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A sociosemiotic systems approach to organizational communication

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A sociosemiotic systems approach to organizational communication
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Johnson, Burton A
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Communication in organizations ( lcsh )
Communication in organizations ( fast )
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theses ( marcgt )
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 160-168).
Thesis:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts, Department of Communication
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by Burton A. Johnson.

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Full Text
A SOCIOSEMIOTIC SYSTEMS APPROACH
TO ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION
by
Burton A. Johnson
B.S., North Carolina State University, 197.0
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Department of Communication
1985


This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by
Burton A. Johnson
has been approved for the
Department of
Communication
by
i


Ill
Johnson, Burton A. (M.A., Communication)
A Sociosemiotic Systems Approach to Organizational
Communication
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Sam Betty.
This thesis presents a sociosemiotic systems
approach to organizational communication. This ap-
proach builds upon nine constructs which are defined
and explained in this thesis. These constructs are the
semantic/syntactic space, human information processing,
the self-concept and role, the group register, the
episode, the information domain, the symbolic register,
the symbolic event, and the ideology of the organiza-
tion. In addition, the interrelating processes among
these constructs are defined. Part of these interre-
lating processes are aspects of communication. These
aspects are given special attention in the last chapter
of this thesis.
Although the sociosemiotic systems approach
might be considered primarily language based, it draws
from several diverse fields of study. Among these
fields are semantics, socio-linguistics, language-
action theory, the language semiotic theory of M.A.K.
Halliday, and management science.
It is hoped that the sociosemiotic systems
approach with its broader scope and respect for the


1 V
complexities of the communication process will overcome
some of the criticisms of previous approaches to
organizational communication.


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. OVERVIEW TO THE SOCIOSEMIOTIC
SYSTEMS APPROACH............................. 1
Introduction............................... 1
A Brief Outline of the Sociosemiotic
Systems Model............................. 12
Summary.....*............................ 17
Notes.................................... 20
II. THE INDIVIDUAL SEMIOTIC SYSTEM............... 22
Introduction.............................. 22
Semantic and Syntactic Space.............. 23
Human Information Processing............. 31
The Level of Self-Concept and Role........ 42
Summary................................... 50
Notes..................................... 53
III. THE GROUP SOCIOSEMIOTIC SYSTEM.......... .... 58
Introduction.............................. 58
Register.................................. 59
Episode...................... ........... 6 5
Information Domain........................ 82
Summary.............."................... 91
Notes.................................... 93


VI
IV. THE ORGANIZATIONAL SOCIOSEMIOTIC
SYSTEM....................................... 97
Introduction................................ 97
Symbolic Register........................... 99
Symbolic Event............................. 105
Organizational Ideologies.................. 115
Summary.................................. 121
Notes...................................... 123
V. THE ASPECTS OF COMMUNICATION................ 12 6
Introduction.............................. 126
Encoding and Decoding...................... 127
Invocation and. Interpretation............. 133
The Speech Act............................. 134
Performance Act............................ 141
Discourse.................................. 144
Voice..:................................... 152
Summary.................................... 155
Notes...................................... 157
BIBLIOGRAPHY........................................ 16 0


V 1 1
FIGURES
Figure
1. The Sociosemiotic Systems Model............. 15
2. Taxonomy of symbolic events................. 107


CHAPTER I
OVERVIEW TO THE SOCIOSEMIOTIC
SYSTEMS APPROACH
Introduction
There exists a diversity of contemporary theo
retical approaches to organizational studies. Each
approach represents a set of basic assumptions, re-
search methodologies suited to the particular objects
of the research, and an underlying world-view or ide-
ology associated with each. Burrell and Morgan-1:
have organized this plethora of perspectives by pro-
posing a typology derived from two fundamental dimen-
sions. The first dimension describes a continuum
between subjectivity and objectivity. Burrell and
Morgan have included four elements in this dimension,
i.e., ontology, epistomology, assumptions about human
nature, and methodology. When described along the
subjective-objective dimensional continuum, these
elements can be represented as follows:


