Keri K. Stephens

Keri K. Stephens
University of Texas at Austin | UT · Department of Communication Studies | Moody College of Communication

Ph.D., Organizational Comm. & Technology | BS Biochemistry

About

122
Publications
54,026
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
2,377
Citations
Citations since 2017
57 Research Items
1553 Citations
20172018201920202021202220230100200300
20172018201920202021202220230100200300
20172018201920202021202220230100200300
20172018201920202021202220230100200300
Introduction
My research program examines the role of technology in organizational practices and organizing processes, especially in contexts of crisis, disaster, risk, work, and health. My research (over $5 million in external funding) has been supported by federal (e.g., NSF) and state agencies (e.g., TXDOT, TWDB), as well as industry. Prior to academia, I used my BS in biochemistry degree and worked in the fields of environmental chemistry, biopharmaceuticals, and laboratory robotics.
Additional affiliations
September 2020 - present
University of Texas at Austin
Position
  • Professor
September 2013 - August 2020
University of Texas at Austin
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
August 2007 - August 2013
University of Texas at Austin
Position
  • Research Assistant

Publications

Publications (122)
Article
Full-text available
This study reconceptualizes communication overload and builds a theoretical foundation to understand how this phenomenon applies in contemporary life. We build theory by relying on past research and using a Q-method to capture the subjective perspectives of people who experience communication overload. In our refinement of this abstract concept, we...
Article
Full-text available
This study examines the impact of using different sequences of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to deliver repeated messages in the context of an interpersonal influence attempt. Supporting portions of ICT succession theory (Stephens, 2007), the findings suggest that, compared to using the same ICT, using complementary ICTs to deli...
Article
This study relies on information theory, social presence, and source credibility to uncover what best helps people grasp the urgency of an emergency. We surveyed a random sample of 1,318 organizational members who received multiple notifications about a large‐scale emergency. We found that people who received 3 redundant messages coming through at...
Article
Full-text available
This study examined how one US hospital implemented a mobile communication app to improve workplace communication. The hospital did not provide the technology, instead they asked their workers to use their own personal mobiles at work, through a permissive bring your own device to work (BYOD) policy. Using boundary theory, we conducted a constant-c...
Article
Full-text available
This research develops a model of mobile social network dispersion in rescue communication, and illustrates how people use a combination of mobile and social media, along with real-time communication, in their decision-making process. Guided by established research on smartphones, social media, and affordances, we used a qualitative approach and co...
Article
Full-text available
A severe winter storm in February 2021 impacted multiple infrastructure systems in Texas, leaving over 13 million people without electricity and/or water, potentially $100 billion in economic damages, and almost 250 lives lost. While the entire state was impacted by temperatures up to 10 °C colder than expected for this time of year, as well as lev...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Practice and research collaborations in the disaster domain have the potential to improve emergency management practices while also advancing disaster science theory. However, they also pose challenges as practitioners and researchers each have their own culture, history, values, incentives, and processes that do not always facilitate collaboration...
Article
Flooding is increasing worldwide, and with climate change, people need help understanding these changing conditions and that their flood risk may also change. This study extends the planned risk information seeking model (PRISM) into the flood risk domain and examines the antecedents that explain flood risk information seeking behavior. Using a sur...
Article
Construction is a dynamic sociotechnical process, consisting of ongoing interdependencies between people and the built environment. Accordingly, finding solutions to construction challenges when they arise requires understanding the interactions between social and technical factors. Over the past three decades, qualitative methods have been increas...
Article
Climate change poses a multifaceted, complex, and existential threat to human health and well-being, but efforts to communicate these threats to the public lag behind what we know how to do in communication research. Effective communication about climate change’s health risks can improve a wide variety of individual and population health-related ou...
Article
Full-text available
When a wildfire strikes, it impacts entire communities. Yet it can be challenging to get communities to take the lead in becoming more prepared, and thus build lasting resilience. Guided by theoretical preparedness models, and using a case study design, this study examines the planning, execution, and subsequent sensemaking around one of the first...
Chapter
A cosmology event—a severe disruption where people no longer understand the universe to be rational—is the best way to describe the COVID-19 Pandemic. The struggles of being quarantined during a pandemic helped me create new structures to cope. Going outdoors became a highly treasured break, and since my office had no doors, I created a façade that...
Article
Full-text available
A U.S.-Japan expert workshop on mobile alert and warning was held online 8–10 September 2021. Funded by the Japan Foundation’s Center for Global Partnership (CGP) and responding to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, the workshop compared U.S. and Japanese mobile alert and warning contexts, systems, policies, and messages to...
