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 Degree Discipline: Communication Studies
Androgyny and Managerial Effectiveness in a Total Quality Management Organization
The majority of studies concerning psychological sex and management style have indicated that people consider the masculine style of managing to be the most popular. However, such studies are out of date and/or were usually measuring the perceptions of surveyed college students. Few studies have focused on successful managers in successful organizations. A modified version of the Bern Sex Role Inventory was distributed to 52 managers in a Total Quality Management organization. This study hypothesized that successful managers would be androgynous managers. The results of the study indicated that successful managers are androgynous managers, and that there is no significant difference in the number of female and male androgynous managers.
Enacting Racism: Clarence Thomas, George Bush, and the Construction of Social Reality
This study analyzes the confirmation hearings discourse of Clarence Thomas and George Bush. Language constructs social reality. The United States has a history of racism and this history manifests itself in our language. The discourse of Clarence Thomas and George Bush created a social reality that equated opposition to Thomas' confirmation with racism using rhetorical strategies that included metaphor and narrative construction.
Purification Rhetoric: A Generic Analysis of Draft Card, Flag, and Cross Burning Cases
This thesis assesses three United States Supreme Court opinions, engaging in an inductive approach to generic criticism, in an attempt to discover whether or not there are similarities and/or differences in these decisions. This study focuses on draft card, flag, and cross burning cases argued before the Court in order to discover the potential genre's characteristics.
A Study of the Relationships between Current Attachment Styles and Previous Disengagement Strategies
This thesis examined attachment styles and disengagement strategies used to end romantic relationships for 213 college students.
A Communication Based Model of Power
We are affected greatly by power, and often do not understand what power is, how it is used, and its many other facets. Power and communication are interrelated, but how they relate to each other has been hard to understand. The model presented in this thesis explicates the relationship between the two critical variables. Power is portrayed as a hierarchical structure that is based on influence (communication) where the intensity and likelihood of success of power attempts increase as the level of power increases. The hierarchical structure has four levels, including influence at its base, and prominence, authority and control at the higher levels.
Social Drama at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary : The Dilday Controversy
This study examines the events surrounding the firing of Russell Dilday at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary as a social drama. The results suggest that, for application to post-industrial cultures, adaptations need to be made to Victor Turner's original method. The addition of Thomas Farrell's anticipation phase, identification of the breach with the transgression, and examination of unique facets of post-industrial cultures such as economic factors and the role of the media are recommended modifications. In light of these differences, the study concludes that the state of affairs at Southwestern is characteristic of schism in a post-industrial culture.
A Study of the Relationships among Relational Maintenance Strategy Usage, Communicator Style and Romantic Relational Satisfaction
This thesis examined student-participants' self-reported use of romantic relational maintenance strategies and their partners' reports of relational satisfaction. Additionally, individuals outside the romantic relationship reported on student-participants' general communicator style. The research proposed that general style reports would be predictive of relational maintenance strategy usage and of romantic partners' relational satisfaction. The study found that general style behaviors may not be indicative of relational maintenance strategy usage or romantic partners' relational satisfaction. Tests of sex differences revealed that females' expression of various relational maintenance strategies and style behaviors are associated with male partners' relational satisfaction; however, no results were obtained indicating specific behaviors expressed by males result in female partners' relational satisfaction.
A Study of the Relationships among Student Expectations about Teacher Nonverbal Immediacy, Student Perceptions of Teacher Nonverbal Immediacy, and Affective Learning in Distance Learning and the On-Site Classroom
This thesis explored the relationships among three communication variables in college-level instruction: students' expectancy about teachers' nonverbal immediacy, students' actual perceptions of teachers' nonverbal immediacy, and students' affective learning. Community college students enrolled in either distance learning or a traditional classroom course completed pre-course and mid-course questionnaires to indicate their expectations and observations of the nonverbal immediacy behaviors of their teachers. Analysis showed that students expected and perceived less nonverbal immediacy from tele-course teachers than from on-site teachers, but that perceptions significantly exceeded expectations. Research findings indicated that students' expectancies about teachers' nonverbal immediacy may influence the measurement of affective learning.
A Dialectical Approach to Studying Long-Distance Maintenance Strategies
Using both qualitative and quantitative methodology, this thesis investigates the tactics used by long-distance relational partners, the differences in use of the tactics between long-distance and proximal partners, the relationship among the maintenance tactics, and the relationship of the tactics to relational satisfaction. Seven relational maintenance strategies were identified from the investigation: affirmation, expression, high tech mediated communication, low tech mediated communication, future thought, negative disclosure, and together-time. Significant differences in the use of maintenance tactics between long-distance and proximal partners were discovered and several tactics were found to correlate with relational satisfaction for both relationship types. It is concluded that relational maintenance should be viewed from a multi-dimensional perspective that recognizes the impact relational dialectics have on relationships.
