Bringing together prominent scholars in the field of organizational communication to examine the relationship between difference and organizing, this book explores the concept in a comprehensive and systematic way. Part I explores numerous ways in which difference can be critically examined as a communicative phenomenon; Part II addresses how best to teach difference, including pragmatic recommendations for explaining the topic and making it relevant to students’ lives; and Part III broadly examines difference as a central construct in applied organizational communication research. Ultimately, the book serves to carve out a new agenda for studies of difference and organization, and it challenges instructors and students alike to think about and explore difference in a more complex and productive manner.

Intersecting Difference: A Dialectical Perspective

Intersecting difference: A dialectical perspective
Linda L.Putnam, JodyJahn, and Jane StuartBaker

Research on gender and diversity is rooted in conceptions of difference. Drawn from lay definitions of this concept, difference typically refers to dispersions among categories or distinctions among members of reference groups. In its Latin roots, different means “to differ from” or “to move away from” a central point of reference (Reeder, 1996). Thus, to be different implies a comparison to a focal point. In the gender literature, the focal point is typically the dominant group; thus, the comparison group becomes the other or the outlier.

Conceptions of difference in the diversity literature also draw on this broad-based definition. Even while valuing heterogeneity, the diversity literature continues to treat difference as movement ...

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