Modern Management Challenges


Navigating Turbulent Times with Effective Communication

Leadership and communication fit together like hand and glove, especially during turbulent times. We cannot influence others (our definition of leadership) without articulating guidance, vision, inspiration, and other vital messages. These can be transmitted through speech, virtually, actual behaviors, writing, listening, and other nonverbal channels. In fact, a leader’s silence remains a powerful statement. Simply put, communication serves as a leader’s compass.

Yet it is a challenge to identify just what effective leader communication looks like. Leaders are advised to communicate more directly, openly, transparently, responsively, inclusively, ethically, decisively, and with empathy. These common guidelines are overwhelming and elusive. Why? Because such advice can be contradictory, anecdotal, implicit, vague, and not tied to positive outcomes. Going further, this communication strategy challenge is magnified by the gravity of the current pandemic, ethical crises, and unstable economic and political situations which leaders must navigate today.

Fortunately, evidence-based and valuable guidelines for leader communication can be accessed with our forthcoming series, New Perspectives in Organizational Communication. We begin by explaining the series’ vision and benefits. Then short descriptions of the books, including their communicative lens on leadership, follow. Our conclusion explains aspirations for future development in leader and other organizational communication research.

Series Vision

The series presents innovative organizational communication research with a focus on leadership from a global, interdisciplinary, and action oriented perspective. Why do each of these qualities matter? First, the series is leader focused for two reasons. One of the series’ books explores the communication scope of LMX, a major leadership theory, and all of the books highlight leader communication research and practice. Second, our own scholarship discovered that leaders’ communication improves with broader knowledge targeted implementation of diverse communication theories. This series advances this insight since a wide array of situation appropriate communication thought and practices are covered.

The second unique benefit of New Perspectives in Organizational Communication is interdisciplinary research. Leadership communication springs from many academic disciplines including organizational communication, management, business communication, psychology, English, mass communication, political science, public relations, information systems, linguistics, and neuroscience. Note, this list is not inclusive ! These multiple research areas normally remain in silos. In other words, much research and practical advice are tethered to a single discipline. In contrast, this series seeks to grow the reader’s knowledge from an enriched, cross-disciplinary vantage point. 

Book Descriptions

The first book in the series is Fundamental Theories of Business Communication by Drs. Milton Mayfield, Jacqueline Mayfield, and Robyn Walker. This book breaks new ground by polling international scholars, then identifying, categorizing, and describing major business communication theories according to significance, scientific rigor, and practical applications. In this book, business communication theories encompass organizational communication scholarship across several disciplines and countries. Fundamental Theories of Business Communication adds value by serving as an accessible resource for organizational communication researchers, professors, and professionals.  

The next book in the series, Current Trends and Issues in Internal Communication: Theory and Practice edited by Drs. Rita Men and Ana Tkalac Vercic, delivers compelling insights for leaders. Case in point, leaders are powerless without followers. The employee target group is highlighted in this book that showcases vanguard research and cases for practice from internal communication theory. This relatively new theory casts its lens on employee stakeholders. In the same vein, the collection offers high quality and diverse scholarship from ten countries, including chapters which are dedicated to leadership, crisis, global, and high technology communication issues as well as others. A bonus feature is that most research chapters are partnered with an applied case.

The third book in the series is Leader-Member Exchange and Organizational Communication: Facilitating a Healthy Work Environment by Drs. Leigh Omilion-Hodges and Jenifer K. Ptacek. This book serves as a primer for leading in turbulent times. Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) theory is a major management theory about effective leadership with strong communication roots. These two well-qualified authors bring the communicative presence in LMX to the forefront. They adeptly guide the reader to understand LMX’s impact in the workplace on many levels, capturing research and practice. These contributions include new communication knowledge about how to optimize leader-follower relationships which benefit employees and the organization. An added bonus from this progressive book are chapters which are devoted to improving team and peer relationships, promoting diversity, and adaptive leadership; all drawn from a communicative perspective. 

In Closing and Next Steps

We are genuinely excited about this series. Our first set of books offer a promising start. Moving forward, this initiative is planned to be an ongoing project. We encourage potential authors to contact us at

Jackie and Michael Mayfield are co-editors of the new Palgrave series New Perspectives in Organizational Communication. Milton Mayfield is Professor of Management in the A. R. Sanchez Jr. School of Business at Texas A&M International University, USA. He is a co-editor of the International Journal of Business Communication.

Jacqueline Mayfield is Professor of Management and Radcliffe Killam Distinguished Professor in the A. R. Sanchez Jr. School of Business at Texas A&M International University, USA. 

Together, they co-authored the book Motivating Language Theory: Effective Leader Talk in the Workplace and Fundamental Theories of Business Communication: Laying a Foundation for the Field.

New Perspectives in Organizational Communication