In October 2012 Jody Hoffer Gittell and Anne Douglass’ article, “Relational Bureaucracy: Structuring Reciprocal Relationships into Roles,” was published in a special issue of the Academy of Management Review, dedicated to the subject of care and compassion in organizations. This month, the Academy of Management features a panel discussion among several editors and authors who contributed their unique perspectives and expertise to that October special issue. The forum, titled “Understanding and Creating Caring and Compassionate Organizations,” is devoted to the challenge of integrating care and compassion into the core values of organizational management. This theme aligns with relational coordination theory, which brings to light the humanistic elements that underly the technical process of coordination. Relational coordination is coordinating work through high quality communication supported by relationships of shared goals, shared knowledge and mutual respect. According to relational coordination theory, “organizational practices and structures can either foster and support positive human relationships or substantially undermine them, even if unintentionally.”

The panel discussion has now been posted as a “Featured Story” on the Academy of Management website homepage (, including a video commentary by Professor Jane Dutton of the Ross School of Business, formerly a Board Member of the Relational Coordination Research Collaborative. The AOM invites the public to engage with the panel discussion and video by offering comments, insights, and reactions to this important topic. The webpage dedicated to this discussion, featuring a video/audio podcast and transcript of the panel is For the initial press release by the Academy of Management, click here. For access to the “Relational Bureaucracy” article as well as the rest of the special issue, click here.