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communicative labor, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), Brazil, organizational communication, tensional approach, paradox, resilience, engaged scholarship

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Through our case study of a Brazilian not-for-profit focused on sustainability initiatives, we expand knowledge about communicative labor in different Brazilian organizational environments, especially in the third (nonprofit/nongovernmental) sector. Based on a case study for which thematic analyses of in-depth interviews with the entire nongovernmental organization (NGO), including its board and staff, were conducted, we found three communicative labor processes that displayed how members entered into, thought about, performed, embodied, and sustained interaction in ways that are considered to be a hallmark of the particular Brazilian third-sector organization that we studied. The three processes of communicative labor—depicting NGO work as meaningful labor, producing commonality and difference, and transcending contradictions—enabled NGO members to withstand difficulties and engage productively in the tensions of doing communicative labor in Brazilian environmental work. Despite the volatile political-economic and diverse cultural environment in Brazil, the NGO’s communication enabled them to adapt to and proactively shape environmental efforts, thus modeling sustainability and resilience.

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SAGE Open, v. 7, issue 2, p. 1-11