Dr. Frances Smith, assistant professor in Murray State University’s department of organizational communication in the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business, is the co-author of the Article of the Year (2012) in Management Communication Quarterly, a top-tier, peer-reviewed research journal for the studies of management and communication world-wide.

The article, “Revealing a master narrative: Discourses of retirement throughout the working life cycle,” was co-authored by Dr. Debbie Dougherty of the University of Missouri at Columbia, and was part of Smith’s doctoral dissertation for which Dougherty was her adviser. The two receive a plaque, an honorarium and are recognized in the August 2013 MCQ newsletter.

Findings of this research showed that retirement is an important life phase that typically marks the end of one’s occupational participation. The research was based on 84 interviews with people from various ages, occupations, social class statuses, ethnicities and locations. The results demonstrated that all interviewees, regardless of their demographic characteristics, communicated retirement as freedom. This creates a master narrative, or encompassing societal story, that guides peoples’ thoughts and dialogue about this significant work-life process. Although the interviewees also discussed some fractures within the narrative, such as expectation for people to create their own success, the master narrative of retirement remains a guiding discourse in the fabric of our organizational lives that creates implications for managers and members alike.

Management Communication Quarterly is one of the top professional journals in the communication field and accepts only 10 percent of manuscripts for publication.

Smith joined the Murray State faculty in 2008 after earning her doctorate in communication at the University of Missouri.  She received her master’s degree in organizational communication from Murray State and her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Lipscomb University in Nashville.

In addition to her teaching at Murray State, she has served as a teaching assistant at the University of Missouri, as a technology resource trainer for the Christian County School System in Hopkinsville and in human resources for Mediacom Communications in Benton.

She has several publications in such professional journals as Qualitative Research Reports in CommunicationJournal of the Northwest Communications Association and the Iowa Journal of Communications.

She is the coauthor of two textbooks, one of which is due off the press this year

Among her 14 conference presentations are ones at the National Communication Association, Kentucky Communication Association and the Central States Communications Association.

Her paper, “Sizing Things Up: The effects of weight on the evaluation of job candidates,” was a top-5 selection at the 2007 National Communication Association conference.

At Murray State she has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in organizational communication and served as the adviser for Lambda Pi Alpha. Smith has served on several departmental, collegiate and university committees, including Writing Across the Curriculum, CISR, Technology Committee and the Broughton/Breazeale Fellowship selection.

She also has served as forensics judge at the state and local level and as a paper reviewer for two professional communications journals, and has received several recognitions for her work at both the University of Missouri and at Murray State University.

Smith noted that when she and Dougherty were working on the article they were both pregnant and gave birth within two weeks of each other.

For more information on the article award, contact Smith at fsmith@murraystate.edu.

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