Cynthia Stohl and Colleagues Acknowledged with a Top Four Paper Award by the Organizational Communication Division of the International Communication Association, for the 72nd Annual Conference, May 26-20, Paris, France
S. Ganesh (U of Texas at Austin); C. Stohl (U of California - Santa Barbara); S. James (U of Texas at Austin):
“Generational Shifts: The Emergence of Visibility in Globalization Research”
The frustration, sense of helplessness, and alienation individuals and communities experience -what Durkheim calls anomie - as global problems such as the COVID pandemic, climate change, the refugee crisis, populism, disinformation, and intolerance become ever more visible, means that the incapacities of individuals, groups, organizations, civil society and nation states to address these global problems through collective action has become starkly apparent. This paper explores the ways in which increased visibility has become a key aspect of global dynamics and a fundamental force in a new generation of work in global organizational communication. It builds on Stohl and Ganesh’s (2014) review of the first three generations of research on globalization and organizational communication to call for a new generation, the Generation of Visibility. First, we describe how the ascendance of visibility has reshaped globalization, paying attention to four processes of increased global crisis: magnification,
monitorization, distortion and refraction. We next review a corpus of 113 pieces published since the turn of the millennium to explore how visibility has been worked into major organizational and communicative attributes of globalization research, as well as to describe how elements of a fourth generation have begun to surface as scholarship emphasizes visibility more and more as a communicative force within globalization. Finally, we call on future scholarship in organizational communication to attend to the emerging contours of visibility in research on globalization.