Case Studies in Organizational Communication: Ethical Perspectives and Practices
Publication Year: 2013
The Second Edition of Case Studies in Organizational Communication: Ethical Perspectives and Practices, by Dr. Steve May, integrates ethical theory and practice to help strengthen readers’ awareness, judgment, and action in organizations by exploring ethical dilemmas in a diverse range of well-known business cases.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
Part I: Alignment
- Chapter 1: Ethical Dilemmas in the Financial Industry
- Chapter 2: The Ethics of the “Family Friendly” Organization: The Challenge of Policy Inclusiveness
- Chapter 3: Managing the Ethical Implications of the Big Box: The Walmart Effect
- Chapter 4: Just Window Dressing? The Gap (RED) Campaign
Part II: Dialogic Communication
- Chapter 5: Ethical Contradictions and E-Mail Communication at Enron Corporation
- Chapter 6: Toyota—Oh, What a Feeling, or Oh, What a Mess? Ethics at the Intersection of Industry, Government, and Publics
- Chapter 7: Sanlu's Milk Contamination Crisis: Organizational Communication in Conflicting Cultural, Economic, and Ethical Context
- Chapter 8: What About the People in the “People's Car”? Tata Motors Limited and the Nano Controversy
Part III: Participation
- Chapter 9: Resistance and Belonging: The Chicago Blackhawks and the 2010 Chicago Annual Pride Parade
- Chapter 10: Is Agriculture Spinning Out of Control? A Case Study of Factory Farms in Ohio: Environmental Communication, News Frames, and Social Justice
- Chapter 11: Ethical Storm or Model Workplace?
- Chapter 12: Gaming the System: Ethical Challenges in Innovative Organizations
Part IV: Transparency
- Chapter 13: Reward, Identity, and Autonomy: Ethical Issues in College Athletics
- Chapter 14: The Case of Wyeth, DesignWrite, and Premarin: The Ethics of Ghostwriting Medical Journal Articles
- Chapter 15: Fired Over Facebook: Issues of Employee Monitoring and Personal Privacy on Social Media Websites
- Chapter 16: Daimler's Bribery Case
Part V: Accountability
- Chapter 17: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster: Challenges in Ethical Decision Making
- Chapter 18: Outsourcing U.S. Intelligence
- Chapter 19: Silence in the Turmoil of Crisis: Peanut Corporation of America's Response to Its Sweeping Salmonella Outbreak
- Chapter 20: Patrolling the Ethical Borders of Compassion and Enforcement
Part VI: Courage
This book is dedicated to Geriel, whose integrity is constant.[Page iii]
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Case studies in organizational communication: ethical perspectives and practices / Steve May, editor. — 2nd ed.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-4129-8309-9 (pbk. : acid-free paper)
1. Communication in organizations—Case studies.
2. Communication in organizations—Moral and ethical aspects. I. May, Steve (Steve Kent), 1961-
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
11 12 13 14 15 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
List of Figures and Tables[Page ix]
- Table 1.1 Ethical Tensions and Ethical Perspectives 20
- Table 3.1 The Impact of Walmart 60
- Table 6.1 Toyota Recall Timeline: Some Key Dates 100
- Figure 11.1 Mitsubishi Timeline 161
- Table 14.1 Publication Program Budget 200
- Table 22.1 E-Mail Exchange Among Jan (Intake Nurse), Lisa, and Claire (Immediate Supervisors) With Tina (Executive Director) Copied in the First Message 297
I first considered editing a case study book on organizational ethics nearly a decade ago. As an instructor of organizational communication, I was frustrated by two features that were lacking in most textbooks in the field. First, I found that many of the primary textbooks in organizational communication included few, if any, case studies. By contrast, Business and Management programs had a long and successful history with case-based teaching and, as a result, cases were widely available. Yet, they did not necessarily offer the range and variety of perspectives I wanted my students to learn.
Although I had developed many of my own cases over the years, including a semester-long consulting case, I wondered why there was such a lack of cases in organizational communication textbooks. Most textbooks included discussion questions and even the occasional homework or fieldwork assignment, but these features never provided the extensive application of organizational theory that in-depth cases provided for my students. When cases were included in textbooks, they were typically short and general in their description of organizational phenomena. Until recently, there was even a lack of supplemental case study books to use in introductory or advanced organizational communication courses. I wanted more for my students.
Second, it also became clear that few, if any, textbooks included an extensive discussion of organizational ethics. Given the range and scope of organizational misconduct over the past several decades, it struck me as a glaring omission in our teaching. Based on conversations with other colleagues around the world, I knew that many instructors were, at least implicitly, discussing organizational ethics in their classrooms. But I found that many were reluctant to explicitly identify organizational ethics as an issue in their courses. Textbooks were not much help. When they included ethics, it was often relegated to a concluding chapter. Business ethics books have been available for years, but they seemed to define “organizations” and communication very narrowly. For example, rarely were nonprofit organizations, government agencies, universities, churches, or other collectives discussed in them. In addition, they often included classic, historical cases of ethics rather than recent emerging ethical issues most relevant to today's students.
The confluence of these two pedagogical frustrations was further set in motion with the series of organizational scandals (e.g., Enron, Arthur Andersen, Tyco, WorldCom) that have received such attention in the past decade. For this second edition, they have been further compounded by the ethical misconduct in the financial sector that has produced the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. For years, my former students had contacted me about their own personal ethical dilemmas in organizations, but now my current students were asking important but challenging questions: What went wrong with [Page xii]these organizations? Why? How common are such unethical practices in organizations? Is this a new phenomenon? What should I do if I belong to an organization that engages in unethical behavior? What if I observe a boss or coworker engaging in such behavior? What changes are necessary in order to improve the ethical conduct of organizations and the people in them? What can I do to help?
Their questions led to informative, instructive, and wide-ranging discussions of organizations and ethics, but I wanted a framework for discussing ethical issues with them in both a theoretical and a pragmatic way. This book, then, is an attempt to focus and structure a meaningful and productive dialogue about organizational ethics with students. It is designed to integrate ethical theory and practice in order to strengthen students' ethical awareness, judgment, and action in organizations by exploring ethical dilemmas in a diverse range of cases. For this, the second edition of the book, the need to improve our ethical behavior in organizations seems even more pronounced.Uses for the Book
The book may be used in a variety of ways. Ideally, its availability will prompt some instructors to begin teaching courses on organizational ethics. In such courses, it may be used as a primary textbook. Or it may be used as a supplemental text for an introductory or advanced course in organizational communication. The book will serve as an excellent companion to a primary textbook in order to bring ethics to the foreground of students' attention. As such, the book not only includes discussions of ethical perspectives and practices but the case studies also cover a range of topics typical in many organizational communication courses such as leadership, teamwork, organizational culture, work–family balance, gender, new technologies, organizational change, crisis communication, decision making, power/resistance, and conflict, as well as emerging topics such as telecommuting, offshoring, and social media, among others. In addition, instructors will notice that many of the cases can be easily applied to common theories of organizational communication such as classical management, human relations, systems theory, critical theory, and postmodern theory.Why Teach Organizational Ethics?