Poppin' Their Thang: African American Blueswomen and Multiple Jeopardy
This ethnographic analysis examines the life stories and lyrics of four African blues singers. Specifically, it compares the cultural themes that emerge their life stories to the cultural themes at emerge from their commercially released music. The findings suggest that the singers recognize, to varying degrees, the impact of racism, sexism, and classism on their personal and careers. These same themes, however, are not present in the lyrics of the music that they choose to sing. Both the stories and the lyrics reveal internal inconsistencies that mirror one another. The conclusion suggests that the inconsistencies within their stories and music are consistent with their liminal position with regard to dominant and subordinate cultures.
The Differences in the Media Constructions of the Narratives of Male and Female Political Candidates
This study views the media as a powerful agent which constructs the narratives of political candidates. In order to determine whether the media constructs the narratives of male and female political candidates differently, newspaper articles were analyzed for two 1994 Congressional races, each involving a male and a female candidate (Thurman versus Garlits and Byrne versus Davis). The first research question posed the following question: Does the media devote more coverage to male or female candidates? The next question concerned media endorsements of the candidates. Third, the settings in which the media portrayed the male and female candidates were compared. Finally, differences in the media's attitude toward male and female candidates were analyzed.
A Rhetorical Analysis of Major Oil Companies' Advertisements in 1990 : A Semiotic Approach
This study demonstrates how discourse is used to construct popular myths. This study analyzes magazine advertisements used by businesses in overcoming the rhetorical problem posed by a public opinion that blamed them for environmental problems. This study shows how businesses used advertisements to construct a popular myth that businesses were doing their part in overcoming the environmental crisis.
"The Buck Stops With Me" : An Analysis of Janet Reno's Defensive Discourse in Response to the Branch Davidian Crisis
This study provides a genre analysis of Janet Reno's apologia in response to the Mt. Carmel disaster. Discussions of the events leading up to the crisis, Reno's rhetorical response, and relevant situational constraints and exigencies are provided.
Protecting Patriarchy: an Historical/Critical Analysis of Promise Keepers, an All-Male Social Movement
The historical survey of social movements in the United States reveals that the movement is a rhetorical ground occupied by groups who have been marginalized by society. Today, however, the distinctions between those who are marginalized and those who are part of the establishment have become difficult to distinguish. This study considers the emergence of Promise Keepers, an all-male social movement, and the rhetorical themes that emerge from the group. This study identifies five rhetorical themes in Promise Keepers. These themes include asserting authority of men in the home and church, the creation of a new male identity, sports and war rhetoric, political rhetoric, and racial reconciliation. The implications of these themes are considered from a critical perspective and areas for future research are provided.
Protection or Equality? : A Feminist Analysis of Protective Labor Legislation in UAW v. Johnson Controls, Inc.
This study provides a feminist analysis of protective labor legislation in the Supreme Court case of UAW v. Johnson Controls, Inc. History of protection rhetoric and precedented cases leading up to UAW are provided. Using a feminist analysis, this study argues that the victory for women's labor rights in UAW is short lived, and the cycle of protection rhetoric continues with new pro-business agendas replacing traditional justifications for "protecting" women in the work place. The implications of this and other findings are discussed.
A Study of the Relationships among Teachers' Immediacy of Dress Factors and Affective Learning Factors: a Relational Communication Perspective
This thesis examined the relationships among immediacy of dress factors and affective learning factors as they pertain to relational communication. College students (N = 482) completed questionnaires indicating perceptions of selected nonverbal immediacy behaviors associated with their teacher's attire. The research predicted that there would be relationships between and among power and affinity of dress, dress immediacy and nonverbal immediacy. Further predictions were made concerning the associations among these variables, affective learning outcomes, and other teacher criteria. Analysis indicated that power of dress, affinity of dress and dress immediacy were viable nonverbal immediacy concepts which related to affective learning outcomes. Research findings indicated that certain instructor variables may also influence these relationships.
