Charles Redding:  Response to Berger

Charles Redding is a professor in Organizational Communication, and seems provoked to write a response to Berger

First, he states his background in Org. Comm- and says that his field has contributed to the FRAGMENTATION that the field of communication is experiencing

Next, he lauds Berger and agrees that communication researchers have become HYPOTHESIS TESTERS, and are NOT THEORY GENERATORS

However, he disagrees, or tries to make a point that he disagrees with Berger:  Sometimes, experience in the 'real' environment can be very helpful

- it can give theories boundaries / scopes where they are applicable
- it can provide for an environment to test out new ideas and generate new theories

In summary:  FRAGMENTATION can destroy the field of communication, however, CONTEXTUAL 'TESTING' doesn't necessarily ruin THEORY GENERATION

On Organizational Communication:

Many people are skills instructors, which is fine for testing new ideas, but being SKILLS INSTRUCTORS alone shouldn't give them any merit!  (Agree w/ Berger)

To understand the prevalence of skills trainers, we need to look at the history of the Organizational Communication field:

- originated in speech, and skills workshops (1950's - 70's)
- HUMAN RELATIONS (original title)

This history shows a history of a.) skills trainers and b.) applied research which may help explain why the field isn't as theoretical as it should be

On Berger's Points (REDDING AGREES THAT):

Redding Suggests the following for improvement:

Prototyping / Creating of Theories in the classroom / graduate programs

Other Non-Theory learning (historical, rhetorical, ethnographic, critical theory)

Many good new ideas / theory REALLY CAN emerge from real world applications (other responses to Berger criticize him for downplaying the vital bridge between theory and practice - because communication practice reinforces communication theory and research)