This ethics case study book is based on the belief that organizational theory and practice have become increasingly wide ranging and diverse in the past two decades. Similar to the emergence of new, diverse theories to understand organizations, organizations themselves are growing more and more complex. Their size, mission, function, structure, and processes all seem increasingly fluid as organizations become more “emergent” and adaptable. As a result, books on organizational dynamics cannot necessarily present singular, simplistic explanations of “the way organizations are.” Rather, they must provide students with a range of organizational examples that best approximate the current and future evolution of organizations—and the practices among and between them.
[Page xiii]One of the most recent shifts in organizations is a renewed interest in ethics, partly in response to recent scandals but also in response to the desire to rethink the role of organizations in our lives. Members of organizations are asking themselves the following questions: What are our mission, vision, and goals? What do we value? What principles should guide our behavior with our multiple stakeholders? No longer is it accepted wisdom that “business ethics” is a contradiction in terms. Instead, questions of ethics are being taken seriously by many organizations around the world, particularly now that executives and boards of directors have realized that ethics may actually enhance individual and organizational performance. Rather than being viewed as merely a compliance or crisis issue, ethics is now seen as part of the bottom line.
The intent of this book, then, is to raise students' awareness regarding ethics and to provide them with the tools to evaluate situations and conduct themselves ethically. It introduces students to a broad, yet context-specific range of ethics-oriented issues in organizations that will supplement and extend their understanding of organizational communication. The book is based on the belief that students are best engaged when they can directly address the challenges and opportunities they will encounter in their own organizational lives. Often these challenges and opportunities converge around ethical dilemmas that workers experience, as they seek to negotiate their interests with those of their organization.
As a pedagogical tool, this book is designed to encourage students' critical thinking skills about ethics through analysis, reflection, and dialogue. Organizational ethics cases do not present easy, linear answers to organizational problems and, as a result, students will learn to explore complex, contextual, and conflicted questions about organizational life in ways that integrate theory and practice. A primary purpose of the book, then, is to further develop students' understanding of organizations by stimulating analysis and discussion of specific organizational practices that enable or constrain ethical action, thereby provoking multiple alternatives or solutions that are made more accessible to them. Additional features of the book include the following:
Why Use Case Studies?
- An introductory chapter that explores multiple perspectives of ethics
- An innovative discussion of the most common practices of ethical organizations
- Timely case studies that examine a range of ethical dilemmas in diverse organizations
- Discussion questions at the end of each case study to prompt dialogue regarding the opportunities for, and challenges of, ethical behavior in today's organizations
- An afterword that raises new, challenging questions for ethical behavior in today's organizations
All too often I have overheard students in the buildings and on the sidewalks of universities describing courses in the following fashion: “It's a theory course” or “It's a practical course.” On the one hand, students are dissatisfied when courses belabor what is common sense. On the other hand, they are even more dissatisfied when courses have no clear [Page xiv]bearing on everyday life. One of the ways to bridge this dichotomy is to recognize that understanding is the joint product of theory and common sense. As Karl Weick (1987) aptly explained, “Theory and research should focus on what people routinely overlook when they apply common sense. Theory should not be redundant with common sense; it should remind people of what they forget” (p.106).
Ideally, then, this book should combine theory and practice as it relates to organizational ethics. My assumption is that the two are mutually dependent. For instance, we all use implicit theories of the world around us to guide our behaviors. When those theories do not seem applicable to everyday life, then we adjust them accordingly. The same should hold true for the theories and practice of organizational ethics. Through this book, students will examine various theories of organizational ethics. Yet each ethical perspective should also be judged according to its applicability to the cases in this book. By studying these specific organizational cases, students should develop the critical thinking skills to determine which theories are applicable and which theories are not. They should also gain an appreciation for what “works” and what “doesn't work” in organizations when it comes to ethics.
Yet, this appreciation—and the knowledge that derives from it—cannot simply be told in a lecture. It is based on doing. According to Thomas Donaldson, the “case method,” as it is often called, builds on the Socratic method of teaching, which involves the active involvement of students who explore, question, and discover in the give and take process with an instructor and fellow students.
In my teaching career, I have found that one of the primary teaching challenges is to provide students with concrete, context-specific knowledge that will supplement their past work experiences, which vary widely from student to student. Many college students often need supplemental materials that ground their theoretical understanding in a practical understanding of organizational life. This is particularly true in terms of ethical challenges that students may face once they enter (or reenter) the full-time workforce.
Many instructors draw upon their own research and/or consulting experience to help supplement students' work experiences. Or they utilize the short, limited case studies that are often found at the end of chapters in textbooks. However, many instructors complain that such cases provide neither the detail nor the full range of organizational opportunities/challenges that will develop the critical thinking skills necessary for students to comprehend the complexities of organizations. Finally, instructors often question whether a primary text, alone, allows students to confront—in a safe, classroom environment—the ethical dilemmas that many workers face in their careers.
In the future, then, I believe that students will need to understand both the theoretical developments in organizational communication and also how those developments are enacted in ethical organizational practice. This book, then, is designed to address this focus on praxis in a manner that clarifies the rapidly changing organizational environment—as well as the diversity of organizational practices that has followed these changes. In short, students need an explicit mechanism by which they can compare and contrast a growing number of developments in organizations. In addition, students need to understand and appropriately act upon the various ethical dilemmas and challenges they will confront in the workplace. Case studies of ethical and unethical organizational practices are one of the primary means to accomplish these goals.
[Page xv]Through case studies, students and instructors are able to directly assess ethical and unethical decision making in a rich, diverse, and complex manner that moves beyond only theoretical discussions of ethics (e.g., duty, rights, utility, virtue, relationships). In short, this case study book explores “ethics in action” and, as a result, is both theoretical and practical in its focus.Overview of the Book
The Introduction provides the context for organizational ethics and an overview of ethical perspectives and practices. It explores current and past examples of ethical and unethical conduct in organizations. It also introduces students to some of the most important challenges for enhancing the ethics of organizations, as well as a means for analyzing ethical dilemmas they may face in organizations. Finally, the Introduction provides the theoretical foundation for students and is divided into two primary sections: (1) ethical perspectives and (2) ethical practices. The section on ethical perspectives gives students an overview of common ethical theories such as duty, rights, utility, virtue, and relationships. These theories provide one means for students to assess the case studies. Any—or all—of the theories may be applied to each case study, although students may find that one theory is either more prominent or more relevant in a case. The section on ethical practices explores several behaviors that are most common among ethical organizations, including alignment, dialogic communication, participation, transparency, accountability, and courage. Each practice is then applied to both ethical and unethical organizations.
Parts I through VI include 23 case studies that represent a range of organizational types and ethical dilemmas. Cases include not only business but also nonprofit organizations, universities, and government agencies. The cases are organized according to the ethical practices discussed in the Introduction. However, students may find that several of the ethical practices may be relevant to each case. As a result, instructors should use the structure of this section only as a preliminary guide for exploring the case studies. For example, the cases could also be discussed according to topic (e.g., leadership, organizational culture, decision making) or according to theory (e.g., classical management, human relations, systems theory). At the least, though, students should also be prepared to discuss each case according to the ethical perspectives (e.g., duty, rights, utility, virtue, relationships).
The book ends with the Afterword, which reminds students why our discourse around ethics matters. It also extends ethics to broader organizational and cultural issues and proposes a revised ethical theory. Finally, it offers several alternative directions for students interested in further pursuing organizational ethics.
