Distinguished author and consultant Mary Munter has developed a framework for communicating in the modern global workplace. A professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College since 1983, Munter has written works such as the "Guide to Professional Communication," now in its ninth edition. Before Munter, communication models used four elements: the communicator, the message, the audience and the response. Munter added two more elements to the traditional model to make it relevant in a multicultural environment: channel choice and cultural context.

Communication Loop

Mary Munter's corporate communication theory starts with an action-based communication loop. A communicator identifies an objective that he wants to achieve. For example, a college recruiter wants to increase enrollment. His audience is college-bound high school students. He decides on an action -- signing up for more information -- that he wants students to take as a result of his communication. Ideally, the action-based communication loop ultimately helps the communicator achieve his goal. Munter added the elements of channel choice and cultural context to the communication loop to make it more relevant in a multicultural workplace.

Channel Choice

Channel choice refers to the medium through which the communicator delivers the message. At its most fundamental level, the communicator chooses between a written channel and a spoken channel. Sub-channels for spoken communication include face-to-face meetings, telephone calls and video conferences. Sub-channels for written communication include email messages, faxes and brochures. The audience and the subject matter help steer the communicator to a particular channel. Complex financial data, for example, presents itself well in a written channel, where charts and graphs make the message easier to understand.

Cultural Context

Munter recommends that communicators evaluate their objectives and messages in the context of an audience's culture. For example, some cultures disfavor objectives involving a deadline, such as opening a new store before year-end. In those cultures, the audience believes that external forces control the future, and the date a store will open has been predetermined by destiny or deity. Conversely, other cultures believe that human innovation can overcome external forces. This audience may expect the communicator to lay out a precise schedule for a store opening, including detailed information about contingency plans for each phase of the project.


Under Munter's framework of corporate communication, every aspect of the communication loop is interrelated. An organization may choose a spokesperson of a particular age or gender based on the audience's culture. When the communicator delivers a spoken message, she uses deliberate words, tones and gestures that resonate in the culture of the audience. Careful consideration is given to the medium in which the message is delivered, and the desired audience response is culturally appropriate. Muntner's communication framework is an effective model for a global work environment.