702 South Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801
William C. Barley is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His research explores the processes enabling individuals from different disciplines to work together to achieve goals they would be unable to achieve alone. In modern organizations, it is impossible to fully understand these processes without recognizing the role that technologies play in the production and communication of meaning. To that end, Barley's work focuses on how individuals in organizations design and use technologies to collaborate across knowledge boundaries. His work draws on the theoretical traditions of symbolic interactionism, social constructivism, and practice perspectives from communication studies, organization studies, and science and technology studies.
Drawing primarily on fieldwork, Barley's research aims to capture collaborative work as it occurs within and across organizations. In various projects, he has examined collaboration among automobile engineers, weather researchers, and physicians and nurses working in hospitals. Although he relies heavily on ethnographic methods, he also employs other analytic techniques, both qualitative and quantitative, to uncover themes in his data. In particular, he has built and tested theory using social network analysis, regression models, and agent based simulation modeling.
Collaboration and coordination
Field studies of technology design, adoption, and use
Ph.D., Media, Technology, & Society, Northwestern University
M.A., Media, Technology, & Society, Northwestern University
B.S., Cognitive Science, University of California, San Diego
Additional Campus Affiliations
Assistant Professor, National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA)
Barley, W., Treem, J. W., & Leonardi, P. M. (2020). Experts at coordination: examining the performance, production, and value of process expertise. Journal of Communication. https://doi.org/10.1093/joc/jqz041
Barley, W., & Poole, M. S. (2019). Networks and technology. In Movements in Organizational Communication Research: Current Issues and Future Directions (pp. 233-252). Taylor and Francis. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203730089-13
Barley, W. C., Treem, J. W., & Kuhn, T. (2018). Valuing multiple trajectories of knowledge: A critical review and agenda for knowledge management research. Academy of Management Annals, 12(1), 278-317. https://doi.org/10.5465/annals.2016.0041
Treem, J. W., & Barley, W. C. (2018). A framework for how expertise is communicated and valued in contemporary organizations: Why process work matters. In P. J. Salem, & E. Timmerman (Eds.), Transformative Practice and Research in Organizational Communication (pp. 130-148). IGI Global. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-5225-2823-4.ch008
Barley, W. C. (2017). Technology-Organization Relationship. In C. R. Scott, J. R. Barker, T. Kuhn, J. Keyton, P. K. Turner, & L. K. Lewis (Eds.), The International Encyclopedia of Organizational Communication (pp. 1-11). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118955567.wbieoc204