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Sarah Tracy

Sarah Tracy

Professor, The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication
Arizona State University
PO Box 871205
Tempe, AZ 85287-1205


  • Senior Global Futures Scholar, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory
  • Professor, The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Director, The Project for Wellness and Work Life
  • Affiliate Faculty, Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions


Dr. Sarah J. Tracy studies organizational communication, emotion, sustainability, and change and is an expert in qualitative research methods. Most of her scholarship has focused on stressful workplace issues such as burnout, work-life balance, faking emotions, and workplace bullying, and positive types of communication such as compassion, transformation, resilience, and engagement. She works with a vibrant group of professors, graduate students, and community members as co-director of The Transformation Project, examining new possibilities related to collaboration, health, and work-life wellness. She is author of two books (on on organizational change and another on research methods) and more than 60 published essays. Her favorite courses to teach include “Communication and The Art of Happiness,” “Emotion and Organizations," "Being a Leader" and "Advanced Qualitative Research Methods." Dr. Tracy aims to develop peoples’ 'on the court' practice in their work, scholarship, and life—where they not only learn 'about' but also learn 'to be.'


  • PhD, Communication, University of Colorado-Boulder, 2000
  • MA, Communication, University of Colorado-Boulder, 1996
  • BA, Public Relations and Communication, University of Southern California, 1993


Journal Articles


Hinrichs, M. M., T. P. Seager, S. J. Tracy and M. A. Hannah. 2017. Innovation in the Knowledge Age: Implications for collaborative science. Environmental Systems and Decisions 37(2):144-155. DOI: 10.1007/s10669-016-9610-9. (link )


Tracy, S. J. 2016. Buds bloom in a second spring: Storying the Male Voices Project. Qualitative Inquiry 22(1):17-24. DOI: 10.1177/1077800415603397. (link )


Way, A. K., R. Kanak Zwier and S. J. Tracy. 2015. Dialogic interviewing and flickers of transformation: An examination and delineation of interactional strategies that promote participant self-reflexivity. Qualitiative Inquiry 21(8):730-731. DOI: 10.1177/1077800414566686. (link )


Allen, J. A., C. W. Scott, S. J. Tracy and J. D. Crowe. 2014. The signal provision of emotion: Using emotions to enhance reliability via sensemaking. International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion 6(3):240-260. DOI: 10.1504/IJWOE.2014.065758. (link )

Rivera, K. and S. J. Tracy. 2014. Embodying emotional dirty work: A messy text of patrolling the border. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal 9(3):201-222. DOI: 10.1108/QROM-01-2013-1135. (link )

Tracy, S. J. 2014. Fieldwork horse-assery: Making the most of feeling humiliated, rebuffed, and offended during participation observaiton research. Management Communication Quarterly 28(3):458-465. DOI: 10.1177/0893318914536965. (link )

Tracy, S. J., E. K. Eger, T. P. Huffman, S. Malvini Redden and J. A. Scarduzio. 2014. Narrating the backstage of qualitative research in organizational communication: A synthesis. Management Communication Quarterly 28(3):422-431. DOI: 10.1177/0893318914536964. (link )



Tracy, S. J. 2013. Qualitative Research Methods -- Collecting Evidence, Crafting Analysis, Communicating Impact. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN: 978-1405192026.


Deetz, S. A., S. J. Tracy and J. Simpson. 1999. Leading Organizations through Transition: Communication and Cultural Change. Sage Publications, Inc.. ISBN: 978-0761920977.