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Communication challenges facing management teams

Eerika Hedman (Department of Communication, University of Jyvaskyla, Jyvaskyla, Finland)
Maarit Valo (Department of Communication, University of Jyvaskyla, Jyvaskyla, Finland)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 2 November 2015



The purpose of this paper is to explore what kinds of communication challenges management teams (MTs) experience and to suggest ideas for developing competent communication practices.


Working according to the principles of qualitative research, a total of seven MT members from seven different international companies were interviewed. The thematic in-depth interviews were analyzed by first looking at all references of communication challenges, and then grouping them into six different dimensions.


Most of the communication challenges facing MTs are related to the teams’ meetings, where issues of leadership, decision making and participation may well be intensified. The meetings were experienced as formal communication forums, where MT members do not always express their true opinions either because other team members prevent it or because they are unable to do so. Informal communication plays a pivotal role in facilitating trust and competent communication practices.

Practical implications

MTs need to be mindful of how they communicate and develop a reflective practice in order to develop competent communication practices.


The study illustrates the essential themes that the MT members experience and perceive as central in MT communication and teamwork. Studying MTs from a communication perspective adds a valuable contribution to MT research.



The study is funded by the Finnish Work Environment Fund. The authors would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.


Hedman, E. and Valo, M. (2015), "Communication challenges facing management teams", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 36 No. 8, pp. 1012-1024.



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