Show Me the Nerdy!

A Slice of Organizational Communication Culture in UP Manila
08.18.2009, 5:14 PM
Filed under: Organizational Communication

University of the Philippines Manila offers various undergraduate degree programs, such as Nursing, Biology, Behavioral Sciences,  Medicine, Area Studies, and Computer Science. Yet among the spectrum of programs in the University, only one degree program you can place me in: Organizational Communication. Now I’m not saying I’m the paragon Organizational Communication (OrCom) student, rather, I’ve been in the program long enough (3+ years) to know that there is no other degree program for me but the UP Manila pioneered program called OrCom.

Admittedly, when I first entered the program, I had no specific dream job in mind. Public relations, human relations, corporate communications, advertising, marketing, and other strategic communications oriented fields were not in my vocabulary then. I only knew that Organizational Communication was “a really cool course!” (Good Friend, 2006), and it was about “communicating inside organizations, duh” (citation withheld).

Still, I stayed for the entire year, even though we had no major subjects to clarify Organizational Communication’s purpose then. And thank goodness I did.

Learning Organizational Communication (101) for the first time

OrCom 101: Introduction to Organizational Communication will forever be remembered as the subject that taught me the default definition of organizational communication. Gerald Goldhaber defined of organizational communication (from  a book so obviously entitled, “Organizational Communication”) as “the process of creating and exchanging messages within a network of interdependent relationships to cope with environmental uncertainty” (1978). That definition was thoroughly dissected by my teacher, Professor Alice Adeva, until I felt slightly closer to understanding what Organizational Communication is.

In this same class, I got my first taste of conducting a communication audit. In a nutshell, I played doctor with my group mates, by analyzing the communication processes inside PETA–a theater organization–and then  gave appropriate recommendations on how the communications can enter a healthier state. Through the communication audit, I learned how Organizational Communication practitioners are not just senders and receivers of messages; rather, practitioners act to improve, through communication, the existing condition of the entire organization.

Analyzing human relationships, part of the Organizational Communication business

I loved OrCom 104: Interpersonal Theories, if only because most theories taught were entertaining. And why wouldn’t those theories be fun, especially since everything dealt about relationships? Queer theories, two-step flow of communication, social penetration, social exchange, cultivation, and other relationship-based theories filled the entire semester.

I had to watch several films–like about gays, bitchy teenagers, and Sex and the City like women–and then somehow whip up “integration papers” that link the films to interpersonal theories. That was the first time I wrote film reviews backed by solid intellectual research. Oh boy, that was really entertaining!

Becoming OrCom ambassadors through OrCom 142

If I thought my second year in Organizational Communication gave me a clear idea of what my future would be like, third year made me love UP Manila’s Organizational Communication program.

In Communication Processes and Organizational Structures, my lecturer, Barry Barrientos, shared what I would consider some of the strongest OrCom-is-love statements. Samples in point–“UP na, OrCom pa!,” “In Organizational Communication, we become business people involved in communication,” among other statements that gave me the mindset that Organizational Communication practitioners go beyond writing and speaking well, and into becoming strategic partners for a company’s benefit.

Wanting to enter public relations thanks to OrCom 105

Ah, public relations. While I never belonged to the crowd of people who thought PR meant lies, half-truths, and endless spins… I never really thought about PR either. Now, though, my heart and mind are half-set (which is more than I can say about my other passions) to enter the world of public relations, thanks to my OrCom 105 (Dynamics of Public Relations) class. Just thinking about strategic planning, strategic thinking, corporate culture, and campaigns make me feel tingly all over.

Public relations is perhaps one of the branches in a company that spends more than it earns–after all, just how can one quantifiably measure the contribution of PR to the bottom line (ie company profit)? Regardless, public relations is a necessary component of companies; being the best company involves tremendous PR effort in ensuring that consumers actually believe, if not yet preach to the world, that the company is the best.  Positive–company, brand, service, or product–reputation is the main concern of PR, and UP Manila Organizational Communication equips its students well enough to address PR’s concern.

Besides teaching us the different functions of public relations–such as employee, government, media,  and cultural–through classroom lectures, I learn more through interviewing public relations practitioners, creating communication plans geared for  actual companies in the country, and implementing public relations campaigns outside the classroom setting. Equipped with both theory and practice, Organizational Communication is a very good training ground for the business world.

    1. If you want more details, or further proof of why Organizational Communication in University of the Philippines Manila rocks my socks, feel free to leave a comment below. Or you can ask far more credible OrCom graduates, such as Barry Barrientos or Ingrid Cudia.
    2. For a complete listing of other Organizational Communication courses, read, a web site constructed by specially picked students from my batch.
    3. I am currently a senior OrCom student in UP Manila, and I was not paid to do this entry about my course. 😀

12 Comments so far
Leave a comment

“third year made me love UP Manila’s Organizational Communication program”
I second that. What with all the legworkssss. ❤

Oh, and I loved 104 too–partly because of Cashmere Mafia, Sweeney Todd, and Devil Wears Prada . . . and the theories (e. g. Interpersonal Deception, Social Exchange) were pretty darn relevant.

Comment by Kath

Legworks that stressed us *insert crazy GMail emoticon here*! Yet we love accomplishing the projects just the same! 😛

The TV episodes and movies we saw in OrCom 104 were brilliant–I liked being required to watch things I wouldn’t mind watching for leisure. 😀

Comment by mostlynerdy

sige nga. define orcom in your own words.

oi! bagay sayo PR.

Comment by ishtela

Eeep! Stella Marie de Sagun, do job interviewers ask you that? Because I might just craft my fabulous default answer, just in case. 😛 *avoiding the question*

You really think so? :> Must have a long convo with you soon to talk about PR, then! LOL!

Comment by mostlynerdy

hahaha. somehow this post made me laugh, and i don’t even know why. 🙂

btw, OrCom 142 is Communication Processes and Organizational Structures. indeed, now I believe I’m more credible on this. LOL. 😉

Comment by barrycade

Whoops, edited it already (and some other parts too)! :O Augh, proofreading is tedious! :\

Comment by mostlynerdy

haha. I have just asked arvin the same question. I’m interested with such posts because I’ve been on that dilemma and I want to know how’d you formulate your own definition. Pero hindi mo pa rin sinagot XD Haha.

Let’s chat soon.

Comment by ishtela

Madame Alvina! Go make your own definition of Organizational Commumnication too! YAY. 😀

Truly, you have too many words to say. LOL. And, obviously, your favourite subjects are 142 and 105. Am I correct? LOL.

I am posting this comment so that you will be guilty of not commenting on my post. >:)

Comment by Nash Albacea

Actually my favorite(st) subject can be found in another entry. ;))

Comment by mostlynerdy

you didn’t stress enough on how stressful 142 and 105 was!!! hahaha! kala mo madali, pero.. HAHA.

Comment by jesschika

Hahaha true, I didn’t want to scare potential Organizational Communication students away! :))

Comment by mostlynerdy

whoops, 142 and 105 WERE pala. hehe.

Comment by jesschika

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