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Organizational Communication: Critical Approaches

Dennis K. Mumby

Subject Cultural Studies
Communication Studies » Organizational Communication

People Marx, Karl

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


The term “critical approach” refers to a broad, interdisciplinary body of theory and research that conceives of organizations as dynamic sites of control and resistance. “Critical studies” covers several distinct yet related intellectual traditions, each of which examines the communicative practices through which control and resistance are produced, reproduced, and transformed in the process of organizing. These traditions include: neo-Marxism, →  critical theory , postmodernism, and feminism (→  Postmodernism and Communication ; Feminist and Gender Studies ). Each of these traditions shares the “post-linguistic turn” assumption that language and →  Discourse are central, constitutive elements of human meaning and reality formation. In the context of organizational communication studies, this assumption translates into a view of communication and organization as co-constitutive. That is, communication is viewed as creating organizations as meaning-based, social constructions; organizations are conceived as both enabling and constraining the everyday communication processes of their members. Common to all traditions within the critical perspective, however, is the notion that such co-constitutive processes are not arbitrary or spontaneous, but rather occur within the context of complex relations of power. Thus, all perspectives in critical organizational communication studies view ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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