Digital Presentation: The Importance of Active Engagement: Navigating Organizational Participation in Decision Making

Here are the links to my Week 8 Digital Presentation Video and Paper!

Click here to watch my Digital Presentation: Digital Presentation: The Importance of Active Engagement: Navigating Organizational Participation in Decision Making

Click here to read my full case study here: ParsonRachel_Week7Assignment_82116 (1)



Communicating Ethically

Reflecting on the topic of increasing communication ethics literacy offers many different contexts of how it can be applied. Arnett, et, al (2009) states that “questions regarding religion, race, gender and ethnicity now join questions about the environment, crisis communication, and issues of language and science literacy” (p.220). “No longer does the human race live in an age in which information increases but is also in the age where the responsibility for information increases also” (Arnett, et. al, 2009, p. 220). What a fascinating concept; not just to learn but to take responsibility to learn, which opens up a whole new level of understanding and applying communication ethics literacy in today’s world. As a community college professor, I challenge my students to take responsibility and ownership of their learning. Arnett, et. al, (2009) echoed my thoughts regarding the barrier between teaching and learning through this statement;“communication ethics committed to learning suggests that the defining characteristics of unethical communicative acts are twofold: assuming that you know everything, and assuming what the other knows is not worth knowing”(p.221). Of course, it is import to remember what assuming can do! This also draws in the “pragmatics of dialogic ethics” and the concept that “dialogue requires that one know the ground from which one speaks, meet the Other with a willingness to learn, and learn about the ground from which the Other’s discourse emerges” (Arnett, et. al, 2009, p.223).

The barriers and breakdowns I mentioned can be the avoidance of learning and education by people, because “a commitment to learning never permits the smugness of assurance to eclipse the necessity of learning and the possibility of new insight to offer a corrective” (Arnett, et. al, 2009, p.226-227). Therefore, this is a principle I can use in taking steps to increase my own communication ethics literacy in my position as a professor in and out of the classroom. It is pretty much “learning from the difference” whether that be in opinions and methods or ways of learning (Arnett, et, al, 2009, p.227). This reminds me of a quote I recall from a television show I watched recently in which the character stated “sometimes we forget that not everyone grows up the same as us”. But it also goes back to pragmaticism, because when viewing dialogue, it is about content; mainly ‘privileging content over style” (Arnett, et. al, 2009, p. 223). Therefore it is important not to discount another’s view or idea just because  “that person does not do dialogue as we demand” (Arnett, et. al, 2009, p.223). It is something I am very conscious of, when I am engaging in conversations regarding politics, current events with friends, relatives and colleagues and many times I will find myself just sitting back and listen and observe others, especially, if it is from folks who have lived life a little more than I. My mindset is that education does not just take place in a classroom but all of life is an education. The two specific examples I mentioned in this blog is how I take the steps and personal ownership and responsibility of my learning to communicate.


Arnett, R.F., J.M. Harden & Bell, L.M. (2009). Communication ethics  literacy: Dialogue and difference. Los Angeles: Sage.

Sickness and Health: Finding Care In a Lonely Place

It will be exactly two years ago in September, which marks a memorable personal experience of  illness in all of my thirty-six years. It was just after an extremely busy time at work and a weekend full of playing some music gigs with my band. At first, it was just a scratchy throat and headache that was blamed on too much singing and seasonal allergies. However, it would soon turn into more than just a seasonal allergy attack. Consequently my phone malfunctioned and I was too sick to get it fixed and therefore I was cut off from all communication with my family who lived an hour and a half away and from my colleagues and work friends. The only way to contact the outside world was through a tablet in which I had my work email installed. My boss knew I was sick because I e-mailed her regarding my absence. But, I naively thought staying home a day would find me well enough to go back to work and get my phone fixed at the wireless store. I did not want to worry anyone or have anyone having to come and check on me. But things did not play out as I imagined and I did not want to admit that I was very sick.

Finally, a frantic phone call from my mother alerted my boss to come to my place and have me use her cell phone to call my family to come and take me to doctor where I was diagnosed with a severe case of bronchitis and a respiratory infection. It was a humbling moment for me to have my boss see me vulnerable and sick and to admit to my mother that her grown daughter needed her. Therefore, this personal experience offers a an interesting dialogue regarding the responsive communicative actions when it comes to health. A crucial point to remember is that “health communication performs a central role in the delivery of healthcare and the promotion of public health” (Arnett, et. al, 2009, p 193). Also responsiveness is “the responsibility for doing the task of health care communication” (Arnett, et. al, 2009, p.196). Therefore, I received helpful communicative actions that enabled me to get the care I could not provide for myself. As Arnett, et. al, (2009) points out “health care communication ethics seeks to promote and protect care-care is the communicative action or practical which links to the good of responsiveness to the Other” (p.198).

