Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Randall Rose

Second Advisor

Dr. Gregory Simpson

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Carlson


The purpose of this study was to investigate perceptions of openness in communication between managers and freelancers in the publishing business. Two particular conditions governing relations between managers and freelancers made a study of aspects of their communication appear appropriate. First, because freelancers are not employees of the publishing companies, but work on each manuscript as a separate project, communication between them and their managers is likely to focus onsuccessful task completion rather than on other goals, such as mobility within the organization. Second, freelancers are likely to be good exemplars of what Manz (1986) has termed "self-led workers," who are characterized by high levels of intrinsic motivation and strong interest in making creative contributions to their jobs. Several research studies over the past two decades have indicated that superior-subordinate communication affects both the intrinsic motivation of workers and their ability to give their superiors undistorted information about the job. Earlier research has also identified openness as an important variable affecting both upward and downward communication. Therefore, it seems possible that data on perceived openness of communication between managers and freelancers could ultimately make a contribution toward understanding how certain aspects of superior-subordinate communication can affect workers' intrinsic motivation. A mailed survey instrument was used to gather response data addressing the following research questions: 1. Do managers in the publishing business express satisfaction with the openness of their communication with the freelancers whose work they supervise? 2. Do freelancers express satisfaction with the openness of their communication with the managers who evaluate their work and can recommend their future assignments? 3. If responses from managers and freelancers are compared, is it possible to identify specific issues relevant to openness on which a significant level of agreement or disagreement between the two groups appears to exist?


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Communication and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1989, Janet Barrell Davis