PDW-05 [SWG-16]: Investigating the Constitutive Role of Communication for Organization and Organizing

Nicolas Bencherki
University at Albany, USA
Michael Etter
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Consuelo Vásquez
Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada

Call for Applications


• Joep Cornelissen, VU Amsterdam,The Netherlands
• Linda Putnam, University of California Santa Barbara, USA
• François Cooren, Université de Montréal, Canada
• Daniel Robichaud, Université de Montréal, Canada
• Lars Thøger Christensen, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
• Dan Kärreman, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
• Cliff Oswick, Cass Business School, UK
• Dennis Schoeneborn, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark


The idea that communication is intimately related to organizations and organizing has received considerable attention over the last years, in particular under the guise of the Communicational Constitution of Organizations (or CCO) perspective (for recent reviews, see Ashcraft et al., 2009; Brummans et al., 2014; Cooren et al., 2011). In line with a relational epistemology (Cooren, 2012; Robichaud, 2006) and processual ontology (Schoeneborn, 2011), proponents of this view understand organizations primarily as phenomena that are continuously recreated, sustained and changed through communication and discourse (Cooren et al., 2011; Taylor & Van Every, 2000). Parallel approaches that explore neighboring concepts and methods have also emerged, including discourse studies (Alvesson & Kärreman, 2000; Boje, Oswick & Ford , 2004; Oswick, Keenoy & Grant, 2000), narratives and storytelling (Boje, 2003; Czarniawska-Joerges & Galiardi, 2003) and metaphors analysis (Cornelissen, 2008).

To account for these approaches – and as part of the activities hosted by the new EGOS Standing Working Group (SWG 16) on "Organization as Communication" – this Pre-Colloquium Development Workshop (PDW) aims to offer a 'hands-on' and open space to discuss about the fundamental, constitutive and formative role of communication (and neighboring concepts) for organization and organizing.

  • What are the theoretical directions that the study of communication and organizations has taken, and where can it move in the future?
  • How has the relationship between communication and organizations been studied, and can we think of new methods?
  • What are the kinds of organizations and fieldworks where the relationship between communication and organization has been looked at, and what new sites can we explore?


The workshop will be structured in two main parts. In the first part, senior scholars will reflect on the evolution of theories, methods and empirical work that take a communication-centered or discursive perspective to study organization and organizing (see e.g. Putnam & Mumby, 2014). In the second part, participants will have the possibility to discuss and develop their working papers with senior scholars in a work-shop setting.


Facilitators will be assigned to working papers and discuss the articles in small groups.




We invite working papers (conceptual or empirical) that draw from CCO or related approaches aiming at answering research questions in the nexus between communication or discourse and organization. We also invite papers that, more generally, apply a communication-centered or discursive lens to study organizational phenomena. The workshop should be of special interest for junior faculty scholars as well as PhD students with research ideas under development.


Please submit – via the EGOS website! – a single document of application that includes:

  • On the first page: a short letter of application containing full details of name, address (postal address, phone and email), affiliation (date of PhD completion for early career scholars), and a statement of why you consider it valuable to attend the workshop.
  • A draft/working paper (between 8,000 and 1,000 words, incl. text, references, figures & tables).




  • Alvesson, M., & Kärreman, D. (2000): "Varieties of discourse: On the study of organizations through discourse analsysis." Human Relations, 53 (9), pp. 1125–1149.
  • Ashcraft, K.L., Kuhn, T.R., & Cooren, F. (2009): "Constitutional Amendments: 'Materializing' Organizational Communication." The Academy of Management Annals, 3 (1), pp. 1–64.
  • Boje, D.M. (2003): "Using narrative and telling stories." In: D. Holman & R. Thorpe (eds.): Management and Language. London: SAGE Publications, pp. 41–53.
  • Boje, D.M., Oswick, C., & Ford, J.D. (2004): "Language and Organization: The Doing of Discourse." Academy of Management Review, 29 (4), pp. 571–577.
  • Brummans, B.H.J.M., Cooren, F., Robichaud, D., & Taylor, J.R. (2014): "Approaches to Research on the Communicative Constitution of Organizations." In: L.L. Putnam & D.K. Mumby (eds.): The SAGE Handbook of Organizational Communication. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  • Cooren, F. (2012): "Communication theory at the center: Ventriloquism and the communicative constitution of reality." Journal of Communication, 62 (1), pp. 1–20.
  • Cooren, F., Kuhn, T., Cornelissen, J.P., & Clark, T. (2011): "Communication, organizing and organization: An overview and introduction to the special issue." Organization Studies, 32 (9), pp. 1149–1170.
  • Cornelissen, J.P. (2008): "Metonymy in Language about Organizations: A Corpus-Based Study of Company Names." Journal of Management Studies, 45 (1), pp. 79–99.
  • Czarniawska-Joerges, B., & Gagliardi, P. (2003): Narratives We Organise By. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.
  • Oswick, C., Keenoy, T. W., & Grant, D. (2000): "Discourse, Organizations and Organizing: Concepts, Objects and Subjects." Human Relations, 53 (9), pp. 1115–1123. doi:10.1177/0018726700539001
  • Putnam, L.L., & Mumby, D.K. (eds.) (2014): The SAGE Handbook of Organizational Communication. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  • Robichaud, D. (2006): "Steps Toward a Relational View of Agency." In: F. Cooren, J.R. Taylor & E.J. Van Every (eds.): Communication as Organizing: Empirical and Theoretical Explorations in the Dynamic of Text and Conversation. Routledge, pp. 101–114.
  • Schoeneborn, D. (2011): "Organization as Communication: A Luhmannian Perspective." Management Communication Quarterly, 25 (4), pp. 663–689.
  • Taylor, J.R., & Van Every, E.J. (2000): The Emergent Organization: Communication as Site and Surface. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.


Nicolas Bencherki (PhD, Université de Montréal, Canada, and Sciences Po Paris, France) is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication at the University at Albany, State University of New York, USA. His work focuses on the role of attribution/possession of action, and its communicational performance, in the constitution and action of or-ganizations. He has a particular interest in the ethnographic study of non-profit and community organizations, as well as other settings where taken-for-granted attributes of organizations are challenged.
Michael Etter (PhD, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland) is an Assistant Professor at the Department of International Business Communication at the Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. His work focuses on the role of new information and communication technologies on organisational communication and corporate communication. In his latest research he investigates through in-depth case studies the consequences of social media affordances on the constitution of organizations, their identity, and reputation.
Consuelo Vásquez (PhD, Université de Montréal, Canada) is Associate Professor in the Département de Communication Sociale et Publique at the Université du Québec à Montréal in Canada. Her work has been published in 'Communication Theory', 'Communication Measures and Methods', 'Discourse and Communication', 'Qualitative Research in Organization and Management', 'Scandinavian Journal of Management', and other international peer-reviewed journals. She has also served as an editorial board member of the 'Revue Internationale de Communication Sociale et Publique' and 'Studies in Communication Sciences'. She is currently a coordinator of the EGOS SWG 16 on "Organization as Communication". Her current research looks at the constitutive role of communicative practices of spacing and timing in project and volunteer organizations.