2
Subjective Objective
(a) ontology Nominalism Realism
(b) epistomology Anti-Positivism -- Positivism
(c) human nature Voluntarism Determinism
(d) methodology Ideographic -- Nomothetic
The second dimension describes a continuum between the
sociology of regulation and the sociology of
radical change. Associated with each sociology Burrell
and Morgan list a collection of concerns that are
described below:
Sociology of
Regulation
(a) The status quo
(b) Social order
(c) Consensus
(d) Social integration
and cohesion
(e) Solidarity
(f) Need satisfaction
(g) Actuality
Sociology of Radical
Change
(a) Radical change
(b) Structural conflict
(c) Modes of domination
(d) Contradiction
(e) Emancipation
(f) Deprivation
(g) Potentiality
Given these two dimensional continua, Burrell and
Morgan propose that all approaches to organizational
studies will be subsumed by one or another of the
following sociological paradigms: (a) Functionalist --
Objective and relying on a sociology of regulation.
That is to say, that the Functionalist paradigm assumes
realism as its ontological stance, has a positivistic
epistomology, regards man as determined by the situa-
tion or environment, uses a nomothetic methodology, and
is concerned with the status quo, social order, consen-
sus, social integration and cohesion, solidarity,


3
satisfaction of needs, and what is actually occurring
in organizations. (b) Interpretive Subjective and
relying on a sociology of regulation. Hence, the In-
terpretive paradigm assumes a normalist ontology, an
anti-positivistic epistomology, regards man as non-
determined and creative, employs an ideographic method-
ology, but has the same areas of concern as the
Functionalist paradigm. (c) Radical Humanist -- sub-
jective and relying on a sociology of radical change.
Therefore, the Radical Humanist paradigm shares its
ontology, epistomology, assumptions about human 1 nature,
and methodology with the Interpretive paradigm, but is
concerned with radical change, structural conflict,
modes of domination, contradiction, emancipation, dep-
rivation, and potentiality (i.e., utopian perspec-
tives). (d) Radical Structuralist -- Objective and
relying on a sociology of radical change. Therefore,
the Radical Structuralist paradigm has an ontology
based on realism, a positivistic epistomology, a view
of man as being determined (materialism), and a nomo-
thetic methodology, but shares its concerns with Radi-
cal Humanism.
Putnam has taken Burrell and Morgan's typology
and used it "to explicate the paradigmatic assumptions
that underlie key research domains in organizational
communication."^ She cites, describes, and posits each
of the many approaches to organizational communications


4
into one of the four paradigms. She also critiques
each communication paradigm from the standpoint of the
others. Finally, she identifies areas of new research
that are indicated by each paradigm. While one cannot
deny the utility of Putnam's classification, descrip-
tion, and critique of organizational communication
approaches, one can take issue with her implicit notion
that future studies will or should proceed within the
framework of one or another of the paradigms.
The issue revolves around two related observa-
tions made by Cusella:
Whether communication processes have been investi-
gated- in organizational communication research is
open to discussion, although it appears that the
prevailing view of critics of past organizational
communication research is that it has not. . .
However, there seems to be little disagreement
among critics about the academic disciplines from
which a majority of organizational communication
concepts have been derived.
These two observations call into question the authen-
ticity of current concepts employed in organizational
communication research as well as question the treat-
ment of communication as an epiphenomenon.
The second observation is based on Cusella
citations of several critics of current research. For
example, Redding states:
The fact is blatantly obvious that the scholarly
literature of organizational communication . .
reflects the wholesale transporting (borrowing?,
stealing?) of concepts and "variables" from our


5
academic cousins in such areas as social psycholo-
gy, organizational psychology, sociology, and the
administrative sciences.
Cusella.also quotes Phillips who suggests that the
field is:
. . essentially derivative, not concerned with
issues specific to communication, and generally
unoriginal in selecting modes and objects of
study.6
The blatant transportation of concepts, the derivative
nature of these concepts, the fuzzy focus of the con-
cepts with regard to the communication process, and the
unoriginality of modes and objects of study bespeaks of
the lack of conceptual authenticity found in contempo-
rary studies.
The first observation is directly related to
the second. When concepts to be used in organizational
communication studies are imported from other disci-
plines, the resulting studies focus overly much on
"individual differences in communication behavior" to
the detriment of understanding "the process of interac-
tion itself."^ Cusella reasons that this conceptual
bias could be caused by researchers being intimated by
the ubiquity of communication in organizations which,
in turn, causes a difficulty in limiting the scope of
their study to manageable proportions. Thus, re-
searchers will tend to merge the communication process
into other typical areas such as leadership, superior-
subordinate relations, interpersonal relationships, and


