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Ambiguity As Strategy In Organizational Communication

E. Eisenberg
Published 1984 · Psychology

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This paper argues that while most teachers, researchers, and practitioners of organizational communication encourage clarity, a critical examination of communication processes in organizations reveals that clarity is both non‐normative and not a sensible standard against which to gauge individual or organizational effectiveness. People in organizations confront multiple situational requirements, develop multiple and often conflicting goals, and respond with communicative strategies which do not always minimize ambiguity, but are nonetheless effective. Strategic ambiguity is essential to organizing in that it: (1) promotes unified diversity, (2) facilitates organizational change, and (3) amplifies existing source attributions and preserves privileged positions.
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