• A Communication Perspective Of Alcoholism Recovery: Narratives Of Success

      Arlen, Kathryn Grace; Brown, Jin (2007)
      Understanding alcoholism and how it wreaks havoc upon the human condition has been and continues to be a prime concern for social scientists, psychologists, physicians, therapists, the legal system, a host of other concerned professionals, and society in general, particularly those who suffer from this "dis-ease" (Denzin, 1987a). Much past research has focused upon physiological concerns, suggesting disease, genetic, or even allergic connections. While such research certainly carries significant import and credibility, this study focuses on the social construction of the alcoholic identity and eventual evolution into a recovering identity. The methodology of narrative inquiry with conversational interviewing as method provides insight into six individuals' shifting perceptions of self and relationships from their alcoholic experiences to increasingly more viable social interactions and eventual positive self identity construction. Emergent themes focus on interactive social context, divided feelings toward alcohol, communication of individual responsibility, and realignment of human values.
    • Communication Under Pressure: Analyzing The International Whaling Conference As A Transnational Public Sphere

      White, Michelle Rene; Taylor, Karen (2013)
      Whaling has become one of the most popular international issues of our time. At the center of this controversy, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) is positioned to conserve and manage whaling policy. Annual reports of the IWC were analyzed along with communication theories for a textual analysis approach to the issue. The USA, Japan and Norway are often the center of the heated dialogue, which takes up time and limits reaching consensus or productive policy change. This research aims at understanding this conference and examining where tensions flair and what can be done to enhance our communication in this ever globalizing community.
    • Employee Performance Appraisal Systems: Effects On Communication Within Organizations

      Towne, Nicholas D.; Cooper, Christine (2006)
      In this study, 318 supervisors and staff members of a medium sized northwestern university responded to a questionnaire concerning their performance appraisal system and the effects it has on communication with their organization. Several key findings resulted. First, when staff members perceived their supervisors were providing valid, timely appraisals they felt there was more teamwork, information flow, and involvement in the organization than those employees that did not feel their appraisals were valid. Second, as supervisors believed performance appraisals were linked to important outcomes, staff members perceptions of appraisals rose. Finally, contrary to the literature, supervisors reported that when they conducted appraisals in a compliant manner performance appraisal discomfort decreased. This can be attributed to the lack of important outcomes being linked to the appraisals. In this university, 39% of the staff members reported they had not received their appraisals as required.
    • Exploring supportive and defensive communication behavior and psychological safety between supervisors and their subordinates

      Strehl, Mary E.; Sager, Kevin L.; DeCaro, Peter A.; Jarrett, Brian (2015-05)
      This project explores the relationship between supportive and defensive communication behavior and psychological safety in the organizational setting. A paper and pencil survey measuring team psychological safety and supportive and defensive communication behaviors was administered to participants in the northwestern region of the United States. Supervisor use of supportive communication behavior was hypothesized to be positively correlated with employee psychological safety. Support was found for the hypothesis. This research sought to expand the scope of our understanding of psychological safety in an organizational setting while highlighting the benefits of using supportive communication behavior.
    • Keeping The Home Fires Burning: The Effects Of Military Induced Separations On Marital Intimacy From A Female Perspective

      Cynar, Deborah J.; McWherter, Pamela (2008)
      In this study, a convenience sample of 56 female, married, military wives in northwestern community responded to a survey questionnaire concerning intimacy promoting communication skills, marital satisfaction, and military induced separations. The results indicated a strong correlation between marital satisfaction and intimacy promoting communication skills. This study also explores the difference between the type and frequency of military induced separations and their influence on marital satisfaction and intimacy promoting communication skills. To further describe this military population, several post hoc tests for difference found significance between military branch affiliation, and between those who had or had not received premarital counseling on levels of perceived marital satisfaction, and intimacy promoting communication skills. Further, no significant difference was found to exist between education level or employment status of the at home spouse on levels of perceived marital satisfaction and intimacy promoting communication skills. A description of the implications of the findings, and suggestions for future research are discussed.
    • Living A Tattooed Life: The Female Experience

      Cleveland, Kara G.; Brown, Jin (2008)
      The present research is rooted in Human Science, and employed the epistemology of Constructionism, as well as the theoretical perspective of Social Construction of Reality. I used Narrative Inquiry as methodology and conversational interviewing as my method of collecting data. I interviewed six women who provided narratives of their lived experience of constructing their identities through tattoos. Three emergent themes, along with three sub-themes, are discussed in regards to the lived experiences of tattooed women: (1) becoming tattooed constructs who you are; (2) becoming tattooed develops relational identity with (a) friends, (b) the tattoo community, (c) family; and (3) the communication of "tattoo remorse" is differentiated from an earlier recognition of tattoo regret. This research provides insight into the lived human experience of tattooed women through their own natural language.
    • Networks of change: extending Alaska-based communication networks to meet the challenges of the anthropocene

