Communication ETDs

Publication Date



This dissertation explores positive communication in the workplace; namely, that communication which constitutes quality connections and positive relationships associated with positive organizational climate. High quality connections and positive relationships are some of the most important dynamics in work life and key to developing a respectful, affirming work climate. By coding their communicative elements, this study develops a new communicative model of positive relationships and quality connections at work which synthesizes contemporary models from the fields of organizational behavior, psychology, and organizational communication. It demonstrates the applicability of this new model with empirical evidence from working professionals' stories and establishes the model's link to organizational climate. Using an interpretive approach, I conducted 21 interviews with a diverse group of working adults about their best-work experiences. At the time of their best work experiences, working professionals ranged in age from 17 to 57, were employed in 11 different countries, and worked in nine industry sectors; 60 percent were managers. Qualitative content data analysis was utilized to analyze participants' interviews. Findings provide convincing empirical evidence supporting the initial five proposed dimensions from past models and suggest two other dimensions absent from past models, positive spiral and adventure. These dimensions are key to quality connections and positive relationships at work. Thus, I propose the following dimensions for a new communicative model of positive relationships and quality connections at work: inclusion, instrumental, sensemaking, positive spiral, transparency, generative emotional resources, and adventure.




positive organizational climate, positive workplace relationships, communicative model of workplace relationships and connections, quality workplace connections

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Foss, Karen

First Committee Member (Chair)

Lutgen-Sandvik, Pamela

Second Committee Member

Schuetz, Jan

Third Committee Member

Rodriguez, Ilia

Fourth Committee Member

Whiting, Vicki