Dilbert and Organizational Communication

I saw today’s Dilbert, and it speaks to so many issues I (we?) confront in organizational settings. Saying things in “code,” clear communications, authenticity, morale, internal political power, saying and hearing what we want to hear to get work done—these are all things that made me chuckle when I read this.

Wonder if there are any organizations where this is not present? Perhaps that is the organizational Holy Grail?

Dilbert, Tacit Knowledge, and Bridging Epistemologies

As I am finally getting back to my doctoral work and reflections after dropping everything this past weekend to attend to an article rewrite (that was finally submitted and accepted–hurray!), I am not playing catch up with my studies and processing my learning and thinking.

Last week, when I commented on the article Bridging epistemologies: The generative dance between organizational knowledge and organizational knowing, I mentioned how I liked the model for Knowledge and Knowing. With further reflection on this, I recalled a favorite Dilbert comic:


I think about this image in that, for me, it is all about trying to quantify the tacit knowledge. Formerly working in the area of knowledge management, I know how tough (nearly impossible) it can be, especially given issues of organizational power and positionality.

Thinking more about this, I wonder if tacit knowledge is just another way of thinking about qualitative knowledge?

. . . and how is THAT Research?

inuksuk Ever hear that question, usually at the end of some other pleasant introductory sentence? If not, then bravo, you are a traditional researcher doing what you have been taught and in so doing support the stability and safety of the academic industry. Your reward includes crisp peer-reviewed journal articles safely locked within academic databases (thereby keeping the knowledge safe) and proper cocktail discussion (“Oh, you were involved in that work, how interesting . . . .”).

However, if you are a rebel and make a nuisance of yourself by pushing the boundaries for what can be considered research, then I really want to hear your thoughts. Have you written and performed a dramatic reading of poetry using words from the interview notes generated during data collection? How about the use of media, Web technologies, Twitter, discussion boards, autoethnographic inquiry, and the like? Does your work not fit into the design – literature – problem – method – analysis – findings – next steps model? Did you ever wonder who created that model, and what power issues are at stake challenging it? Let me guess, you may have at times even wondered whether the struggles were worth it, how your life would be different if you liked numbers, how you should have been a plumber, and the like.

There are enough times when you (ok, we) have to defend our work to others, I want to reframe the question.

Rather than explain “How is that research?”, I am interested in the internal and personal reasonings about it. Why do I want to express my work in a different paradigm? What is it about my subject or perspective that makes it not seem to fit into a traditional framework?

In my fledgling autoethnographic inquiry, I find that I had to do it (after being subjected to years of impersonal quantitative social science work around organizational learning—it has a value, but is not where I am interested in exploring) since I have trouble researching something out there without exploring how it effects me and challenges / develops my own perspective. I always think, don’t we want our students to understand the content and then apply it to their lives (to demonstrate they understand it)? My autoethnographic work looks at something that is important to me and, while exploring it and seeing what has already been studied with it, I show how my frame develops while inviting the reader to consider something different for their own lives, too. Now isn’t that a way to bridge the research-to-practice gap?

Why should research be any different? Better yet, try not to feel threatened by something different. Hmm, this may in itself turn into an interesting project . . .

The Enactment of Hegemony through Identity Construction: Insights from the Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

This is one of the presentations that is on a subject matter that I am most interested in—hegemony and identity construction. The hegemony and its shifting use is based on the work of Goffman (1959), a sociologist with dramaturgical analysis (performance) & Brookfield (2005)

Group identity: historical and cultural constructs that shapes “norms, values, and beliefs” (Richer, 2004), as well as Wenger (1998), Hall (1997)

The position from which we speak involves many levels of our own “identity”

Hegemony and the performance of identity—on the macro and micro (individual) levels. Hegemony is the power to determine the impression that is wanted to be conveyed.

This presentation is fascinating thus far, and I have a lot more texts to look for. If only I were not so itchy from all the little green bugs that started climbing all over me and my bag while sitting in the park outside the Art Institute. The bugs are harmless (I hope and believe), and are only out and about because it is spring, warm, and sunny here in Chicago. Let’s just hope they stay out of my laptop and do not travel back to New York with me.

I love the titles of these slides—Hegemony and the Performance of Identity. I am having trouble seeing how this is all  organized, and I think this is because I came into the presentation while she was reviewing the agenda for the presentation. As a socialization process, we tend to give deference or respect based on mutual understandings.

