Elgar Research Agendas
Edited by Barbara Czarniawska
Chapter 8: Organizational communication: a wish list for the next 15 years
We were asked to reflect on research questions that we consider important and relevant for the next 10–15 years or so. If anything, this is a nice opportunity to act like Pygmalions, that is, carve a form – here, an envisaged future – with the (not so secret) wish that it could eventually come to life. As in any Pygmalion effect, this carving has both optative and suggestive aspects. If it is a future I wish I could observe for my field, organizational communication, this portrait can also be seen as an invitation to explore some of the avenues proposed, a sort of wishful thinking that hopefully will not lead to too much frustration and delusion. So here is what I would love to see coming to life. A survey of the extant body of publications representing the organizational communication field suggests that we still have a long way to go before finally coming to study what is supposed to define us, that is, communication (Putnam and Mumby, 2014). What differentiates communication scholars from sociologists, anthropologists and psychologists, or any other discipline pertaining to the social sciences for that matter, should indeed be, I believe, that we focus on acts of communication, whether mediated or not (Cooren, 2012). It does not mean, of course, that other social scientists cannot or do not study communication – it is enough to think of conversation analysts in sociology (Pomerantz and Denvir, 2007), ethnographers of communication in anthropology (Cameron and Panović, 2014) or interpersonal communication scholars in psychology (Knapp and Daly, 2011) – but the least we can do as communication scholars is to problematize communication when we study social phenomena (Taylor, 2009).
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