Trends in Organizational Communication Research: Sustaining the Discipline, Sustaining Ourselves

Communication Studies, March 2005 | Go to article overview

Trends in Organizational Communication Research: Sustaining the Discipline, Sustaining Ourselves


Before I begin my remarks today, please join me in thanking Steve Rhodes and the faculty and graduate students of the Department of Communication here at Western Michigan University for their hard work in hosting the 16th annual Organizational Communication mini-conference. We appreciate the leadership you are providing for organizational communication studies.

It doesn't seem all that long ago when I was positioned on the other side of this podium; sitting there, in your shoes, listening to Charles Redding urge us to examine unethical messages in our organizational communication research (see Redding, 1996), and to include "boat-rocking and whistleblowing" in our organizational communication instruction (Redding, 1985). It was a long time ago, though, in the early 80's, actually, when I began studying organizational communication at the University of Texas. At the time, organizational communication was, in some ways, the "new kid on the academic block" and its identity as an academic subdiscipline was still taking shape. This was both inviting and unsettling: inviting, in the sense that, even as graduate students, we might somehow be able to help shape the field's identity, but also unsettling in the sense that even then, we had several paradigmatic alternatives from which to choose in shaping our own identity as organizational communication scholars. As graduate students at UT at that time, we were fortunate to have exposure to positivist approaches to research through our work with Fred Jablin, and what we then called "qualitative approaches" through our work with Larry Browning. Then, one semester while Larry was on sabbatical, Stan Deetz visited our department, and broadened our graduate curriculum even further by introducing us to critical organizational communication studies. Quite honestly, I struggled to get my mind around the language of positivism, interpretivism, and critical theory all at the same time--multivariate analysis of variance--ideological critique; factor analysis--deconstruction. These are not particularly compatible discourses! While the experience was overwhelming at times, even then I think I was beginning to sense that organizations and communication are complex and rich enough to be usefully understood in multiple and diverse ways.

Now, many years later, and having had much more time to read research conducted across those paradigmatic traditions, I am even more appreciative of the array of diverse choices available to us as organizational communication scholars. I also am somewhat amazed that my early path happened to intersect with some of the best minds in the field--each working in his own way, shaping and defining this complex and mysterious subject: "organizational communication." At the time, Fred was providing leadership for research and theorizing in organizational socialization. Larry was involved in the first Alta conference and the early movement toward interpretive studies of organizational communication. And Stan was on his way to becoming one of the founding "fathers" of critical organizational communication theory and research.

As it turns out, I had arrived right in an epicenter of multiple emerging trends in organizational communication research. It was an exciting place to be. Even though I was a fledgling scholar, I was able to co-author several papers with Fred who, at the time, probably was the driving force behind communication research in organizational socialization. Graduate students in the department then, were required to complete an independent research project with a faculty member other than their primary advisor. So, with the guidance of Larry Browning, I completed an interpretive study on balancing power in supervisory relationships. Looking back now on those experiences, I can see how they began my integration in to the discipline. As a result of my experiences as a graduate student, I also felt somehow welcomed into the discipline, an experience that I now try to offer my own doctoral advisees. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Trends in Organizational Communication Research: Sustaining the Discipline, Sustaining Ourselves
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.