Week 5: In Memory of…

Hello Scholars!

The topic from this week’s reading is “organizations are holders of a ‘community of memory'”. Arnett, Fritz & Bell (2009) inform us that, “the community of memory within an organization is a sense of organizational conscience, retaining what a given organization deems as good. A community of memory within an organization frames its identity, and its political life,” (p. 145). I immediately think about the different financial institutions I’ve worked for—past and present; which allows me to compare the “good” between each institution. Nonetheless, each organization has its own brand/identity. The investment management company I previously worked for didn’t believe in spending a lot money for marketing [TV/radio] like their competitors. Whereas, the financial institution I work for now is completely opposite with their marketing strategies; commercials, ads, etc. Arnett, et al., write “what makes a given organization that offers financial services visible to us is the institutional reality called financial institutions; the identity of the organization depends upon the institution,” (p. 144). For instance,  a young lady at financial institution I worked for [previously] came to work with orange hair. Her hair was orange for weeks, and management did nothing. I thought it was unprofessional, and shocked. If that same young lady worked for the investment management company, she would’ve been sent home —which speaks volumes about the “identity” of each institution.

I have a collection of memories/narratives at the investment management company in which I previously worked for. Arnett, et al., remind us that, “a community of memories connects us to meaningful stories and, in addition, to others who contributed to that community of memory,” (p. 146). The department I worked in was small since we were a specialized area; handling the change of ownership process due to the loss of a loved one. There was never a dull moment on my team due to the different personalities, and the comradery; we were a small family working together to help clients during their difficult time. We took ownership and accountability of each case assigned to us. However, after my first week of training, I didn’t have any cases assigned to me. I remember my co-worker [now close friend] stopped at my desk to inquire what I was doing, and I said, ‘I’m in case time’ and she told me, ‘but you don’t have any cases’ and my response was ‘I’m adhering to my schedule’. Arnett et al., suggest “what makes a community of memory possible is not “me,” but those who have come before the persons who now work at the telling of a given memory at a given time and emergent new insights that become the part of the communicative life recorded in a community of memory,” (p. 146).

During my tenure there, leadership was supportive when I discovered my grandmother had Stage IV brain cancer. As a result, my schedule was temporally adjusted, so I could take my grandmother to her radiation treatments. Management could’ve used the codes, procedures, and standards approach to communicative ethics which, “defines communication ethics guidelines by which appropriate ethical conduct is evaluated, protecting and promoting the good of corporately agreed-upon practices and regulations,” (Arnett, et al., 2009, p. 44) which could’ve forced me to use my PTO (paid time off) or callout every Thursday and get an UPTO (unscheduled personal time off). Because I was a top performer and illustrated exceptional work ethics, management demonstrated dialogic ethics to mitigate interruption by adjusting my schedule in order to care for my grandmother without interrupting the business needs. “Dialogic ethics listens to what is before the relational partners, attends to the historical moment, and seeks to negotiate new possibilities,” (Arnett, et. al., 2009, p. 133). Unfortunately, on June 7, 2014 my grandmother passed away. As mentioned in our text, “a rhetorical interruption is simply a communicative event that disrupts our sense of routine,” (Arnett et. al., 2009, p. 164). Her death represents the rhetorical interruption in my life. We had a routine of talking everyday [even as a latchkey kid], or going to the movies together; she was the matriarch of our family. From 2014 to the present, my immediate family and I are still adjusting to losing her; our text reminds us that “rhetorical interruptions startle lives,” (p. 164). Losing a loved one is something you’ll never get over. One must discover how to get through the pain of their loved one’s absence.

In Memory of my grandmother



Bowers, M. (2014, April 20). Charlotte, NC


Arnett, R. C., Fritz Harden, J. M., & Bell, L. M. (2009). Communication

ethics literacy: Dialogue and difference. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.


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