Organizational theory, organizational communication, organizational knowledge, and problematic integration

Robert D. McPhee, Pamela Zaug

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


In this paper we argue that 3 traditions of theory about organizational communication have special relevance to the ideas of problematic integration theory. In the rational structure tradition, organizations are described as mechanisms for suppressing or overcoming integration problems, as rationally designed communication processes achieve a system-level resolution that may ignore or override any individually experienced integration problems. In the organizing process theory tradition, values are recognized as important elements guiding organizational sense making or emerging through organizing or learning, but amazingly diverse and unintegrated social structures can stand as resolutions (broadly defined) of integration problems. Finally, in the structurational tradition, the diverse values of organizational groups are treated as emerging and being resolved in many ways in local practice, whereas structural constraints imply that local resolutions will enter into a body of generally relevant organizational knowledge only in limited ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-591
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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