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Faculty Bio

Williams, Sean

Williams, Sean

Professor, Professional Communication

Office: 708 Strode

Research Interests
Communication in business and entrepreneurship

Ph.D. English, University of Washington; M.A. English, Arizona State University; M.B.A., Clemson University; B.A. English, University of Utah

Dr. Williams investigates different ways that people understand their relationship to the natural world and how the stories they tell can lead to unproductive conflict or to useful collaboration. He calls this “environmental ethnography:” he dives deeply into people’s lived experiences in the natural world and how they communicate their values in the narratives they weave, the documents they write, the actions they take. Sometimes, this means he mediates among competing interests of business, government, and environmentalists to find paths forward that contribute to securing a sustainable future and sometimes it means taking decisive action to protect the amazing world we share with so many wonderful living things.

Dr. Williams has had many past research lives, too, investigating things like how communication works in entrepreneurship or how to create persuasive online communication, and all of that prepared him for the greater challenges he has now undertaken to save the planet through words. "Really. I believe that is what I’m doing."

Selected Professional Works

Books (Published)

Williams, S.D. (2011). Entrepreneurship and Social Media: A Grounded Theory Investigation of Three New Ventures. Internet Interdisciplinary Institute/Creative Commons. 2011. Available online

Mamishev, A. & Williams, S.D. (2010). Technical Writing for Teams: The STREAMTools Handbook. With Alexander Mamishev. NY: John Wiley (IEEE Imprint).

Stygall, G., Murphy, K., Williams, S.D., and Plevin, A. (1997). CCCC Bibliography of Composition and Rhetoric with Gail Stygall, Kathy Murphy and Arlene Plevin. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.

Journal Articles & Book Chapters (Published)

Williams, S.D. & Caranante, G. (2018). “Using the Production of Welfare Framework to Measure the Success of a Short-Term Marketing Campaign: A Case Study.” Voluntary Sector Review, 9(3).

Cardwell, L.A., Williams, S.D. and Pyle, A. (2017). “Corporate public relations dynamics: Internal vs. external stakeholders and the role of the practitioner.” Public Relations Review, 43(1): 152-162.

Williams, S.D., Ammetller, G., Rodriguez, I., and Li, X (2016). “International Entrepreneurship Narratives: A Perspective on the Rhetorical Construction of Global Entrepreneurship.” IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication 59(4):379-397.

Whalen, Joel, Williams, S.D., et. al. (2016) “Let’s have a cup of coffee and create some out-of-the-box teaching innovations, enhance cross-cultural communication and accelerate students’ professional development.” Business & Professional Communication Quarterly. 79.3

Williams, S.D. (2010). “Interpretive Discourse and Other Models from Communication Studies: Expanding the Values of Technical Communication.” Journal of Technical Writing and Communication. 40:4. 429-446.

Williams, S.D. (2010). “A Rhetorical Theory of Transformation in Entrepreneurial Narrative: The Case of The Republic of Tea.” .ACORN: An Issue about The Republic of Tea, 15. Clemson University Press.

Williams, S.D. and Switzer, D. (2010). “Assessing 3D Virtual World Learning Environments with the CIMPLe System: A Multidisciplinary Evaluation Rubric.” In Handbook of Research on Virtual Environments for Corporate Education: Employee Learning and Solutions. Ritke-Jones, William, ed. IGI Global Publishers.

Williams, S.D. (2010) “Trust in Virtual Teams: Perspectives and Applications.” In Collaborative Writing in Virtual Workplaces: Computer-Mediated Communication Technologies and Tools. Hewett, Beth and Robidoux, Charlotte, eds. IGI Global Publishers.

Conference Presentations (Delivered)

“Uncovering Gender Performance in Women’s Cross-Cultural Entrepreneurship Narratives: A Discursive Study of Narratives from Spain, China, and the United States.” Youth and Women in Entrepreneurship in Challenging International Business Environments, 9th International Conference. Varna, Bulgaria. June 2018

“Exploring the Visual Rhetoric of the Entrepreneurial Pitch.” Association of Business Communication Annual Meeting, Dublin, Ireland, October 2017.

"A Rhetorical Approach to Entrepreneurship in the U.S., China, and Spain." 21st Eurasian Business and Economics Society Conference, Budapest, Hungary. January 2017

“Women and Men in Entrepreneurship: Challenging the Prototypical ‘Hero Story’ in Entrepreneurship Narratives.” Association of Business Communication Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington. October 2015.

“International Entrepreneurship Narratives: Initial Findings.” Association of Business Communication Annual Meeting. New Orleans, LA. October 2013.

“The Role of Social Media in Startups: A Preliminary Investigation.” Proceedings of The International Symposium on Language and Communication. Izmir, Turkey. 2012

“3D Virtual Worlds for STEM Instruction in Middle Schools: The STEM-ICT 3-D Experience.” National meeting Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE). San Diego, CA, April 2010.

“Using 3D Virtual World Technology for STEM Learning.” ITEST-LRC Summit. Washington, DC, February 2010.


$1.5MM, Stem and ICT Instructional Worlds: The 3-D Experience (STEM-ICT 3D)>/i>. National Science Foundation ITEST Program. Award # 083352, Co-PI. (Carolinas Virtual Worlds Consortium), Complete.

$450,000 BBSI in Biomaterials Science and Engineering at Clemson University. Award # 0609035. Participant (10% credit for expenditures).

$12,000, “I-Witness” Documentary Film Project. Patriot’s Hall Museum, 2004-2005.

$5000, Paws for Polymers, with Dennis Smith. National Science Foundation, 2003.

$84,015, Synergy: The Journal of Undergraduate Research in Science and Engineering. Center for Advanced Engineering Fibers and Films (CAEFF) National Science Foundation, 2001-2003 (Supplement).