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Strategic Ambiguities
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Strategic Ambiguities
Essays on Communication, Organization, and Identity



December 2006 | 328 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"Eisenberg's book is refreshing, in addition to its theoretical merits, for the presence of a distinctive human voice, unafraid to express passion, anger and hope. Readers will benefit enormously from the substance of his book, but also from its form."
—HUMAN RELATIONS

In Strategic Ambiguities: Essays on Communication, Organization, and Identity, Eric M. Eisenberg, an internationally recognized leader in the theory and practice of organizational communication, collects and reflects upon more than two decades of his writing. Strategic Ambiguities is a provocative journey through the development of a new aesthetics of communication that rejects fundamentalisms and embraces a contingent, life-affirming worldview.

Strategic Ambiguities:

  • Explores the role of language and communication in the construction of social structures and personal identities.
  • Provides a useful intellectual and historical context for students through framing chapters and head notes developed especially for this volume.
  • Chronicles the historical development of an important argument about communicating and organizing through the sustained focus on a single theorist.

Intended Audience:
This text is designed for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses such as Organizational Communication, Communication Theory, and Organizational Behavior in the fields of Communication, Business & Management, and Educational Leadership.


"This collection of essays is insightful, thought-provoking, and forward-looking. Eric Eisenberg takes on challenging positions, writes in a cogent and accessible manner, and always stimulates new scholarship. This work will be an important teaching tool, not just for the innovative content of the writing, but also for the historical narrative of organizational communication embedded in it." —Steve May, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"Lay audiences will find the text rich with evocative narratives even as the theoretical moves will engage students and teacher-scholars. This edited compilation is likely to serve as a springboard for future inquiry and an invaluable resource for teaching and learning in undergraduate and graduate communication courses." —
THE REVIEW OF COMMUNICATION


 
Introduction: Laying Down a Path in Walking
 
PART I. EMBRACING AMBIGUITY
 
1. Ambiguity as Strategy in Organizational Communication
 
2. Meaning and Interpretation in Organizations
 
3. Conflict at Disneyland: A Root-Metaphor Analysis
Eric M. Eisenberg and Marsha G. Witten
4. Reconsidering Openness in Organizational Communication
 
PART II. TRANSCENDENCE AND TRANSFORMATION
 
5. Jamming: Transcendence Through Organizing
Eric M. Eisenberg and Steven R. Phillips
6. Miscommunication in Organizations
 
7. Dialogue as Democratic Discourse
 
8. A Communication Perspective on Interorganizational Cooperation and Inner-City Education
 
9. From Anxiety to Possibility: Poems 1987-1997
 
10. Openness and Decision Making in the Search for a University Provost
Eric M. Eisenberg, Linda Andrews, Alexandra Murphy, and Linda Laine-Timmerman
11.Transforming Organizations Through Communication
 
12. Flirting With Meaning
 
PART III. A NEW COMMUNICATION AESTHETIC
 
13. The Kindness of Strangers: Hospitality in Organizational Communication Scholarship
 
14. Building a Mystery: Communication and the Development of Identity
 
15. Creating Clearings for Communication
 
16. Karl Weick and the Aesthetics of Contingency
 
Conclusion

"This collection of essays is insightful, thought-provoking, and forward-looking. Erick Eisenberg takes on challenging positions, writes in a cogent and accessible manner, and always stimulates new scholarship . . . This work will be an important teaching tool, not just for the innovative content of the writing, but also for the historical narrative of organizational communication embedded in it . . . This collection of essays represents a body of work that provides the foundation for our emerging understanding of the relationship between communication, organization, and identity. Its legacy should prompt us to rethink the opportunities and challenges of communication in our increasingly complex world. The world that Eric Eisenberg envisions- and that he has encouraged us to create- is one that draws on ambiguity as a means to support both personal and social transformation. He gives us communication tools for living in a world that calls forth self-reflection, respect, contingency, dialogue, and peace."

Steve May
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"Strategic Ambiguities: Essays on Communication, Organization, and Identity is a collection of essays perfect for college-level courses in either linguistics or business. It details the historical development of communications theories and comes from an internationally recognized leader in the theory and applications of organization communication. Chapters consider the basics of communication perspectives within business and the community environments alike, drawing many important links between the two. An important college-level discourse perfect for holdings strong in linguistics and business."

The Bookwatch
The Business Shelf

"Eisenberg's book is refreshing, in addition to its theoretical merits, for the presence of a distinctive human voice, unafraid to express passion, anger and hope.  Readers will benefit enormously from the substance of his book, but also from its form."

—HUMAN RELATIONS

Dennis Tourish
Robert Gordon University

"Eisenberg's book is refreshing, in addition to its theoretical merits, for the presence of a distinctive human voice, unafraid to express passion, anger and hope. Readers will benefit enormously from the substance of his book, but also from its form. Many may also wonder: why is this kind of academic writing so rare?"

Dennis Tourish
Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University, UK
Human Relations

"This book attempts to not just reflect the evolution of the authors' work on strategic ambiguity, but also to analyze the subjects of attachment and the broader existential role of the individual in terms of identity construction and meaning-making."

International Journal of Communication
Key features
  • Shows for students and scholars the sustained development of an important argument about communicating and organizing. 
  • The framing chapters help situate the essays historically and methodologically, and show connections to other areas both within and outside of the field of Communication.
  • Part-opening transitional essays provide context for the essays that follow, and headnotes to individual essays further explain Eisenberg's thinking and development.
  • The collection responds to a common pedagogical desire to have students read a body of work from a single scholar and report on it. 

For instructors

Review and Desk copies for this title are available digitally via VitalSource.

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If you require a print review copy, please call: (800) 818-7243 ext. 6140 or email textsales@sagepub.com.

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