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Business English II


For Business English II Students,

Leigh Randell as supervisor of in-flight services at the Atlanta base of Omega Airlines, a successful regional air carrier with routes throughout the South and Southwest. In addition to Atlanta, it has bases in six major cities.

Randell’s job involves supervision of all in-flight services and personnel at the Atlanta base. She has been with the airline for seven years and in her present job for two years. While preferring flying to a permanent ground position, she decided to try the management position. In her job, she reports directly to Kent Davis, vice president of in-flight services.

During the past year, Randell has observed what she believes is a great deal of duplication of effort between flight attendants and passenger service personnel in the terminal with respect to paperwork procedures for boarding passengers. This, she believes, has resulted in unnecessary delays in departures of many flights-especially through flights (those that  don’t originate or terminate in Atlanta). since most Omega through flights stop in Atlanta, Randell believes that such delayed departures are probably not a major problem at Omega’s other bases or at smaller airports. Thus, she has decided to try to coordinate the efforts of flight attendances and passenger service personnel with a simpler, more efficient boarding procedure, thereby reducing ground time and increasing passenger satisfaction through closer adherence to departure times.

In this respect, she has, on three occasions during the past two months, written memo to Tom Ballard, Omega’s passenger services representative at the Atlanta base. Each time, Randell has requested information regarding specific procedures, time, and costs for boarding passengers on through flights. She has received no reply from Tom Ballard. His job involves supervision of all passenger service personnel. He has been with Omega for five years, having joined its management training program immediately after  graduating from college. He reports directly to Alan Brock, vice president of passenger services at the Atlanta base. Exhibit 1 presents the organization structure for the Atlanta base.

Exhibit 1. Omega, Atlanta: Organization Chart

Last week, Leigh wrote a memo to Kent Davis:

For several months, I have been trying to develop a new method for facilitating the boarding of passengers on through flights by more closely coordinating efforts of In-Flight Services and Passenger Services. the results would be a reduction in clerical work, cost and ground time and closer adherence to departure times for through flights: “Unfortunately, I have received no cooperation at all in my efforts from the passenger service representative. I have made three written requests for information, each of which has been ignored. Needless to say, this has been frustrating to me. While I realize that my beliefs may not always be correct, in this instance I am only trying to initiate something that will be beneficial for everyone involved: Passenger Services, In-Flight Services, and, most important, Omega Airlines. I would like to meet with you to discuss this matter and the possibility of my transferring back to flight duty.

Kent Davis summoned Alan Brock and Tom Ballard to a hastily called conference. tom Ballard was mildly asked why he had not furnished the information that Randell has requested.

“Too busy”, he said. “Her questions were out of sight. There was no time for me to answer this sort of request. I’ve got a job to do. Besides, I don’t report to her”.

“But Tom, you don’t understand,” Kent Davis said. “All Leigh Randell is trying to do is improve the president system of boarding passengers on through flights. she has taken the initiatives to work on something that might benefit everyone”.

Tom Ballard thought for a moment. “No, ” he replied, “it didn’t look like that to me. You know I’ve also had ideas on how to improve the system for quite sometime. Anyway, she’s going about it all wrong.”

As a Business English student which has already learned effective communication, analyze and discuss the following questions:

  1. What barriers to effective communication do you detect in this case?
  2. Is anyone “wrong” in this situation? By what other means could Randell have requested the information from Tom Ballard? What do you think of Tom Ballard’s reaction? Why?
  3. While communicating information vertically up or down the organization does not present a major problem, why is horizontal and diagonal communication are more difficult to attain?
  4. What would you recommend that the management of Omega Airlines do to remedy this situation?
  5. How would your recommendation improve communication in the organization?

Submit your answers in “leave a comment” menu in this page at the latest of 7th June 2011.