My hope is that the book will stimulate not only dialogue about but also action on issues of organizational ethics. The recent scandals have brought public attention to the practices of both unethical and ethical organizations and, as a result, we have a rare opportunity to help our students create organizations of the future that are simultaneously productive and ethical. Whether as employees, citizens, consumers, or stakeholders, our students will hopefully make that difference in their own organizational lives.[Page xvi]Benefits of Case Studies
Case studies are one of the best ways to engage in dialogue about the real, day-to-day ethical dilemmas in organizations. They are also an ideal way to apply theories learned in the classroom, whether they are ethical theories or organizational theories (e.g., see Donaldson & Gini, 1996; Keyton & Schockley-Zalaback, 2004; Sypher, 1997). This case studies book is based on the assumption that you need to not only understand the theoretical developments in organizational studies but you also should know how they are enacted in ethical organizational practice.
This book, then, is designed to address this focus on praxis in a manner that clarifies the rapidly changing organizational environment—as well as the diversity of organizational practices that has followed these changes. In short, you need an explicit mechanism by which you can compare and contrast a growing number of developments in organizations. In addition, you will need to be prepared to understand and appropriately act upon the various ethical dilemmas and challenges you may confront in your organizational lives. Case studies of ethical and unethical organizational practices are one of the primary means to accomplish these goals.
Case studies, in general, offer several benefits:
- Case studies provide an opportunity to explore the real-world functioning of organizations in context.
- Case studies stimulate reflection on others' actions.
- Case studies provide exemplars of appropriate and inappropriate, productive and unproductive, useful and irrelevant behaviors.
- Case studies prompt lively discussion regarding alternative courses of action.
- Case studies provide an opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations.
- Case studies serve as an impetus for future action.
More specifically, the case studies in this book may also be used to develop skills in these primary areas:
- Ethical engagement—You should develop the desire to pursue ethical issues in greater detail and establish your own independent thinking about ethics.
- Ethical reasoning and decision-making—You should develop greater confidence in your judgments and in your ability to understand and appreciate others' points of view regarding ethics.
- Ethical practice—You should develop the ability to respond to and proactively address ethical challenges that may arise in your life.
Case studies, then, should increase your motivation and interest in ethical issues, should improve your analytical and critical thinking skills around ethical challenges, and should provide you with a foundation for making organizations more ethical.[Page xvii]Case Studies of Organizational Ethics
My hope is that this book will motivate you to think more critically about organizational ethics in your own life and also in the lives of others. More specifically, the book will (1) introduce you to a range of ethical theories based on duty, rights, utility, virtue, and relationships and (2) explore case studies of organizations that either enable or constrain common elements of ethical practice such as alignment, dialogic communication, participation, transparency, accountability, and courage.
One of the reasons I was motivated to edit this volume is because many organizational case study books tend to be both atheoretical and ahistorical in their focus and typically marginalize ethics. By contrast, this book seeks to conceptualize and historicize ethics-oriented cases by (1) providing a theoretical foundation of ethical perspectives that can be applied to them, (2) identifying sets of ethical practices that might serve as examples for future organizational behavior, and (3) drawing upon their relationship to other cases (e.g., within an industry, a nation-state, a profession) within a particular period of time. The contributors to the book were encouraged to utilize their own scholarly strengths and expertise to develop fuller, richer cases, while also supplementing their expertise with additional historical and current resources. As such, the cases should be seen merely as a starting point for a more thorough and complex understanding of the cases themselves— and others that may be related to them by topic, issue, ethical perspective, or practice.
The cases in this volume were selected because they focus on organizations that have confronted challenging ethical dilemmas and, as a result, have acted ethically or unethically in response to them. That is, the cases in the book represent a full range of organizational practices, from overt violations of the law to exemplars of responsible behavior. Each case, however, is written to direct you to ethical dilemmas that present tensions, contradictions, challenges, and/or opportunities for the organization and others that it affects. You will also notice that, in contrast to some other case study books, these cases are about real—rather than hypothetical—organizations. I believe it is important for such organizations to be included in a case study book, first to present you with a realistic account of organizational life and second to hold unethical organizations accountable and to praise ethical organizations.
As you will see when you read the cases, contributors were asked to define organization broadly to include not only businesses but also other types of organizations (e.g., educational institutions, religious institutions, political organizations, nonprofit organizations) and organizing, in general. This is in stark contrast to most business ethics case study books that focus exclusively on corporations. Contributors were also encouraged to write cases that examined broader cultural constructions of work (e.g., work and identity, work– family balance, welfare-to-work programs, health care and work, globalization) that are so relevant to our everyday lives. The book, then, not only explores ethical issues within organizations but also within the social, political, economic, ideological, and technological contexts that affect, and are affected by, organizations.
Each case also examines a unique dimension of organizational communication. Some cases focus on the communication response of organizations after a product or service has failed. Other cases in the book explore the communication strategies of leaders who have produced [Page xviii]ethical organizations. Or, in some cases, communication is discussed as a means to “frame” organizational decisions. Still others explore how gender, race, and family are constructed in and through communication within organizations.
You will also notice that a variety of sources were used in constructing these cases about organizational ethics, including observations, interviews, questionnaires, and documents (e.g., company documents, media coverage, legal materials, legislative hearings, professional association studies/reports). As a result, some cases are organized chronologically to follow a timeline of events while others are structured in a narrative form.
Regardless of the structure of each case, though, you should first identify the ethical dilemmas that are raised in the case. Once you have identified the ethical dilemmas, use the ethical perspectives and practices in combination with outside resource materials to fully understand, appreciate, and discuss their complexities. You should be able to understand the context of the case, the evolution of the ethical dilemmas, and the key actors facing them. Finally, as you develop your own opinions about the cases, be sure to consider alternative views that may be presented by your instructor or by other students. Doing so strengthens your “ethical agility” and better prepares you for the variety of ethical dilemmas you may confront in the future.
Although I will not recount all of the cases here, you will find a wide array of organizations and ethical issues in this volume. Here are some of the cases:
- Walmart—The case examines criticisms of the company that its economic impact “limits the ability of local businesses to survive.” The case study also examines how Walmart has responded to charges that it negatively affects local businesses.
- British Petroleum (BP)—The case examines the range of decisions that led to the country's largest oil spill that damaged not only natural resources in southern states but also the livelihood of many workers there.
- Mitsubishi—The case addresses a class action sexual discrimination lawsuit by several female employees of the company and explores their claims, as well as the company and union responses to them.
- Aon Hewitt—The case considers the degree to which single and married employees with families should be treated similarly or differently.
- Enron—The case explores the ways in which overidentification of employees can cause them to overlook, if not misrepresent, unethical behavior in an organization.
- Toyota—The case discusses how Toyota sought to manage a product recall crisis in ways that maintained its reputation for safe vehicles.
- Google—The case explores the extent to which Google negotiated policies with the Chinese government that allowed broader access to users’ data and content.
- College Athletics and Integrity—The case examines scandals and fraud in several university athletic departments that have increasingly focused on the financial benefits of sports programs at the expense of academic integrity. [Page xix]
- Wyeth—The case discusses how human health can be negatively affected when a pharmaceutical company ghostwrites articles for prestigious medical journals, without the general knowledge of physicians and patients.
