Janet Fulk
Professor Emerita of Communication


Communication (PhD)






ASC 324E

Office Hours


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Communication Networks
Information and Communication Technologies
Organizational Communication
Social Aspects of Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence
Social Media

Center Affiliation

Annenberg Networks Network

Janet Fulk is a Professor of Communication in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and Professor of Management and Organization in the USC Marshall School of Business. She holds a B.A. in English from Michigan State University and M.B.A. and Ph.D. in Administrative Sciences from The Ohio State University.

Her first book, Organizations and Communication Technology (1990, with Charles Steinfield) responded to the claim that the study of information technology in organizations was “data rich but theory poor” by providing a set of theoretical essays to serve as a foundation for theory development.  The book won a Best Book Award from the National Communication Association and was lauded through a showcase panel on its continuing impact 20 years after publication.  Her second book, Shaping Organizational Form: Communication, Connection, and Community (1999, with Gerardine DeSanctis) focused on the role that information and communication technologies play in shaping the way organizing takes places in contemporary society and the challenges and opportunities that technological advances offer for organizational structure and functioning. Her third book, Policing Hawthorne (2000, with Greg Patton and Peter Monge) presents historical research on a community law enforcement organization.

A recent research project supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation in collaboration with Northwestern University and Northeastern University examines the impact of multidimensional and multilevel communication networks in online crowdsourcing.  Eight empirical studies on online crowdsourcing for graphic designs highlight the multiple ways in which crowd members are networked in online crowdsourcing in ways that impact the quality of the crowd’s predictions of market performance of the designs, the quality and innovativeness of serially successful designers, the cognitive categorization of designs by designers and the crowd, and how implicit categories structure markets in the same manner as explicit categories do.

The National Science Foundation also awarded two prior grants for her work to develop and test a theory of information as a public good.  The work resulted in a series of theoretical and empirical papers. Other recent work draws on community ecology theory to develop a multilevel conceptualization of expertise. 

Dr. Fulk  has served on the Board of Governors of Academy of Management, where she also was elected Fellow in 1997.  She served as Deputy Dean of the Academy of Management Fellows from 1999 to 2002.  Other AOM lifetime achievement awards include Distinguished Service Award and Distinguished Scholar in Organizational Communication and Information Systems.

Dr. Fulk served on the Board of International Communication Association, where she was also elected Fellow in 2011.  Other ICA lifetime achievement awards include the Frederick Williams Prize for Contributions to the Study of Communication Technology and the Fredric M. Jablin Award for Outstanding Contributions to Organizational Communication.

Dr. Fulk is also a Facultly Affliliate for the Center for Effective Organizations of the USC Marshall School of Buisness. She is also the Co-Director of the Annenberg Networks Network



DeSanctis, G. & Fulk, J. (1999). Shaping Organizational Form: Communication, Connection and Community. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
This collection provides a range of perspectives on the potential for new organizational forms to emerge in today's economic landscape and on the power of technology to influence their success. Four key foci are (a) changes in technology, changes in form, and their mutual influence on each other, (b) evolutionary processes in organizations and the ways in which technology can influence these processes, (c) development of organizational communities and interorganizational relationships that are mediated by electronic communication systems, and (d) important controversies surroudning electronically mediated forms, and directions for future research that flow out of these controversies.

Fulk, J. & Steinfield, C. (1990). Organizations and Communication Technology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Winner National Communication Association's Best Book Award in Organizational Communication.
How do technology and organization interact to shape both organizational structures and processes and technological systems? What organizational, political, and social processes constrain technological development? Starting with these questions, this volume centers on the role of theory for advancing our knowledge of communication technology in organizations. A distinguished team of contributors examines a richly diverse group of topics, including telecommunications, communication networks and new media, the use of group decision support systems, and discretionary databases.

Patton, G., Monge, P. & Fulk, J. (2000) Policing Hawthorne. South Pasadena, CA: Keystone Communications.
This book is the product of extensive ethnographic and historical research on the police department of the City of Hawthorne, California. The book traces the history of the department and its officers since 1922. Several major eras are documented in their sometimes lofty and sometimes halting quest "to protect and serve."

Selected Articles
Fulk, J., Heino, R., Flanagin, A., Monge, P. & Bar, F. (2004). A test of the individual action model for organizational information commons. Organization Science, 15 (5), 569-586.

Fulk, J., Monge, P. & Hollingshead, A. (2005). Knowledge resource sharing in dispersed multinational teams: Three theoretical lenses. In D. Shapiro, M.A. Von Glinow & J. Cheng (Eds.), Managing multinational teams: Global perspectives (pp. 155-188). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Shumate, M., Fulk, J. & Monge, P. (2005). Predictors of the HIV/AIDS INGO network over time. Human Communication Research, 31, 482-510.

Fulk, J. & McGrath, J. (2005). Touchstones. In M.S. Poole & A.B. Hollingshead. (Eds)., Theories of small groups: An interdisciplinary perspective (pp. 397-425). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Course Titles

COMM 500
COMM 620: Organizations and Communication Technology
COMM 620: Online Communities