6
the like. In essence, it is easier to borrow concepts
only indirectly related to the communication process
than it is to create new concepts that may better
capture the nature of the phenomena. Unfortunatelyt
the result of borrowing concepts is the treatment of
communication as an epiphenomenon, i.e., as leaders
having this sort of communication "style" or another,
as this or that type of superior-subordinate relation-
ship being "characterized" by this or that sort of
communication, and so on. To reiterate, there is some
doubt that many scholars have actually studied the
communication process itself.
The criticisms above are not presented with the
intention of belittling previous research; rather, they
are presented to suggest the need for a more concept-
ually appropriate model for the communication process.
Cusella has suggested that any new theory or model of
organizational communication should include treatment
q
of "messages, information and meaning," as well as
proposing:
. . it would be helpful for the advancement of
organizational communication if the definitions
used pertained to processes involving symbols . .
since this notion
tional communication
I would agree with Cusella's call for a recon-
ceptualization of organizational communication theory
as well as with his proposed concepts which he places
central to any understanding of the communication


7
process. However, one must be cautioned against focus-
ing overly much on any one of these concepts; i.e.,
messages, information, meaning, or symbols, and thus
de-emphasizing or excluding the others. These concepts
are all part of a complex whole (organizational com-
munication) which, while including them, also demands
consideration of contexts or system effects, power and
influence, cybernetic effects, individual and social
norms, leadership, subordinate-superior relations, or-
ganizational politics; i.e., those very "borrowed"
concepts and variables which have tended to obfuscate
research of organizational communication in the past.
At least at this point in time, one does not want to
throw out the baby with the bath water.
On the other hand, a theory or model of organi-
zational communication that would integrate these some-
times disparate concepts would of necessity be complex.
This complexity might upset those scholars who are
primarily interested in theory parsimony. However, it
is a lack of complexity, or, if you will, a lack of
theoretical scope, adequacy, and sufficiency that has
plagued previous research and resulted in the present
day criticisms of organizational and communication
theory. For example, previous systems theory ap-
proaches, which are deemed by many as capable of de-
scribing the intricacies involved in the
interdependencies, interrelationships, and functions of


8
many of the concepts and variables mentioned above, are
themselves being criticized for a lack of complexity.1'*'
Pondy and Mitroff^^ critically addressed the
level of complexity of the system models used by re-
searchers to describe organizations. Reflecting on an
1 ?
article by Boulding published decades earlier, Pondy
and Mitroff examined "current open system modelling"
used in research.1^ They found that the models em-
ployed were limited to the complexity found on the
fourth level of a nine level embedded system hierarchy
(first described by Boulding) and that research method-
ologies reflected an even lower, level one, complexity.
The nine levels of system complexity are presented
below with comments by Pondy and Mitroff:
Level 1:
Level 2:
Level 3:
Level 4:
Level 5:
Frameworks Only static, structural
properties are represented in frameworks.
Clockworks -- Noncontingent dynamic
properties are represented in clockwork
systems.
Control Systems Control system models
describe regulation of system behavior
according to an externally prescribed
target or criterion.
Open Systems -- Whereas a control system
tends toward the equilibrium target pro-
vided to it and therefore produces uni-
formity, an open system maintains its
internal differentiation (resists uni-
formity) by "sucking orderliness from its
environment."
Blueprinted Growth System -- Involves a
rule-based generative' mechanism . Ex-
plaining level 5 systems means discover-
ing the generating mechanisms that pro-
duce the observed behavior.
Internal Image Systems -- The essential
characteristic of level 6 systems (and
models of them) is a detailed awareness
Level 6:


9
Level 7:
Level 8:
Level 9:
of the environment acquired through dif-
ferentiated information receptors and
organized into a knowledge structure or
image.
Symbol Processing Systems The system
has to be conscious of itself ... It has
to be able to form the concept "my image
of the environment," and work on it. And
to work on that image, it needs a coding
scheme or language.
Multi-Cephalous Systems These are
literally systems with several brains.
. . What is at issue is that the collec-
tions or assemblage of "individuals" . .
creates a sense of social order, a shared
culture, a history and a future, a value
system.
To avoid
a ninth,
sibility
premature closure, Boulding adds
open level to reflect the pos-
that some new level of system
complexity not yet imagined might
emerge.15
It is apparent that human organizations are
phenomena of a level 8 system complexity and that the
individual is a phenomenon of level 7 system complexi-
ty. Pondy and Mitroff's criticism is that models of a
complexity lower than that of the phenomena they are
trying to describe cannot possibly capture the nature
of that phenomena.
Pondy and Mitrof'f propose:
. . an overarching framework of models (that) is
used to begin the development of a new set of
assumptions, one that might be referred to as a
cultural model of organization, the key elements of
which include an emphasis on the use of language
and the creation of shared meanings.16
They suggest that those researchers who would study
language use and function in organizational settings
would be going beyond level 4 ("open system")
conceptualizations of organizational systems. They


