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Management Communication Quarterly

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Accomplishing Knowledge: A Framework for Investigating Knowing in Organizations   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article proposes a shift in how researchers study knowledge and knowing in organizations. Responding to a pronounced lack of methodological guidance from existing research, this work develops a framework for analyzing situated organizational problem solving. This framework, rooted in social practice theory, focuses on communicative knowledge-accomplishing activities, which frame and respond to various problematic situations. Vignettes drawn from a call center demonstrate the value of the framework, which can advance practice-oriented research on knowledge and knowing by helping it break with dubious assumptions about knowledge homogeneity within groups, examine knowing as instrumental action and involvement in a struggle over meaning, and display how patterns of knowledge-accomplishing activities can generate unintended organizational consequences.

Kuhn, Timothy and Michele H. Jackson. Management Communication Quarterly (2008). Articles>Knowledge Management>Organizational Communication


The Accomplishment of Authority Through Presentification: How Authority Is Distributed Among and Negotiated by Organizational Members   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The complex distribution and negotiation of authority in real time is a key issue for today's organizations. The authors investigate how the negotiations that sustain authority at work actually unfold by analyzing the ways of talking and acting through which organizational members establish their authority. They argue that authority is achieved through presentification—that is, by making sources of authority present in interaction. On the basis of an empirical analysis of a naturally occurring interaction between a medical coordinator for Médecins Sans Frontières and technicians of a hospital supported by her organization, the authors identify key communicative practices involved in achieving authority and discuss their implications for scholars' understanding of what being in authority at work means.

Benoit-Barné, Chantal and François Cooren. Management Communication Quarterly (2009). Articles>Management>Organizational Communication>Rhetoric


The Application of Rhetorical Theory in Managerial Research: A Literature Review   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Recent management research imports rhetorical scholarship into the study of organizations. Although this cross-disciplinarity is heuristically promising, it presents significant challenges. This article interrogates management's use of rhetoric, contrasting it with communication studies. Five themes from management research identify how rhetoric is used as an organizational hermeneutic: The article demonstrates that management research conceptualizes rhetoric as a theory and as an action; as the substance that maintains and/or challenges organizational order; as being constitutive of individual and organizational identity; as a managerial strategy for persuading followers; and as a framework for narrative and rational organizational discourses. The authors argue that organizational researchers who study rhetoric characterize persuasive strategies as managers' most important actions.

Hartelius, E. Johanna and Larry D. Browning. Management Communication Quarterly (2008). Articles>Management>Research>Rhetoric


Attraction to Organizational Culture Profiles: Effects of Realistic Recruitment and Vertical and Horizontal Individualism—Collectivism   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Today's organizations are challenged with attracting, developing, and retaining high-quality employees; thus, many firms seek to improve their recruitment and selection processes. One approach involves using realistic job previews (RJPs) to communicate a balanced view of the organization. The authors explored the effects of organizational culture (hierarchy, market, clan, and adhocracy), recruitment strategy (RJP vs. traditional), and personality (horizontal and vertical individualism—collectivism) on attraction to Web-based organizational profiles using a sample of 234 undergraduate students in a mixed two-factor experimental design. Results indicate that the clan culture is viewed as the most attractive. Traditional versus RJP recruitment produced higher levels of organizational attraction. Finally, predicted relationships between the personality framework of horizontal and vertical individualism—collectivism and organizational attraction were supported.

Gardner, William L., Brian J. Reithel, Richard T. Foley, Claudia C. Cogliser and Fred O. Walumbwa . Management Communication Quarterly (2009). Articles>Management>Interviewing>Organizational Communication


Beyond Power and Resistance: New Approaches to Organizational Politics   (members only)

In this introduction to the special issue, the editors question the still-prevalent dichotomy of power and resistance when studying organizational politics. They begin by tracing the evolution of power and resistance in critical scholarship. Then, they propose that because of changing workplace dynamics, power and resistance are increasingly intertwined. More nuanced concepts are required to describe this. Finally, they argue that power and resistance should be considered as a singular dynamic called struggle.

