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Joshua Barbour

Professor

Biography

I am a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. In 2018, I founded the Automation Policy and Research Organizing Network (APRON), which aims to build a community of scholars, practitioners, and policymakers and advance communication research focused on the future of data-intensive, automated work, and I direct the APRON Lab.

My research begins with the assumption that institutional structures such as regulations, laws, and cultural norms create opportunities, constraints, resources, and contradictions that we exploit and suffer to solve problems. I try to shed light on practitioners’ strategic efforts to navigate those structures. I study their communication design: the choices actors make about messages, communication tools, formats, and systems of interaction to do so. I also study the institutional moorings of communication and organizing, or put another way, I view organizational communication as macromorphic. Across my scholarship, I have found that (a) institutional constraints can be overcome and reconstructed by local actors’ macromorphic communicative and organizational efforts, (b) these efforts are captured in and enacted through their choices about communication, (c) these choices vary in rhetorical and strategic sophistication, and (d) success depends on the creativity with which they can recast communicative situations, negotiate competing ideals for practice, and navigate contradictory frameworks for action.

 

Additional Campus Affiliations

Professor, Communication

Highlighted Publications

Barbour, J. B., Jensen, J. T., Call, S. R., & Sharma, N. (Accepted/In press). Substance, discourse, and practice: a review of communication research on automation. Annals of the International Communication Association, 47(3), 261-291. https://doi.org/10.1080/23808985.2023.2183232

Jensen, J. T., Rolison, S. L., & Barbour, J. B. (2022). Temporal Dominance: Controlling Activity Cycles When Time Is Scarce, Sudden, and Squeezed. Management Communication Quarterly, 36(1), 30-61. https://doi.org/10.1177/08933189211023471

Treem, J. W., Barley, W. C., Weber, M. S., & Barbour, J. B. (2023). Signaling and meaning in organizational analytics: coping with Goodhart’s Law in an era of digitization and datafication. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 28(4), Article zmad023. https://doi.org/10.1093/jcmc/zmad023

Graham, S. S., Sharma, N., Karnes, M. S., Majdik, Z. P., Barbour, J. B., & Rousseau, J. F. (2023). A Content Analysis of Self-Reported Financial Relationships in Biomedical Research. AJOB Empirical Bioethics, 14(2), 91-98. https://doi.org/10.1080/23294515.2022.2160509

Trefz, B. A., Bierling, D. H., Christjoy, A., & Barbour, J. B. (2022). Building Risk Communication Infrastructure by Bolstering Emergency Managers’ Formal and Informal Communication Networks. In H. D. O'Hair, & M. J. O'Hair (Eds.), Communication and Catastrophic Events: Strategic Risk and Crisis Management (pp. 103-119). Wiley. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119751847.ch7

View all publications on Illinois Experts

Recent Publications

Fu, J. S., & Barbour, J. B. (2024). Contextualizing communication for digital innovation and the future of work. Journal of Communication, 74(1), 36-47. Article jqad031. https://doi.org/10.1093/joc/jqad031

Jensen, J. T., Call, S. R., & Barbour, J. B. (Accepted/In press). Hostile knowledge performances. Communication Monographs. https://doi.org/10.1080/03637751.2024.2314045

Pokharel, M., Lillie, H. M., Jensen, J. D., King, A. J., Ratcliff, C. L., & Barbour, J. B. (Accepted/In press). Political Party Collective Norms, Perceived Norms, and Mask Wearing Behavior: A Test of the Theory of Normative Social Behavior. Health communication. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2024.2309003

Barbour, J. B., Pierce, C. S., & Rolison, S. L. (2023). Health Professions/Occupations. In E. Y. Ho, C. L. Bylund, & J. C. M. Van Weert (Eds.), The International Encyclopedia of Health Communication (pp. 1-7). (The Wiley Blackwell-ICA International Encyclopedias of Communication). Wiley. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119678816.iehc0700

Barbour, J. B., Jensen, J. T., Call, S. R., & Sharma, N. (Accepted/In press). Substance, discourse, and practice: a review of communication research on automation. Annals of the International Communication Association, 47(3), 261-291. https://doi.org/10.1080/23808985.2023.2183232

View all publications on Illinois Experts