10
base this suggestion on four distinct and important
roles that language plays in organizations. These
roles are as follows:
1. Language controls our perceptions; it tends to
filter out of conscious experience those events
for which terms do not exist in the language.
2. It helps to define the meaning of our experi-
ence by categorizing streams of events.
3. It influences the ease of communication; one
cannot exchange ideas, information, or meanings
except as the language permits.
4. It provides a channel of social influence. 7
Language as used to filter one's perceptions and to
categorize one's experience represents language as a
code (or codified knowledge). Language as used in the
exchange of meaning and as providing a means of social
influence is language as behavior.
Although many theoreticians have used language
in their approaches to organizational studies, none
have provided a model or system prospective whereby the
many manifestations of language as code and behavior
could be analyzed. Rather, they have tended to ap-
proach organizations as cultures primarily constituted
by the languages used therein. Halliday1^ suggests to
understand language function one must understand the
interrelationship of language code and behavior as well
as the culture and situations in which they occur.
Halliday proposes a semiotic framework whereby one may
approach language:
The social context of the linguistic code is
the culture. But.in order to refer to this we need
to represent the culture as an information system,


11
or rather as a network of information systems; that
is, in semiotic terms. A culture is a configura-
tion of semiotic systems. . .
The social context of language behaviorthe
situation in which meanings are exchangedis also
a semiotic construct; and it is perceived as such
by those taking part. 0
Thus, Halliday views culture "as a network of informa-
tion systems," or more broadly, a network of meaning
systems. One of these meaning systems is language
(another might be non-verbal "language," and still
another the physical manifestations of cultural sym-
bols). Furthermore, Halliday views language behavior
as occurring in a "situation" which can be described as
a "semiotic construct" or, in other words, as contextu-
ally meaningful.
Although Halliday's semiotic perspective gives
one a way in which language code and behavior, culture
and situation may be theoretically integrated, it is
still too general and abstract to provide a framework
for understanding language use and function specific to
organizations. However, one may specify a semiotic
approach to organizational communication by proposing
the following: (1) Limit the semiotic systems under
consideration to that of language. Thus, for the pur-
pose of this thesis, a semiotic system will be defined
as a system of meanings which can be codified through
language, transferred through speech acts (language as
behavior; i.e., communication) as well as constrained
by organizational culture and communication situations.


12
(2) Propose that a semiotic system may be approached on
three levels. The first level is language as codefor
the purposes of this thesislanguage as semantic and
syntactic resources. The second level is language as
behavior, or pragmatics. The third level is language
occurring within certain systemic constraints. These
levels will be called semiotic categories. (3) Propose
that within the semiotic system called the organization
culture (a subsystem of the cultufe-as-a-whole), one
may identify two other types of semiotic subsystems;
i.e., groups and individuals.
A Brief Outline of the Sociosemiotic
Systems Model
As proposed, three semiotic subsystems will be
considered in this model. They are: (1) the individ-
ual, (2) the group, and (3) the organizational culture
as a whole. In addition, three semiotic categories
will be considered. To reiterate, the semiotic cate-
gories are as follows: (1) the semantic and syntactic
semiotic category (language as code), (2) the pragmatic
semiotic category (language as behavior), and (3) the
systemic constraint semiotic category (language in
context). It will be assumed that the individual is a
subsystem of the group which in turn is a subsystem of
the organization. In addition, it will be hypothesized
that the semantic and syntactic level is of lower


13
complexity than, and is embedded in, the pragmatic
level. This level is in turn of lower complexity than,
and is embedded in, the level of.systemic constraints.
This hypothesis is based on the observation
that semantic and syntactic systems reflect a complexi-
ty found in Boulding's2^ and Pondy and Mitroff's22
level 5 system complexity, i.e., "Blueprinted Growth
Systems" or those which produce as directed by a rule-
based generative mechanism. On the other hand, prag-
matic or behavioral systems reflect level 6 system
complexity, i.e., "Internal image Systems" or those in
which "behavior is response not to a specific stimulus
but to an 'image' or knowledge structure or view of the
environment as a whole." J This level is the first
where behavior can become teleological (i.e., involves
intent). Finally, the level of systemic constraint
reflects level 7 system complexity, i.e., "Symbol Proc-
essing Systems" or those in which the system is self-
conscious.^ in addition, the different sociosemiotic
system contexts reflect that of a level 8 system com-
plexity, i.e., "Multi-cephalous Systems" or those with
a "social order, shared culture, history, future, and
value system."25
When the three levels of semiotic categories
(or manifestations of language) and the semiotic sys-
tems are considered together while maintaining the
hierarchies described above, a 3 x 3 matrix is the


