Celebrating Faculty Excellence
Faculty at the School of Communication Studies are dedicated to investing their time in quality research in the varying aspects of organizational and interpersonal communication. This faculty showcase shows how they are producing high-impact work that positively impacts not just the field, but the world around us.
On Relationality and Organizationality: Degrees of durability, materiality, and communicatively constituting a fluid social collective
Assistant Professor Roth Smith
In this Organization Studies article, Roth studies how loosely structured fluid social collectives may attain degrees of “organizationality” depending on whether or not they achieve certain organization-like elements. The organizationality approach offers a compelling account for the persistence of fluid social collectives, but the framework could be strengthened by moving beyond language-centered explanations and including into theorizing a plurality of “entities” that differ in ontological status. Based on a case study within the context of a fluid user-built recreation space, this study adopts a relational ontology viewpoint on materiality to show how dynamic aspects of natural elements, expectations, feelings, and the cyclicality of nature can be theorized as material, and thus mattering, to organizing processes. Findings reveal that the degree of durability of these entities is key for understanding interconnected decision-making, identity, and ultimately how the fluid collective achieves or degrades organizationality.
“Put the phone away!”: Does text message content influence perceptions of group member texting?
Associate Professor Emily Paskewitz
In this Computers in Human Behavior journal article, Paskewitz and her co-author focus on how knowledge of text message content may influence the positive or negative perceptions of mobile phone use in meetings. Four videos depicted an organizational meeting and different mobile phone message content (meeting-related, non-meeting related, no knowledge of the message, no mobile phone use). After watching the video, participants evaluated the texter and overall meeting. Results from a student and a professional sample showed that an absence of mobile phone use was best for individual and meeting level outcomes. Meeting-related text messages were generally viewed more positively than non-meeting related messages or not knowing the message. Differences were also found between the two samples for individual and meeting level outcomes.
“We Aren’t Here to Win; We are Here Not to Lose”: Emergency Physicians’ Communicative Management of Uncertainty
Associate Professor Laura Miller
In this Health Communication journal article, Miller and co-authors explore hospital emergency department physicians’ experiences of uncertainty in their everyday work environment. Through an ethnographic fieldwork in an ED, we identified three main sources of uncertainty routinely faced by physicians: (a) patients’ incorrect expectation about the role of ED; (b); patient variability and ED physicians’ breadth of expertise; and (c) emerging and unexpected changes in patient cases after handoffs. We also found how ED physicians managed these uncertainties, including: (1) direct admission of scientific uncertainty to patients; (2) lowering epistemic uncertainty through swift Internet searches; and (3) maintenance of situational uncertainty. We discuss implications of these findings for researchers, providers, and hospital organizations.
Pathways to connection: An intensive longitudinal examination of state and dispositional hope, day quality, and everyday interpersonal interaction
Assistant Professor Quinten Bernhold
In this Journal of Social and Personal Relationships article, Bernhold and co-authors build on hope theory to demonstrate that state and trait hope are associated with daily interpersonal experiences. Multilevel modeling of daily diary data indicated that state hope—composed of the dual factors of pathways (i.e., the ability to devise routes toward goals) and agency (i.e., motivation to pursue devised routes)—was negatively associated with amount of daily interpersonal conflict, positively associated with constructive conflict management when conflict occurred, and negatively associated with daily challenges in maintaining relationships. These relationships were found largely at the within-person level. Further, and consistent with central tenets of hope theory, moderated multilevel models showed that within-person state pathways and agency thinking were more strongly associated with day quality on days when individuals experienced higher-than-usual levels of relational maintenance challenges. Finally, in an extension of hope theory, multilevel models showed that dispositional pathways and between-person state agency were positively linked to momentary feelings of connection as captured by experience sampling over a 7-day period.