As students of organizations, it is particularly important that you be able to first identify current trends regarding ethics and then, second, to intervene in the emergence, development, and acceptance (or rejection) of those trends. The case studies should help you in that process. Before we move to the cases themselves, though, it is important for you to have some additional background information regarding a range of ethical perspectives and ethical practices. The Introduction will provide that theoretical and practical foundation for you to thoroughly explore the case studies. The Introduction should give you the tools to understand, critique, and apply theoretical and practical material to the cases and, ultimately, to consider alternative, ethical futures for organizations.ReferencesDonaldson, T., & Gini, A. (Eds.). (1996). Case studies in business ethics (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Keyton, J., & Schockley-Zalaback, P. (Eds.). (2004). Case studies for organizational communication: Understanding communication processes. Los Angeles: Roxbury.Sypher, B. D. (Ed.). (1997). Case studies in organizational communication 2: Perspectives in contemporary work life. New York: Guilford Press.1987). Theorizing about organizational communication. In F. M.Jablin, L. L.Putnam, K. H.Roberts, & L. W.Porter (Eds.), Handbook of organizational communication: An inter-disciplinary perspective (pp. 97–122). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.([Page xx]
As in the case of all scholarly endeavors, this book could not have been completed without the guidance, assistance, and support of numerous other individuals. So although I take full responsibility for any of the limitations of the book, I also recognize that its strengths are the culmination of many conversations with friends, family, colleagues, and students over the course of several years.
At the least, the book is a creative collaboration that required the contributions of many colleagues who produced the cases contained in it. Although I will not name each of the case authors here, I do want to acknowledge their efforts to produce cases that, hopefully, will stimulate students’ ethical awareness, judgment, and decision making. The case authors’ own varied interests and perspectives have helped represent an incredibly wide-ranging and diverse set of ethical dilemmas in today's organizations.
I am also grateful for the strong support of SAGE in the original development of this book. In particular, I want to thank Todd Armstrong, senior acquisitions editor, for his initial encouragement, insight, patience, and good humor in the development of the first edition. He is, in many respects, the ideal editor. I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with Matthew Byrnie on the changes that have been made in this second edition. Nathan Davidson, associate editor, helped guide the book's progress throughout the revision process. I also want to thank Elizabeth Borders, editorial assistant, for her professionalism, promptness, and thoroughness throughout the process. In addition, Catherine Chilton and Megan Markanich were detailed and responsive in their work on the final stages of the volume.
The early stages of the book emerged while I served as a leadership fellow at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ruel Tyson's direction of the institute and his advocacy of ethical academic leadership served as a motivator to follow through with the project. In addition, the leadership fellows offered continual encouragement and support regarding the relevance and the significance of the book. A year later, I served as an ethics fellow at the institute, supported by the direction of Martha Crunkleton. My participation in that program further strengthened the intellectual and theoretical foundations of the book. I would like to acknowledge the ethics fellows for their engagement with the project and for their feedback regarding the teaching of case study on organizational ethics.
I would also like to thank the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University for ongoing opportunities to both discuss organizational ethics and to put theory and research into action through ethics training in a range of organizations. I am especially grateful to Alysson Satterlund, who first established my connection to Kenan and who championed [Page xxii]my work to them. Elizabeth Kiss graciously accepted my offer to make a praxis-oriented contribution by entering into an already productive and thought-provoking dialogue with members of the institute. Noah Pickus has extended and expanded that role in a manner that continues to stretch and challenge those of us committed to ethical organizational change. Finally, members of the Ethics at Work team—John Hawkins, Deborah Ross, Catherine LeBlanc, Amy Podurgal, Kathy Spitz, Morela Hernandez, and Doris Jordan—have played an integral role in my own ethical learning and development as we tested theory “in the field.” I would like to acknowledge that the ethical practices in the book are based not only on my own research and teaching notes but also on a series of conversations with my friends and colleagues at Kenan.
Similarly, many students in my Organizational Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility courses offered feedback on the first two chapters, as well as the cases themselves. Their willingness to assist me and their insightful suggestions consistently affirmed my faith in public higher education. In particular, I would like to thank Stephanie Evans, who gathered and synthesized much of the material that became the foundation for the discussion of ethical perspectives. Her dedication and professionalism helped move the project forward.
I would be remiss if I didn't also acknowledge, albeit briefly, my own teachers—each of whom motivated my interest in producing organizations that are not only productive but that are also ethical. Those ideas first emerged at Purdue University under the guidance of Linda Putnam, Cynthia Stohl, Phil Tompkins, and Jennifer Slack. Later, my interest and expertise in the topic were further developed and honed at the University of Utah through the intellectual support of Len Hawes, Mary Strine, Connie Bullis, Buddy Goodall, and Jim Anderson. At each of my academic homes, I was fortunate to have many thoughtful and thought-provoking mentors. I can only hope that I have motivated my own students in the same manner.
My closest colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have always provided an enriching scholarly community that fosters intellectual engagement, collegiality, and mutual respect. I am particularly indebted to Bill Balthrop, whose leadership of the Department of Communication Studies combined wisdom, wit, and commitment. Bill and other faculty members there have created a context for both intellectual curiosity and rigor. My colleagues in organizational communication have also been long-standing sources of ideas and support. Ted Zorn, now at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand, has been my model editor. He taught me the art and grace of editing while I served as the forum editor under his guidance as the editor of Management Communication Quarterly. His thoroughness, sense of humor, integrity, and compassion for authors and their work is an ethical template in its own respect. Dennis Mumby, Patricia Parker, and Sarah Dempsey, always generous with their time and kind with their words, have been wonderful colleagues who have been willing to further stimulate and stretch my thinking.
Finally, and most importantly, I could not have completed this book without the enthusiastic and loving support of my family. In so many respects, my parents provided the early and solid ethical foundation for me. They taught me the lessons of hard yet honest work, fairness, and respect. Hopefully, this book will, in some small measure, serve as a testament to their care of our family. My wife, Geriel, has been a steadfast source of support, a sounding board, an analytical guide, a practical problem solver, a tension reliever, and [Page xxiii]a loving companion. In addition, her business sense has frequently served as a reality test for my work. She, more than any other person, helped bring this project to its completion. During the final stages of the first edition, our daughter, Arcadia, was born. Her birth has brought me boundless joy and wonder and has provided me with a new and broader sense of perspective. Ultimately, her entry into the world has also produced a sense of urgency and a profound commitment to further strengthen ethical conduct in our “organizational society.” As she has grown during the development of this second edition, the need for ethical engagement of our organizations has only intensified.
SAGE Publications would like to thank the following reviewers:
University of Ottawa
Paul E. Madlock
Texas A&M International University–Laredo
Appalachian State University–Boone[Page xxiv]
Afterword: Casework and Communication About Ethics: Toward a Broader Perspective on Our Lives, Our Careers, Our Happiness, and Our Common Future[Page 315]
Philosophers often ask scholars in communication about what the field of communication studies offers to the discussion of ethics today. After all, if ethics are grounded in philosophical positions and then applied to various contexts—like work, science, and politics—what is the need for special attention to communication about ethics? Is that “just talk” or simply a vehicle for transmitting ideas? We know that talk is often cheap as when a promise is broken by a friend or a nation professes peace on the one hand and then acts militaristically on the other. Does the expression of an ethical position deserve attention as much as the position itself? The philosophers have a point in that except for occasional forays into ethics by scholars of rhetoric and persuasion, relatively little attention has been given to ethics in our field. As we see in most of our textbooks, ethics appears a bit like an afterthought: “Oh, and by the way, if we have time, we'll talk about this last chapter it's about ethics” (a major exception is of course Johanessen, 2002; see also Cheney, May, & Munshi, 2011).
