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Executive Communication and Ideology: An Inflated Worldview Faced with a Dilemma

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This dissertation examines the communication of U.S. Corporate executives in quarterly conference calls and in public forums at the World Economic Forum. Using grounded theory, the executive's core conceptual framework

This dissertation examines the communication of U.S. Corporate executives in quarterly conference calls and in public forums at the World Economic Forum. Using grounded theory, the executive's core conceptual framework is identified and analyzed in the conference calls. Broadly speaking, it was found that an underlying aggressive orientation to the organization conceptualizes the executive as being the source of organizational activity. It places the executive in a causal-force relation to other organizational groups, which at once, inflates the role of the executive and poses a dilemma with respect to executive status and the communicative vitality of the organization. This project of organizational communication is situated within the broader areas of ideology, critical organizational scholarship, and communicative constitution of communication. The set of data consists of communication of executives of U.S. corporations in the S&P500 in 171 conference calls with shareholder agents. Grounded theory is used to identify the executives' conceptual view of the organization as it emerges from the data analysis. The findings from the analysis of the conference call data are presented in relation to two core categories, a causal-driving force and an ultimate objective category, including sub-categories that form an overall conceptual framework. An exploration of executive communication at the World Economic Forum extends these findings by demonstrating how it is transformed and mediated in a public venue in the presence of other stakeholders. One important finding from the study involves the emergence of a rival concept that poses an organizational dilemma for the future of the executive's communicative framework. And lastly, the issue of ideology is applied to the findings. This examination uses the sensitizing concepts of reification and fetishism drawn from the literature on ideology, which is developed into a systematic algorithm. The application of the findings to the model adds new insight into the relation between the executive and organizational communication. The results from this examination reinforce and highlight the conceptual dilemma the executive faces in relation to the organization and its future implications on organizational communication.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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Paid in sunsets: a seasonal working life

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Overwork is a long documented social problem in the United States linked to an abundance of negative outcomes. Typically this issue has been addressed organizationally at the individual level or

Overwork is a long documented social problem in the United States linked to an abundance of negative outcomes. Typically this issue has been addressed organizationally at the individual level or socially as an economic structural problem. While both approaches are valid in their own ways, missing from these angles is an approach to overwork from an individual perspective. This study explores overwork from the perspective of seasonal workers in Glacier National Park who typically work for the National Park Service five months and spend the rest of the year recreating. Using qualitative interviews and observations, this piece investigates a seasonal mentality towards work in terms of agency and trust, conceptions and practices of work and life, and in terms of embodiment and spirituality. Grounded theory methods were used to develop an axiomatic analysis which informs a poetic and narrative expression of findings in concert to the discussion and implications of the study. The findings of this study illustrate how seasonal workers present a fascinating alternative to traditional work arrangements in a capitalist system. They possess a unique approach to work and life that foregrounds life experience, freedom, and process as opposed to material goods or stability. They tend to approach work and life as an integrated and holistic pursuit as opposed to a segregated and problematic enterprise. And they tend to approach their work as an embodied and spiritual craft as opposed to something accomplished quickly and efficiently for the economic benefit of the organization. Implications of this research suggest that agency and trust maintain a deeply interconnected and dialectical relationship which agents navigate as they build towards ontological security; that re-conceptualizing work-life as "life first" has potential for fundamentally reshaping the ways life (and work) get experienced; and that divisions between minds and bodies as they have been typically structured between white and blue collar work might be interrupted via the inclusion of the human spirit at work. These findings interrupt common practices of overwork in different ways but primarily function as a reminder that ways of thinking coincide with ways of living and working.

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Date Created
  • 2012