This case study is taken from:

Gibson, J.L., Ivancevich, J.M and Donelly Jr., J.H. 2000. Organizations: Behavior, Structure, Processes. 10th Edition, McGraw Hill. USA

About yuniartihidayah

Monash University, Australia, PPAK UB Interests: Listening to music, reading, traveling, eating delicious food, and networking



  1. 1.There are some barriers of effective communication in this case, first inattention, then always fixing the ideas and there is ignoring information.
    2.Yes, my opinion that Tom Ballard is wrong, he has some barriers of effective communication in which the director make a meeting of it. Randell means that the omega airlines have good and better services so it can make profit to the passengers and more secure. Tom’s reaction is so bad; indeed he shows that he really has no good effective communication. He does not care about others opinion, he is an inattention man, he is also ignoring information contrary to his belief. He thinks that what he belief is the best to him and many others.
    3.horizontal (same level) where as communication between bosses and their employees. so between them there is no competition, but there is only loyalty and obedient from the employee to the bosses. that is way way horizontal communication is difficult to be done.
    4. The director of omega airlines has to be very clever to manage the employee. The director has to think out of the box to safe his company. he also has to take all of the employee’s opinion while where the best is to save it. But as my opinion tom should reply Randle’s memo although he has his own think to improve the system of the company.
    5.Improving the communication of the organization is not easy exactly, but it has to be done so don not to be selfish in every individual. it has to make the truth in the organization and always keep the communication between the employee and also the boss. Because as my understanding the purpose of communication is to get information, motivate, feedback

    Posted by nur ismawatil m (08320026) | June 7, 2011, 7:23 am
  2. 1. In this case seems that they ignored effective communication. They didn’t communicate for every person. Merely certain person who has a good communication like Leigh Randell. The prove that communicative communication have ignored is when Tom Ballard said that he also has ideas on how to improve the system, but why he didn’t show his ideas firstly.
    2. Yes, he is Tom Ballard
    Tom Ballard seems that he help himself when Kent Davis said that Leigh Randell is trying to improve the president system. Tom Ballad didn’t want to be assumed as a person who make mistake, so he said that he also has ideas.
    3. It happen may be because of miss communication or there is no effective communication.
    4. Omego airlines must improve any kind of system which exists. They can combine ideas of every person.
    5. Every member of an organization must show their ideas in front of other members. The ideas collected, choose best ideas and combine the ideas. Every member must respect to the ideas which appear.

    Posted by Mufidlotu Zuliana | June 7, 2011, 11:06 am
  3. 1. There are two barriers to effectives communication happened in this matter. They are inattention and ignoring information. It happened between Leigh Randell and Tom Ballard. Tom Ballard didn’t reply Randel’s memo addressed to him about the information regarding specific procedures, time, and costs for boarding passengers on through flights.
    2. Yes, Tom Ballard is wrong in this situation. He should reply Randell’s memo because what Randel thought will be beneficial for everyone, involved Passenger Services, In-Flight Services, and, most important, Omega Airlines. Because Tom Ballard as the Passanger Services Representative- Atlanta, so Randell requested information regarding specific procedures, time, and costs for boarding passengers on through flights. In my opinion, Tom Ballard is a egoist person. At least, although he doesnt agree with Randel’s opinion, he should reply Randel’s memo for avoiding barriers to communication between them.
    3. Horizontal and diagonal communication are more difficult to attain because (1) Horizontal communication facilitates the linking of different areas of expertise and this may encourage innovation (2) Diagonal channels may potentially cause conflict as they involve communication between the lower level of one department to a higher level in another.
    4. For remedying this situation, the management of Omega Airlines should re-arrange the management within it. Better for all the employee in Omega Airlines to make a conference soon to make clear about the condition in that place. For remedying this situation, hoped all employee express the idea for reducing miss-understanding.
    5. Every people have different point of view for receiving other people opinion when facing a problem, moreover within organization area which consist of many people. It will not be easy to improve communication here, so most of people should respect to other people opinion. If one of them find something unclear in a communication, better for them to ask (make clear) for improving communication in order to decrease missunderstanding among them.

    Posted by khusnul khotimah - 08320023 - Business English II | June 8, 2011, 12:18 pm
  4. 1. In my opinion the communication is not completely success. There must be three elements in doing communication; sender, message and receiver. the problem is that the way to communicate is not effective. I find two indications in this case, first is the sender (Leigh Randell) and the second is receiver (Tom Ballard) who barrier to effective communication. as a sender (Leigh Randell), she should know the condition of the receiver. Even the messages have been sent to Ballard, Omega’s passenger services representative at the Atlanta base, but she did not make sure or recheck the message whether it is read by Ballard or not. why she did not call him to speak or reexplain to convince or make sure that matter. sometimes people too busy in writing while they are busy. the second is that the receiver does not get the message because he is too busy handling his job or servicing the passengers so that he does not see the messages. he also should always check the message in. the ignorance of the idea is one of the factor. in short, there should be a confirmation before doing a plan. i also find that there is not good relationship between Ballard and Randell, thus it is impossible to do a good communication.

