Welcome to Organizational Communication! Like most websites, this one has a back story. . .
The idea for this site emerged from a discussion at the end of the 2008 conference, “Organizational Communication at Alta—Revisited,” held in Utah’s spectacular Little Cottonwood Canyon (but not actually in Alta). Participants were called upon by Linda Putnam and Stan Deetz to list the best ideas from the conference as part of the collective quest to “re-imagine organizational communication.” One of the proposals that kept weaving through this conversation was the suggestion that scholars needed a website where they could aggregate research findings and connect with like-minded researchers and instructors to test out new ideas or develop projects and proposals. As the discussion evolved, it became clear that this site was also seen as critical to the desire to connect with other academic disciplines, practitioners and policy makers that might be interested in our research. The irony, of course, is that while communication scholars can easily chide and critique organizations for their lapses in knowledge sharing or for not providing sufficient opportunities for “voice,” creating a sustainable and open academic community that crosses university, national and regional boundaries is a daunting task.
Perhaps the expansive Utah sky with its blinding sun creates perpetual giddiness or maybe it was the light-headedness that comes from hiking at 11,000 feet but faculty members and graduate students from the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California thought this website sounded like a good idea and volunteered to create the frame—knowing that it would take a village to fill in the picture. We subsequently received amazing support from Annenberg’s web staff, Wendy Chapman and Andy McHargue, and the artistic eyes of designer Katie Mead and student assistant Sasha Konovalova.
This “first-draft” website is designed to gather our history, feature current research and open up new conversations. The polymorphous nature of organizational communication will ultimately require the engagement of many people from around the world. It is currently guided by a leadership community of professors and graduate students from PhD programs in organizational communication in the US—-you will see their school logos across the top of the site. We hope to receive information, blogs and call from scholars in other countries as well and ultimately have the site function in multiple languages. We will feature research from all methodological, theoretical and philosophical traditions and welcome blogs and reports from applied and practical research. The university faculty on the guidance team are also actively involved in the work of NGOs, corporations, social networks, firms, non-profits, and governments around the world so one of the site’s features is the “Ask the Expert” section where practitioners can query any of the faculty regarding research references or guidance. Another goal is to uncover video materials for classroom use and to feature new research projects that have both academic and practitioner audiences. Other site elements include an organizational communication wiki that has been started by USC Annenberg graduate students and topical reference lists for students.
As our community grows, the site will become more robust, more diverse, and the experience will be more exciting. We welcome all feedback; so please register on the site so that you can begin your own journey in organizational communication’s new home.
Patti Riley, Sandi Evans and Megan Porter
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