Out now: Co-edited Special Forum on “Organizing/ Communicating Sustainably” in Management Communication Quarterly


I am so thrilled that the Special Forum, co-edited with Patrice M. Buzzanell (Purdue University), on “Organizing/Communicating Sustainably” is finally out in the February 2015 issue of Management Communication Quarterly (MCQ).

As Dr. Buzzanell and I observed in our introductory essay,

Despite a large body of research examining themes such as corporate social responsibility (CSR), ethical and transformational leadership, institutional networks, and workplace diversity, relatively under-examined is the polysemous term sustainability in the context of organizing, and how communicative practices enable (and restrain) sustainable organizing in different contexts. Although there is a growing sub-field of environmental communication, with many studies exploring the organizational aspects of environmental sustainability, too often has the dichotomy between “environment” and “organization” been reified in mainstream organizational communication scholarship. (p. 130; download PDF)

MCQ was the ideal location for this Special Forum, given the journal’s preeminent role in organizational and management communication research, and we were excited to receive the go-ahead from editor Ling Chen (Hong Kong Baptist University) to contact a variety of communication scholars to write on this topic. In the introductory essay, we offered a framework of sustainability “as organizing practices—grounded in communicative action—that go beyond the preservation of the status quo to consider the contingencies and novel recombinations possible, as social entities negotiate a complex, risk-laden world. Sustainable organizing, then, is fundamentally about transforming extant social systems” (p. 133).

In other words, we think of sustainable organizing as centering innovative strategies and practices to reformulate contemporary institutions. It is in keeping with this mantra that we included researchers from different parts of the world, discussing contexts as varied as corporate reporting rhetoric, organizations’ “license to operate” derived from social contracts, transition networks for resilience in the face of environmental change, and ways of including social stakeholders in the decision-making process toward “sustainable citizenship.” We hope you’ll be excited as we were, while working with the authors on their wonderful essays. Go read them! 🙂

Authors include (in alphabetical order): Lars Thøger Christensen, Øyvind Ihlen, Priya Kurian, Mette Morsing, Debashish Munshi, Emily Polk, Jan Servaes, and Ole Thyssen.


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