Organizing rhetoric: situation, ethos, identification, and the institution of social form

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Peter L. Scisco (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Stephen Yarbrough

Abstract: This project theorizes the relationship between ethos, situation, and identification at the site of organizations. Specifically, it focuses on the rhetoric's constitutive role in organizations. The study of rhetoric in organizations is longstanding, but little if any attention has been paid to the social consequences of this specific rhetorical relationship. The project's theoretical base employs frameworks from the fields of rhetoric, sociology, communication, and management science. Rhetorical theory, in particular the Aristotelian view of ethos and Burke's concept of identification, as well as structuration theory, dialogic theory, sensemaking theory, and actor-network theory, all contribute to the project's conceptual structure and approach. The project uses a rhetorical analysis of public texts--documents, artifacts, public displays--to demonstrate how organizational rhetoric promotes direction, alignment, and commitment among organizational members and affiliates. This project finds evidence that motive in organizational rhetoric defines situations and thereby influences ethos, and that identification is a strategy of sustainability. The project also finds theoretical support for the claim that social forms, such as organizations, are instituted discursively. The project's theory promotes ethos as social recognition, which is extended, through a process of identification, to encourage the association of diverse interests and contribute to organizational durability.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2014
Aristotle, Bakhtin, Burke, Giddens, Identification, Rhetoric
Communication in organizations
Business communication
Organizational sociology

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