Fleming, Peter and André Spicer. Management Communication Quarterly (2008). Articles>Management>Organizational Communication>Business Communication


Can CCO Theory Tell Us How Organizing Is Distinct From Markets, Networking, Belonging to a Community, or Supporting a Social Movement?   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

In order to say what organizational constitution entails, we must consider what is distinctive about an organization as compared with any other collective. Examples of other types of collectives include markets such as car sales, networks such as walking enthusiasts who communicate with each other, communities such as cities, and social movements such as gay rights. A theory of communication as constitutive of organizing must, in my view, be able to show how organizations are formed and maintained rather than say markets or networks.

Sillince, John A. Management Communication Quarterly (2010). Articles>Management>Organizational Communication


Challenging the Transformational Agenda: Leadership Theory in Transition?   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

There are many terrific leaders at large. But society and business have suffered from poor leadership, bad leadership, narcissistic leadership, and above all, too-powerful leadership. Viewing followers as recalcitrant infants in need of tough parental attention really will not do. Too much leadership discourse has evaded this kind of problem: Fairhurst (2007) offers a challenging alternative to a route that frequently leads to a dead end. The myths of powerful, transformational, and charismatic leadership offer short-term comfort. It would be consoling to believe that Superman has stepped from the cinema screen and into the boardrooms of our organizations, whatever his attire. But such comfort exacts too high a price.

Tourish, Dennis. Management Communication Quarterly (2008). Articles>Management>Theory


COMMUNEcating in the Spaces In-Between   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This essay describes the authors' efforts to engage disciplinary calls for greater diversity through the construction of an international online community and conference, COMMUNEcation. They describe the commitments and goals of the community and conference, the construction of the COMMUNEcating space, and their encounters with disciplinary, geographically, and linguistically diverse scholars in their mutual exploration of global and organizing practices in their local contexts. The conference contributions and conversations prompted the authors to ask three salient questions around scholarly understandings of the Other and Othering practices of organizing and communicating across the globe—Where is the Other? Who is the Other? and What is the Other? The second half of the essay discusses these questions in detail and concludes with the authors' reflections on creating "spaces inbetween" through technology and an introduction to the multiauthored collaborative essay and conference product from the Scholars of the COMMUNEcation Network that follows.

Nelson-Marsh, Natalie, Kirsten J. Broadfoot and Debashish Munshi. Management Communication Quarterly (2008). Articles>Collaboration>Online>Professionalism


Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility on the Internet: A Case Study of the Top 100 Information Technology Companies in India   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The need for and benefits of proactive and transparent communication about corporate social responsibility (CSR) are widely acknowledged. This study examines CSR communication undertaken by the top 100 information technology (IT) companies in India on their corporate Web sites, with an analytical focus on the dimensions of prominence of communication, extent of information, and style of presentation. The findings indicate that the number of companies with CSR information on their Web sites is strikingly low and that these leading companies do not leverage the Web sites to their advantage in terms of the quantity and style of CSR communication. Although the findings do not necessarily imply absence of CSR action on the part of IT companies in India, they attest to a general lack of proactive CSR communication. The article concludes with managerial implications for CSR communication on corporate Web sites.

Chaudhri, Vidhi and Jian Wang. Management Communication Quarterly (2007). Articles>Management>Business Communication>India


Communicative Constitution of Organization Is a Question: Critical Issues for Addressing It   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

In his introduction, Bisel points out that a forum such as this is “true to the spirit of Management Communication Quarterly in that it is a scholarly discussion of research, theory, and practice from interdisciplinary and inter- national voices on the significance and meaning of organization.” This essay seeks to remain true to that spirit as well as clarify what communicative constitution of organization (CCO) is (and is not) and sort out the issues that we see as critical for building CCO theories. Our response begins by clarifying some concerns related to CCO perspectives, examining the various uses of the term organization, and focusing on Bisel’s point about the conditions under which communication creates organizations.