Article
Full-text available
Researchers have established the prominent role digital volunteers play during crises and disasters. From self‐organizing to annotating public data, these volunteers are now a fixture in disaster research. However, we know much less about how these volunteers function, behind the public scene, when using private social media as a disaster unfolds a...
Article
Since 2009, disasters have displaced each year at least 15 million people worldwide. Immediately post-disaster, emergency shelters serve those displaced. The sheltering system often consists of formal (managed by the government) and spontaneous shelters (managed by volunteers). These two types of shelters may offer different resources with atmosphe...
Research
Full-text available
Prior research has established the feasibility of conducting online interviews and observations, yet there is limited guidance in how to interact with participants when conducting fully mediated research with screen-sharing and video. This study, conducted during early phases of COVID-19, included 15 volunteer tweet-annotators working with an emerg...
Article
Full-text available
Medicine is, in its essence, decision making under uncertainty; The decisions are made about tests to be performed and treatments to be administered. Traditionally the uncertainty in decision making was handled using expertise collected by individual providers, and more recently systematic appraisal of research in the form of evidence-based medicin...
Article
Full-text available
Uncertainty is at the forefront of many crises, disasters, and emergencies, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no different in this regard. In this forum, we, as a group of organizational communication scholars currently living in North America, engage in sensemaking and sensegiving around this pandemic to help process and share some of the academic unce...
Article
Full-text available
This resource was created to support researchers who might be newly conducting crisis informatics research in light of the pandemic of 2020. It also might support creation of new course syllabi on related topics. It has been produced by members of the crisis informatics research community in May 2020 to consolidate and organize the literature on in...
Article
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are everywhere in contemporary work. Communication scholars encourage researchers to study more than how communication occurs through ICTs. This chapter focuses on topics most relevant for the future of applied communication research in a work context. It also focuses on two applied issues surroundi...
Article
Full-text available
The pursuit of knowledge surrounding health-related issues during disasters, emergencies, and crises, can be delicate and challenging. Social scientists use a host of research methods to design and execute studies with the goal of making intellectual contributions. During extended field work following Hurricane Harvey in the Greater Houston area, o...
Article
Full-text available
In this opinion paper, we argue that global health crises are also information crises. Using as an example the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) epidemic, we (a) examine challenges associated with what we term “global information crises”; (b) recommend changes needed for the field of information science to play a leading role in such crises; and...
Article
This study focuses on understanding how words and discrete facial emotions influence credibility perceptions of both prepared statements and spontaneous question and answer sessions. We build on and extend existing theoretical work concerning crises communication and discrete emotions. Using a press conference simulation, spokesperson video recordi...
Article
Full-text available
Guided by the theoretical underpinnings of the whole-person approach to wellness, we critique and adapt this framework to explain the combined complexities of organizational stress and wellness communication processes in a pediatric residency program. Using a qualitative, thematic analysis, we explore the link between employee stressors and partici...
Article
Full-text available
An increasing number of people with chronic diseases exchange social support using online support groups (OSGs). However, there is little understanding of group communication mechanisms that underpin the relationship between OSG participation and social support. Drawing on Prentice, Miller, and Lightdale’s common-identity and common-bond framework,...
Article
Full-text available
Social media plays a key role in disaster rescues, and it can facilitate feelings of support when people need rescue or want to tap into neighborhood relationships. Using semi-structured interviews of people affected by Hurricane Harvey in the Greater Houston area, we addressed our research questions around notions of social support. Using photo el...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
During large-scale disasters it is not uncommon for Public Safety Answering Points (e.g., 9-1-1) to encounter service disruptions or become overloaded due to call volume. As observed in the two past United States hurricane seasons, citizens are increasingly turning to social media whether as a consequence of their inability to reach 9-1-1, or as a...
Poster
Full-text available
Global social media use during natural disasters has been well documented (Murthy et al., 2017). In the U.S., public social media platforms are often a primary venue for those affected by disasters . Some disaster victims believe first responders will see their public posts and that the 9-1-1 telephone system becomes overloaded during crises. Moreo...
Article
Full-text available
When natural disasters occur, various organizations and agencies turn to social media to understand who needs help and how they have been affected. The purpose of this study is twofold: first, to evaluate whether hurricane-related tweets have some consistency over time, and second, whether Twitter-derived content is thematically similar to other pr...