Faculty Identification: Effects on Culture in a Metropolitan Research University
This utilized identification theory to determine if faculty identify with the university and recognize its mission. The study also explored how faculty differentiate between a traditional university and a metropolitan research university. Finally, the study explored whether the faculty consider the University of North Texas to be a Metropolitan Research University. UNT full-time faculty members (N=224) completed questionnaires to indicate their identification with the university and their recognition of the university mission. Analysis showed that faculty have not come to a consensus on the definition of a MRU and that they do not identify with UNT.
A Narrative Analysis of Korematsu v. United States
This thesis studies the Supreme Court decision, Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944) and its historical context, using a narrative perspective and reviewing aspects of narrative viewpoints with reference to legal studies in order to introduce the present study as a method of assessing narratives in legal settings. The study reviews the Supreme Court decision to reveal its arguments and focuses on the context of the case through the presentation of the public story, the institutional story, and the ethnic Japanese story, which are analyzed using Walter Fisher's narrative perspective. The study concludes that the narrative paradigm is useful for assessing stories in the law because it enables the critic to examine both the emotional and logical reasoning that determine the outcomes of the cases.
Performing "Camp, Vamp & Femme Fatale": Revisiting, Reinventing & Retelling the Lives of Post-Death, Retro-Gothic Women
This thesis examines the production process for "Camp, Vamp and Femme Fatale," performed at the University of North Texas in April of 1997. The first chapter applies Henry Jenkins's theory of textual poaching to the authors' and cast's reappropriation of cultural narratives about female vampires. The chapter goes on to survey the narrative, cinematic and critical work on women as vampires. As many of the texts were developed as part of the fantasy role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade, this chapter also surveys how fantasy role-playing develops unpublished texts that can make fruitful ground for performance studies. The second chapter examines the rehearsal and production process in comparison to the work of Glenda Dickerson and other feminist directors.
Effects of Receiver Locus of Control and Interaction Involvement on the Interpretation of Service Complaints
This thesis examined how receivers who vary in Interaction Involvement and Locus of Control (LOC) might differ in their interpretations of service complaints. Locus of control was measured using Rotter's (1966) LOC scale, while Interaction Involvement was measured with Cegala's (1984) Interaction Involvement measure, including a separate assessment of the effects for each sub-scale. Individuals were assigned to four groups based on their Interaction Involvement and LOC scores. The groups were compared with one-another for differences in how complaints were interpreted. Four complaint categories and a corresponding scale were developed to measure these differences. The categories were Subject, Goal, Opportunity, and Accountability. Interaction Involvement was expected to affect how receivers interpret the subject and goal of a complaint, while LOC was predicted to affect understanding of the opportunity and accountability aspects. Two research questions explored possible relationships between the complaint categories and the independent variables for individuals within each group. The study's four hypotheses were not supported, although some evidence was found for a significant relationship between receiver Interaction Involvement and perceived complainant Opportunity, for External LOC individuals only.
We've Only Just Begun: A Black Feminist Analysis of Eleanor Smeal's National Press Club Address
The voices of black women have traditionally been excluded from rhetorical scholarship, both as a subject of study and as a methodological approach. Despite the little attention black feminist thought has received, black women have long been articulating the unique intersection of oppressions they face and have been developing critical epistemologies.This study analyzes the National Press Club address given by NOW President Eleanor Smeal utilizing a black feminist methodological approach. The study constructs a black feminist theory for the communication discipline and applies it to a discursive artifact from the women's liberation movement. The implications of the study include the introduction of a new methodological approach to the communication discipline that can expand the liberatory reach of its scholarship.
The Terministic Filter of Security: Realism, Feminism and International Relations Theory
This study uses Kenneth Burke's concept of terministic filters to examine what the word security means to two different publics within the academic discipline of international relations. It studies the rhetoric feminist international relations theorists and contrasts their view security with that of realist and neo-realist interpretations of international affairs. This study claims to open up the possibility for studying the rhetoric of emergent movements through the use of dramatistic or terministic screens.
A Correlative Study of Gender and Social Style.
This study examines the concepts of social style and gender to determine if a relationship exists between the two constructs. The hypotheses suggested a direct relationship between the categories of the BSRI (masculine, feminine, androgynous, and undifferentiated) and the Social Style Analysis (driver, amiable, expressive, and analytical). Ninety-four participants completed two self-report surveys. Chi-square analysis performed on the data found a significant relationship between feminine and amiable as well as androgynous and expressive. While the analysis suggested that masculine/driver and undifferentiated/analytical were not independent, the relationship found was not significant.
