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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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