This report analyses the case study about “Augusta National Golf Club and NCWO battle for admitting female membership”. Mainly, this report will examine and identify the communication traits and flaws that can be found in this case study and will provide solutions and what should be done rather than taking a stand on who is right and wrong. Therefore, all the communications between Augusta’s Chairman, Mr. Johnson, NCWO’s Chairwoman, Ms. Burk, the CEOs of Sponsor companies, the Augusta members and the media were researched and studied.
Furthermore, this report mainly uses secondary data such as newspaper articles and journals to support the arguments and ideas. Moreover, the core purposes of this report is to evaluate the interactions and point out some communication management factors and flaws from this dispute, set it as an example and provide solutions to be improved in the future business communication. Main body Augusta, the private golf club Augusta is the private golf club which its culture and membership are mainly reflected on its prestige and exclusiveness.
Moreover, members of Augusta join the club to satisfy mutual interests and to fulfil the social needs and the need for self-esteem such as being a part of the highly regarded golf club in the country. Because it is a private club, it holds its legal rights to choose its own members. (Peraino, 2002). Furthermore, the club clearly specified the club (team) norms (obligation, preference and prohibition) such as “members are required to sign an agreement not to speak about the club” and have to withhold the membership information to the outsiders.
Saporito). Therefore, Augusta organizational control can be identified as a bureaucratic control system where the Chairman, Mr. Johnson has the ultimate power to dominate the club’s affairs. NCWO On the other hand, the NCWO’s sole purpose is to promote women rights and members join the committee to achieve security and satisfy their mutual interests. As you can see from the case, Ms. Burk, the chair of NCWO usually do the decision making for the committee.
Although the decision making criteria are not formally discussed in the case or in the media (newspaper articles), we can assume that NCWO lacks the rational decision making process in groups such as orientation, discussion, decision making and implementation. Also, in his article Munching (2002) states that “she (Burk) forgot to ask herself one question: What women want to do? ” which clarify the lack of communication between members of the group and its chair. The dispute The offensive approach and the vulgar feedback
It can be seen in the case that without deeply analysing the situation, Ms. Burk took an offensive approach demanding and insisting on female membership, base mainly on the speech about “inclusion of women in Augusta” by Mr. Lloyd Ward. Moreover, Augusta’s Chair, Mr. Johnson also gave a vulgar feedback to this demand which sparks into a dispute of gender issue. Moreover, negative impressions between them were formed on limited information and stereotyping where Burk is seems as the trouble maker and Johnson as the rigid discriminator.
Therefore, this miscommunication and poor transaction of messages led to unnecessary conflicts and egotism of the two corresponding Chairs. The Sponsors, members and Burk When the direct demand fails, Burk took the indirect persuasion and argumentation approach through the Augusta’s sponsors for its prime event, the Masters. She appealed to CEOs of sponsor companies like Citigroup, IBM, Coca-cola, Cadillac and CBS using generalisation and cause-effect relationship methods of arguments to boycott the Masters.
For example, she praised their stance in gender discrimination within their firm and point out the possible public opinion in the involvement with the Masters. However, only Citigroup and Coca-cola agreed to help her and these decisions can be seen as corporate social responsibility to raise their public images. On the other hand, others remain neutral to avoid uncertainties involving in the dispute. Moreover, she turns to persuade the members of Augusta, who are highly regarded CEOs of the corporate world.
However, with them she used the illegitimate methods of arguments such as appeal to the masses and “ad hominem” whereby she threatens them and their organization by claiming to reveal the membership list and the “daily anecdotes of gender discriminations in their (members’) companies”. (2005). For instance, it is noted in Peraino’s (2002) article that “she told Newsweek that “We’ve already done quite a bit on the public-embarrassment front””. In addition, she even tried to convince Tiger Wood not to participate in the Masters but he too was “criticized for suggesting that Augusta has a right to its exclusionary policies” (Gutner, 2002).
Therefore, one can clearly see from the case study that Burk used many deductive logics and generalisations in influencing and communicating with the sponsors, the members and the players. Burk and Johnson From the start, Mr. Johnson strongly showed his assertiveness as well as his aggressiveness for his club and its membership rules. However, one can recognize the cognitive dissonances from Mr. Johnson’s feedbacks and replies where he imposed denials and unwillingness to change the traditional rules and culture.
Moreover, this effect can also be found in Saporito’s article, as “he booted the Masters’ sponsors–Citigroup, Coca-Cola and IBM–so the companies wouldn’t face criticism by association” and adopted the commercial free move. In addition, Johnson and Burk took hold of some perceptual biases against each other and some of these are selective perception where both of them ignored each other’s rational reasons. Furthermore, stereotyping can clearly be seen between them where they posed each other as threats and arch enemies. Conclusion and results In conclusion, one can identify more communication flaws than the benefits in his case. This is mainly because the poor usage of appropriate communication features and the channels used to communicate, for example, Burk main communication channel with her advocates and opponents is through letters. Moreover, narcissism and egotism also got involved later in the dispute where both of the Chairs started to address and confront each other comments and feedback harshly rather than solving the dispute. (Munching, 2002). As a result, Johnson acquired victory by reasoning through generalization and analogy among private clubs and sororities claiming its legal rights to choose its own members.
The dispute between Mr. Johnson (Augusta Golf Club) and Ms. Burk (NCWO) is very phenomenal in indicating miscommunications between two unfriendly organizations. As for the recommendations for this case, since the start, both parties should use more subtle and civil approaches to address the problem to each other and discuss in person how to compromise the situation. For example, Shiflett (2003) implies in his article that Augusta never meant to discriminate and it is only following its highly constructed social role as an all male-club.
Moreover, they should utilize more “lateral thinking”, avoid what is right and wrong and conclude to the best possible solution. In addition, Burk should change her persuasion techniques towards more “features-benefits mix” and should drop her deductive logic on women rights and organizations. Furthermore, both of them should leave out their egotisms and stereotypical perceptions when dealing with the gender issue. On the other hand, while confronting with the members she should shows cause-effect relationships of their inaction and argues upon their specific reasoning. Munching, 2002). As for Mr. Johnson reactions, he should be more aware on the public images of the club and its members. Moreover, Augusta’s individual orientation of culture should swap with a more collective one where all stakeholders can give out their opinions. Last but not least, the channels used for communication in this case should be changed into more personal and face to face like personal meetings or through telephone. This was even suggested by Tiger Wood that “they’d sit down together and all would be resolved”. (Munching, 2002).
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