The Emergence of Organization Through Communication
Taylor, Cooren, Giroux, and Robichaud (1996) theorize that an organization is created entirely through the interpretations of its members and it evolves as those conversations change. Demonstrating the Taylor et al. theory, the current study focuses on the outcomes of management vision and strategic planning sessions in a division of a large Southwestern University. It explores the ways organization emerges through the discourse of the managers, how text is amplified to support the organization as a whole, the ways organization continues to emerge in communication, and in what ways the emergent view of organization exists throughout the division. The results of the study support the Taylor et al. theory. Management participants created an expanded view of the organization through discourse and then linked it to the university as a whole. Evidence was found supporting continued reformulation but it was limited to the management participants and did not include hourly employees.
A study of cultural variability and relational maintenance behaviors for international and domestic proximal and long distance interpersonal relationships.
This thesis examined 228 college students' reported use of relational maintenance behaviors and strategies and their reported perception of the degree of relational satisfaction and solidarity with the relational partners they chose to identify. The study gathered extensive data with the intention of primarily investigating the validity and reliability of measurement of relational maintenance behaviors across cultures with some attention to correlations between relationship maintenance behaviors, relationship satisfaction, and interpersonal solidarity. The study focused on refining previous measures of relationship maintenance behaviors in order to develop a comprehensive global measure. The study found that a linear combination of factors or relationship maintenance behaviors are related to relational satisfaction and interpersonal solidarity.
Emergency Physician Communication Style and Career Satisfaction: Is There a Correlation?
The correlation between social style and career satisfaction among emergency physicians was investigated. An e-mail survey was sent to a random sample of 1,000 members of the American College of Emergency Physicians in practice for at least three years; 707 had valid e-mail addresses. A twenty-item behavioral style survey instrument and a five-item career satisfaction scale were used. The study incorporated prenotification and reminder e-mails. Valid responses were obtained from 329 physicians (46.5%). No correlation was shown between social style and career satisfaction. Problems with both survey instruments were discovered. Survey respondents were unhappy with their careers, with an average satisfaction of 4.03, 1 being very satisfied, 5 very dissatisfied. Areas for future study include redoing the study using different survey instruments.
Cyberbullying: When Bullies Follow You Home.
Researchers have studied adolescent bullying behavior since the 1970s, however, today's technological advances have opened the door to a new form of abuse. Teens can no longer escape the wrath of their bullies once they have left the school grounds, because bullies are following them home. Cyberbullying is a new phenomenon in which bullies use computer-mediated communication (CMC) to torment their victims. This research project focused on uncovering some of the mysteries surrounding this new means of bullying. A grounded theory analysis of stories written by victims revealed cyberbullies often use synchronous chat tools, e-mail, web sites, and cell phone text messages to reach their victims. Data analysis also revealed victims use of contextualization, descriptions of their bullying episodes, and discussions of their responses and outcomes to characterize their experiences. Interestingly, the researcher found victims of cyberbullying generally were also victims off face-to-face bullying as well.
Living with s(k)in: An analysis of tattoo removal.
This paper investigates the role of tattoo removal in postmodernity. Specifically, I suggest tattoo removal is a technology of self in which the tattooed person can attain absolution from a "sinful" tattoo. This paper explores the construction of the confessional act in two parts: the construction of the confessing subject and the construction of the medical clinic as the confessor's listener. Using the texts medical offices place on the internet to advertise their services, I investigate the text's interpellation of subjects desiring tattoo removal. I then examine the construction of the clinic's status in the confessional act. Websites and brochures on gang tattoo removal provide a dialogue in which the clinic negotiates and attains its powerful position in the confessional act. The paper concludes by investigating the implications of the tattoo remnant, the material effects of the technology of self, and the benefits of studying the body-skin in rhetoric.
"Respect is active like an organism that is not only cumulative but has a very personal effect": A grounded theory methodology of a respect communication model in the college classroom.
This study examined the notion of respect in the college classroom. While pedagogical researchers had previously studied the phenomenon, each found challenges in defining it. Moreover, communication scholars do not examine respect as a primary pedagogical factor with learning implications. Focus groups provided venues for topic-specific discussion necessary for better understanding the diversity of students' worldviews regarding respect in the college classroom. Grounded theory allowed for searching theoretical relevance of the phenomenon through constant comparison with categorical identification. The most practical contributions of this research identifies as several major notions including, the importance of relationships within the process, student self-esteem, and global-classroom respect. In addition, implications emerged from the data as learning, motivation, and environment. One other practical contribution exists as a respect communication model for the college classroom. Further, examining students' worldviews of respect in the classroom provides benefits for pedagogical scholars, students, and instructors.