14
result. Where a semiotic level intersects a semiotic
system, a name or label is offered to describe the
resulting construct. This is shown in Figure 1 on the
following page.
For example, where the semiotic level of seman-
tics and syntactics intersects the individual semiotic
system, it has been called the individual's "semantic
and syntactic space." From a language perspective this
"space" includes the individual's vocabulary, denota-
tive and connotative meanings, and any valencies placed
on these meanings. In addition, syntactic rules are
included in this construct. The intersection of the
pragmatic level and the individual semiotic system
results in information processing. Thus, human in-
formation processing is considered in this thesis as
internal behavior. Finally, the intersection of the
systemic constraint level and the individual semiotic
system results in the self-concept and role.
In addition, it is hypothesized that there
exist processes which interrelate the different
semiotic levels of each semiotic system. In each case
and throughout the model two different types of proces-
ses are defined. One type describes processes that act
to differentiate or elaborate codified knowledge, or
behavior, or constraints. The other type describes
processes that act to consolidate or consensualize
codified knowledge, or behavior, or constraints.


SEMIOTIC
SYSTEMS
INDIVIDUAL
GROUP
ORG. CULTURE
SYSTEMIC CONSTRAINTS
(Interrelating
Processes)
PRAGMATIC
(Interrelating
Processes)
SEHANTIC/SYNTACTIC
The Sociosemiotic Systems Model


16
Either type can occur in either direction (between
consecutive levels) and thus these processes are also
labeled "top-down" and "bottom-up."
In the same manner as above, the intersection
of the semiotic levels and the group semiotic system
results in the following constructs: (1) group regis-
ter; (2) episode; (3) and information domain. Here,
the work of Halliday^ will be drawn upon. Specifical
ly, Halliday contends that language functions in three
different ways, i.e., an ideational function, an inter
personal function, and a textual function. These
functions are reflected on each of the semiotic levels
as well as in each of the socio-semiotic systems. As
in the case of the individual semiotic system, the
interrelating processes for the consecutive semiotic
levels will be described.
Furthermore, the intersection of the semiotic
levels and the organizational semiotic system will be
described as consisting of the organizational symbolic
register, symbolic events, and ideologies. Through
"ideologies" a viewpoint similar to Geertz's will be
integrated into the model. As before, interrelating
processes will be tentatively described.
Finally, the aspects of communication that
embed each semiotic system into the next will be de-
lineated and described. These aspects correspond to
each semiotic level and to each semiotic system


17
context. Embedding the individual into the group are
the communicative aspects of encoding and decoding at
the semantic and syntactic level, speech acts at the
pragmatic level, and discourse at the level of systemic
constraints. Embedding the individual into the organi-
zational culture are the communicative aspects of in-
vocation and interpretation, performance acts, and
voice. Although "performance acts" appears to be re-
dundant, "acts" in this case refers to action, not
acting.
Summary
This chapter introduces the sociosemiotic sys-
tems model as an approach to the study of organiza-
tional communication. A semiotic system may be defined
as symbols organized into a code (in this case,
codified knowledge distributed through the meaning of
words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, texts, etc.),
which are ostensibly manifested as behavior (in this
case, speech behavior or verbal manipulation of the
code with intent), and which are constrained by the
self, the group, or the organizational culture, all of
which possess a degree of self-consciousness. Language
function and use as manifested on these three levels
contributes to the "meaning" underlying and construing
the semiotic system.


18
Furthermore, there is interaction between
semiotic levels (categories) and there is interaction
between semiotic systems. The individual is influenced
by and influences the group and the organization as a
whole. The self-concept is influenced by and influ-
ences one's behavior whether it is internal processing
or external behavior. One's information processing or
speech behavior influences and is influenced by one's
semantic and syntactic resources ... and so forth.
This complex interrelationship of semiotic systems and
levels makes the phenomena of communication difficult
to capture. It also makes the sociosemiotic systems
approach difficult to posit in any one of Burrell and
Morgan's paradigms.
A cursory glance at the diagram of the model
indicates that as one moves left to right, one passes
from the individual, to groups of individuals, to big-
ger groups of individuals. Each of these semiotic
systems has an ontological status, i.e., exists as a
participant in and creator of meaning. It is therefore
difficult to say whether this model is subjectivist or
objectivist. Regardless, such ontological classifica-
tions as nominalism or realism do little to elaborate
the model. Epistomologically, one might say this is a
positivist model (since models are unheard of in anti-
positivist approaches). However, for one to explain or
predict a particular speech act, for example, one must


