Hello World

Send me a note while you are here, or email me at josh at macromorphic dot com or at barbourjosh at utexas dot edu.

2504A Whitis Ave. (A1105)
Austin, TX 78712
United States




I am an assistant professor in the Organizational Communication and Technology group at the Department of Communication Studies in the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. I am faculty affiliate of the Center for Health Communication, a collaboration of the Moody College of Communication and Dell Medical School, and I am a faculty affiliate of the Health Informatics and Health Information Technology Program at McCombs School of Business. My work begins with the assumption that institutional structures such as regulations, laws, and cultural norms create opportunities, constraints, resources, and contradictions that local actors exploit and suffer to solve problems. My research seeks to shed light on practitioners’ strategic efforts to navigate those structures, and, in particular, their communication design, the choices actors make about messages, communication tools, formats, and systems of interaction to do so. I study the institutional moorings of communication and organizing, or put another way, I view organizational communication as macromorphic. Across my scholarship, I have found that (a) institutional constraints can be overcome and reconstructed by local actors’ macromorphic communicative and organizational efforts, (b) these efforts are captured in and enacted through their choices about communication, (c) these choices vary in rhetorical and strategic sophistication, and (d) success depends on the creativity with which they can recast communicative situations, negotiate competing ideals for practice, and navigate contradictory frameworks for action. My current research focuses on projects funded by a National Science Foundation grant entitled, CAREER: The Future of Work in Health Analytics and Automation: Investigating the Communication that Builds Human-Technology Partnerships (SES-1750731). This scholarship focuses on the datafication and automation of health and healthcare, and it has two goals: (1) Investigate the communication practices involved in automating work to encourage automation that benefits work and workers. (2) Help students at community colleges and universities understand and prepare for the opportunities and challenges of automation and for careers likely to be affected or created by automation.