Deleuze, Femininity and the Specter of Poststructural Politics: Variations on the Materiality of Rhetoric
In this thesis I rethink the materiality of rhetoric in a minor key. I review poststructural and psychoanalytic endeavors to position rhetoric from within the postmodern and poststructural critique of the subject. I move beyond the logic of influence (dependent on a flawed conception of object) and hermeneutics (the correspondingly flawed methodology). In this endeavor, I primarily enlist Deleuze and Guattari (1987) for a conceptual apparatus that enlivens the "thinness" of rhetoric's (neo)Aristotelian conceptual design (cf. Gaonkar, 1997a, 1997b). I offer Monster (2003) as a case study, analyzing the discursive expression of nondiscursive abstract machines to draw out the reterritorializations of the latter. Recognizing the impossibility of complete reterritorialization I map one artifact that reinvests difference in itself, Dancer in the Dark (2000). Finally, in the epilogue I provide a brief recapitulation of minor politics, and offer a summarization of the utility of rhetoric.
Rhapsody in Green - A Happening: An Examination of the Happening as a Rhetorical Tool
In this study I outline seven characteristics of a traditional Happening (the use of games and play, an inherent intertextual element, an emphasis on place/space, an element/spirit of anarchy, an element of chance, an emphasis on the fusion of art with everyday life, and the existence of both a purpose and a meaning) and seek to determine which characteristics contribute to the Happening's current usage as a rhetorical tool. I created a traditional Happening containing a message of environmental consumption and destruction, and surveyed audience members regarding their interpretation and experience. The survey responses were coded using a top-down narrative analysis. I discovered that intertextuality, place/space, and the fusion of art with everyday life are particularly effective communicators of a message in a socially or politically conscious Happening.
The glocalization and acculturation of HIV/AIDS: The role of communication in the control and prevention of the epidemic in Uganda.
Grounded in the social constructivism tradition, this study examined the role of communication in the glocalization and acculturation of HIV/AIDS by a section of sexually active Ugandans then living in Rakai district during the advent of the epidemic in 1982. Sixty-four women and men participated in ten focus group discussions in Rakai and Kampala districts. Five themes emerged from the data highlighting how individuals and communities made sense of the epidemic, the omnipresence of death, how they understood the HIV/AIDS campaign, and how they are currently coping with its backlash. The study concludes that HIV/AIDS is socially constructed and can be understood better from local perspectives rather than from a globalized view. The study emphasizes the integration of cultural idiosyncrasies in any health communication campaigns to realize behavioral change.
Performing Culture, Performing Me: Exploring Textual Power through Rehearsal and Performance
This thesis project explores Chicana feminist Gloria AnzaldĂșa's notion of a new mestiza consciousness, in which the marginalized ethnic American woman transcends her Otherness, breaks down the borders between her different identities, and creates a Thirdspace. Through the rehearsal and performance process, three ethnic American women employed Robert Scholes' model of textuality-the consumption and production of texts-as a framework to construct a new mestiza consciousness, and create a Thirdspace. The project set to determine what strategies were significant rehearsal techniques for encouraging the cast members to exercise textual power and claim a new mestiza identity, a Thirdspace. The results reveal four overarching factors involved in assuming textual power through rehearsal and performance in the production-building trust, having appropriate skills, assuming ownership and responsibility, and overcoming performance anxiety. The discussion addresses the direct link between Thirdspace and Scholes' notion of production of original texts.
Toward a Post-Structural Monumentality
This study addresses a tension in contemporary studies of public memory between ideology criticism and postmodern critique. Both strategies of reading public memory rely on a representational logic derived from the assumption that the source for comparison of a memory text occurs in a more fundamental text or event. Drawing heavily from Michel Foucault, the study proposes an alternative to a representational reading strategy based on the concepts of regularity, similitude, articulation, and cultural formation. The reading of Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Galveston County Vietnam Memorial serves as an example of a non-representational regularity enabled by the cultural formation of pastoral power.
The twain have met: Self-disclosure in the formation and development of intercultural friendships in the case of Taiwanese versus native English speakers.