Still, the studies of rhetoric and persuasion have shown us how ethics are implied by the very capacity for choice and the “framing” of choice in language and other symbols has an inherent ethical dimension. As just one example, consider how commercial advertising and political campaigns often create what some call “the illusion of two alternatives” by presenting the reader, listener, or viewer with a “choice” framed like this: “If you don't buy this facial cream or support this candidate, really bad things are going to happen.” Thus, the very definition of a situation, as any debater knows, really makes a difference in the course of a discussion—and helps to define not only practical choices but what we consider things of value or goodness.
So when I'm teaching ethics and communication, I ask students to consider both cases where the role of communication is obvious—as in issues of lying, or professional [Page 316]confidentiality, or the sharing of information, or individual privacy—but also the ways communication is central to discussions of material–ethical issues such as genetic modification, global warming, or the end of life. For instance, just shifting terminology from “global warming” to “climate change” in public discourse can suggest less urgency and, therefore, affect public perceptions and ultimately public policy. Words matter.How to Connect These Cases with Broader Issues
This book has offered you an array of current cases, ranging from responses to food contamination to the transformation of care in a hospice after organizational transformation. Contemporary issues include migration and border enforcement, the ethics of marketing and advertising regarding corporate social responsibility, ghostwriting for medical journals, the outsourcing of intelligence, and various forms of organizational integrity. Importantly, many of these cases implicate more than one major sector of society. Further, the analyses presented here are nuanced in considering the broader social, economic, and political contexts for many organizational dilemmas and decisions. Thus, both the range and depth of cases here invite the reader to consider not only specific ethical issues but also to explore ways we can do and be better. In that effort, communication-based analyses can play enormous roles, as the contributors here have demonstrated in their careful examinations of definitions, frames, rhetorical strategies, patterns of discourses, series of interactions, and mediated as well as nonmediated networks.Revisiting Ethical Theory in Light of Contemporary Cases
Applied ethics has certainly come a long way in recent years, as you can see not only with this book but also from the many practical discussions of the relevance of fields as diverse as engineering and interactive media. Until roughly 1990, there were not a lot of “middle-level” discussions of applied or practical ethics that bridged the abstract theories of, say, Aristotle, Kant, John Stuart Mill, and others with day-to-day pressures, concerns, and decisions of all of us. What's more, writings on applied ethics—especially in business—tended either to sound so idealistic as to set unattainable standards or be uninspired in their treatment of ethical practice as simply a matter of working within the boundaries of the law. This made “business ethics”—jokingly called an oxymoron—easy to dismiss from either a philosophical or a management perspective. Today, there is a much wider range of writings, videos, and speeches that offer us realistic and inspiring assessments of ethical practice. For making stronger linkages between cases and theory, we can thank feminist ethicists, notably, Carol Gilligan (1982); ethicists concerned with democracy, community, and difference like Selya Benhabib (1996); and environmental ethicists such as Andrew Light (Light & Rolston, 2003). I mention these three perspectives in particular because of the ways they are helping us to grapple with how today's ethical dilemmas are both timeless and distinctive. Environmental ethicists, for instance, aid us in rethinking our place in the world, our goals for the world, and our relations [Page 317]to other creatures and the entire biosphere. These discussions are valuable, regardless of what conclusions any of us may draw. In addition, when we start taking the environment, aspects of difference, and democracy seriously, we can see how very specific issues like the types of people favored in typical executive recruitment (or the type of policies perpetuated by them) can be cast broadly.The Need for Broader Reflection
In the late 1990s, I was teaching an executive MBA seminar in New Zealand on leadership to a group of middle-high level Chinese executives. As I was presenting both traditional and new conceptions of leadership to the class, one of the managers raised his hand and hesitatingly asked, “Professor Cheney, we appreciate hearing about all these ideas, and we do want to cover them at some point. But I was talking to some of my colleagues on the break. And what we most want today is a chance to talk about ethical dilemmas and work and how to deal with them. You see, we have very few people to confide in, and our work schedules don't give us the time to think and talk about these things.” At that moment, I put down my notes, sat down in a circle with the students, and we began discussing the cases that they each were facing. I was reminded about the need to be flexible with pedagogy (or teaching philosophy and strategy) as the need for an open space of reflection was pressed upon me.
I have found much the same need for reflection by my students at home, and it comes to the foreground every time I teach a class on quality of work–life or on communication ethics. This is why I have revised my classes over the years from a largely deductive (theory → principle → application) model to one where theoretical discussions arise out of consideration of cases as much as they come out of the foundational readings by Aristotle and others. But the conversation doesn't end there because an individual case doesn't mean very much until it is tied to other cases and we talk about wider lessons. To demystify theory a bit, just remember that it is all about speaking across cases and situations. And whether you realize it or not, you already have lay or implicit theories of important matters like work, love, family, friendship, power, money, and probably also career, success, and productivity. These “theories” almost always suggest ethics even when we're not paying attention to that side of things. For example, if we buy the maxim that “Time is money,” this may mean that we evaluate many or all activities in terms of very specific notions of efficiency and worth. But, what are the blind spots associated with this saying and its associated worldview (Cheney, Lair, Ritz, & Kendall, 2010)? How do our notions of career manifest their own limitations as well as focused energies (e.g., Buzzanell & Goldzwig, 1991)? And how do we talk about ethical responsibilities and practices writ large?Bringing Ethics to Life: For us as Individuals, for our Society
What does it mean, then, to bring ethics to life—and to work? In a recent discussion in my communication ethics class, the students offered insights on why the term morality is more compelling than “ethics” to the U.S. public today. They explained how the latter term [Page 318]seems dry, abstract, without passion, and removed from our most cherished concerns. On the other hand, “morality” seems full of life and passion, and it relates to both religious and secular perspectives that are being hotly debated in politics and the media today. For my students, as well as for many leaders today, the phrase moral values carries with it a lot of significance, emotion, and concern. This is an interesting observation. Not only does it highlight the importance of language, of communication, but also it reminds us that people want very much to engage questions of “the good.” So I suggest that we bring ethics out of its little box, in our classes, our textbooks, and our lives. Ethics should not be something that involves only abstract general rules or guidelines but something that connects what is “the good” with living “the good life” (Solomon, 1999).Toward New Understandings of Career, Success, Productivity, and Happiness
One topic that I am coming to include in nearly every one of my classes these days is the transformation of the citizen to the consumer over the past century. Now why would this topic deserve so much attention? And what does it have to do with communication, work, and ethics? Why should we care? I begin with the connotations and practices associated with each of these terms and how it is that the word consumption has come to have a very different cluster of meanings at the beginning of the 21st century than it did at the start of the 20th. In 1900, consumption referred to use, waste, and to the disease of tuberculosis. It had both neutral and negative connotations. Today, consumption is elevated as a principal goal of individuals and our society: We see this in seemingly innocuous things such as the bumper sticker that says, “I'd rather be shopping” to the treatment of China in the news mainly as an emerging market of 1.25 billion consumers. “Consumer” has a very different ring than “citizen,” and curiously, the term citizen now sounds out of date to many of my students just as it does to larger publics in North America, Europe, East Asia, Australasia, and beyond. Many members of our society readily announce, “But I am a consumer!” Of course, you and I are. But the problem with “the consumer” is that the term and the role do not readily suggest responsibilities; the emphasis is on rights and demands. Typically, when we hear the word consumer, we think mainly of what we want from and not what we might give to society. This means that we're less likely to think about ethical issues when we are thinking or acting with our consumer “hats” on than when we consider ourselves first of all as citizens (e.g., Cheney, 2005).
