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Alaina Zanin

Assistant Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 1205

Alaina Zanin joined the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication as an assistant professor in fall 2017. After earning her doctorate in communication from the University of Oklahoma, Zanin worked for two years as an assistant professor at the University of Central Missouri where she taught business communication in the management department.

Zanin’s research focuses on the intersections of health and organizational communication. She is specifically interested in issues of discourse and identity negotiation in unconventional organizational contexts (e.g., life enrichment groups, non-traditional organizations, sports teams, healthcare organizations). Her dissertation was an ethnography of two American collegiate Division I athletic programs (i.e., football and women’s track) and described how organizational members were able to resist managerial influence collectively in the absence of talk through overlapping identifications. Her research utilizes structuration, sensemaking and framing theories, and focuses on issues concerning power, resistance, and body work. Zanin’s rigorous plan of research is exemplified by her recent publications in Management Communication Quarterly, and Small Group Research.

During her graduate work, Zanin had the opportunity to work on a grant-funded, qualitative, longitudinal study of gynecological cancer patients and providers. A paper from this dataset was published in Qualitative Health Research and another earned a top paper award in the health communication division at the National Communication Association’s 2015 convention.

Currently, Zanin is working on a subset of her dissertation data which focuses on the negotiation of athlete injury in the context of a NCAA DI football training room. This dataset and analysis will include ethnographic data which traces the negotiation of athlete injuries over time. A manuscript from this dataset is currently under review. 



Ph.D. Communication Studies—University of Oklahoma                           May 2015

Expertise: Organizational Communication

Dissertation: The power of the player: Theorizing concertive resistance

M.S. Organizational Communication—Murray State University                  May 2009

Area: Organizational Communication

B.A.  Journalism—Murray State University                                                    May 2008

 Area: Print Media


Research Interests

Alaina C. Zanin (Ph.D., University of Oklahoma) is an assistant professor of Organizational and Health Communication at Arizona State University. Her research interests include structuration, sensemaking, and framing theories as well as issues surrounding power, control, resistance. Her work is published in journals, such as Small Group Research, Western Journal of Communication, and Management Communication Quarterly


Zanin, A., & Bisel, R. S. (2017). Triggering a Team’s Collective Resistance: The Managerial Inquisition. Management Communication Quarterly.

Zanin, A., Hoelscher, C., & Kramer, M. (2016). Extending symbolic convergence theory: A shared identity perspective of a team’s culture. Small Group Research.

Zanin, A., Bisel, R. S., & Adame, E. A., (2016). Supervisor moral talk contagion and trust-in-supervisor: Mitigating the workplace moral mum effect. Management Communication Quarterly. [Lead Article]

Bisel, R. S., Zanin, A., Rozzell, B., Baird, E., & Rygaard, J. (2016). Identity work in a prestigious occupation: Academic physicians’ local social constructions of distributive justice. Western Journal of Communication.   

Hoelscher, C., Zanin, A., & Kramer, M. (2016). The role of values in alternative organizations: Examining organizational identification in farmers markets. Western Journal of Communication.

Hsieh, E., Bruscella, J. S., Zanin, A., Kramer, E. M. (2015). “It’s not like you need to live 10 or 20 years”: Challenges to patient-centered contextualization in gynecologic oncologist-patient interactions. Qualitative Health Research.

Book Chapters

Zanin, A. (2017). Metaphors in leadership. In Heath, R. L. and Johansen, W. (Eds.), The international encyclopedia of strategic communication. Wiley Blackwell.

Zanin, A. (2016). Playing the blame game: Negotiating loyalty tensions among teammates. In J. Wrench & D. Tucker (Eds.), Casing Sport Communication. Kendall-Hunt.

Zanin, A. (2015). Oklahoma tornado case study: Really helping? In M. W. Kramer & J. M. Smith (Eds.), Case Studies in Volunteering and NGO's. Peter Lang.

Bisel, R. S., & Zanin A. (2015). Moral dissent in healthcare organizations. In E. A. Williams & T. Harrison (Eds.), Organizations, Communication, and Health. Routledge.

Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
COM 250Communication & the Workplace
COM 492Honors Directed Study
COM 507Qual Rsrch Methods in Comm
COM 690Reading and Conference
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
COM 250Communication & the Workplace
COM 312Comm, Conflict & Negotiation
COM 690Reading and Conference
Summer 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
COM 690Reading and Conference
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
COM 250Communication & the Workplace
COM 312Comm, Conflict & Negotiation
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
COM 230Small Group Communication