Communicative Coworkership

Part III: Communication as Constitutive of Organizing

A perspective acknowledging this central role of communication, is the viewpoint regarding communication as constitutive of organizing (CCO), which has evolved within the field of organizational communication (Putnam & Nicotera, 2009). This perspective offers a significant value to organizational research since it recognizes organizations as continuous products of sense-making practice, which is always political in the sense that they could have been produced differently (Coreen et al, 2011).

CCO is especially valuable in looking at the understudied perspective of coworkers, since it highlights how their sense making processes and communication is fundamental in constituting the organization (Heide & Simonsson, 2011), and has emphasized how discourse is an essence of organizational life (Coreen et al, 2011). Despite this however, the aspect of power is placed in the background of the CCO-perspective (Rose, O’Malley & Valverde, 2006; Leclercq-Vandelannoitte, 2011) and is therefore something that should be developed in order to further a significant contribution to organizational communication research.

Mikhail Pavstyuk

There is thus a need of a study with aim to analyse power relations in the communicative organization, where the focus is on the coworker. With a critical approach it should be examined how this communicative coworkership is described, practiced and experienced, what conditions this entails for the coworker and what the consequences are.

The purpose is two-fold: 1) to develop the CCO perspective in organizational studies by adding a power perspective, 2) to address a deficit of research in strategic communication regarding coworkership. A study should wish to shed light on the power aspects of organizational communication in studying the organizational tensions a communicative coworkership entails for the employee, and what the consequences are. It should acknowledge but also problematize the coworker as an active communicator and creator of meaning.

The aim is to further a development of constitutive communication models for organizational research. A study could do so by developing the analysis of organizational communication from the Montreal School’s CCO-argument by adding a Foucauldian perspective where power relations are in focus, highlighting the tensions that arise for the coworker when communication is considered essential. The study could do this through case studies in which the framework is formed by a concept model based on Foucault’s ideas (see Figure 1 above). The cases will exemplify how organizations are constituted by dynamic power-knowledge relationships, which mobilize discourse, structures and subjectivity.


Organization and leadership

Is your office open? Let’s see what it really is saying.

BildWhat would happen if employees in an organization did not somehow see each other, didn’t talk to each other, did not cooperate with each other? The thought doesn’t seem very realistic today, there is simply no such organization! An organization without communication does not exist since the communication permeates all activities (see, among others, Putnam, Phillips & Chapman, 1996; McPhee & Zaug, 2000; Taylor, 1993; Weick, 2004). Hatch and Schultz (2009, p. 121) argues ”Top managers need to listen and respond to both internal and external stakeholders if they want to formulate a strategy that employees can and will deliver”. A question for academia and practitioners thus becomes how to promote a valuable communication within the organization.


One factor that has implications for communication in an organization is how you organize. The work environment is important for an organization since the business needs to attract and retain qualified personnel in a competitive world. The organization is dependent on employees who are motivated, productive and healthy. Despite the environmental effect on the staff, there are few scientific studies of how office types affect employees (Westerlund, nd). The coming posts will thus illuminate a theme that requires greater understanding, both from an organizational communicative perspective to foster communication that creates value and is meaningful for employees and for the organization, but also from a broader societal perspective, to provide more insight in areas such as architecture design, work environment and health psychology. The texts will discuss the open office landscape that reflects a trend in organizational environments which more and more organizations embrace (ibid). So, how can we understand the trend of open offices in organizations, and what are the implications on the communication?