19
be well acquainted with all the variables involved.
This is an improbability. Human nature is seen as
somewhat voluntaristic and somewhat determined. Ideo-
graphic and nomothetic methodologies would both be
appropriate for this model.
On the other hand, looking at the model from
the bottom-up one finds two different types of proces-
ses interrelating semiotic levels. One type has labels
such as "differentiation," "elaboration," "potentiali-
ty," "discongruity," and "challenge" and thus reflects
a sociology of radical change. The other set of proc-
esses, i.e., "restriction," "conformity," "constraint,"
"coordination," "consensualization," and "reification,"
reflects a sociology of regulation.
This model either exists outside Burrell and
Morgan's four paradigms or is located half-way on the
continua of both dimensions. Either way, it may repre-
sent a new paradigmhopefully, one that more accurate-
ly and authentically describes communication in
organizations as well as captures the many variables
and foci involved in the communication process.
One final note:, this model has been arbitrari-
ly truncated at the organizational culture sociosemio-
tic system. One could go on to larger subsuming
cultures. This will be left to a later date.


NOTESCHAPTER I
-'-G. Burrell and G. Morgan, Sociological
Paradigms and Organizational Analysis (Portsmouth,
N.H.: Heinemann, 1979).
Burrell and Morgan, p. 18.
3L.L. Putnam, "Paradigms for Organizational
Communication Research: An overview and Synthesis,"
The Western Journal of Speech Communication, (Spring
1982), 192.
^L.P. Cusella, "Conceptual Issues in Organiza-
tional Communication Research: Elements of a Model of
Conceptual Authenticity," Communication Quarterly, 32
(Fall 1984), 294.
3W.C. Redding, "Organizational Communication
Theory and Ideology: An overview," in Communication
Yearbook -I, ed. B.D. Ruben (New Brunswick, N.J.: Trans-
action-ICA, 1977), p. 321.
G.M. Phillips, "Science and the Study of Human
Communication: An Inquiry From the Other Side of the
Two Cultures," Human Communication Research, 7 (1981),
361.
^Cusella, p. 295.
Ibid.
^Ibid., p. 299.
10Ibid., p. 296.
''Burrell and Morgan, pp. 56-68.
I^t.r. Pondy and S.S. Mitroff, "Beyond Open
System Models of Organization," in Research and Organi-
zational Behavior, Vol. I, eds. B. Staw and T. Cummings 13
(Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, 1979).
13K. Boulding, "General Systems Theory--The
Skeleton of a Science," Management Science, 2 (April
1956), 197-208.


21
^Pondy and Mitroff, p. 10.
*-^Ibid. pp. 6-9.
*^Ibid., pp. 3-4.
17Ibid. p. 24.
^For example: D. Silverman, The Theory of Or-
ganizations (London: Heinemann, 1970); J.G. March and
H.A. Simon, Organizations (New York: Wiley, 1958);
J. Pfeffer, Power in Organizations (Boston: Pitman,
1981).
1 Q
M.A.K. Halliday, Language as Social Semiotic:
The Social Interpretation of Language and Meaning
(Baltimore: University Park Press, 1978), pp. 7-8.
2M.A.K. Halliday, p. 8.
9 1
Boulding.
22Pondy and Mitroff.
22Boulding, p. 204.
^Although it is not immediately obvious, level
7 system complexity can also be seen in groups. .
a group can be said to be a symbol-processing entity
and therefore, self-conscious if its members share a
common definition of reality." Pondy and Mitroff,
p. 9.
26Halliday, 1978.
27C. Geertz, "ideology as a Cultural System," in
Ideology and Discontent, ed. D.E. Aptor (New York: The
Free Press, 1964).


CHAPTER II
THE INDIVIDUAL SEMIOTIC SYSTEM
Introduction
This chapter introduces the conceptualization
of the individual as a semiotic system. At the level
of semantics and syntactics of language the individual
reflects a semantic and syntactic space. At the level
of pragmatics the individual demonstrates human inform-
ation processing. Finally, at the level of systemic
constraints an individual possesses a self-concept and
a repertory of roles.
In this chapter each of the constructs above
will be described, the interrelating processes of
elaboration and restriction, and differentiation and,
conformity will also be defined.
The individual as a semiotic system focuses on
the human being as a meaning retaining and meaning
constructing.system. Meaning is retained in the seman-
tic and syntactic space. Meaningful behavior is
realized through information processing. Meaning that
is pertinent to the self is identified and evaluated,
and meaningful behavior is patterned through the self-
concept.