A New Yorker cartoon (Stevens, 1997) captures the problem perfectly. It shows one political leader seated beside another, saying, “My government is concerned about your government's torture and maiming of potential consumers.” We laugh at such a frame because it sounds odd, but underlying the irony is the fact that when we think about the consumer role, responsibility, political engagement, and ethical choices often seem to disappear. This is true even for many people who consider themselves “socially responsible”: While they may consciously choose to buy a car that gets good gas mileage, they will at the same time not even think about where their investments are directed. All of us—and I do mean all of us—compartmentalize, or contain, our ethical positions and our values in certain ways.
[Page 319]With the consumer in mind, I then move into issues of the market and happiness. Recent research on happiness and the consumer society is telling. Some surveys of life satisfaction in the United States show that happiness may have peaked in the year 1957! Understandably, this is disheartening to many of today's college students. Another study shows that when the Forbes 100 richest U.S. citizens were compared with a random sample from metropolitan phonebooks, the rich group came out only slightly happier on average than the randomly selected group. Finally, international surveys of more than 100 countries show that after a certain level of income—adjusted to about US$10,000—increased affluence does not yield increased happiness (see Hamilton, 2003). The title of one book that summarizes this kind of research makes the point well: the loss of happiness in market democracies (Lane, 2000). So what's going on?
When I ask students to write vision statements of their ideal careers in the quality of work–life class or their main ideals, or values, in the ethics class, there's an interesting convergence. Upon reflection, they realize that our consumer society doesn't necessarily deliver what it promises. While it pretends to be purely democratic in “giving 'em what they want,” in some ways it diverts people from the things that really make them happy, beyond material subsistence: satisfying relationships with family and friends, meaningful work, and transcendent goals (Gilbert & Wilson, 2000; cf. Cheney, Zorn, Planalp, & Lair, 2008). So it may be that living “the good life” is not the same as living “a good life”—at least as we typically define things like wealth and success and being productive in our society. When many of us begin to reflect deeply on these things, we find that what advertising presents as solid and sure—a new car or a promotion is the path to happiness—is actually pretty fleeting.Back to the Way we Talk and the Way we Are
This is why I spend so much time in class on aphorisms or maxims like “Get a real job” (see Clair, 1996), “Act like a professional” (Cheney & Ashcraft, 2007), and “It's just business” (Cheney, 1998). These sayings express deep commitments of our culture that often go unquestioned. For example, by proclaiming, “It's just business,” a person is basically saying that certain activities—including harmful ones—shouldn't be evaluated by ethical standards “outside” of commerce as a justification in itself. This is part of the illusion of an amoral market, based on a faulty interpretation of Adam Smith's 1776 book Wealth of Nations (Smith, 1976; Werhane, 1991). In fact, Smith never imagined a market without emotions and values such as sympathy, compassion, and justice. Making these kinds of assumptions obvious or transparent can lead to some productive reflections on who we are, what we really want, and how we can make a better society.
Interestingly, it was Aristotle (1980), more than 2,400 years ago, who linked “the good life” and “a good life.” His concept of eudaimonia was until fairly recently translated into English from the ancient Greek simply as “happiness.” But now scholars agree that he meant something more than that: the idea of “flourishing,” which takes into account not just individual life satisfaction but also one's role in the world. In other words, true happiness involves something much more than individual life satisfaction: the upgrading of [Page 320]one's audio equipment, the bigger house, or the status associated with a high-end brand. Ethics are ultimately not things we keep in a box but have woven throughout our lives. But this is not usually how ethics are taught or discussed or imagined, especially when it comes to business and professional activities (Cheney, 2004; Cheney et al., 2010; Seeger & Kuhn, 2011).Where Now?
As you reflect on the cases and issues discussed in this book, try to make connections not only to other cases and to foundational theories of ethics (such as discussed in the introduction) but also to your life commitments and life path. While you may not have to face certain issues—say, whether to report malfunctioning O-rings—you will inevitably face ethical choices about what kind of professional and what kind of person you want to be. And it is better to think about that consciously at various points than to wonder later, “How did I get here?”ReferencesAristotle. (1980). The Nicomachean ethics (D. Ross, Trans.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Benhabib, S. (Ed.). (1996). Democracy and difference. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.1991). Linear and non-linear career models: Metaphors, paradigms and ideologies. Management Communication Quarterly, 4, 466–505., & (1998). “It's the economy, stupid!” A rhetorical-ethical perspective on today's market. Australian Journal of Communication, 25(3), 25–44.(2004). Bringing ethics in from the margins. Australian Journal of Communication, 31, 25–40.(2005, March 15). The United States of consumers. Or, is there a citizen in the house? Annual Humanities Lecture, University of Utah.(2007). The meanings and practices of professionalism. Considering “the professional” in communication studies: Implications theory and practice within and beyond the boundaries of organizational communication. Communication Theory, 17, 146–175., & (2010). Just a Job? Communication, ethics and professional life. New York: Oxford University Press., , , & (Cheney, G., May, S., & Munshi, D. (Eds.). (2011). The International Communication Association handbook of communication ethics. New York: Routledge.2008). Meaningful work and personal/social well-being: Organizational communication engages the meanings of work. In C.Beck (Ed.), Communication Yearbook, 32, 137–186., , , & (1996). The political nature of the colloquialism “a real job”: Implications for organizational socialization. Communication Monographs, 63, 249–267.(2000). Miswanting. In J. P.Forgas (Ed.), Feeling and thinking (pp. 178–197). New York: Cambridge University Press., & (1982). In a different voice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.(2003). Growth fetish. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.([Page 321]2002). Ethics in human communication ((5th ed.). Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.2000). The loss of happiness in market democracies. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.(2003). Environmental ethics: An anthology. Malden, MA: Blackwell., & , III. (2011). Communication ethics and organizational contexts: Divergent values and moral puzzles. In G.CheneyS.May & D.Munshi (Eds.), The handbook of communication ethics (pp. 166–189). New York: Routledge., & (1976). Wealth of nations. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Original work published 1776)(1999). A better way to think about business: How personal integrity leads to corporate success. New York: Oxford University Press.(1997, July 21). My government is concerned about your government's torture and maiming of potential consumers. New Yorker.(1991) Adam Smith and his legacy for modern capitalism. New York: Oxford University Press.([Page 322]
About the Editor[Page 347]
Steve May (PhD, University of Utah, 1993) is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Professor May's research focuses on the relationship between work and identity, as it relates to the boundaries of public/private, work/family, and labor/leisure. Most recently, he has studied the challenges and opportunities for organizational ethics and corporate social responsibility, with particular attention to ethical practices of dialogic communication, transparency, participation, courage, and accountability. His edited books include The Handbook of Communication Ethics, The Handbook of Communication and Corporate Social Responsibility, The Debate Over Corporate Social Responsibility, Case Studies in Organizational Communication: Ethical Perspectives and Practices, and Engaging Organizational Communication Theory and Research: Multiple Perspectives. His current book project is Corporate Social Responsibility: Virtue or Vice? He is a Leadership Fellow at the Institute for the Arts and the Humanities and an Ethics Fellow at the Parr Center for Ethics. He was recently named a Houle Engaged Scholar by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Page Legacy Scholar by Pennsylvania State University. In addition, he serves as an Ethics Advisor for the Ethics at Work program at Duke University's Kenan Institute for Ethics. He is a past Editor of Management Communication Quarterly and Associate Editor of The Journal of Applied Communication Research and The Journal of Business Communication.[Page 348]
About the Contributors[Page 349]
Michelle Amazeen (MS, University of Illinois, 1992) is a doctoral student in the Mass Media and Communication program at Temple University and is currently an instructor in the Department of Advertising where she teaches a course on advertising ethics. Her dissertation research involves political communications—specifically, the role of misinformation in political advertising. Her research has appeared in the Journal of Business Ethics and the Pennsylvania Communication Annual.
