Global awareness is obtained through an understanding of issues pertaining to an international audience and/or relating to an international issue. In the program, we learned quite a bit about global communications, but in the COMM 638: Strategic Communication for Global Audiences, but also throughout the other courses.
How (So What?)
In the Strategic Communication for Global Audiences course, we completed a global communications project. We worked in groups and chose a global company to highlight. I was lucky enough to choose my favorite global corporation, Walt Disney World. The assignment resulted in two components:
- The Walt Disney Company: Reinforcing Culture and Values to Employees paper
- Walt Disney World Presentation
I learned quite a bit throughout this process. In studying Walt Disney World, I realized that they have 166,000 employees and they operate in 40 countries. In an organization this large, it’s important to communicate the vision, mission and principles to every employee across the global footprint.
We evaluated Walt Disney World according to the organizational culture theory. This theory believes that an organizational culture is a company’s shared vision, values, symbols, language, beliefs, and habits that determine its priorities and guide its decision-making. Organizational culture is passed down through history and socialized into new members (Denison, 1996).
We learned that Walt Disney World instills the culture and values in employees through recruitment across the globe and using a centralized process. They also require in-depth training to all Cast Members and organizational culture is taught in the onboarding process. The onboarding process is similar for Cast Members internationally, so all employees have the same base of knowledge, regardless of where they are located.
Disney even offers an international program to further reinforce the importance of connecting with employees across the globe. Just like Disney’s other practices, their global employee training program is admirable. I can take several lessons away from how they ensure all employees across the globe are connected to the company’s vision and values.
I also expanded my global awareness through the development of the GlobalTech Strategic Communications Plan in COMM 613: Constructing Messages and Audiences with Dr. McArthur. This course greatly helped me understand communications theory and framework, as well as how to apply that theory to a global company. I developed a strategic communications plan in this course and I developed it for a global audience. Learning about how to construct messages for a variety of audiences helped me ensure I kept a global viewpoint.
The other assignment that greatly helped me understand global communications was the paper I wrote on the United States global dominance in entertainment. The research I conducted for this paper was imperative to my understanding of the United States role in global communication. Previously, I didn’t give much thought into how the United States dominated the motion picture and TV show production across the globe. I didn’t connect the fact that the United States political bias and ethnocentric point of view was dominant in the news. One quote from my paper I want to highlight is when I said, “Thus wealthy investors and the top corporations have the power over political and economic interests to maximize their personal profit,” (Cacciatore, 2013, p. 3). This was a pivotal moment for me in understanding the U.S. dominance and power play in global media.
I also learned quite a deal in my paper on Poststructuralist feminist viewpoint and nationalism. The main point of what I learned in this analysis was that many people say they want the globalization of media, but oftentimes they mean they want Americanization (Downing, 2007). In my research, I theorized, using the postmodern and poststructuralist feminist scholarship that the reason why women relate more to their nation than gender is because the Americanization of media portrays images and messages that do not resonate with women. This is important to know as I evaluate global communication for cultural and gender themes.
It is critical that I apply global communications to my everyday work. I work in a global company and it is essential that I understand how messages resonate with employees across the globe. I recently led a panel discussion on the topic of global communications and we discussed the importance of thinking and acting globally. We discussed how employees could use Time Zone calculators to ensure that they research the time zone of a teammate prior to scheduling a meeting. We also provided global employees with coaching that they should push back if someone asks them to attend a meeting on a Friday night in their time zone. Most likely the meeting scheduler didn’t take their time zone into consideration and they shouldn’t have to attend a non-critical meeting during off business hours. We also discussed how employees could be more culturally sensitive by ensuring they understand phrases that are used in other countries. For example, in the UK, residents refer to a calendar as a “diary”. Employees may say they have to check their diary before they can schedule a meeting. A diary means a personal journal in the U.S. so this statement has a different meaning.
I also will ensure I’m globally sensitive in all of my communications. I conducted a project highlighting the mistake of Justine Sacco – How to lose your job in 140 characters: The Justine Sacco Story– who tweeted a culturally insensitive statement prior to boarding a plan. It went viral while she was in flight and as a result she lost her job and received hate mail. My research into this project helped me understand the importance of communicating responsibly in a way that respects people of all cultures and backgrounds.
Downing, John D. H. (2007). Drawing a bead on global communication theories. In Y. Kamalipour (Ed.), Global Communication (pp. 22-38). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
Reflections on Learning Outcomes
- Theoretical Literacy
- Research Literacy
- Digital and Media Literacy
- Writing Literacy
- Ethical Consideration
- Global Awareness
- Comprehensive Communications Project
Courses in my program
- COM 601 Communication Fluency
- COM 610 The Social Creation of Organizing
- COM 613 Constructing Messages and Audiences
- COM 616 Communicating Mindfully
- COM 624 Communication and Culture in a Networked Society
- COM 629 Leadership, Empowerment, and the Management of Meaning
- COM 638 Strategic Communication for Global Audiences
- COM 655 The Mediated Self and Changing Relationships
- COM 658 Creativity and Networks
- COM 664 Organizational Identity and Brand
- COM 680 Expanding Communication Boundaries
- COM 681 Launching Passion into Practice