Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in Communication



Major Advisor

John McClellan, Ph.D.


Natalie Nelson-Marsh, Ph.D.


erin d. mcclellan, Ph.D.


Organizational communication scholars have a history of challenging previous understandings of organization and complicating the ways organizations are understood and practiced. As organizations have been studied from communicative perspectives, some scholars have suggested moving beyond the organization to apply the rich insights gained to new problems and phenomena. Guided by the call to take organizational communication insights beyond the “organization,” this thesis examines constitutive communicative interactions and lived experiences within a public park. Public parks are frequently overlooked as mundane places in contemporary Western society, but this study demonstrates how that they are important places for meaning making and organizing. Specifically, embracing an organizational communication perspective focused on discourse and power, I spent seven weeks in a public park as a participant observer and engaged in 12 semi-structured interviews. The findings of this study demonstrate ways that power-laden discourses organize identities and understandings of the world. These findings demonstrate how organizational communication scholarship can be applied to areas and phenomena beyond the “organization.”