    2. As I said before that there are two indications; sender and receiver. while Randell sent he message without confirm or convince the message again, she only thinks on her idea without other while she has senior or others in one company who are important to compromise. in other hand Ballard did not pay attention to the memo. it is the ignorance (arrogance) that barriers the effective communication. for Tom Ballard’s reaction, I think it is not good no be angry with so arrogant. he should respect Randell good idea even he has a good idea.

    3. I think it is because of they have different ideas in doing their jobs. the way they communicate is different, the culture is different, the level is different and many others that are different.

    4. the management of Omega Airlines should always can read the situation of the company, condition of people and others. I recommend that this company should pay attention to the manner in doing communication in the case of important thing. there should be a technical meeting to solve the problem by selecting the ideas with the best choice that both both Ballard and Randell can admit them. thus, it can improve the president system of boarding passengers on through flights to benefit everyone.

    5. in improving communication in the organization, people should be in good attitude with the best language that means a polite and respectable. I think that it should be responsible between them while doing a job or communicating each other.

    Posted by kamaruddin - 08320005 - Business English II | June 9, 2011, 10:56 am
  5. 1. there are some barriers communication in this case, the sender didn’t give attention to the situation of the receiver of the message, in this case the sender should give info by calling or e-mailing the sender so his message will receive by the receiver well . and than the receiver should check the memo every time of his memo because if he does not check it he will be lost of some important information.
    2. i think in this case both of receiver and sender are in the wrong side because all of them did not pay attention each other. Randell should gave the information to Ballard that he send message and then Ballard should did not angry to Randell of his idea. he should receive every good idea to support his company well.
    3. i thing that the communication vertically they do not have problem because they have different level so the can receive idea well than if they communicate with people who in the same level because they think that they have same level and power.
    4. the management should improve well. the vice president should care with problem of their supervisor. they should improve their communication system.
    5. in improving communication the omega Airlines should respecting and obeying other people . and they also must use politeness and good attitude with other people.

    Posted by Zainiatul Mazidah (08320007) | June 11, 2011, 4:40 am
  6. 1. What i see in this case is that the communication among them are not run well. They just look after them selves, and do not think more about the effect of being like that. Communication in an organization should be good until no misunderstanding there.
    2. I think all of them are wrong, because they do not have good discussion, just doing what they have to do in their part without discussing it with partners to make it flow and clear. In organization anything should be clear amd fear.
    3. It is clear because of miss communication among the stuff.
    4. What I suggest for such problem of organization, why do they not make a meeting for all stuff to make all be clear. What is the problem until all being like this, how it must be, and looking for the good problem solving together in order not to make the organization being broke, because it big organization. Everyone will really regret if this organization being broke.
    5. According my experience in joining organization, communication is one key to make an organization run well. We must keep it as well as possible. When a part of an organization has a problem even it is very little problem so we have to tell it or discuss it to our partners. Don’t make misunderstand there, because one mistake in communication may be big problem.

    it can be concluded that this problem all is caused by miss communication. there must be structured communication and contacting each other.

    Posted by istihlaliyah (08320075) | June 12, 2011, 3:48 am
  7. 1. Based on this case, actually everyone has ability for communicating each other such Leigh Randell, in my perspective that there are some barriers in that case for doing communication such as accepting, receiving, and being responsibility whatever and whenever the effect then, but in other side the matter was showing off in this case, we have to criticize what happen then. That the communication absolutely is not effective. The biggest matter of it is Tom Ballard had not a good respect from Leigh Randell’s message or memo about it.
    2. Absolutely, Tom Ballars is not true or we can say big no no. In this case (this situation), in my own perspective among receiver and sender should be balance each other. The sender wants the feedback and receiver gives the feedback. But in this case is quietly different, both of them are hardly selfish with own idea. If Randell and Ballard wants everything looks smooth and perfect, they should be warn each other and those will be fine to lead what they want.
    3. Because power domination between the highest and the lowest level surrounding them. So they should be extrovert to get the best way. It is because of managed the idea lately and the way to communication. If they were not easily communication, it would be difficult to understand each other very well.
    4. The management of Omega Airline is good. But it will be much better if the Omega Airline can be collecting and attending and gathering all the members to manage this situation. Gives them opportunity to explore their idea for losing power domination in it.
    5. The improving communication in that organization, it just open mind to get not only the right side (the strange) but also the bad side (the weakness) even inside or outside for doing something.

    mom, I’m so sorry before that too late to collect to you because difficult to sent it to you, it always fail.

