In the film, The Last Castle, I found many aspects and theories that involve organizational communication throughout the movie. The film is about a US prison where the prisoners have formally served in the military and have committed crimes while serving their time. The movie shows how the prisoners come together when a former well-respected general is sent there to overpower the man that runs the facility. The first theory and probably the most noted theory is the Adaptive Structuration Theory of Marshall Scott Poole. Poole’s theory states, “Members in groups are creating the group as they act within it… A lot of times people in groups build up structures or arrangements that are very uncomfortable for them, but they don’t realize that they ” re doing it.
The point of structuration theory is to make them aware of the rules and resources that they ” re using so that they can have more control over what they do in groups.” (Poole, 245) In other words, Poole is saying that we have the control as a part of the group to let one or two people take control and set the tone of the group. In the movie’s case, General Irwin doesn’t come in there and take control of the prison. He is basically appointed by the other inmates because of his bright ideas, domineering behavior, and connections on the outside. They let him tell them what to do because they know that he will lead them successfully. The group will use the phase model on page 245 to reach an agreement on what to do. The model starts with orientation, where efforts are unfocused because group goals are unclear, relationships are uncertain, and members need more information.
Theories are built when we observe a phenomenon and witness a repeated pattern of events for which warrant explanation. Theory is simply "the organization of information to explain and ultimately predict a phenomenon. " A scientific theory allows us to make reasonably precise predictions. Theory: A Practical Approach to Group Communication Theory helps us recognize the presence of conditions that ...
This relates to Yates, the hustler, when everyone warns Irwin that he cannot be trusted because he is about to be released from the prison and he is a known nark. This also relates to the fact that they are unsure on exactly how to overcome Col. Winters. They come up with many plans to try to make him leave and this is how the group began to form in the first place. The inmates all knew they wanted Col. Winters gone so one by one they joined up to render a plan.
The next step of the model is conflict, in which factions disagree on how to approach the problem and argue against other viewpoints, and members justify their own position. An example of this is when Aguilar, the stuttering marine, wants to help build the wall the inmates were building. One other inmate ridicules him and tells him he is doing it all wrong, but Aguilar’s father is a mason and has taught him the correct way to brick a wall. He stands strong and when the group begins to form he is made the head mason when they rebuild the wall under Irwin’s orders. Another example would be when Aguilar gets in trouble in the beginning of the movie for saluting the General and is punished by standing out in the rain.
When General Irwin tells him he doesn’t have to continue out his punishment he is then punished by Col. Winters for trying to go over what he said even though it was pointed out that the punishment was illegal. The third step of the phase model is coalescence, where tensions are reduced through peaceful negotiation, and members allow others to “save face” by adopting solutions acceptable to all. An example is when Thumper and the other guy are fighting in the yards and the sirens start to go off.
Thumper refuses to drop down and the consequence was him getting shot with the rubber bullet gun. When the group starts to form they all want to be a part of it and when the final solution was adopted the enemies became friends like Thumper and the other prisoner did. The fourth step in the model is development, where a group concentrates on ways to implement a single solution and members are involved and excited. This step is when the prisoners come together and defeat Col. Winters and they all have a part in it and are all excited to do it. The final stage of the phase model is the integration, where the group focuses on tension-free solidarity rather than task and members reward each other for effort.
The schools of organization theories serve as the poles of support in keeping the order in an organization through the organizational functions. Each school of thought functions in a unique way causing changes in a certain work environment. The four schools of organizations theories that were listed are the human relations approach, neo- human relations school, the theories X, Y and Z (also known ...
The very end of the movie when they form a formation and salute General Irwin is an example of this stage. The next aspect is the Information Systems Approach to Organizations of Karl Weick in chapter 18. Weick studies the common process of organizing instead of the static structure of the organization. He claims that information is the common raw material that all organizations process or that communication an organization receives is equivocal. Equivocal means that a given message has more than one interpretation. In the movie, all the inmates bring something to the table.
They work together to bring down Col. Winters by organizing a plan to eliminate his abused power. This concept relates to the Symbolic Convergence Theory in chapter 3 of Ernest Borman n, that they all share a common fantasy which brings them together to form their organization. Another theory that could relate to this concept is the Uncertainty Reduction Theory of Charles Berger in chapter 10. Berger states that the increase of predictability is our primary concern when meeting new people. So, they must be able to predict the behavior of Col.
Winters in order to overthrow him, which they do very well. This movie is a great example of many aspects of organizational communication. Being able to put these theories and aspects to an actual story or real life situation helps me understand not only the theory and aspects of organizational communication but also how they relate to our everyday situations whether personally or the ones surrounding us.