Organizational communication and cultural studies: A review essay

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
David Carlone, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Recently, we have been struggling to interpret a series of minor yet absurd spectacles that span the industrial and popular-cultural realms. These events have compelled our scholarly interest, but lack a ready-made frame for diagnosing their significance. Consider these examples: In the summer of 1996, vivacious 'TV talk-show cohost Kathie Lee Gifford was criticized by activists who linked her line of Wal-Mart clothing to human-rights abuses and wage violations among factory workers in Honduras and New York City. Tearful and contrite, Gifford quickly adopted a policy of independent monitoring and assigned her husband, celebrity sports-announcer Frank Gifford, to deliver envelopes of compensation for the affected workers. Relatedly, in the fall of 1997, Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams—famed for his satire of corporate foibles—disguised himself as a management consultant. With the help of a company official, he conducted an executive retreat in a computer firm that produced a tortured "revision" of its mission statement. Additional examples appear in the flickerings of our TV screens: the lithe, androgynous figures of Intel's technicians, clad in hooded, colorful "clean room" suits, energetically installing computer chips to a soundtrack of 1970s funk; and quasi-documentary images of rolling golf carts, filled with visitors to the Saturn car plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, watching assembly workers at their tasks—and being watched in return.

Additional Information

Communication Theory, 8(3), 337-367
Language: English
Date: 1998
Organizational communication, Cultural studies

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