    Posted by siti fatimatuz Z (08320066) | June 13, 2011, 12:27 pm
  8. 1. Barriers experienced in such cases is the absence of effective mutual communication between employees within the company.

    2. * Yes there is something wrong in the situation.
    * Randall has requested information about passenger’s system Tom Ballard.
    * And Tom Ballard reaction was that he did not want to answer and tell the real
    situation on the grounds busy
    * The reason Tom Ballard everything he has communicated directly to the boss
    * He was able to directly ask for permission to his superiors that Kent Davis,
    without coordinating first with Randall

    3. Horizontal Communication (communication landscape) is the sending and receiving messages between individuals in the same level in a hierarchy. Diagonal or cross-channel communication (cross communication) is the communication between the head section with other section staff. This communication is communication that cuts vertical and horizontal lines.
    For example, junior staff members can directly go to his superiors, and the telephone, email or visit the Technical seniors in other areas to get information. Some studies suggest that in organizations that have low-performing, diagonal communication used by staff to seek appropriate information in the request the presence of working procedures, when in organization high performing, diagonal communication used fatherly staff resolve difficult and complex work. As a sign of flexibility diagonal communication-for example, in organic-organization is clearly can cause problems even more extreme again caused a riot. Because failure to achieve consensus says. This is because they feel the task is very important.

    4 The existence of communication, both from the employer to the employee level is down. To be useful is no longer mutual misunderstandings among employees.

    5. In order for effective communication takes place within the company, because all things are done in the company’s aim to provide something for customers, employers, shareholders, employees, communities and others. If you do not know what you want the output produced by the company, how can the company objectives are effectively achieved. Communication happens in a company happens to two kinds of vertical and horizontal directions. Communication horizontal (landscape) is the communication that occurs between the employee levels. When communication is more dominant in the corporate landscape that leader will get a rival company because intentionally or not much information that is not up to him. It can also lead to the decision taken to be less precise or wise. Communication is most common vertical communication from top to bottom, where the superiors have always governed their subordinates to do the job. However it should be, there is also the opposite direction i.e. from the bottom up, so that information from subordinates can be considered superior to make decisions. The contents of the communication vertical top to bottom, usually contain directives or criticism of subordinate’s performance. Is this just a mere command or an exchange of information, it depends on the information and its relationship with work. The relationship between communication and conflict were very dominant. Communication within the company’s role is very important, because if the communication does not go well, will result in many conflicts. Conversely, if two-way communication between the management and employees that can work well, it will be able to reduce conflict. Examples in the field that often arise as a strike. That’s one reason is the presence of a prolonged conflict, which arise as a result of communication that can not be run properly.

    Posted by EKA FARID RIZKIA BSI (08320077) | June 25, 2011, 12:41 pm
  9. if one can please let me know the ansver for my this below quastion ?
    concidering the element of communication process, explain the communication taook place between leigh Randell & Flight attendants and Passenger service personnel. Please this is very urgent

    Posted by priyantha gunawrdana | April 23, 2012, 11:25 pm
  10. 1. the barriers detected here is (a) status differences( they both have different power and means to inprove the system of thier organisation, they both want to help out, but one of them “tom” is doing it for personal purposes. the other (b) is time pressure, tom says he is very busy to reply leigh, not sure how busy was he but in Tom’s words, its sounds like Leigh did not ask her questions in an understandable way.

    2. Tom is wrong, even if Leigh’s questions were not straight to the point, he could have replied in order break the “noise” and get what Leigh meant to say.

    3. horizontal and diagonal communication is difficult because no has authority over the other, so no one has fear of the other worker. they both have similar power levels.

    4. give tom a verbal warning that this should not happen again, when a co-worker needs something, please attend them as soon as possible, if you feel they are out of line, tell them and them report to management so that the matter could be tackled and a solution will be found. if you feel that you do not understand what someone is trying to say due to work overload or time constrains(noise), give a feedback in order to show whether the message was decoded and encoded effectively.

    5. it will improve communication because all employees will start communicating in a way that they will be carefull how they write or speak to one another, making sure that the message is as clear as possible, also the reciever of the message has to provide feedback to complete the communication process, if feedback shows understanding, then the communucation was effectively excecuted.

    Posted by Ignatias N Kubhayi | November 1, 2013, 11:55 am

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