Putnam, Linda L. Management Communication Quarterly (2010). Articles>Management>Organizational Communication


A Communicative Ontology of Organization? A Description, History, and Critique of CCO Theories for Organization Science   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Writing as an organizational communication scholar, I provide a brief description and history of theories encapsulated by the phrase communication is constitutive of organizing (CCO). Then, I explain that CCO theory would benefit from an explicit differentiation between which conditions are prerequisite to and which conditions ensure the constitution of organization. Specifically, I argue that communication may be better thought of as a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for organizing.

Bisel, Ryan S. Management Communication Quarterly (2010). Articles>Management>Organizational Communication


Conversing About Performance: Discursive Resources for the Appraisal Interview   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Despite its acknowledged importance, performance appraisal (PA) continues to be one of the most persistent problems in organizations, especially the appraisal interview (AI) component of PA, for which many techniques have been attempted with only mixed success. The authors conceptualize the AI as a “conversation about performance” and draw on an extensive review of the communication literature to identify the discursive resources available to the organization, the appraiser, and the appraisee for improving the preparation for and conduct of a conversation about performance. The authors' conceptualization extends research on PAs by identifying methodologies and conceptual underpinnings with connections to interpersonal, organizational, and mass communication scholarship.

Gordon, Michael E. and Lea P. Stewart. Management Communication Quarterly (2009). Articles>Management>Assessment


Decaf Resistance: On Misbehavior, Cynicism, and Desire in Liberal Workplaces   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The author reconnects resistance in production to its radical roots. Current literature suggests that resistance in the liberal workplaces of late capitalism has gone underground, becoming mostly evident in unofficial, offstage practices such as cynicism, parody, and humor. The author argues this resistance is too often a decaf resistance. This is a resistance without the cost of radically changing the economy of enjoyment, which ties us to our master. The author argues that resistance, as a real act, which suspends and changes the constellation of power relations, has a cost that cannot be accounted for in advance. To understand this cost, we need an ethics, which the author calls, following Lacan, the Ethics of the Real.

Contu, Alessia. Management Communication Quarterly (2008). Articles>Management>Workplace


Developing the Political Perspective on Technological Change Through Rhetorical Analysis   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Rhetorical analysis provides a means through which a political perspective on technological change can be developed at a micro-discursive level. Through the analysis of managers' arguments and counterarguments, this article identifies three rhetorical strategies that negotiate the relationship between the technical and the social: attributing the effects of technology; claiming convergent and divergent interests; and constructing identities for self, groups, and the technology. It argues that a rhetorical approach maintains space for agency on the behalf of employees (through the witcraft of argument) and analytical skepticism concerning the reality of technology properties and effects (through counterargument). In addition, it proposes the concept of the argumentative context as a means of bridging the gap between individual and organizational rhetoric.

Symon, Gillian. Management Communication Quarterly (2008). Articles>Management>Technology>Rhetoric


Discrete, Sequential, and Follow-Up Use of Information and Communication Technology by Experienced ICT Users   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Most prior media use research has assumed that people use information and communication technologies (ICTs) independently of other ICTs, that is, as discrete media. This study uses cross-organizational, in-depth interview data to uncover the important role that ICT sequences play in persuasion, information exchange, and documentation. The primary occasions for sequential ICT use were (a) preparing for meetings, (b) performing daily tasks, and (c) following up to persuade. When people need to follow up initial communication episodes, the overall groupings of ICTs represent two underlying attributes: degree of connection with others and extent of synchroneity. These findings support an expanded perspective on media richness theory and information theory by illustrating that ICT sequences can expand cues and channels and provide error-reducing redundancy for equivocal and uncertain tasks.

Stephens, Keri K., Jan Oddvar Sørnes, Ronald E. Rice, Larry D. Browning and Alf Steiner Sætre. Management Communication Quarterly (2008). Articles>Communication>Technology


Diverse Voices and Alternative Rationalities: Imagining Forms of Postcolonial Organizational Communication   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Argues that the subdiscipline or community of organizational communication scholars is also imagined, as much organizational communication scholarship conducted within the global context is performed and interpreted from the dominant Euro-American intellectual tradition, privileging those concepts as well as particular voices and traditions and often ignoring inequality and exploitation within the scholarly community. This forgetting and the imagined scholarly community it creates continue to reify and legitimate a particular form of rationality and, in practice, lead to further colonization, subordination, and oppression of native/indigenous/other forms of understanding and organizing within our disciplinary field.