Jane Stuart Baker (PhD, Texas A&M University, 2009) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Alabama. Her work has been featured in several books, including Research Methods for Studying Difference: A Behind-the-Scenes Guide (in press), Reframing Difference in Organizational Communication Studies (2010), and Handbook of Crisis Communication (2010). Her research focuses on organizational discourse, diversity, dialectics, and group communication in organizational contexts.
Hamilton Bean (PhD, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2009) is Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His research intersects the fields of organizational communication and national security. His research appears in Rhetoric & Public Affairs and Intelligence and National Security.
Ryan S. Bisel (PhD, University of Kansas, 2008) is Assistant Professor of Organizational Communication at the University of Oklahoma. His primary research interests include supervisor-subordinate communication and organizational culture change. His work is published with Management Communication Quarterly, Communication Theory, and Human Relations.
Edward C. Brewer (PhD, Bowling Green University, 1995) is Professor of Communication Studies at Appalachian State University. His research interests include the relationship of personality to effective organizational and managerial communication, time and probability issues in organizational and interpersonal management issues, and organizational culture. Brewer has published articles concerning organizational communication and free speech issues in the Journal of Business Communication, The Archive of Marketing Education, Business Quest, The Free Speech Yearbook, The Journal of Public Advocacy, Iowa Journal of Communication, Ohio Communication Journal, Kentucky Journal of Communication, and the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture. Before he received his PhD, he worked in sales and banking and served as a pastor for 10 years.
[Page 350]Elaine M. Brown (MS, North Carolina State University, 2007) is a doctoral student in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on the discourse and practice of corporate social responsibility.
Paula Cano is an independent scholar in New York City.
George Cheney (PhD, Purdue University, 1985) is Professor of Communication Studies at Kent State University. Previously, he was the John T. Jones Centennial Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He has also been Professor in the Department of Communication, Director of Peace and Conflict Studies, and Director of the Tanner Human Rights Center, all at the University of Utah. Also, he is Adjunct Professor in Management Communication at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. His interests include organizational communication, quality of work-life, professional ethics, employee rights and participation, organizational identity, power in organizations, the marketization of society, issues in globalization, and dissent and peacemaking. Recognized for both teaching and research, he has published over 90 journal articles and book chapters, along with eight books—many in collaborated efforts. He has lectured in North America, Western Europe, and Latin America. He is at work on three books, treating the topics of alternative organizations, the rhetoric of war and peace, and distinctive approaches to qualitative methods.
Teresa L. Clounch is Associate Dean of Students at Baker University.
Charles Conrad (PhD, University of Kansas, 1980) is Professor of Communication at Texas A&M University. He teaches courses in organizational communication; organizational rhetoric; and communication, power, and politics. His research currently focuses on the symbolic processes through which organizations influence popular attitudes and public policies. His most recent book is Organizational Rhetoric: Resistance and Domination, and he is writing a “close comparison” of organizational rhetoric and healthcare policy making in the United States and Canada.
Megan Dortch was an undergraduate student at Texas A&M University when the case study was written.
Jeanette Wenig Drake (PhD, Bowling Green State University, 2004) is Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Findlay. Prior to teaching, she managed strategic communications for various organizations in Columbus, Ohio. Her scholarship focuses on the influences of framing on public dialogue about food and farming and subsequently on public policy. Recent publications regarding organizational ethics include The Public Relations Strategist, Ohio Communication Journal, and K. M. Carragee and L. R. Frey's (Eds.) Communication Activism (Vol. 3).
Sarah B. Feldner (PhD, Purdue University, 2002) is Assistant Professor in the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University. In her research, she focuses on the ways [Page 351]in which organizations establish and communicate identities both internally and externally. In particular, she has published work that looks at the ways in which organization mission impacts individual organization members, the role of dialogue in engaging publics, and the management of multiple identities in the context of active stakeholder involvement.
Carl E. Fischer is retired from the U.S. Army and now serves as Senior Military Analyst at System Studies and Simulation, Inc.
Rachel Gordon was an undergraduate student at Texas A&M University when the case study was written.
Loril M. Gossett (PhD, University of Colorado Boulder, 2001) is Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Organizational Science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her research interests primarily involve the study of nonstandard work arrangements (outsourced/contract labor, temporary workers, part-timers, volunteers, etc.). She examines how these alternative work relationships impact what it means to be or communicate as an organizational member—specifically with respect to issues of member identification, organizational power, and managerial control. Dr. Gossett's research has been published in journals such as Management Communication Quarterly, Communication Monographs, National Association for the Practice of Anthropology Bulletin, and Communication Yearbook.
Catherine Howard is a faculty member in the College of Business and Leadership at Fort Hayes State University.
Joann Keyton (PhD, Ohio State University, 1987) is Professor of Communication at North Carolina State University. Her current research examines the process and relational aspects of interdisciplinary teams, the role of training and influence of culture in organizational interventions, and how messages are manipulated in sexual harassment. In addition to publications in scholarly journals and edited collections, she has published three text books for courses in group communication, research methods, and organizational culture in addition to coediting an organizational communication case book. Keyton was Editor of the Journal of Applied Communication Research (Vols. 31–33) and Founding Editor of Communication Currents (Vols. 1–5). Currently, she is Editor of Small Group Research. She is a founder and Vice-Chair of the Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research.
John Llewellyn (PhD, University of Texas, 1990) is Associate Professor at Wake Forest University. His research interests include organizational rhetoric, rhetorical criticism, public relations, urban legends, and sport communication. His work has appeared in The Debate Over Corporate Social Responsibility, Society, Case Studies in Sport Communication, American Communication Journal, Research in Corporate Social Performance and Policy, Public Relations Quarterly, Journal of Communication, and Political Communication and Persuasion.
