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Communication and group dynamics are important elements within the leading facet of the P-O-L-C framework. Read the following article from CNN describing Bernie Ebbers’ downfall as CEO of WorldCom: Ex-WorldCom CEO Ebbers guilty. (link: https://money.cnn.com/2005/03/15/news/newsmakers/ebbers/)

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Based on what you read in the article, in your initial post, identify which two barriers to effective communication were most prominent within WorldCom and explain how these barriers led to the downfall of the company. Be specific and identify the communication barriers based on the information in Chapter 11 of your text.

In responding to your peers, comment on whether you believe the concept of groupthink may have played a part in the downfall of WorldCom, especially as it pertains to its board. How you would overcome the communication barriers and groupthink to ensure organizational success?

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Hi Class!

WorldCom is one of the most known accounting fraud cases in America. It’s been discussed in more than one business/leadership class that I’ve taken. While we can only know what we read, as none of us were actually there, I would say the most obvious communication barrier would be filtering. Filtering is when information is withheld to from someone to manage their reactions. Withholding 3.3 billion dollars over 3 years is insane, but I suppose it can be done when it’s being pulled from the reserves and the company generally isn’t loosing any money up front. It’s like a smoke and mirrors play, as long as the company is doing well and not loosing, it has no reason to look into the reserves because that should just be untouched money essentially sitting in a pot, or earning a slight interest.

If Ebbers’ really didn’t know I would say the second barrier to effective communication was selective perception. Selective perception is providing information to play into his own need without realizing he’s doing it. It very well could be that Ebbers’ didn’t know (although I HIGHLY doubt that), and was believing what he was told by Sullivan and his underlings without really doing any analysis, after all, these were funds that were only supposed to be touched if WorldCom had a substantial loss. The fact that Sullivan took a deal in order to testify against Ebbers, and he was the ONLY link between Ebbers and the money makes it all a bit skeptical to me.