Article
Full-text available
During large-scale disasters it is not uncommon for Public Safety Answering Points (e.g., 9-1-1) to encounter service disruptions or become overloaded due to call volume. As observed in the two past United States hurricane seasons, citizens are increasingly turning to social media whether as a consequence of their inability to reach 9-1-1, or as a...
Article
Full-text available
Using social media during natural disasters has become commonplace globally. In the U.S., public social media platforms are often a go-to because people believe: the 9-1-1 system becomes overloaded during emergencies and that first responders will see their posts. While social media requests may help save lives, these posts are difficult to find be...
Article
Full-text available
The pursuit of knowledge surrounding health-related issues during disasters, emergencies, and crises, can be delicate and challenging. Social scientists use a host of research methods to design and execute studies with the goal of making intellectual contributions. During extended field work following Hurricane Harvey in the Greater Houston area, o...
Book
In this book, the author shows how employees, organizations, and even friends and family are struggling to understand how the expected norms for mobile-communication connectedness function when people are working. Until the early 2000s workplaces provided most of the computers and portable devices that employees used to do their jobs and communicat...
Article
Scholars and practitioners have established various mechanisms and processes that help safeguard employee health and safety. Extant literature emphasizes the importance of training workers to respond to workplace hazards but often overlooks the influence of organizational factors on employees’ safety behavior. This study surveyed employees at a U.S...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Widespread disasters can overload official agencies' capacity to provide assistance, and often citizen-led groups emerge to assist with disaster response. As social media platforms have expanded, emergent rescue groups have many ways to harness network and mobile tools to coordinate actions and help fellow citizens. This study used semi-structured...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
When wide-scale flooding occurs in a community not accustomed to floods, health concerns emerge. While official organizations tasked with communicating emerging health information exist, the proliferation of social media makes it possible for average citizens to participate in this conversation. This study used a combination of semi-structured inte...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose NA Design/methodology/approach NA Findings NA Research limitations/implications NA Practical implications NA Originality/value NA
Article
Using Goffman's dramaturgical perspective of impression management, the present study focuses on the staged performances of frontline employees (FLEs) at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). Qualitative analysis reveals how FLEs in health clinics engage in staged communication to perform their jobs and facilitate patient care. Our findings h...
Chapter
Organizational Communication scholars have a rich history of encouraging multiple approaches to data collection and analysis. In this chapter, I provide examples from our recent history that illustrate how we have developed our broad perspective on research methods. I also disclose the struggles I had when trying to decide how to represent the tren...
Article
Full-text available
Vaccination reminders must both inform and persuade, and text messages designed for this purpose must do so in 160 characters or less. We tested a strategy for improving the impact of HPV vaccination text message reminders through strategic wording. In an experiment conducted in community settings, 167 Spanish-speaking Latina mothers reviewed text...
Chapter
Full-text available
There is growing attention on population health issues, and considering that people spend more time at work than in any other organization outside their home, worksites may offer a solution. For over 30 years many worksites have included programs to address employee health, safety, and risk. While some of these initiatives are mandated through legi...
Article
Full-text available
The implementation of electronic health records (EHRs) is a major transformation in health care organizations. This study uses adaptive structuration theory to build and test an organizational change appropriation model. We tested this model in a health care organization that had recently implemented an EHR system. We find that social interaction w...
Chapter
Now that organizations and their members use many different information and communication technologies (ICTs), their communication options have expanded. A key way that people use multiple ICTs simultaneously is through the practice of multicommunicating. Thus far, this growing body of research has examined multicommunicating in contexts like onlin...
Chapter
Communication options in organizations have expanded considerably in the past 50 years. Whether these options are called media choice/use, information and communication technology (ICT) choice and use, or computer mediated communication, reaching others is filled with choices. This entry traces the evolution of organizational media selection theori...
Article
Full-text available
Organizational communication scholarship has moved beyond our discipline’s early squabbles concerning whether we should privilege qualitative or quantitative methods (e.g., Doerfel & Gibbs, 2014; Myers, 2014; Putnam, 2014). Now, organizational communication methodology is more entwined with theory and is not bound to adhere to strict ontology or ep...
Article
Full-text available
Attending meetings is a common activity where people accomplish tasks and extend their relationships. But what happens when a meeting is over? Is that the end of the meeting conversation? This study empirically demonstrates that meetings are not discrete events; rather they are a form of persistent conversation processes, involving combinations of...