Grounded in a social penetration perspective, this exploratory study aspires to examine the impact of self-disclosure on intercultural friendship development between Taiwanese and native English speakers by a section of the following populations: (a) Taiwanese sojourning in the US, (b) native English speakers sojourning in Taiwan, and (c) Taiwanese in Taiwan. This research employed a triangulation of quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews to answer the proposed research questions and hypothesis regarding four dimensions and six topics of self-disclosure. Consistent with the quantitative results, the five themes that emerged from the qualitative analysis indicate both unique challenges in self-disclosing to intercultural friends and a positive association between self-disclosure and cultural adaptation. Additionally, this study highlights the role of self-disclosure in the four identified stages of intercultural friendship development. Finally, findings from this study have implications for the social penetration theory, anxiety/uncertainly management theory, and theory of adaptation in intercultural dyads.
More connections, less connection: An examination of the effects of computer-mediated communication on relationships.
The impact of computer-mediated communication (CMC) on relational behavior is a topic of increasing interest to communication scholars (McQuillen, 2003; Tidwell & Walther, 2002). One of the most interesting issues that CMC raises concerns the impact of CMC on relational maintenance and development. Using dialectical theory, social exchange theory, social information processing theory, and the hyperpersonal perspective as theoretical frameworks, this study used quantitative and qualitative analyses to identity potential effects of CMC on relationships. Study 1 (n=317) examined the effects of CMC on relational closeness, satisfaction, and social support. Study 2 (n=196) explored the reasons individuals provide for privileging computer-mediated forms of communication, and the perceived effects of using CMC in relational communication. Results indicated that quality of CMC predicted increased perceptions of social support and relationship satisfaction. Results further suggested that CMC enabled participants to manage more effectively relational tensions of autonomy-connection and openness-closedness. Specifically, individuals used CMC to retain higher levels of conversational control, and to maintain greater numbers of relationships with decreased levels of investment. This paper concludes with a discussion of implications and directions for future research.
Beyond Rocking the Vote: An Analysis of Rhetoric Designed to Motivate Young Voters
Attempts to solve the continued problem of low youth voter turnout in the U.S. have included get out the vote drives, voter registration campaigns, and public service announcements targeting 18- to 25-year-old voters. Pay Attention and Vote added to this effort to motivate young voters in its 2006 campaign. This thesis analyzes the rhetorical strategies employed by the Pay Attention and Vote campaign advertisements, measures their effectiveness, and adds to the limited body of knowledge describing the attitudes and behaviors of young nonvoters. This thesis applies a mixed method approach, utilizing both rhetorical criticism and quantitative method. The results of both analyses are integrated into a discussion which critiques current strategies of addressing the youth voter turnout problem and offers suggestions for future research on the topic.
Programming homeland security: Citizen preparedness and the threat of terrorism.
This thesis tests the necessity of terrorism in articulating Homeland Security citizenship. Chapter 1 orients the study, reviewing relevant literature. Chapter 2 examines the USDHS Ready Kids program's Homeland Security Guide, mapping a baseline for how Homeland Security citizenship is articulated with the overt use of terrorism. Chapter 3 investigates the USDHS Ready Kids program, charting the logic of Homeland Security citizenship when the threat of terrorism is removed from sense making about preparedness. Chapter 4 compares the findings of Chapters 2 and 3, evaluating the similarities and differences between these two articulations of Homeland Security citizenship and concluding that the logic that cements Homeland Security into American society does not depend on the threat of terrorism against the United States.
A Case Study of NASA's Columbia Tragedy: An Organizational Learning and Sensemaking Approach to Organizational Crisis.
No other government agency receives as much attention as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The high-profile agency frequently captures attention of the media in both positive and negative contexts. This thesis takes a case study approach using organizational learning and sensemaking theories to investigate crisis communication within NASA's 2003 Columbia tragedy. Eight participants, who in some capacity had worked for NASA during the Columbia tragedy in a communication centered position, were interviewed. Using a grounded theory framework, nine themes emerged pertaining to organizational learning, leadership, structure, and organizational culture. The results of the study aid in understanding how high risk organization's (HROs) can learn from previous failures and details how organizational culture can hinder organizational change.
An Analysis of Gay/Lesbian Instructor Identity in the Classroom
In this project I explore the connection between cultural and personal identity in the college classroom. Respondent interviews were conducted using open-ended questions, which began with a broad picture of the role the instructor played in the classroom and then focused more specifically on the issue of sexual orientation and the choices to disclose or not disclose orientation in the classroom. Thematic analysis was used to examine the interviews, upon the completion of the interviews being transcribed. RQ1: Do gay and lesbian instructors disclose their sexual orientation in the classroom? From this question, four themes emerged. These themes were disclosure not relevant, out of the classroom disclosure, students just know, and disclosure in the classroom. RQ2: What reasons do gay and lesbian instructors give for disclosing their sexual orientation in the classroom? Two themes, fears of disclosure and holding back, transpired from this question. RQ3: How do gay and lesbian instructors foster diversity in the classroom related to sexual orientation? Four themes were exposed from the question, and these themes were paradox of diversity, passing, mentoring, and identity not sexuality.