When providing care in health care communications, its focus is on the “active, caring responsiveness to all stages of life, offering meaning through the doing of human assistance” and “it protects and promote care, human caring for one another, in a professional context and in all contexts where decisions affect the quality of life and, all too often, life itself”(Arnett, et, al, 2009, p. 198). In hindsight, I should have told my boss what was going on and ask her to contact my family to let them know what was going on. However, my stance on being self-sufficient and being half out of my mind with sickness caused me to not ask for that kind of help. After getting well, my friends and co-workers shamed me and I apologized to my family and I knew I would never do that again! When thinking about the giving and receiving, that context is not particularly complicated but when it comes to dialogic negotiation, that is where the complications arise. Arnett, et. al, (2009) states that “health care communication ethics must be negotiated again and again in friendships, in relationships with significant others, within particular institutions and cultures, all working together to try to figure out the “best” response in a given historical moment for a particular person or persons” (p. 205). But there is no hard and fast rule for health care communication that can provide the answer all the questions regarding the best course of action in providing care in different contexts. Recalling that period of time, I am very thankful that I found a caring response that renewed my faith and hope that I was not facing life alone like I believed I had to.


Arnett, R.F., J.M. Harden & Bell, L.M. (2009). Communication ethics  literacy: Dialogue and difference. Los Angeles: Sage.



Community of Memory: It’s All In the Organization

Organizations are sometimes defined as “institutions” but a more friendly term is often used such as “family” or “community”. In fact, the main part of communicative life is found inside the walls and context of an organization (Arnett, et. al, 2009, p. 137). Within a given organization, diversity is ever-present, as many different cultures co-exist, which ultimately shapes the “organizational culture”. Within it is many intricacies and unspoken beliefs and rules. It is interesting to note that before I took a course in my undergraduate coursework called Organizational Psychology, that I did not quite understand the context of the communicative organizational life. Therefore many experiences within my early working life, were not fully understood at that time. Culture plays a significant role for instance, when individuals recognize their own culture in the midst of learning about another culture; therefore “working in a contrasting fashion and countering our cultural assumptions” (Arnett, et. al, 2009, p. 158). Furthermore, culture is the symbolic “system of a group of people that gives us interpretive clues for what something means and the significance of a given event” (Arnett, et. al, 2009, p. 158). A similar dynamic exists within an organization, just as in a culture, there is an “ongoing” story of that organization, with an opportunity to examine communication within the specific organization. The purpose of this is to distinguish what type of communication protects and promotes the organizational good (Arnett, et. al, 2009, p.139).

A personal revelation regarding “community of memory” within an organization actually came about when I changed jobs six years ago and the term culture shock would be underrating my reaction to the change of the organizational culture! Although I left a similarly structured organization that is considered a sister organization, a huge difference was in store for me. As Arnett, et. al, (2009) stated  regarding culture shock;“it introduces a disruption in how we think” and “we feel different when habits and conventions are not our own” (p. 162). That is exactly what happened to me, though the new organization was similar in operation to the one I had left, there were key activities that were done differently that threw me off and it took quite sometime to adapt to the changes. The rhetorical interruption caused weariness and even some depressive feelings that lasted for a year! As Arnett et. al, (2009), stated “we experience fatigue as we meet communicative cultural events, disrupting normative patterns” (p.162-163). From that point I felt that I was going to have to quit, that I simply could not hang with this group and I initially declared that I had made a mistake, but soon a turning point came within the next year as I came to the realization of one fact.

That fact was that I could not quit and return to the other organization because I had made a decision that was irreversible. But at that time I did not understand the implications of the intercultural communication crisis I was experiencing because I was attempting to infuse my previous culture in this new one. The whole purpose of intercultural communication ethics is to protect and promote the culture’s good, therefore the “good” that was previously protected and promoted was not relevant in this new environment. Unfortunately, it has taken about six years to fully understand that my “communications ethic responsibility” was to observe and learn what this new culture was about and leave behind everything I believed I knew regarding interacting within organizational cultural communities (Arnett, et. al, 2009, p. 164). The key was applying the “dialogic ethic” to the intercultural communication crisis in my life at that time. It it is as simple as examining the dialogic ethic “in the manner of listening, attentiveness, and negotiation”(Arnett, et. al, 2009, p. 169-170). Simply, the following keys would have smoothed out the rocky road to transition: (1) Listen without Demand, (2) Attentiveness (ground of self, other and the historical moment), (3) Dialogic negotiation, (4) Temporal dialogic ethical competence (evaluation/self reflection and going from knowledge to learning, (5) Listen to what is before communicative partners who are culturally different (Arnett, et. al, 2009, p. 170). It as a matter of changing from this is how “so-and-so organization did it” to this how the (new) organization does it. Hindsight is truly 20/20.


Arnett, R.F., J.M. Harden & Bell, L.M. (2009). Communication ethics  literacy: Dialogue and difference. Los Angeles: Sage.