Communication and Attitude Change

  • Mike Smith
  • John Beck
  • Cary L. Cooper
  • Charles Cox
  • Dick Ottaway
  • Reg Talbot


Practically everyone is familiar with the old, old anecdote from the First World War where the message transmitted from the trenches urgently asked for reinforcements for an impending advance, but the message received at company headquarters baffled all the brigadiers by asking for three and fourpence because the unit was going to a dance. The failure, of course, was a failure of communication. Similar failures occur during every minute of every industrial day: a microchip factory is brought to the edge of bankruptcy because the ventilating engineer fails to communicate the correct grade of air filters and the resulting atmospheric dust reduces the reliability of the chips to the point where their main customer withdraws his orders; an apprentice loses his right testicle because the safety officer’s talk contained too many facts for him to assimilate; and an employee emerges from a disciplinary interview with the conviction that, despite actual words, his boss does not have any really serious objection to him arriving late for work. These are a few examples of failures of communication in industry.


Oral Hygiene Opinion Leader Chief Executive Cognitive Dissonance Seat Belt 
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Copyright information

© Mike Smith, John Beck, Cary L. Cooper, Charles Cox, Dick Ottaway and Reg Talbot 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mike Smith
    • 1
  • John Beck
    • 1
  • Cary L. Cooper
    • 1
  • Charles Cox
    • 1
  • Dick Ottaway
    • 1
  • Reg Talbot
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Management SciencesUniversity of Manchester Institute of Science and TechnologyUK

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