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Archive for September, 2018

Post #5: Critical Approaches to Organizational Rhetoric

Due by 4:00 p.m. on September 26th
*All students should complete all blog post assignments. Morgan and Rachael will present their responses to this particular post for class discussion on the 26th.
This posting will be based on our reading and discussion of Chapter 4 in our course textbook (Hoffman and Ford, critical approaches to organizational rhetoric). Select only one or two of all of the artifacts which you will use to analyze your selected organization’s rhetoric. Answer the following questions specifically, based on the selected artifacts. You should always include in your blog postings links or other media related to your selected artifacts if you can (if they can be found online, etc).
“Organizations are real structures that have real consequences for real people. Yes, that reality is socially constructed, but I think we must be careful not to forget the material consequences of that social construction process.” (D. K. Mumby, 2004) Critical approaches to organizational rhetoric aim to unmask organizational domination in order to reveal whose social values are being endorsed by the rhetoric.
Think about the content of the artifacts you selected to analyze in order to unravel an aspect of your selected organization’s rhetoric over the years. Answer the following questions in, at least, a few sentences (based on your observations so far).
  1. What larger social/public issue (if any) is it dealing with? What is the message conveyed about that issue?
  2. Which method would you need to choose to analyze these kinds of messages? Ideology critique? Cultural criticism? Feminist criticism? Others? Why? This is something you need to determine based on the nature of the social/political implications of your selected artifacts.
  3. Based on your viewing of its rhetorical artifacts so far: How do your selected organization’s messages reflect its interests? What more do you expect to find out in this regard?
  4. Who are the audiences? What are the implications of your selected organization’s rhetoric for individual audience members?
  5. What assumptions are made about the organization, its members, other stakeholders, and society in general?
  6. How is visual rhetoric (images) employed in this process? What do those images say about the organization or other groups?
  7. Whose interests are represented by the organization’s messages?
  8. Hoffman and Ford suggest that critical approaches to organizational rhetoric hope to reform “social order to enhance more equitable choices” (101). What would your specific hope be as a result of people’s reading and application of your analysis? What will you be directing attention to? Will you call anybody to action? Think about the possible things that your analysis might do for different groups of individuals in a society.

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Post #4: Rhetorical Situations in Organizations

Due by 4:00 p.m. on September 12th

*All students should complete all blog post assignments. Brittany and John will present their responses to this particular post for class discussion on the 19th.

Before completing this posting, make sure you have read Chapter 3 in our textbook.

In order to systematically describe the rhetorical situation of your selected artifacts, please answer the following questions based on information that you already know or have gathered through research about your selected organization–and the particular rhetorical artifacts (or a particular promotional campaign) that you have identified in order to analyze your selected organization’s rhetoric.

Please enumerate your responses as in the following.

  1. Exigencies: What elements in the rhetorical situation appear to be challenges or opportunities for the organization? Is there an imperfection or an opportunity? Was it anticipated or unanticipated? Is it marked by urgency? What are some options for how organizational rhetors might frame the elements?
  2. Audiences: What types of audiences seem to be the most appropriate target in the situation –  enabling, functional, normative, or diffused? What are the characteristics of or interest of members of these audiences?
  3. Constraints and Assets: What things might make it more difficult or easier for the organization to answer the exigencies? Are there pre-existing beliefs, attitudes or values, or past rhetoric or experiences that will affect how the message is interpreted by audiences?
  4. Rhetorical Situations: Is the rhetorical situation similar to any of the types of situations that occur with regularity in organizations (identity, issues, risk, crisis, or internal)? Select which one seems to be more prominent in your selected organization. This will eventually determine the focus of your discussion of this organization’s rhetoric.

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Post #3: Identifying Organizations’ Rhetorical Strategies

Due by 4:00 p.m. on September 12th

*All students should complete all blog post assignments. Savannah and John will present their responses to this particular post for class discussion on the 12th.

After reading and understanding Chapter 2, make sure you have identified the organization you want to analyze for your Analysis of Organizational Rhetoric paper. Complete this posting with that organization in mind.

