Roskilde Universitet
Kommunikationsvej 1,
Bygning 42.3
4000 Roskilde

Tlf: 46 74 26 92
Chris Holmsted Larsen

Tlf: 46 74 38 08
Kim Christian Schrøder


FMKJ er en national forskerskole, der:
• Arrangerer ph.d.-kurser på
- internationalt niveau,
• Er vært for internationale
- gæsteforskere,
• Uddeler stipendier til skolens
- studerende,
• Har indstillingsret til
- Forskningsrådet for Kultur og
- Kommunikation.

Organizational Communication: A Network Approach


PhD course organized by ASB Centre for Corporate Communication

and the Danish National Research School for Media, Communication, and Journalism

September 15 – 17, 2010 



Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus University

Fuglesangs Allé 4, 8210 Aarhus V, Denmark, R Building



The heralded and increasingly popular “new science of networks” is rooted in a network perspective for understanding groups and organizations that goes back for more than a century. This seminar is intended to review theoretical, conceptual, and analytic issues associated with a network approach for understanding contemporary organizational communication and the dynamic interplay between individual and collective action within the global context. Focusing upon relations rather than individual attributes, a social network perspective provides 1) a precise way to define embeddedness and concep­tualize important social processes, 2) a theoretical alternative to the assumption of independent actors, and 3) a framework for testing theories about social/communi­cative relationships. We will explore the evolution of a network perspective as it has moved from method and metaphor to theory and substance. Throughout the seminar the relationship between a network approach and functional, interpretive, and constructivist approaches to understanding organizing and organizations will be highlighted. The practical and ethical implications of a network approach will be addressed as parti­cipants consider the ways in which the structure and content of network relationships influence social dynamics and critical organizational processes and outcomes.



·         Cynthia Stohl, Professor of Organizational Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara

·         Finn Frandsen, Mag.Art., Professor of Corporate Communication, ASBccc, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus University

·         Winni Johansen, PhD, Associate Professor of Corporate Communication, ASBccc, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus University


For detailed program: See below


ECTS points


Participation with paper: 2½ ECTS

Participation without paper: 1 ECTS


Course enrollment and application deadline


The course application, including a 1-page project outline, should be sent by email no later than 1 August 2010 to Jonas Kretzschmar Nielsen,


Participants who want to present a paper (10-12 pages) for feedback must submit the paper by 27 August 2010.


Registration form available at


Costs and practical matters


The Danish Research School FMKJ covers all participation expenses (travel, meals, accommodation) for doctoral students who are enrolled members of FMKJ. Tickets and receipts must be sent to FMKJ for reimbursement after the course: School secretary Chris Holmsted Larsen,


Doctoral students from other national or international institutions are encouraged to participate. They will have to pay their own travel and accommodation costs, and a fee of app. DKK 1000 to cover all meals, coffee, etc. during the course. The course itself is offered free of charge.


Participants are expected to find accommodation for themselves, although ASB secretary Jonas Kretzschmar Nielsen can suggest suitable hotels. All meals will be provided, including dinner on site or in the city.


For questions about practical arrangements, please contact the ASB secretary Jonas Kretzschmar Nielsen,


For questions about course content and organization, please contact Associate Professor Winni Johansen, ASB,


For further details, read more here



Course readings

Course readings will be made available 3 weeks before the course with required reading and suggested literature for the Ph.D. course. Students are expected to have read the literature before the beginning of the course.



September 15

Session I

10-1 am

















1-2 pm


Session II

2-4:15 pm






























Session III

4:30-6 pm




Introduction to the course


Organizational Communication: The Emergence of a Research Paradigm


Finn Frandsen, ASBccc, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus University


·         Is there such a thing called organizational communication? The short history of an academic discpline (from the 1950s until today)

·         Some key concepts, models, theories, and approaches

·         Interface(s) with other disciplines within the broad field of communication (business communication, public relations and corporate communication)

·         “Organizing” organizational communication (research networks, journals, conferences, and associations)


Lunch in the R Building


Developing a network perspective on organizing and organization: Social embeddedness and embedded structures


Cynthia Stohl, University of California, Santa Barbera


This session begins with an overview and introduction to the burgeoning study of social networks across a variety of social contexts. Complementing the traditional focus on individual attributes and the more recent attention to discursive processes, the social network perspective focuses on emergent relationships among actors. The perspective assumes that actors (whether they be individuals, groups, organizations, or communities) are embedded within a network of interrelationships with other actors. It is this intersection of relationships that defines an actor’s position in the social structure and provides opportunities and constraints on behavior across levels of interaction.

During this session we will examine specific examples of “connectedness-in- action” and elaborate the notion of embedded­ness.  Utilizing several network concepts such as the strength of weak ties, social capital, structural equivalence, structural holes, network density, and the small world problem to name just a few, we will identify network mechanisms associated with organizing processes. These processes occur at multiple levels and influence a diverse range of phenomena including organiza­tional creativity and diffusion of innovation, knowledge sharing, power and leadership, organizational trust, inte­rorganiza­tional collaboration, promotion and turnover, social influence, normative development, team per­for­mance, interpretive processes, and individual attitudes and behavior.


Project Presentations


Dinner together (7:30 pm)


September 16


Session IV

9-12 am




















12-1 pm


Session V

1-4 pm











Session VI

4.15-6 pm



Enacting a network approach to organizing and organizations:  Developing enterprises and enterprising developments


Cynthia Stohl, University of California, Santa Barbera


This session addresses the multiple ways in which network research and analyses may be approached. We will first examine network processes across a variety of levels (ego-centered, group, organizational, interorganizational, community) and the constraints and opportunities associated with specific units of analyses.  Second, cases that utilize different levels, types of networks (e.g. communication, social, affiliation, semantic, cognitive networks), and theoretical frameworks will be compared and contrasted.


During this session, we will consider the evolution of a network approach within the contemporary media environment. Participants will be introduced to network methodologies both in face-to face and technologically mediated environments as well as cross sec­tional and longitudinal frameworks.



Lunch in the R Building


Communication Constitutes Organizations: New Perspectives on the CCO Principle

Winni Johansen, ASBccc, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus University

·         Theories of organization: From organization to organizing

·         The CCO principle: How can communication constitute organizations?

·         Variations on a theme

·         Criticisms. Did we forget something?


Project Presentations


Dinner together (7:30 pm)



September 17

Session VII

9-12 am



























12-1 pm


Session VIII

1-2 pm




Utilizing a network approach:  Practical challenges and ethical practices


Cynthia Stohl, University of California, Santa Barbera


Collecting, analyzing, and utilizing  network frameworks within organizational and larger community contexts have specific pragmatic and ethical challenges that need to be considered. Knowledge is powerful and particularly so with information that we amass from conducting social network analysis. The mapping of social networks with names, roles, perceptions, events, locations, and dates provides unique information that can have both short and long term as well as positive and negative consequences for systems and the people who comprise them.

 This session will consider the theoretical, pragmatic, and ethical implications of   conducting network research within organizational contexts.   Intended and unintended consequences of devising and enacting network strategies and instrumental tactics are far-ranging and need to be carefully explored. During this session actual and potential disjunctures between what communication scholars know about organizational network dynamics and the appropriation of network concepts and terminology by administrators, leaders, and organizational members will be addressed.  We will explore existing efforts to gain clarity about ethical dilemmas in social network research as well as develop new strategies for the future.


Lunch in the R Building


Wrapping up: Which Perspectives for Future Research?


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