What's in a name? An exploration of the social dynamics of forms of address in organizations

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Abstract

Behavioral cues used in the communication of status, and therefore in the possible leveling of status differentials within organizations, have rarely been examined. This article discusses one such cue, differential forms of address, that is, use of first name, (e.g., Jim) or title/last name (e.g., Dr. or Mr. Jones). The article explores the pivotal role of naming in elaborating or leveling status differences, recent shifts in norms regarding naming within American corporations, and how the social dynamics of naming shed light on the inherent tensions between status and equality within organizations. The article draws upon some preliminary, exploratory data, and propositions are generated for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-451
Number of pages30
JournalManagement Communication Quarterly
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management

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