Select one rhetorical artifact that somehow communicates a message from this organization; this artifact could be the organization’s official website, a video promoting the organization or one of its projects, a TV commercial promoting its products/services, and so on. You should choose only one artifact at this time. The artifact should be accessible online; embed the video or image or document in your blog post or provide a link to it.

To describe the rhetorical strategies in the artifact you have selected, identify and give examples of statements that fall into the following areas:

1. Medium of Delivery: What form is the rhetoric presented in (website, promotional video, TV commercial, press release, others)?

2. Ethos: Appeals to Organizational Credibility



3. Pathos: Appeals to Emotions

-Needs: Identify the need being created or appealed to

-Values: Identify the value being appealed to

-Values advocacy

–Explicit appeals to values

–Demonstration of how products or services uphold values

–Discussion of philanthropic activities consistent with values

–Praise of individuals who embody values


–Common ground

–Assumed “we”

–By antithesis

–Unifying symbols

4. Logos: Use of Claims and Evidence







–Inductive reasoning

—>By example

—>By analogy

—>Causal reasoning

–Deductive reasoning 



If you are scheduled to share your blog post and talk about it on 9/12, you should also check ‘Blog Post Sharing Schedule’ on our Canvas/Home site; the document includes expectations for your presentation. Below is a copy I am providing once. Remember that you should encourage and be available for a class discussion after your presentation so it will be your responsibility to encourage conversation with your peers in order for you and them to receive presentation/participation points. I might also help further our conversation on your posting.


You will individually deliver a 10- to 15-minute presentation of their own blog post due on the scheduled day. The class will then discuss various aspects of the student’s blog post.

While all class members will make the assigned posting by the blog post due dates listed below, if you are on the schedule for sharing your posting, you will also be responsible for presenting your post’s content to the class and then engaging in a discussion with your classmates about the aspects and implications of your posting (answer questions, respond to feedback, etc). Instructor may also engage in the discussion and will note participation on both sides (the effectiveness of your presentation and classmates’ participation/response as audience members).

To engage your classmates in a discussion, at the end of your presentation, check in with the listeners’ for any questions that you should address and then present to them a few discussion questions to get their viewpoints. Instructor may ask further questions to continue the discussion. Your participation points will be based on how clearly you present the blog content and how effectively your blog post answered the Instructor’s prompts as well as your discussion with the class.

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Post #2: Idea Proposal

Due by 4:00 p.m. on September 10th
As stated in our assignment guidelines, your task for the Analysis of Organizational Rhetoric paper is as follows: perform an evaluative and critical analysis of an organization’s rhetoric (the messages it uses to create and maintain power), and report on your analysis in an 8-page conference paper (double-spaced, using MLA citation format).

For this posting, you will propose an idea for your Analysis of Organizational Rhetoric paper. For now, the idea should include information on the organization of your selection (namely, its rhetorical situation).

The rhetorical situation involves the speaker, message, audience, purpose, and the context.

  1. Which organization’s rhetoric will you analyze? What is your exigence for choosing this organization–why are you choosing to write on this organization?
  2. Who are the audiences of this organization’s rhetoric?
  3. How would understanding this organization’s rhetoric benefit us?
  4. Do you already have preliminary observations about the organization’s messages? What are the messages you can currently see the organization communicating? You can just give a few examples at this stage–you will do a more in-depth analysis in your paper.
  5. What is the context surrounding the organization of your choosing? This is open to your interpretation. You can think about the scene in which this organization operates (the country, the industry, etc) and include some general information about what that is, what that means for the organization, etc.

If you need more guidance thinking about what you will do, remember to review Chapter 5 in our textbook as soon as possible. The chapter explains the method of criticism you should use to analyze your selected organization’s rhetoric and includes two worksheets to help you during the analysis process. You may start answering prompts in those worksheets and post related portions in response to this posting on your blog.

As usual, feel free to contact me to run by your ideas or relate your questions/concerns.

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