Broadfoot, Kirsten J. and Debeashish Munshi. Management Communication Quarterly (2007). Articles>Workplace>Organizational Communication>Ethnographies


Embracing Left and Right: Image Repair and Crisis Communication in a Polarized Ideological Milieu   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The author explores how a tobacco firm in crisis engaged in crisis communication and image repair work in a highly polarized ideological milieu. Through an analysis of the tobacco firm's public statements produced in the aftermath of a 1997 lawsuit, the author demonstrates how the firm dealt with its milieu by exploiting and embracing both of the ambient ideological poles. By embracing these poles, the firm turned critique and opposition into discursive resources for its crisis communication. The author argues that political-ideological framing of organizational communication and discursive appropriation of critique and opposition serve as critical foci for organizational communication scholarship.

Svensson, Peter. Management Communication Quarterly (2009). Articles>Business Communication>Crisis Communication>Ethics


Employee Families and Organizations as Mutually Enacted Environments: A Sensemaking Approach to Work—Life Interrelationships   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Work—life research tends to privilege the organization—employee relationship, with the family's role largely relegated to providing emotional and material support to the employee and adapting to organizational requirements. Systems oriented research, however, points toward a larger role for the family, including mediating the employee's relationship with the organization as well as direct organizational interactions. This study uses Weick's model of organizational sensemaking to examine, through the analysis of employee and family interview accounts, how a global high-tech organization and its employees' families enact one another as environments. Three dynamics of mutual enactments— two cooperative and one competitive—were identified, along with implications for work—life integration research and practice, for more traditionally programmatic work—life accommodations, and for families' management of their relationships to employing organizations.

Golden, Annis G. Management Communication Quarterly (2009). Careers>Workplace


Employee Voice Behavior: Interactive Effects of LMX and Power Distance in the United States and Colombia   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

In contemporary organizations, competitive advantage can come from ideas employees communicate to supervisors for improving processes, products, and services. One approach to studying employee communications with supervisors is voice behavior. In this research, the authors consider leader— member exchange (LMX) and the individual cultural value orientation of power distance (PD) as predictors of voice. Two studies, conducted in different countries, demonstrate the unique and combined effects of these predictors. In Study 1, conducted in the United States, LMX was positively related to voice, PD was negatively related to voice, and PD made more of a difference in voice when LMX was high. In Study 2, conducted in Colombia, LMX and PD were both related to voice but did not interact. The authors discuss the implications for theory and practice.

Botero, Isabel C. and Linn Van Dyne. Management Communication Quarterly (2009). Articles>Business Communication>Management>Rhetoric


Endorsing Equity and Applauding Stay-at-Home Moms: How Male Voices on Work-Life Reveal Aversive Sexism and Flickers of Transformation   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

What can we learn about women’s organizational challenges by talking to men about gender roles and work-life? We attend to this question through an interview study with male executives, providing a close interpretive analysis of their talk about employees, wives, children, the division of domestic labor, and work-life policy. The study illustrates how executives’ tacit hesitancy about women’s participation in organizational life is closely connected to preferred gendered relationships in the private sphere. The case reveals a story of meaning in movement—aversive sexism marked by flickers of transformation—demonstrating how talk can both reveal and disrupt enduring gender scripts, and why hearing male voices is integral to addressing women’s work-life dilemmas.