      Hum, Richard E.; Taylor, Karen; Chapin, F. Stuart, III; Koskey, Michael; Brower, Pearl Kiyawn Nageak; Carlson, Cameron (2017-08)
      The Anthropocene is a contested term. As I conceptualize it throughout this dissertation, the Anthropocene is defined by an increased coupling of social and environmental systems at the global scale such that the by-products of human processes dominate the global stratigraphic record. Additionally, I connect the term to a worldview that sees this increased coupling as an existential threat to humanity's ability to sustain life on the planet. Awareness that the planet-wide scale of this coupling is fundamentally a new element in earth history is implicit in both understandings. How individuals and communities are impacted by this change varies greatly depending on a host of locally specific cross-scale factors. The range of scales (physical and social) that must be negotiated to manage these impacts places novel demands on the communication networks that shape human agency. Concern for how these demands are being met, and whose interests are being served in doing so, are the primary motivation for my research. My work is grounded in the communication-oriented theoretical traditions of media ecology and the more recent social-ecological system conceptualizations promoted in the study of resilience. I combine these ideas through a mixed methodology of digital ethnography and social network analysis to explore the communication dynamics of four Alaska-based social-ecological systems. The first two examples capture communication networks that formed in response to singular, rapid change environmental events (a coastal storm and river flood). The latter two map communication networks that have formed in response to more diffuse, slower acting environmental changes (a regional webinar series and an international arctic change conference). In each example, individuals or organizations enter and exit the mapped network(s) as they engage in the issue and specific communication channel being observed. Under these parameters a cyclic pattern of network expansion and contraction is identified. Expansion events are heavily influenced by established relationships retained during previous contraction periods. Many organizational outreach efforts are focused on triggering and participating in expansion events, however my observations highlight the role of legacy networks in system change. I suggest that for organizations interested in fostering sustainable socialecological relationships in the Anthropocene, strategic intervention may best be accomplished through careful consideration of how communicative relationships are maintained immediately following and in between expansion events. In the final sections of my dissertation I present a process template to support organizations interested in doing so. I include a complete set of learning activities to facilitate organizational use as well as examples of how the Alaska Native Knowledge Network is currently applying the process to meet their unique organizational needs.
    • Reading Comprehension Strategies In Children With High-Functioning Autism: A Social Constructivist Perspective

      Cotter, June Ann; Richey, Jean (2011)
      Individuals with autism see the world, by definition of the diagnosis, in a very different way than the typical student. Communication, both verbal and non-verbal, is a defining characteristic of this disability. Students with autism both can and need to learn to comprehend when reading to be successful in school and in life. This study evaluated the reading comprehension abilities of three students with autism and using a strength-based approach targeting comprehension strategies. These strategies also appear to have increased the students' communication skills. All participants were medically or educationally diagnosed with autism. All had an educationally-defined label of autism and had been identified as having difficulty with reading comprehension. The study is presented as a case study with limited participants. The author investigated the reading comprehension abilities of each student and through direct instruction provided support for the skills the student already possessed. Additional skills were then introduced thereby increasing the students' abilities to comprehend. An additional effect of increasing student personal communication skills was also noted.
    • Who Is In Charge Here? A Feminist Communicology Of Followership And Leadership In An Academic Organization

      Jordan, Robert Locke; McWherter, Pamela (2008)
      This feminist critical study explicates the ways that followership is conceptualized at an academic organization in the Pacific Northwest. Through the use of qualitative methods, stories were solicited providing descriptions of events that define the hegemonically masculine ways that followership is conceptualized, suggesting the need for a feminist critical analysis and revisioning. A number of themes emerged from conversational interviews including: conceptual verisimilitude, archetypes of leadership, alternative conceptions of followership, the role of action in leadership and followership, and the emergent organization. The capta gathered from this qualitative study suggest a revisioning of human organization and recognizes leadership and followership as existing in a reciprocally defining communicative relationship. Leadership and followership are found to be constructed in an existential exchange addressing a specific need within an organization and its immediate requirements. When viewed from this communicative perspective organizational members come to develop a more sophisticated, relational, and dialectic understanding of the construction of leadership and followership.
    • Women In Alaska Constructing The Recovered Self: A Narrative Approach To Understanding Long -Term Recovery From Alcohol Dependence And /Or Abuse

      Richey, Jean Alice; Brown, Jin G. (2003)
      Autobiographical narratives are explored in a qualitative approach regarding women in Alaska who have been successful in long-term recovery from alcohol dependence and/or abuse. The literature review includes an integrative approach to theoretical perspectives from the disciplines of Human Communication, Anthropology, and Psychology. The epistemological orientation of Constructionism grounds this study, as well as provides a framework for theoretical understandings from the narrative co-construction of self-identity, gender studies, health belief and health behavior change models, anthropological views on alcohol and culture including Native American and Alaska Native approaches, and various psychological and transpersonal strategies for overcoming alcohol addiction. Today, a diverse resource of recovery paradigms and tools are available to women who have problems with alcohol. As a result, this study explores the applicability of various methods of recovery as they occur in the real lives of women in Alaska. Two emergent themes of recovery derived from nine narrative interviews are discussed in regard to identity reconstruction: (1) Survivorship and (2) the Transcendent Self. The emergent themes represent the reconstructed constitutive interpretations of a woman's self-identity as the recovered self. The process of recovery from alcohol dependence and/or abuse constitutes a uniquely personal and culturally specific journey for women. A recovered lifestyle is a completely different way of being for the woman who had previously been immersed in a culture of alcohol addiction---she now must construct a healthy self. A woman's process of recovery from alcohol addiction cannot be separated from the world of social/cultural/gender interactions in the construction of a healthier lifestyle. Whether a recovering person's social interactions are with professionals or are everyday interpersonal exchanges with intimates and others, they form the context within which the discursive evolution of identity is embedded. The narrative stories of the lived world of women in Alaska who are maintaining long-term recovery from alcohol problems provide an understanding of cultural, ethnic, and gender influences, various treatment and recovery paradigms, relational tensions, and the process of identity construction in the maintenance of ongoing recovery.