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Critical Theory of Communication

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on 2 May 2016

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Transcript of Critical Theory of Communication

From Deetz's mouth
Transmission vs. The Creation of Meaning
Corporate Colonization and Control
Corporate Colonization: Encroachment of modern corporations into every area of life outside of the workplace
Short and Sweet
Pop Quiz
Information vs. Communication
1.) Who owns the mass media outlets (newspaper, broadcast, cable, telephone, satellite) in America?

2.) How much does the average CEO make in comparison to the average worker?

3.) Is there a regulating agency that legislates how much money must be given to charities?
4.) How many hours does the average American work per week?
Artificial Scarcity?
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Vol XCIII, No. 311
Stanley Deetz
Theorist and Main ideas
Information Model= Perpetuation of Corporate Dominance. Why?
University of Colorado
Corporations such as IBM, AT&T, Time Warner, and GM "control and colonize" modern life in ways that no government or public body since the feudal era ever thought possible."
Wants to ensure the financial health of corporations while also taking into account human interests.
1) Corporations are political, 2) Com practices within them distort DM, 3) Orgs can become more productive and democratic via com reform.
What are "standard operating procedures"? Why does the end-of-the-year audit look like this? Organized this way? Have this content?

Created by corporations who have power to make decisions stick.

Corporate norms/information are/ is an outcome of usually undemocratic political processes that further hurt democracy. Is language neutral? "Bottom line" idiom.

Rather, meaning is in people, not in words. Org forms are continually produced and reproduced through language. But whose meaning and whose language?

Issue of power runs through all language and communication
Critical Theory of Communication
in Organizations



America's working hours lengthening, QOL decreasing
Information Model: Com= a conduit for transmission of information about the real world
Communication model: Social reality is
created and sustained through language (medium)
Codetermination: Collaborative DM; participatory democracy in the org


Systematic logic; set of routine practices; ideology that values control over all other concerns
-When there's a corporate disaster or scandal, we look for a scapegoat. Who is the bad apple?
-Deetz says this diverts attention away from the failed managerial system based on control.
-Dictatorial style "It's my way or the high way."
-Choice is limited to loyalty or exit.
-This style is dwindling, but new forms of control via communication are continually surfacing
-Corporate aversion to conflict
Strategic Control has Distinct Disadvantages:
Cost is high. Trimming the Fat Results in Rebellion
Strategic Control vs. Consent
Strategic Control can create employee resistance.
Modern managers prefer to maintain control throughout voluntary consent
Employees actively (unknowingly) accomplish managerial interests while believing they are fulfilling their own
Outside world given up automatically. Fair day's pay?
How is this level of Complicit Control Possible?
Systematically distorted communication:
Restricts what can be said or even considered


-Found in stories, language, rules, rituals, symbols, information, forms all tools of managerial control.

-What do these mean? Vs. Whose meanings are these?
Norms/Expectations restrict what can be expressed
-Suppresses Conflict through Discursive Closure
: Free expression of ideas, but no real voice.

Stakeholder Democracy
in Action. All stakeholders negotiate power. Collaboration
Participation: Who Should
Have a Say?
1) Investors
2) Workers
3) Consumers
4) Host communities
5) Suppliers
6) Greater Society and World Community
YOU tell me!
How does Deetz's Theory Hold Up Across the Following Lines?
1) Provides a New Understanding of People
2) Clarifies people's values (Brings them into the open)
3) Aesthetic Appeal (Artistry/Style/Well Illustrated)
4) Community of Agreement (Scholars Agree?)
5) Reform of Society (Does it generate change?)
6) Do you think it is best studied qualitatively? (via interviews, observation, focus groups, etc.)
Full transcript