Interorganizational Communication

Michelle Dawn Shumate, Yannick Atouba, Katherine R. Cooper, Andrew Pilny

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


Interorganizational communication describes the structures, forms, and processes created by the exchange of messages and the co-creation of meaning among organizations and their stakeholders. Research in this area has its roots in the study of organizational interlocks and boundary spanners and, more recently, in the field of communication, especially when conceptualized as networks. Several theories have been used to explain the emergence of interorganizational communication. Traditional theories have focused on economic and sociological explanations. More recent theories have given primacy to communication based mechanisms. Interorganizational communication encompasses four distinct types of relations: affinity, flow, representational, and semantic. Most research to date has focused on affinity interorganizational communication, or the socially constructed relationships between organizations in which communication is implicitly assumed to facilitate the creation of shared meaning and coordination of organizational activities. The prospects for advancing research and theory in interorganizational communication depend upon attending to these types of relations.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe International Encyclopedia of Organizational Communication
EditorsCraig R Scott, Laurie Lewis
Place of PublicationChichester, UK
PublisherWiley-Blackwell Publishing
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781118955567
ISBN (Print)9781118955604
StatePublished - 2016


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