Contemporary organizational life brings with it a unique set of work pressures stemming from the varied social, economic, environmental, and technological changes that shape and are shaped by 21st century communication shifts. These shifts lead to dialectic tensions between fundamental aspects of organizational members’ experience of work across a range of areas.
For example, mobile communication technology enables anytime, anywhere communication that creates both freedom and bondage as members' work time and personal time become near indistinguishable. As well, when collaborating with colleagues distributed around the globe, matters of space and distance challenge traditional norms of face time. Research is emerging on the health and safety risks many employees take to maintain their own jobs, ranging from the dangers of sleep deprivation to substance abuse, in order to meet ever-expanding job demands.
The digital age has also seen enormous levels of information overload, often leading to less effective productivity as organizational members seek to manage many diverse streams of communication. Likewise, the predominance of social media use leaves organizational members blurring the line between personal and professional, uncertain about the audience. Finally, the tension over the proper amount of labor versus leisure in our lives – or work-life balance – remains a key issue, and is especially debated as new generations enter the workforce with differing expectations and social norms.
Editors: Dawna Ballard (Ph.D., University of California at Santa Barbara) is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. She studies how working lives shape our experience of time in multiple ways, both personally and professionally. Her interests are reflected in time across varied occupational groups and the role of technology in shaping the pace and timing of work in day-to-day and long-term activities including the use of virtual teams and bloggers. Ballard is chairperson of the Group Communication Division of the National Communication Association and past council member of the International Society for the Study of Time. She teaches courses on organizational and team communication, survey research methods, and a course on time matters.
Matt McGlone (Ph.D., Princeton University) is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. McGlone investigates the cognitive, cultural, and psychological foundations of interpersonal communication and persuasion. He studies linguistic devices people use to overcome speaking about difficult issues, the use of metaphors, and the role of social stereotypes in interpersonal interaction. McGlone has published articles in communication, psychology, sociology, and discourse studies, and serves on several professional boards. He edited a previous New Agendas book on deceptive communication with Mark L. Knapp titled “The Interplay of Truth and Deception” (Routledge, 2009) and is writing a book with Joshua Aronson on stereotype threat. McGlone teaches courses on cognition, deception, persuasion, and prejudice in interpersonal communication.