23
Although a semiotic description of the individ-
ual may appear somewhat theoretically clumsy, this
clumsiness is abated through the utility of this con-
ceptualization in explaining the function of language
in organizations.
Semantic and Syntactic Space
Generally, current theoretical explanations of
semantics can be seen to take one of two different
approaches. One approach is semantic marker theory
which is based on the following premise:
The meaning of a word can be exhaustively decom-
posed into a finite set of conditions that are
collectively necessary and sufficient to determine
the reference of the word.
Katz, for example, describes this decomposition of word
meanings in the following way:
If we carry- this analysis to its logical conclu-
sion, the semantic representations of senses, both
of lexical items and syntactically complex constit-
uents, will consist of configurations of single
symbols, each of which stands for an atomic con-
cept. These single symbols will be referred to as
primitive semantic markers. These symbols, to-
gether with representations of other concepts de-
finable in terms of them, will be referred to as
semantic markers (italics his).
Thus, "bachelor" might have the following configuration
of semantic markers: "object," "physical," "human,"
"adult," "male," and "never married." These configura-
tions are referred to as readings. The lexical items
in a reading come from the individual's dictionary.
However, a word might have several different readings


24
not necessarily consistent with each other; for exam-
ple, the readings for "bank" in "river bank" and "Bank
of England." Thus, rules are necessary to disambiguate
word senses. Katz^ calls these "projection rules" and
they specify "how lexical readings for the syntactic
atoms can be combined to form derived readings for a
whole expression or sentence." Thus, grammar exists
when:
. . First, the dictionary will assign a set of
lexical readings to each lexical item of the sen-
tence by associating each terminal symbol of an
underlying phrase marker with just those ^lexical
readings from its dictionary entry that are com-
patible with its syntactic description in the
phrase marker. Second, the projection rule will
combine lexical readings, then combine the derived
readings that result from such combinations, and so
on, until a set of readings is associated with each
constituent of the sentence, including the whole
sentence itself.
The phrase markers in this description are generated by
the base rules of syntax which "specify all the con-
stituents of a sentence and their grammatical rela-
tions ^
This approach is a typical example of a seman-
tic marker theory. With a dictionary and projection
rule there exist the necessary and sufficient condi-
tions to unambiguously categorize the meaning of a
word.
However, Jackendoff0 argues that many word
meanings do not fall neatly into a category. There may
exist necessary conditions for word meanings but


25
sufficiency conditions are not apparent. Indeed, many
word meanings are "fuzzy." As Putnam observes:
. . words in a natural language are not generally
"yes-no": there are things of which the descrip-
tion "tree" is clearly true and things of' which the
description "tree" is clearly false, to be sure,
but there are a host of borderline cases. Worse,
the line between the clear cases and the borderline
cases is itself fuzzy.
Therefore, sufficiency conditions for word meanings
must be abandoned in favor of a "less rigid sort of
O
condition."0 Complicating the issue of necessity and
sufficiency conditions further is the concept of the
"family resemblances" of word meanings. "Family resem-
Q
blances" arose out of Wittgenstein's^ treatment of
language as a game. For example, the phrases "board-
games," "card-games," "ball-games," "Olympic games,"
and so on, all use the word "game." However, what
necessary and sufficient conditions establish a dic-
tionary of readings realized through projection rules
for "game" in these usages. As Wittgenstein suggested:
"For if you look at them you will not see something
that is common to all, but similarities, relationships,
and a whole series of them at that."'*' Jackendoff
concludes that: ". . fuzziness is an inescapable
characteristic of the concept that language expres-
ses. "** Jackendoff12 offers three sets of conditions
needed to adequately specify word meanings. They are as
follows: (1) necessary conditions -- those conditions
(readings) that a word must contain; e.g., "red" must


26
contain the reading of "color;" (2) centrality
conditions these conditions specify a focal
value for a continuously variable attribute with the
most secure judgments of meanings being those that lie
closest to the focal value; (3) typicality conditions
conditions that are typical but subject to excep-
tions, and therefore, encompass "family resemblances."
In this way Jackendoff maintains a decompositional
(internal) approach to specifying word meanings but one
that does not include sufficiency conditions.
The other approaches to semantic theory are
those which are called "associative network" theories
and those which consider "meaning postulates."
Jackendoff states:
What is common to both is that they treat lexical
entries as semantically unanalyzed monads; semantic
information about lexical items is stored external-
ly in terms of network links or meaning postu-
lates .
Jackendoff shows how this "external" approach to word
meanings represents the same information as semantic
marker theory's internal approach, only the notation is
different.^ It thus is plagued by the same
inadequacies.
Jackendoff himself explains word meanings as
decompositions. That is to say, a word can be decom-
posed into readings of primitives utilizing conditions
of necessity, centrality, and typicality. These read-
ings Jackendoff calls a word group. But as noted


