Dr. Jacob Rawlins was presented with the Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award by the Association for Business Communication (ABC) at the organization’s annual convention last week. Dr. Rawlins is a new faculty member in the Department of Management, where he is developing and teaching courses in business communication.
Dr. Rawlins completed his dissertation at Iowa State University earlier this year. The dissertation grew out of his three-year ethnographic study of the Printing Services department at ISU. Printing Services was procuring a new print management system to digitally coordinate work across departments and across every stage of their work process. Throughout the procurement and implementation, managers had to build stakeholder enthusiasm and sustain that support through the twists and turns that all complex projects take. The dissertation explores how managers and leaders build consensus in the workplace through creating rhetorical myths. Dr. Rawlins argues that rhetorical myths define the historical motivations for change, describe current actions on a trajectory that connects past and future outcomes, and provide communal markers that strengthen a sense of shared fate.
The Association for Business Communication is an international academic and professional organization “committed to advancing business communication research, education, and practice.” It honors one or two dissertations each year for contributions to scholarship, research, or pedagogy in the field of business communication.