[Page 352]Alexander Lyon (PhD, University of Colorado Boulder 2003) is Associate Professor at The College at Brockport, SUNY. His research interests include culture, ethics, and power in organizations. His work has appeared in journals such as Communication Monographs, Management Communication Quarterly, and Journal of Applied Communication Research, among others.
Roxana Maiorescu (MA, Virginia Tech, 2009) is a doctoral student in the Department of Communication at Purdue University. Her research interests include crisis management, corporate social responsibility, PR and social media, and critical theory in organizational communication.
Caryn E. Medved (PhD, University of Kansas, 1998) is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Baruch College with the City University of New York. Her research focuses on nontraditional intersections between work and family communication practices and structures. She is Editor of the Journal of Family Communication. Her research has been funded by the Sloan Foundation and the Ohio University Research Council. Professor Medved's work has appeared in Management Communication Quarterly, Journal of Family Communication, Communication Yearbook, Communication Studies, Journal of Applied Communication, the Sloan Work and Family Encyclopedia, Journal of Marriage and Family, and Women's Studies Quarterly.
Rebecca J. Meisenbach (PhD, Purdue University, 2004) is Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. Her research addresses issues of ethics and identity, particularly in nonprofit and gendered contexts. Current projects address stigma management in organizational contexts and the experiences of working moms as they return to paid work after a maternity leave. Her work has been published in outlets such as Communication Monographs, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Management Communication Quarterly, and Sex Roles.
Alyssa Grace Millner (MA, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2008) is a doctoral candidate at the University of Kentucky. Since early 2007, Millner has been involved in food crisis communication research funded by the National Center for Food Protection and Defense. Her collaborative research explores strategies for effective national crisis communication during food contaminations or adulteration disasters.
Rahul Mitra (MA, Bowling Green State University, 2009) is a doctoral student at Purdue University. His research interests include the evolving roles/ meanings of corporate responsibility and sustainable business, leadership, careers and meaningful work, and gender/ sexuality in organizations. His research has been published in Communication, Culture & Critique, Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, and Journal of Communication Inquiry.
Dean E. Mundy (PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2010) is Assistant Professor at Appalachian State University. His research explores the communication [Page 353]strategies of advocacy organizations in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) movement. His dissertation researched the communication practices of state-based LGBT advocacy organizations—the organizations that do the lion's share of the work in the movement with only a fraction of the funding and attention. He is in the process of submitting articles from his dissertation and plans to continue studying how state-based advocacy can inform public relations, organizational communication, and social movement theory.
Natalie Nelson-Marsh (PhD, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2006) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Boise State University. Her main research interests include the study of nontraditional organizing such as virtual organizing, organizational culture, information and communication technologies, and organizational stability and change. She has published various journal articles in Management Communication Quarterly and New Media and Society as well as a book chapter in Virtual and Collaborative Teams: Process, Technologies, and Practice.
David R. Novak (PhD, Ohio University, 2006) is Assistant Professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research centers on participatory organizing for social change. Specifically, he uses qualitative research methods, including visual methods to research participation, democracy, and community as they relate to homelessness and poverty. His research has appeared in the Journal of Applied Communication Research, Communication Methods and Measures, and Visual Communication.
Mark Ricci (MA, The College at Brockport, SUNY, 2009) is Adjunct Professor at The College at Brockport, Monroe Community College, and St. John Fisher College. His research focuses on critical and ethical perspectives on organizations, particularly the business of sports and pharmaceutical companies.
Kendra Dyanne Rivera (PhD, Arizona State University, 2010) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Texas Tech University. She is an organizational communication scholar who is interested in employees’ identities at work and the communication of emotion, burnout, engagement, and wellness in the workplace. She is particularly focused on the intersections of race, class, and gender and issues of social justice. Her research has been published in Management Communication Quarterly, and forthcoming articles will appear in the Journal of Applied Communication Research, Women and Language, and Qualitative Inquiry.
Katherine Russell was an undergraduate student at Texas A&M University when the case study was written.
Timothy L. Sellnow (PhD, Wayne State University, 1987) is Professor and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies at the University of Kentucky. Sellnow's primary research and teaching focus is on risk and crisis communication. He currently serves as theme leader for the risk communication research team at the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, a Center of Excellence sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. Sellnow is the [Page 354]coauthor of three books on crisis and risk communication and past Editor of the Journal of Applied Communication Research.
Lu Tang (PhD, University of Southern California, 2007) is Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication Studies, University of Alabama. Her research examines the impact of globalization on communication practices within and across organizations, such as knowledge management, corporate culture, networks, and corporate social responsibility. Her research has been published in the Journal of Business Ethics, Public Relations Review, and Journal of Health Communication.
Sarah S. Topp is Assistant Professor of Speech and Drama and Director of Debate at Trinity University. She teaches classes on argumentation, social movements, persuasion, and political communication. Her research focuses on the rhetoric of social movement organizations.
Sarah J. Tracy (PhD, University of Colorado Boulder, 2000) is Associate Professor and Director of The Project for Wellness and Work-Life in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University at Tempe. Her scholarly work focuses on issues of emotion and work-life wellness within organizations and qualitative methodology. Her research can be found in outlets such as Management Communication Quarterly, Communication Monographs, Communication Theory, Journal of Management Studies, and Qualitative Inquiry. She is currently writing a book titled Qualitative Methodology Matters: Creating and Communicating Qualitative Research With Impact.
Anna Turnage (PhD, North Carolina State University, 2010) is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include rhetorical criticism, critical interpretive organizational communication, communication ethics, and the philosophy and theory of communication technology. Her dissertation, Identification and Disidentification in Organizational Discourse: A Metaphor Analysis of E-mail Communication at Enron, explores discourse in e-mails from Enron Corporation, analyzing how employees used metaphors to bridge dialectical tensions of power and resistance. She has published articles in Southern Journal of Communication, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, and Communication Review.
Shari R. Veil (PhD, North Dakota State University, 2007) is Director of Risk Sciences and Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Kentucky College of Communications and Information Studies. Her research interests include organizational learning in high-risk environments, community preparedness, and communication strategies for crisis management. Her research has been funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Homeland Security's National Center for Food Protection and Defense, and the National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events. Her work has been published in venues such as the Journal of Applied Communication Research, Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, Journal of Business Ethics, International Journal of Technology and Human[Page 355]Interaction, Journal of Communication Management, Journal of Business Communication, International Journal of Strategic Communication, Communication Studies, and Public Relations Review, among others.
Elizabeth A. Williams (PhD, Purdue University, 2011) is Assistant Professor at Colorado State University. Her research interests include identification and leadership in a variety of organizational contexts, including distributed teams, multiteam systems, organizations experiencing change, and health organizations. Her work has been published in the Journal of Communication, Journal of Health Communication, Health Communication, and various edited volumes. She has conducted communication workshops in a variety of corporate and academic settings, has been recognized for excellence in teaching, and in 2007 was awarded Purdue University's College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Master's Thesis Award.
Aimei Yang is a PhD candidate in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma. Her research interests include the study of civil organizations’ transnational communication and advocacy and the structure and functions of virtual communication networks. Her work has been published in venues such as Mass Communication and Society, Journal of Intercultural Communication, and Public Relations Review, among others.