From "Living Hell" to "New Normal": Illuminating Self-Identity, Stigma Negotiation, and Mutual Support among Female Former Sex Workers
Women in the sex industry struggle with emotional turmoil, drug and alcohol addiction, poverty, and spiritual disillusionment. Their lived experiences as stigmatized individuals engender feelings of powerlessness, which inhibits their attempts to leave the sex industry. This study illuminates how personal narratives develop throughout the process of shedding stigmatized identities and how mutual support functions as a tool in life transformation. Social identity theory and feminist standpoint theory are used as theoretical frameworks of this research, with each theory adding nuanced understanding to life transformations of female former sex workers. Results indicate that women in the sex industry share common narratives that reveal experiences of a "Living Hell", transitional language, and ultimate alignment with traditional norms. Implications of SIT and FST reveal the role of feminist organizations as possible patriarchal entities and adherence to stereotypical masculine ideology as an anchoring factor in continued sex work.
Milk machines: Exploring the breastfeeding apparatus.
Arguing that current discourse surrounding breastfeeding and the lactating body promotes management of the female body, I attempt to devise an explanation of the breastfeeding apparatus and its strategies. In this study, the strategies include visual and linguistic representations of breastfeeding through art, promotional materials for advertisement and recommendations from the medical community, and the language used in the legal protection of breastfeeding. Using a rhetorical lens, I explore how these varied junctions operate within the breastfeeding apparatus and how breastfeeding is both a product of and a product in the technology. I seek to find what else is at work and how breastfeeding functions as a discursive element in its own right, allowing it to function as an apparatus for control. Finally, I question the potential for resistance in breastfeeding, asking if the lactating body has options, or is the subject so policed and managed that decisions are dictated by the breastfeeding apparatus.
Nontraditional name changes for men: Attitudes of men and women.
Recently, some men have taken their wives' last names upon marriage rather than following tradition. The goal of this study was to examine the attitudes that men and women have toward these nontraditional men. Ideological hegemony and social identity theory comprised the framework for examining participants' beliefs. A survey first elicited participants' extant sexist beliefs about men and the characteristics of a nontraditional man compared to a traditional man. An open-ended question further explored participants' opinions. The results indicated that benevolent sexism influences respondents' attitudes towards nontraditional men and that most respondents view nontraditional men as more nurturing and committed to their marriage than traditional men. The results further revealed a dichotomy of positive and negative attitudes towards nontraditional men indicating that society's feelings about nontraditional men are changing.
Pedagogical Approach and Instructional Format: An Exploration of the Introductory Communication Course
The goal of this study was to analyze the impact of instructional format and pedagogical approach on students' learning and motivation within the introductory communication course. Three hundred eighty-five students participated in this study within one of four contexts: face-to-face instruction with service-learning, face-to-face instruction without service-learning, blended instruction with service-learning, and blended instruction without service-learning. A series of MANOVAs was utilized for the study. Results of the study, possible explanations for the results, limitations, and guidelines for future research are presented.
Ideographs, Fragments, and Strategic Absences: An Ideographic Analysis of <Collateral Damage>
This study examined the ideograph of <collateral damage> through an analysis of the Bush Administration's rhetoric as well as visual photographs of Iraqi civilian deaths. The project argues that the psycho-dynamic rhetoric of the Bush Administration during a time of visual censorship lead to the dehumanization of Iraqi civilian deaths during the War in Iraq. The method consisted of a textual analysis of the Bush Administration's rhetoric and continued with a content analysis of news media's photographs. The author argues that critics gain a deeper understanding of the disappearing dead phenomenon of Iraqi civilians by examining ideographic fragments of psycho-dynamic rhetoric.
Organizational Rhetoric in the Academy: Junior Faculty Perceptions and Roles
The purpose of this project was to examine the perceptions of junior faculty members as they relate to roles and expectations related to the tenure process. The study utilized a mixed methods approach to gain a multifaceted perspective of this complex process. I employed a quantitative and qualitative survey to explore junior faculty perceptions regarding roles related to promotion and tenure policies. In addition, I conducted fantasy theme analysis (FTA) to explore the organizational rhetoric related to these policies. Findings from the study illustrate the continued presence of the "publish or perish" paradigm, as well as issues related to role conflict within the context of organizational rhetoric.
