Miscommunication, Conflict, and Organizational Alexithymia

Sandra L. Bloom and Brian Farragher

in Destroying Sanctuary

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780195374803
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199865420 | DOI:
Miscommunication, Conflict, and Organizational Alexithymia

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This chapter explores the multiple communication problems that arise normally among groups of people and that are exacerbated under the impact of recurrent stress. Under conditions of chronic stress, breakdowns in organizational communication networks occur. The feedback loops that are necessary for consistent and timely error correction no longer function. Without adequate networks of communication, the normal conflict that exists in human groups will escalate and increasing amounts of important information become “undiscussable” while the organization as a whole becomes increasingly alexithymic–unable to talk about the issues that are causing the most problems and that remain, therefore unsolvable. One of the consequences of this is the emergence of collective disturbances that may turn into chronic unresolved conflict and violence. Without the ability to discuss vital subjects, the organizational grapevine becomes poisoned, conflict compounds and without adequate communication, collective disturbances emerge and if not stopped, will lead to violence.

Keywords: organizational communication; organizational miscommunication; organizational alexithymia; undiscussables; communication under stress; poisoning the grapevine; organizational grapevine; collective disturbance

Chapter.  10460 words. 

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