Article
Full-text available
This study provides a first look into how learning motivations are associated with different ways that students use mobile devices to carry on multiple conversations—multicommunicate—while in class. We use self-determination theory to make predictions linking intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and amotivation, to classroom mobile device us...
Article
Full-text available
A key provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 mandated that electronic health records (EHR) be adopted in US healthcare organizations by 2015. The purpose of this study is to examine the communicative processes involved as healthcare workers implement an EHR and make changes, known as workarounds. Guided by theories in socia...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter centers on the role that organizational identification plays in technology-infused health communication in organizations. With the rise in workplace wellness programs, and the involvement of non-profit and non-workplace organizations, there are new opportunities to consider organizations helpful when sharing important health messages....
Article
Full-text available
Mobile devices have permeated organizations creating diverse communication opportunities and new organizational challenges. This case study examines one of those challenges: creating a strategically ambiguous mobile device use policy to combat misuse in an organization. We use focus group data collection and a subsequent constant comparative analys...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: This study focused on patient portal use and investigated whether aesthetic evaluations of patient portals function are antecedent variables to variables in the Technology Acceptance Model. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of current patient portals users (N = 333) was conducted online. Participants completed the Visual Aesthetics of...
Article
Low health literacy remains an extremely common and problematic issue, given that individuals with lower health literacy are more likely to experience health challenges and negative health outcomes. In this study, we use the first three stages of the innovation-decision process found in the theory of diffusion of innovations (Rogers, 2003). We inco...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding evacuation practices and outcomes helps crisis and disaster personnel plan, manage, and rebuild during disasters. Yet the recent expansion in the number of information and communication technologies (ICTs) available to individuals and organizations has changed the speed and reach of evacuation-related messages. This study explores ICT...
Article
As mobile devices become more pervasive, there is an assumption that mobile use is ubiquitous within organizations. However, some organizations enforce policies that restrict mobile use at work, often ignoring the ethical safety implications of these decisions. This study explores how a mobile device ban at work affects how employees receive urgent...
Article
Full-text available
This study contributes an understanding of how ICTs and varying information sources work together during emergency alerts. It builds on the prior work on campus active shooter events by examining an organization that used a range of ICTs including mobile devices, social media, organizational tools, and news media, to notify their stakeholders about...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
There is a growing need to understand how mobile devices are used to reach people in a crisis. This study focuses on how work organizations play a gatekeeping role in how their employees receive crisis information. Relying on research in the digital divide and organizational justice, this study compares two different types of organizations and thei...
Article
Effectively conveying risks and hazards in medical disclosure and informed consent documentation is a crucial type of communication. However, existing protocols typically do not meet the needs of patients or practitioners. In the present study, we advance a reconceptualization of obtaining written informed consent by analyzing it as a process of un...
Article
Full-text available
People and organizations often communicate through technologies that restrict their communication to very few characters: a difficult task when the content is highly technical and specialized. This study relies on the theoretical work of informative and explanatory communication, and it expands the utility of this theory into new communication tech...
Article
Full-text available
Health information dissemination options have expanded to include workplaces and employer-sponsored efforts. This study focuses on a core relational concept found in workplaces, organizational identification-the feeling of belongingness-and the impact of partnering with employers and health clinics in health information dissemination. We use social...
Chapter
Full-text available
INTRODUCTION Communicating during a crisis is now on an international stage. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) allow people to seek and share information that extends beyond the messages that organizations craft. Firms have found that they no longer control crisis information because their stakeholders can create and share messages,...
Chapter
Full-text available
Most people agree that human resource management (HRM) plays an integral role in handling employee communication; things like employee benefits, onboarding, and newsletters. But does HR handle a situation when an employee sets up a controversial blog? Do they assist dispersed team members who need help establishing a Web conference? Is it an HR iss...
Article
Full-text available
This article analyses the term platform as it surfaced in interview data from Norway and the United States that was collected in a field research project on organizational technology use. Through an inductive analysis of the term's use in six interviews, a conceptualization of the term reveals it to be rhetorical in nature, expressing the interplay...
Article
This article analyses the term platform as it surfaced in interview data from Norway and the United States that was collected in a field research project on organizational technology use. Through an inductive analysis of the term’s use in six interviews, a conceptualization of the term reveals it to be rhetorical in nature, expressing the interplay...
Article
Full-text available
This study develops a behind-the-scenes understanding of the people and organizations that are depended upon to provide survey data. A data collection event— in this study, a pilot coverage measurement survey conducted after the United States 2010 Census—provides an ideal environment to gauge respondents’ reactions to the survey process. Relying on...