Distinguished Research Professor Emerita

Linda L. Putnam is a Distinguished Research Professor and Emerita Professor who joined the Department of Communication at Santa Barbara in 2007. Before coming to UCSB, she served as a Regent’s Professor and as the George T. and Gladys H. Abell Professor of Communication at Texas A&M University. At UCSB, she held the position of Department Chair from 2010-2013. She received her Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Minnesota in 1977 and her M.A. from the University of Wisconsin in 1968.

Her research focuses on paradoxes and contradictions in organizations, negotiation and conflict management in organizations, and organizational discourse studies. She has conducted studies on teachers’ negotiation, multiparty environmental disputes, negotiation teams, and labor conflicts, including the 2007-2008 Writers Guild Strike. Her discourse studies focus heavily on tensions and contradictions, but they also incorporate metaphors, narratives, discursive framing, and arguments. More recently, she has examined the tensions and contradictions in work-life issues in organizations, organizational change processes, and working in open and flexible office spaces. She is currently completing a co-authored book on the constitutive perspective to the study of paradoxes and dialectics in organizations, to be published with Routledge/Taylor & Frances.

To fund her research, she received grants from the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.  She has presented over 120 invited keynote addresses, plenary speaker, and distinguished lectures throughout the US and in Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Mexico, Germany, the Netherlands, Korea, Portugal, New Zealand, and Australia. She has also served as an external reviewer for communication programs in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. 

Dr. Putnam is a Fellow of the International Communication Association (ICA), a Distinguished Scholar of the National Communication Association (NCA), a Fellow of the International Association for Conflict Management (IACM), and the 2015 UCSB Faculty Distinguished Research Lecturer for extraordinary achievements in research and scholarly work.  She has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from IACM (2011), Management Communication Quarterly for contributions that shaped the field of organizational communication (2012), and the ICA Steven H. Chaffee Career Productivity Award (2005).  In 2018, she received the B. Aubrey Fisher Mentorship Award from the International Communication Association. In 1993, she received the Charles H. Woolbert Award for Original and Innovative Research from NCA and she is a two-time recipient of the ICA Best Article Award (2005, 2009).  Six of her books and articles have also received awards from the Organizational Communication Divisions of NCA and ICA. She has received two honorary doctorates--one from the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Montreal in Montreal, Canada and a second one from Economics and Business Administration at Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland. 

In addition to her research, Dr. Putnam received the 2012 Samuel L. Becker Distinguished Service Award from NCA and the 2011 Distinguished Service Award from the Academy of Management Association for contributions to the discipline at large. She is a past president of three professional societies--the International Communication Association, the International Association for Conflict Management, and the Council of Communication Associations.  She was elected an at-large member of the Academy of Management Board of Governors and has served as the Chair of the Organizational Communication Divisions of NCA and ICA and the Conflict Management Division of the Academy of Management.  Her professional service also included appointments as Associate Editor for Human Relations (2001-2006) and Organization (2001-2007), co-editorship of four handbooks, co-editorship of two major works volumes, guest editor (or co-editor) of nine special issues of journals, and current membership on the editorial boards of seven journals.


Ph.D. (1977). University of Minnesota, Speech Communication