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Gail Fairhurst Named Fellow of ICA

The communication professor was elected a fellow of the International Communication Association.

Date: 5/5/2010
By: Kim Burdett
Phone: (513) 556-8577
Photos By: Melanie Cannon
Department of Communication Professor Gail Fairhurst is having another productive year.

She spent the month of April as a guest lecturer at the Copenhagen Business School, and in June she will travel to Singapore to be inducted as a fellow of the International Communication Association (ICA), an organization with more than 4,300 members in 80 countries. This fall her third book, “The Power of Framing: Creating the Language of Leadership,” will be published.

Gail Fairhurst.
Communication Professor Gail Fairhurst.

Tell us about what it means to be an elected fellow of the International Communication Association.

Just about every professional academic organization has a distinguished scholar designation, which requires election by your peers. To become an ICA fellow is thus one of my discipline's top honors, and I am most appreciative that my research has been recognized in this way across the communication discipline.

Tell us about your new book, “The Power of Framing: Creating the Language of Leadership” (Jossey-Bass, November 2010).

I study the linguistics of leadership and organizations. As such, most of what I publish ends up in management or communication journals. However, for my work to be relevant, I must also reach out to practicing leaders and managers. My forthcoming book is my second major attempt to do that. It focuses on the ways in which leaders and others with whom they communicate often create the realities to which they must respond through language and actions.

Unfortunately, too many managers see communication as a simple act of transmission rather than creating meaning. The book aims to help them understand framing as a skill that defines "the situation here and now." Indeed, framing is a skill that underlies all others.

Why did you feel the need to write this book?

I first published a book on framing in 1996. But there's been so much research on framing across the social sciences and so many leadership issues in these tumultuous times, it was time to update this book. It has about 80 percent new material, covering the skills, science, aesthetics, emotions, ethics and leadership context of framing. It's a user-friendly, research translation of what we know about leadership and their framing communications.

You spent the month of April teaching at Copenhagen business school. What was that like?

It was wonderful! This was a group of scholars I got to know as a result of my Fulbright to Sweden last year. At CBS, I was able to teach a doctoral seminar using my more scholarly book on leadership, "Discursive Leadership: In Conversation with Leadership Psychology" (Sage, 2007). I also gave several guest lectures both at CBS and at Lund University in Sweden on discursive leadership, organizational discourse analysis and framing.

Leadership researchers in Scandinavia and Australasia are much more inclined to see leadership in the social and cultural terms that I see them, versus the individual and cognitive terms of many management scholars in the U.S. So it was energizing to be working with scholars at CBS and the other international faculty they attract. Plus, who doesn't like Copenhagen?

Read more about Professor Gail Fairhurst:
Fairhurst Earns Fulbright
The professor of communication spent the month of April discussing leadership at Lund University in Sweden.

Gail Fairhurst Wins Top Award for ‘Discursive Leadership’
This veteran communication professor's "must-read" work has been named the 2007 Book of the Year by the National Communication Association's organizational communication division. She is also the co-author of the Jossey-Bass management series book, "The Art of Framing: Managing the Language of Leadership," the 1997 recipient of the NCA's Best Book Award.

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