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Engaging Organizational Communication Theory and Research

Engaging Organizational Communication Theory and Research
Multiple Perspectives

Edited by:
  • Steve May - The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
  • Dennis K. Mumby - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

October 2004 | 320 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"This book offers a refreshing and engaging overview of the ways some research traditions in organizational communication have unfolded over time and continue to be connected to everyday, real events."
—Patrice Buzzanell, Purdue University
Engaging Organizational Communication Theory and Research: Multiple Perspectives is a book unlike any in the field. Each chapter is written by a prominent scholar who presents a theoretical perspective and discusses how he or she "engages" with it, personally examining what it means to study organizations. Rejecting the traditional model of a "reader," this volume demonstrates the intimate connections among theory, research, and personal experience.

Significant theoretical perspectives such as post-positivism, social construction, rhetoric, critical theory, feminism, postmodernism, structuration theory, and globalization are discussed in terms of their history, assumptions, development, propositions, research, and applications. In addition to editors Steve May and Dennis K. Mumby, contributors include Brenda J. Allen, Karen Lee Ashcraft, George Cheney, Steven R. Corman, Stanley Deetz, Robert McPhee, Marshall Scott Poole, Cynthia Stohl, Bryan C. Taylor, and James R. Taylor.

Key Features
• An introduction that addresses the idea of engaged research.
• Accessible and cutting edge accounts of important research traditions written by well-known leaders in the field.
• Personal accounts of each scholar's place in his or her field of study.
• A conclusion that explores the future of organizational communication studies.
• An extensive body of references on each perspective.

Engaging Organizational Communication Theory and Research is an indispensable resource for anyone wishing to be familiar with current trends in the field of organizational communication. It is recommended as the main text for upper-level undergraduate and entry-level graduate courses in organizational communication theory. It is also an excellent supplementary text for related courses in departments of communication studies, business and management, sociology, and industrial relations.


Dennis K. Mumby and Steve May
1. Introduction: Thinking about Engagement
Steven R. Corman
2. Postpositivism
Brenda J. Allen
3. Social Constructionism
George Cheney with Daniel J. Lair
4. Theorizing about Rhetoric and Organizations: Classical, Interpretive, and Critical Aspects
Stanley Deetz
5. Critical Theory
Bryan C. Taylor
6. Postmodern Theory
Karen Lee Ashcraft
7. Feminist Organizational Communication Studies: Engaging Gender in Public and Private
Marshall Scott Poole and Robert D. McPhee
8. Structuration Theory
James R. Taylor
9. Worldview: My Pursuit of an Explanation of Communication as Organizing
Cynthia Stohl
10. Globalization Theory
Steve May and Dennis K. Mumby
11. Conclusion: Engaging the Future of Organizational Communication Theory and Research
Author Index
Subject Index
About the Editors
About the Contributors

Though rather old it still did the job... Need a revision that reflects some of the newer works.

Dr Jane Fitzgibbon
Communications , Wayne State University
October 28, 2013

I very much liked the book and especially appreciated the attention paid to critical theory, postmodern theory, and globalization theory. I would definitely use it as a supplementary text or even a main text for a more advanced course on organizational communication. I would hesitate to use it as a primary text for an introductory course on organizational communication.

Dr Deborah Dunn
Communication Studies Dept, Westmont College
June 23, 2011
Key features
  • First book on organizational communication theories aimed solely at students (to date, all other works have been for colleagues/scholars)
  • The consistent chapter content allows instructors and students greater opportunity to compare and contrast theories, on comparable terms. (Typically, Organizational Communication books that review major theoretical frameworks are summarized by an author (or authors), whose theoretical bias may impact the representation of each theory.)
  • Book chapters are written by authors most familiar with, and committed, to research, teaching, and service from their theoretical perspective. The authors selected are prominent in their area of research and are, ultimately, best suited to explain the theories included in the book. As a result, the authors provide both a more comprehensive and a more personal understanding of their theory that will invigorate and motivate students.
  • The structure of the chapters provides students with a better understanding of the historical evolution of Organizational Communication as a field of study. This approach allows students to recognize how each theory developed within a specific cultural context, including unique political, economic, and social conditions.
  • The book includes several emerging, yet significant, theoretical perspectives (feminist theory, postmodern theory, race theory, and globalization theory) that have increasingly influenced Organizational Communication. In other Organizational Communication books, these emerging theories have been either included as sub-sets of other theories or they have been covered with less attention or detail. The structured chapter format in this book provides them ample and comparable coverage to other important theories.