Tracy, Sarah J. and Kendra Dyanne Rivera. Management Communication Quarterly (2010). Careers>Management>Discrimination>Gender


Examining the Scope of Channel Expansion: A Test of Channel Expansion Theory With New and Traditional Communication Media   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article draws on channel expansion theory to explore the selection and use of communication media by organizational members. Channel expansion theory scholars posit that media richness perceptions are dependent on experiences with communication partners, the message topic, and the communication media utilized. This study tests channel expansion theory in the context of new and traditional communication media. Respondents (N = 269) completed questionnaires regarding their use and perceptions of face-to-face, telephone, e-mail, or instant-messaging interactions. Results indicate that experience with channel, topic, partner, and social influence are all significant predictors of richness perceptions, when controlling for age and media characteristics. Findings also suggest that the richness of a medium is not fixed and may be shaped by interpersonal factors, including one's relevant experiences.

D'Urso, Scott C. and Stephen A. Rains. Management Communication Quarterly (2008). Articles>Communication>Theory>Surveys


Review: Exploring Leadership Conversations   (members only)

Gail Fairhurst's book (2007) on discursive leadership is a highly welcome Gcontribution to the endeavor of establishing discourse analysis as a substantial approach to management communication. It presents a range of theories and methodologies for doing research on the central topics of leadership and on the crucial activities in management, such as instruction, mentoring, and performance appraisals. As a linguist doing research on management meetings, I would like to comment on the contribution that the book may make to theory and training in the fields of communication and management, and I wish to make some suggestions about the way forward for empirical research on discourse in management settings.

Svennevig, Jan. Management Communication Quarterly. Articles>Reviews>Management


Exploring Negative Group Dynamics: Adversarial Network, Personality, and Performance in Project Groups   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Most previous social network studies have focused on the positive aspects of social relationships. In contrast, this research examined how the negative aspects of social networks in work groups can influence individual performance within the group. Accordingly, two studies were conducted to make this assessment. The first study examined the effect of negative relations and frequency of communication on performance among student groups. The second study investigated how the Five Factor Model of personality and position in adversarial networks interacted to influence individuals' performance. Although results of the first study indicated that frequent communication with others could make a person more likeable, consequently helping him or her perform better, the second study showed that those individuals disliked by others were less likely to achieve a good performance rating, despite their conscientiousness, emotional stability, or openness to experiences.

Xia, Ling, Y. Connie Yuan and Geri Gay. Management Communication Quarterly (2009). Articles>Collaboration>Workplace


Exploring the Concept of “Profession” for Organizational Communication Research: Institutional Influences in a Veterinary Organization   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Recent scholarship has argued that the concept of profession is undertheorized and accepted uncritically. The authors address this issue by summarizing the characteristics of professions and articulating professions as institutionalized occupations. Their study of a veterinary call center suggests that profession influences the workplace through (a) knowledge providing, seeking, and sharing; (b) self-management of behavior, emotions, and productivity; (c) internal sources of motivation; (d) a service orientation; (e) the invocation of field standards; and (f) participation in a knowledge community beyond the workplace. Although these features may be distinguishable analytically, they are unified in the experience of work. Moreover, the close match in this case between the service orientations of the profession and of the organization strengthened the workers' commitment and thus the legitimacy of the organization.

Lammers, John C. and Mattea A. Garcia. Management Communication Quarterly (2009). Articles>Business Communication>Biomedical>Professionalism


Factors Influencing the Adoption of the Internet by Public Relations Professionals in the Private and Public Sectors of Saudi Arabia   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Managers from Western cultures tend to assume that efficiency and profitability will drive the adoption of new technologies by multinational conglomerates. The present study shows that for non-Western organizations, the sector that the organization operates in (public or private) and its decision-making style are also relevant factors. The research employs the diffusion of innovation model to explore Internet adoption by public relations professionals in Saudi Arabian organizations. A survey of 354 public relations professionals revealed that 93% of the professionals in the private sector had adopted the Internet, compared to 83% of their counterparts in the public sector. Professionals in the private sector ascribed relative advantage as critical for adoption. Regression analyses revealed that authoritarian decision making and organizational encouragement were predictors of adoption.

Al-Shohaib, Khalid, Edward Frederick and Ali Abbas Jamal Al-Kandari. Management Communication Quarterly (2010). Articles>Management>Public Relations>Middle East



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