Called Upon to Speak: Interrogating the Social Discipline of Member Voicing

Emma Christensen, Lars Thøger Christensen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Purpose of the paper and research gap: The purpose of this paper is to examine how member voices nominated to represent an organization in official channels are disciplined by norms and expectations that extend beyond the organizational context. Extant research has primarily studied the voices of nonnominated members and focused on explicit managerial attempts to control such voices, for example through the use of social media policies, training, and monitoring. In this paper, we suggest that norms, rules, and genre expectations of the wider society constitute a more fundamental source of discipline than organizational-specific control measures. Theoretical approach and research questions: We draw on theories of interpellation, role, and genre in order to understand 1) what it means to be called upon to represent one’s organization, 2) how that particular role is understood and enacted, and 3) what genres the nominated members believe they have at their disposal. Methods: We are conducting a critical case study in a large public organization that features nominated members’ communication as part of the organization’s employer branding. Specifically, we use an interview technique called “autodriving” that allows members get to reflect on and account for their own words about their organization. Key findings and implications: While our study is still ongoing, we expect to develop a deeper insight into the phenomenon of member voicing, including especially what it means to be nominated to speak for one’s organization, the perceived nature of that particular role and the genre expectations involved.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2022
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventThe 72nd Annual International Communication Association Conference. ICA 2022: One World, One Network‽ - Paris, France
Duration: 26 May 202230 Jun 2022
Conference number: 72


ConferenceThe 72nd Annual International Communication Association Conference. ICA 2022
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