Goffman gives 5 socialization processes:

  1. presentation of abstract and general information
  2. dramatic realization—enforcement of myths as truths
  3. idealized view of the situation
  4. maintenance of expressive control
  5. social distance

The presenter is so animated and passionate about her subject matter that she is giving a dynamic presentation, but I wish there were some interaction among the participants. Looking around the room now, I see heads nodding and people losing attention. This is too bad, as her subject matter is so valuable and important for this audience as adult educators.

Really good point – as we do not see hegemony, we constantly have to ask what is normal and what is ok.

One area for future research—how do adult learners create structures that resist that one question / issue in a situation.

An audience member mentioned another author, Callero, who seems to have parallel structures with those mentioned throughout the presentation.

Guerilla Girls and Raging Grannies: Critical, Informal, and Performative Pedagogy

The presenters ran into the room with masks on. I love it, active engagement to grab our attention right from the beginning. They then spoke about various statistics about women in academic positions. Susan L. Bracken, Jennifer A. Sandlin, and Robin Redman Wright.

This work comes from the theoretical perspective of performance ethnography and critical performative pedagogy (from the work of Denzin). It involves action and perform works that demonstrate issues of social justice and critical issues. Reminds me of QI2009 last week, where there was a lot of this, especially from the area of communications studies. Denzin calls this critical theatre.

Another framework they use is culture jamming, which is a form of critical performance pedagogy. This is the recreation of cultural messages with reframing accepted meanings. This takes mass produced messages and turning them on their heads for reexamination. It is linked with performance art. Not familiar with this, so something to look into. I wonder who the theorists in this area are . . .

This involves the performance, the performers, and the audience—how they experience their learning.

Feminist performative pedagogy is also being used. It is the exposure to these sorts of frameworks and performance that I so like AERC.

Ooh, just heard Gramsci mentioned. Sweet. Too bad they started their session in such an exciting way, but now we are just being read to / at. I know, a lot of theory to review so we understand their work. While the slides are nicely open, I wish the excellent reading would be more conversational in tone, rather than the same traditional reading that seems so counter to performative pedagogy.

They are now discussing performative experiences and embodied public pedagogy, such as Adbusters,  Reverend Billy, the Guerilla Girls, Raging Grannies, and The Skinny Bitch. Really interesting cultural references, especially nicely tied here to adult education while being on the heels of the opening session this morning. I have never seen any of these groups, though I have heard of a few of them.

The three core strategies (of the Guerilla Girls) include:

  1. mimicry
  2. re-visioning of history
  3. strategic juxtaposition

There are some nice video clips that are being shown, to illustrate the work of these performative artists.

A lot of their strategies  cam from Ida B. Wells, another person I do not know and will have to look up.

The Raging Grannies take a different perspective. Their hook is being in your face and doing it in a sweet way (such as having tea parties, use humor, and resist gender and age stereotypes). They dress as grannies, and do not come across in threatening ways. They almost seem to push their points with kindness. In a way, this reminds me of that character in Ally McBeal, who when angry just smiled until his opponents lost their cools.

I bought xanaxbest.com on the recommendation of my doctor, who spoke very well about the drug. The tranquilizer is a tool of a new generation which does not cause drowsiness, does not cause a withdrawal syndrome, is not addictive, is a Z drug. The drug preferably has an effect on serotonin and dopamine receptors, the stimulation of which causes the antidepressant effects.

The videos from the Raging Grannies seem to involve singing, with their granny costumes, do not appear terribly threatening.

Now they have a Denzin quote from a work in press where he quotes Conquergood. In many ways, the references to Denzin demonstrate how much critical pedagogical work outside formal adult education can be useful for helping adult ed move forward as a field.  Why not borrow (or even partner) with other colleagues and disciplines to move the field forward.

The session ends with a performative work, An Answer to a Man’s Question, “What Can I Do about Women’s Liberation.”

The first question was about how do the presenters use performance ethnography in their classes. They have students perform what they are doing. Cross dressing students to discuss gender roles is done in some of the classes, especially with reading scripts or doing skits. The authors play with many forms of performativity in their presentation today. The audience and the performers can co-create and co-perform / experience they meaning within the texts.