Theoretical Literacy


Relevant Courses: COM 601 Communication Fluency, COM 610 The Social Creation of Organizing, COM 629 Leadership and Empowerment and the Management of Meaning

Theoretical literacy within the communication discipline demonstrated by the ability to articulate at least one theoretical framework and use it to illuminate a real-life communication problem, strategy, or initiative.

WHAT I learned is the importance of applying a theoretical framework within communications. It is not just the task of identifying the issue or problem but to understand the theoretical basis or phenomena so that a solution can be designed to alleviate it. As experienced throughout this program, communication theory and its associated frameworks are used to examine real-world social, political, or socio-economic issues and scenarios. Although the all courses within the program focused on the relationship between theoretical framework and communication theory, there were specific courses that seemed to squarely focus upon that relationship. The following courses, COM 601 Communication Fluency, COM 610 The Social Creation of Organizing, and COM 629 Leadership and Empowerment and the Management of Meaning focused on the inter-relationship of the communication theory and the appropriate theoretical frameworks designed to answer the problem or scenario proposed within each problem or scenario presented in each course. Within COM 601 Communication Fluency, it introduced the communication field and explained the importance of theoretical frameworks and the communication theory as well as incorporating the digital media element as well. The course was the first course in the program which established the creation of the WORDPRESS blog, at that point, I began to see how digital media comes into play in relation to communication theory.

The course, COM 610 The Social Creation of Organizing ushered in the further understanding communication theory, in how it applies to organizational life, involving the components of motivation and identity, among other factors. Thus, COM 629 Leadership and Empowerment and the Management of Meaning ties in with COM 610 The Social Creation of Organizing perfectly, as that it carries on the exploration between communication theory and leadership, as w/;ell as the introduction to “meaning management”, that which was also introduced the theory of Framing, as well as the application of mental models and the associated sensemaking, which is described as the “situational engagement” of mental models. The significance of these courses to the issues surrounding work life, it is what made Framing and sensemaking so important on a personal level because the ability to seamlessly apply it to my professional life and my experiences over the course of my fifteen-year career in Higher Education.

SO WHAT, have I learned from this experience? First, the two prior courses (Communication Fluency and The Social Creation of Organization) established the firm foundation provided the understanding of Communication theory and other associated theories. There is usually a phenomenon that is associated with a communication problem or scenario. However, the Framing theory that stood out due to its relation to leadership and cultural organization which has been a very big part of my professional life. Upon learning about the theory associated with is Framing, I was finally able to determine how to handle certain workplace issues and identify that “phenomenon” that can occur in workplace communication. Although Framing was not the main theory used within my Inquiry Project, this framework was still applied to certain scenarios throughout my research.

NOW WHAT, with all that I learned, I will continue to learn more about communication theories and theoretical frameworks and apply the principles to my own courses! As a Business Professor on the Community College level, two of the courses that I teach is Introduction to Management and Business Communications. One of the Communication course textbook I am incorporating into these two courses is Fairhurst’s The Power of Framing: Creating the Language of Leadership. This text is powerful in that helps workplace professionals learn how to deal with complex problems in the modern workplace. Below is the link to one of the best leadership portfolio entries that I wrote for COM 629, which accurately reflects the understanding the art of Framing and how it relates to my professional life!

Link To: Leadership Portfolio Entry