Grounds-Based and Grounds-Free Voluntarily Child Free Couples: Privacy Management and Reactions of Social Network Members
Voluntarily child free (VCF) individuals face stigmatization in a pronatalist society that labels those who do not want children as deviant. Because of this stigmatization, VCF couples face privacy issues as they choose to reveal or conceal their family planning decision and face a variety of reactions from social network members. Therefore, communication privacy management and communication accommodation theory was use to examine this phenomenon. Prior research found two different types of VCF couples: grounds-based and grounds-free. Grounds-based individuals cite medical or biological reasons for not having children, while grounds-free individuals cite social reasons for not having children. The purpose of this study is to examine how grounds-based and grounds-free VCF couples manage their disclosure of private information and how social network members react to their family planning decision. Findings revealed that grounds-free individuals are more likely to engage in the self-defense hypothesis and grounds-based individuals are more likely to engage in the expressive need hypothesis. Grounds-based individuals were asked about their decision in dyadic situations, whereas grounds-free individuals were asked at group gatherings. Additionally, social network members used under-accommodation strategies the most frequently and grounds-free individuals experienced more name calling than grounds-based. Finally, while grounds-free individuals experienced non-accommodation and over-accommodation strategies, grounds-based did not. Findings suggest that grounds-free individuals are more stigmatized by social network members. Implications for merging CPM and CAT are discussed.
In good communication and in bad: A study of premarital counseling and communication skills in newlywed couples.
This study examined the effects of premarital counseling on newlywed communication. It was predicted that individuals who had participated in premarital counseling would have lower levels of demand/withdrawal communication and higher levels of spousal support. The effects of the format of the counseling were also examined. Individuals who had been married less than two years completed a survey measuring their marital satisfaction, levels of demand/withdraw, and perceived spousal support. Social learning theory was used as a theoretical lens. Results suggested that participating in premarital counseling has no affect on newlywed communication. Newlyweds who had been exposed to a group format during their counseling had higher marital satisfaction than those who had just participated in a one-on-one format with a counselor.
"It's never been this bad...ever": An analysis of K-12 teachers' standpoints related to parent-teacher communication.
With the rise of "helicopter" parents within primary and secondary education, school officials nationwide have started to address how to manage parental involvement in the educational system, specifically with regard to parent-teacher communication. Beginning in the 1980s, school administrators actively implemented programs targeting increased parental involvement in K-12 public schools, though the use of contact and relationship building strategies, in order to substantiate school-teacher-parent communication and further parental influence over decision making processes. While administrators and parents may view parent-teacher interactions as productive, teachers' negative experiences with parents may lead to stress, burnout, and attrition. Researchers have indicated that between 20 and 50% of first through third year teachers leave the profession due to increased, long-term stress, unrealistic workload, and an overall feeling of decreased personal and professional fulfillment. Likewise, through educational reform initiatives to standardize curriculum and increase parental involvement within public schools, teachers' roles within the educational system have shifted from positions of power, to figureheads for the system. The purpose of this study is to examine public school K-12 teachers' standpoints as they relate to parent-teacher communication.
Learner-to-Learner: Refocusing the Lens of Educational Immediacy
As the current body of instructional communication research focuses primarily on the relationship between teacher and learner, three studies investigating the relationship between learners were completed in order to better understand how student motivation and learning are influenced by learner-to-learner immediacy behaviors within the college classroom environment. Study I resulted in an extensive list of both positive and negative verbal and nonverbal immediacy behaviors commonly used by learners. Study II required the comparison of the behaviors identified in study one to existing measures of teacher to learner immediacy behaviors, producing a new measure focusing on learner-to-learner immediacy. Following a pilot survey, the reliability of this new measure was determined through face validity and factor analysis, producing the Learner-to-Learner Immediacy Behavior Scale. In Study III, the Learner-to-Learner Immediacy Behavior Scale was combined with Christophel's 1990 Immediacy Behavior Scale, Cognitive Learning Scale, Affective Learning Scale, and Trait and State Motivation Scales and administered to 273 undergraduate students to test the affects of common learner-to-learner immediacy behaviors on student state motivation, affective learning, and perceptions of cognitive learning loss. Multiple regression analyses indicated learner-to-learner immediacy as functioning similarly to teacher-to-student immediacy when mediated through state motivation in its influence on student affective learning and perceptions of cognitive learning loss.