes of communication to communicate internally, or externally with stakeholder groups (for example, customers). Making use of ethnographic research methods, students may explore what is being formally discussed in a meeting, how the meeting is ‘extended’ at the water cooler, and which discussions are reserved for e-mail or whatsapp. Or else, when communicating with an external audience, students might explore how signposting is being used to direct customers, what communication modes customers need to use to get in touch with an organization, such as web forms or apps, and which particular purposes are served with these communicative modes.
Other topics for ethnographic exploration within organizations can be mentioned, but the common denominator is that they will be studied in actual organizations, by approaching actual participants involved, and by making use of ethnographic research methods such as observations and interviews.
Because research topics will vary, research literature may vary as well. Students will be encouraged to find relevant literature themselves. General theoretical background will be provided in a variety of approaches, but will contain introductions in ethnographic field work, uses and gratifications theory as well as interactional approaches such as conversation analysis.
During eight weeks, one lecture and one seminar (of 2 hours each) per week will be scheduled. Besides classroom attendance, workplaces will be visited to perform observations, interviews or questionnaires.
TYPE OF ASSESSMENT
Two individual assignments (50%) and one group assignment (50%). Every assignment should be graded with minimally 5 out of 10 points. End grade (average of the two assignments) should be at least 5.5.
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.
Some courses may require additional fees.