Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Management Communication Quarterly 21:2 (November 2007), p. 248.

doi: 10.1177/0893318907306036


Copyright © 2007 Sage Publications. Used by permission.


As I thought of what I might say to introduce a Forum calling for diverse voices and alternative rationalities in organizational communication research, I found myself reflecting on my own experience as an organizational communication scholar. For the past 20-some years, I have worked as a faculty member in five very different communication departments in five different colleges, in five different universities in the Southwest and Midwest United States. Based on what feels like a rather broad range of experience (at least here in the United States), it is hard sometimes to understand myself as part of a field with substantial disciplinary power. In at least two of my academic “homes,” my colleagues and I engaged in ongoing struggles to sustain ourselves, our courses, and our programs. As I reflect on those experiences now, I sometimes think that if it weren’t for the quality and the nature of our ideas, the field of organizational communication might not have grown to be much of a presence here in the United States. To be sure, there always has been and most likely always will be some interest in the use of communication as a management or business “tool,” but such an understanding of communication alone would not have been sufficient to inspire the growth of an entire field of organizational communication. The field’s growth instead has come at least in part from a great deal of reflexivity about what matters most about communicating and organizing and how that continues to change across space and time. In what follows, Kirsten Broadfoot, Debashish Munshi, Dennis Mumby, and Cynthia Stohl begin a conversation that in various ways calls for expanding the field’s boundaries to include diverse voices and alternative rationalities. Such calls for additional pluralism in organizational communication research have become a hallmark of the field’s development and, once realized, a source of its strength. Please join us now in considering the difference that diverse voices and alternative rationalities can make to the study and practice of organizational communication.