Brittany L. Peterson, Ph.D.
Specialization: Organizational Communication; Voluntary and Involuntary Membership, Stigma, Socialization; Identification, Agency, Narrative and Interpretive Research Methods
Brittany L. Peterson (Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin) is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication Studies and the Director of eLearning for the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University.
Dr. Peterson’s research agenda focuses on the communicative construction of membership in organizations. She explores the intricacies associated with different understandings of membership along a continuum from voluntary to involuntary. Much of her work to date has focused on defining and understanding the construct of involuntary membership within the context of a total institution (i.e., inmates) and exploring the nuances of “high stakes” volunteering (e.g., volunteer firefighters, international volunteers). Her scholarship also investigates stigmatized members (e.g., parolees, individuals living without homes) in an effort to understand the lingering effects of their enduring membership with an eye toward empowerment, agency, and ownership. She juxtaposes her work on membership with the theories and constructs of structuration, dialectics, organizational identification, and organizational socialization/assimilation. Dr. Peterson’s work has been published in peer-reviewed journals including Management Communication Quarterly, Communication Monographs, Health Communication, Communication Quarterly, Non-Profit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Communication Education, and Journal of Applied Social Science as well as in edited books.
She teaches graduate and undergraduate classes on organizational communication, (in)voluntary membership, interpretive research methods, and communication and new technology. Dr. Peterson is also the recipient of several teaching awards including the 2014 Central States Communication Association Outstanding New Teacher Award. She has also earned the highest teaching honors available at Ohio University being named a University Professor by the Ohio University students and a Presidential Teacher (2017-2020) by a committee of her peers. Dr. Peterson is also a tenured Bruning Teaching Academy Fellow (2019-2020).
In her free time, Dr. Peterson enjoys being outside and hiking with her husband, Steve, and their two children, Pax and Prayli. She is a self-professed foodie and an avid Packer fan.