Managing a World of Problems

The Implications of Globalization for Applied Communication Research

Authored by: John Parrish-Sprowl

Routledge Handbook of Applied Communication Research

Print publication date:  June  2009
Online publication date:  July  2009

Print ISBN: 9780805849837
eBook ISBN: 9780203871645
Adobe ISBN: 9781135231798


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The linkage between macrolevel and microlevel communication systems has been the subject of investigation in most areas of applied communication scholarship, including groups (e.g., Frey, 2003), organizations (e.g., C. Stohl, 2005), and communities (e.g., Dearing, 2003; Ford & Yep, 2003). As the number of studies in each area grows, the importance of the global interconnectedness in human communication increasingly becomes clearer. Thus, although applied communication research has been conducted around the world for several decades, especially with respect to development (see Kincaid & Figueroa, this volume), the need for applied research reflective of global systems never has been more acute than it is today. This need is due, in part, to the growing realization that what happens in the daily lives of people in places such as Bangalore, India very much affects the lives of people in places such as Lincoln, Nebraska and Fort Wayne, Indiana. As people from differing cultures and nations engage each other with greater regularity, many experience greater economic, social, and political opportunities. At the same time, new tensions emerge between nations and many people feel a sense of unease or loss due to the influence of those who used to be more distant and with whom they had less contact. In recognition of the systemic connection of people, regardless of national boundaries, Williams (2002), echoing Barber’s (1995) argument in his book Jihad vs. McWorld, noted in the introduction to a special issue of Communication Studies devoted to globalization that “the dialectical relationship between ‘globalism’ and ‘localism’ is perhaps the defining dialectic of international and intercultural dynamics at the beginning of the new millennium” (p. 1).

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