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On organizations and culture: Community of memory meets rhetorical interruption

So far in our exploration of communication ethics we’ve looked at self-reflection and the personal of evaluating our own ideas of “the Good,” we’ve looked at how we balance that with “the Other” in the public sphere, and we’ve engaged the idea of organizational communication ethics as a “dwelling place.”  This discussion builds on the concepts of organizational communication ethics and extends our engagement to intercultural ethics. I’ll use the idea of “community of memory” as is expressed through organizational communication ethics, and then demonstrate the intercultural communication experience of “rhetorical interruption” as experienced in an organization.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono /

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono /



Bifurcated Business: Smith and Feminist Theory for Organizations

For this communication “uh oh,” I created a case study based on a scenario in an organization “by women, for women.” I was not involved in the original scenario, and  I’ve changed the details, but the issues are real. I address the question: What role does gender play in a woman’s organization? How can gender be an issue if everyone in the organization is the same gender?

One big question in the industry not addressed here: do we need women’s-only business organizations at all? What do you think? Do Western women have special needs related to business?


Rakow, L. F., & Nastasia, D. J. (2009). On feminist theory of public relations: An example from Dorothy E. Smith. In Ø. Ihlen, B. van Ruler, & M. Fredriksson (Eds.), Public relations and social theory: Key figures and concepts (pp. 252-277). New York: Routledge.

Impression Management Theory for Communication Uh-Ohs

In this podcast I use my own communications gaffe, a snarky email forwarded to the wrong person, to illustrate how to use Erving Goffman’s theory of Impression Management to navigate and hopefully avoid communication gaffes, particularly with electronic communication.

Goffman proposes that interpersonal communication (and by extension organizational communication) can be compared to a drama on a stage. How have you presented yourself as an “actor” in a communication”performance?” How would viewing your electronic communication as occuring “on stage” influence your communication choices?

My discussion of Goffman is based on an essay by Catrin Johansson, “On Goffman: Researching Relations with Erving Goffman as Pathfinder,” found in the book Public Relations and Social Theory: Key Figures and Concepts by Øyvind Ihlen, Betteke van Ruler, and Magnus Fredricksson.

For those interested in the APA citation:

Johansson, C. (2009) On Goffman: Researching relations with Erving Goffman as pathfinder. In Ihlen, Ø., van Ruler, B., & Fredrickson, M. (Eds.), Public relations and social theory: Key figures and concepts (pp. 119-140). New York, NY: Routledge.

Music courtesy of Nenad Simic via

Review: Seth Godin’s TRIBES as Co-Creative Model

Review: Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, by Seth Godin

Tribes book

The term “tribes” has become ubiquitous in social media and community-building, so the book is a must-read for anyone interested in building engaged social media communities. However, communication scholars can approach the book through the lenses of social constructionism and leadership theory and gain insights in the new community models emerging from “new media.”

And for those who read the book in 2008, it’s worth reviewing in light of the tremendous embrace of social media globally since the book first appeared. In my review I discuss Godin’s idea of “tribes” as an example of leaders using communication for a co-creative process. I also explore how Tribes holds up nearly six years after it’s publication.

I ask you to consider: where do you find your tribes? And which tribe(s) do you lead?

Get your own copy of Tribes from Amazon here.

Godin, S. (2008). Tribes: We need you to lead us. Penguin Publishing: New York, NY.