Department Associate Chair, Associate Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Area of Study: Organizational Communication
Office: 117 Bynum Hall
Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday 11:30-12:30 or by appointment
Steve May (PhD) is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests include organizational ethics and corporate social responsibility, with a specific focus on ethical dilemmas, as well as ethical practices of dialogue, transparency, participation, courage, and accountability. His books include The Handbook of Communication Ethics, The Handbook of Communication and Corporate Social Responsibility, The Debate Over Corporate Social Responsibility, Case Studies in Organizational Communication: Ethical Perspectives and Practices, and Engaging Organizational Communication Theory and Research: Multiple Perspectives, each of which has won a top book award from national and international associations. His current book projects include Corporate Social Responsibility: Virtue or Vice? and Working Identities: Communication, Ethics, and Organizational Life.
Professor May’s scholarship draws on interpretive and critical perspectives of organizational communication, as well as post-structuralist theories at the intersection of power, knowledge, and discourse. More specifically, his research focuses on the relationship between work and identity, as it relates to the boundaries of public/private, work/family, and labor/leisure. Most recently, he has studied the challenges and opportunities for organizational ethics, including common ethical dilemmas faced by workers and key practices of organizational ethics such as dialogue, transparency, participation, courage, and accountability that strengthen ethical awareness, judgment, and action in organizations.
Professor May’s research also explores the broader social, economic, political, environmental, and ideological impact of corporations, with particular attention to corporate social responsibility programs. His work considers the preferred relationship between corporations and society and how, if at all, corporations can contribute to the public good. This body of research has sought to challenge traditional dichotomies of ethics vs. profits, internal vs. external communication, and agency vs. structure-based practices to critique the role of corporations and to provide strategies for reimagining new organizations that are both productive and humane, responsible and responsive.
Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar
Arthur W. Page Center Ethics Scholar
Houle Engaged Scholar
Robert Wood Johnson Legacy Scholar
Outstanding Book Award, National Communication Association, Organizational Communication
The Debate over Corporate Social Responsibility Engaging Organizational Communication Theory and Research: Multiple Perspectives
Outstanding Book Award, National Communication Association, Public Relations
The Handbook of Communication and Corporate Social Responsibility
Outstanding Book Award, National Communication Association, Communication Ethics
The Handbook of Communication Ethics