The Center for Writing Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Colloquium Archive

Charles Bazerman

Name: Charles Bazerman, University of California at Santa Barbara

Presentation Title: "Charisma and Communication in Edison's Organizations"

Date: October 30, 1997

Abstract

Edison was a charismatic force in the organizations that formed around him. The first institutions to develop, manufacture, and disseminate his system of delivering light and power relied on the force of Edison's authority and the trust he granted his close associates. The unusual organization and communication of the Edison companies were extensions of these charismatic relations, but came under strain as the Edison enterprises succumbed to the bureaucratic logic of large organizations. The forms of writing within the Edison companies were sensitive to and part of the changing patterns of relations and communication. These are some of the topics Professor Bazerman will focus on in his presentation.