Bridging the “Third Space”:
Advancing Communication Theories in/of Nonprofit Organizations

Sponsored by the Organizational Communication Division

Readings for the NCA Preconference

Participants should read anchoring literature on theorizing nonprofit organizations.  Please read the Lewis (2005) article, “The Civil Society Sector,” before the preconference.  We also encourage you to review other articles posted, as time permits or to suit your preference.

Recommended Primary Reading:

Lewis, L. (2005). The civil society sector: A review of critical issues and research agenda for organizational communication scholars. Management Communication Quarterly, 19(2), 238-267.
(social capital; mission, effectiveness, and accountability; governance and decision making; and volunteer relationships)

Other Readings – Mixed Topics:

Eisenberg, E., & Eschenfelder, B. (2009). In the public interest: communication in nonprofit organizations. In L. Frey & K. Cissna (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Applied Communication Research. New York, NY: Routledge .
(partnering; mission and identity; fostering employee involvement)

Ganesh, S., & McAllum, K. (2009). Discourses of volunteerism. In C. Beck (Ed.), Communication Yearbook 33 (pp. 344-378). New York, NY: Routledge.

Hoffman, M.F., & Medlock-Klyukovski, A. (2004). “Our creator who art in Heaven:” Paradox, ritual, and cultural transformation. Western Journal of Communication, 68(4), 389-410.
(religious organizations, conflicts of interest, women, organizational culture, rites & ceremonies)

Mize Smith, J., & Sypher, B.D. (2010). Philanthropy in the workplace: How a financial institution communicates charitable giving values.Southern Communication Journal, 75, 370-391.

(philanthropy/corporate giving)

Other – Resources on the Nonprofit Sector:

Hall, D. (2006). A historical overview of philanthropy, voluntary associations, and nonprofit organizations in the United States, 1600-2000. In W. W. Powell & R. Steinberg (Eds.), The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook (2nd ed., pp. 32-65). New Haven: Yale University Press. Retrieved June 2007 from:

Wing, K.T., Roeger, K.L., & Pollak, T.H. (2009). The nonprofit sector in brief: Facts and figures from the Nonprofit Almanac 2009. The Urban Institute.  Retrieved June 2010 from:
(data and statistics about the nonprofit sector)

For questions about these readings, or if you have trouble accessing them, contact Beth Eschenfelder (

Submit Preconference Papers

Participants are asked write a short position paper centered in advancing communication theorizing and/or practice—organizational and otherwise—in nonprofits, but this is not a requirement of participation. Themes that are especially encouraged for position papers include (a) marketization, (b) collaboration, (c) volunteerism, (d) governance, (e) development and fundraising, and (f) mission/vision.

Submit papers by October 15 to Matt Koschmann (

Click here for a copy of the full preconference call