27
previously these conditions do not form a set of suf-
ficiency conditions. The question then arises as to
what is the "lower bound on the complexity of the
theory of word meanings;"-*-5 in other words, when does
one have enough meaning entries in the group to under-
stand a sample word meaning? Jackendoff proposes that
individuals possess preference rule systems. Prefer-
ence rules are analogous to Weitheimer's "principles of
grouping" and express the complex psychological concept
of "well-formedness." Jackendoff describes the rules
in the following way.
We chose the term "preference rule" because these
rules establish not inflexible decisions about
structure (grouping), but relative preferences
among a number of logically possible analyses.
. . Such a structure (grouping) is judged the
most highly preferred, or most coherent, or most
salient, or most stable. 6
Perceptual coherency, saliency, and stability are known
to exist psychologically in individuals through the
work of Wertheimer and the other Gestaltists. Thus,
Jackendoff bases his semantic theory on perception
rather than logic (external theories) or syntax (Katz's
semantic marker theory; i.e., internal theories).
A perceptually based theory of semantics may at
first appear odd until one is reminded that "hearing"
is a perceptual process. One "hears" others as well as
"sees" them. One also "hears" himself. It seems logi-
cal and possible for individuals to hold words as aural
images in memory as well as holding visual images.


28
Jackendoff proposes his "Conceptual Structure
Hypothesis" to explain how:
There must be levels of mental representations at
which information conveyed by language is compati-
ble with information from other peripheral systems
such as vision, nonverbal audition, smell, kines-
thesia, and so forth. '
jackendoff's hypothesis is important to this thesis in
that it gives a foundation for conceptualizing the
individual as a semiotic system. At some level all
i
semiotic information (not just language) is organized.
Although this hypothesis is beyond the scope of this
thesis, it helps in understanding the semiotic perspec-
tive taken herein.
The preference rules are divided into two
types, local and global, and they can be interpreted
akin to "bottom-up" or "top-down" processing rules
found in many discussions on perception or cognition.
Furthermore, the necessity, centrality, and typicality
conditions "are embedded in a preference rule system,
operating according to Wertheimer's principles of rein-
1 ft
forcement and conflict."
Jackendoff lists five consequences of prefer-
ence rule systems:
(1) Judgments of graded acceptability and of family
resemblance;
(2) Two or more rules, neither of which is neces-
sary, but each of which is under certain condi-
tions sufficient for a judgment;
(3) Balancing effects among rules that apply in
conflict;
(4) A measure of stability based on rule applica-
tions ;


29
(5) Rules that are not logically necessary used as
default values in the face of inadequate infor-
mation
A default value is fill-in or anticipated information
not present in a visual or textual input and can be
interpreted as semantic attribution. The above conse-
quences enable jackendoff to allow for change in his
semantic theory, an allowance not addressed by the
other semantic theories presented but an integral part
of the semantic level as conceptualized in this thesis.
In response to environmental input, not only are
new concepts formed, but in addition these new
concepts create pressures on existing concepts in
an effort to make their own niche in the taxonomy.
An accumulation of instabilities, here and there in
a conceptual system may upon occasion be relieved
by a more global restructuringif the organism has
sufficient computational capacity to measure rela-
tive stability of two or more competing global
organizations. Alternatively, one may simply learn
to live with local instabilities (or deny them, as
in a neurosis). In short, a processing model of
cognition must include an active component that
continually seeks to adjust and reorganize concep-
tual structure in an effort to maximize overall
stability.20
As yet, little has.been said of syntax.
Jackendoff proposes the contribution of syntax to word
meaning can be found in the correspondence rules which
relate semantic structure with syntactic structure.21
These correspondence rules are the "projection rules"
described by Katz.22 As such, these rules combine word
readings with sentence constituents (i.e., phrases,
clause, etc.) to help derive the meanings of the words,
phrases, etc. In so doing, these combinations also


30
obey "well-formedness principles." Therefore, corres-
pondence rules are also preferential in nature and will
be included in the preference rule systems.
The descriptions of semantics and syntactics
presented in this first subsection, are complex.
Jackendoff's theory has been employed because it is one
of the few that appears to actually describe what
happens at the level of semantics and syntactics when
individuals use language. In Jackendoff's words:
I see preference rule systems as a way to accom-
plish what psychological' systems do well but com-
puters do very badly: deriving a quasi-determinate
result from unreliable data. In a preference rule
system there are multiple converging sources of
evidence for a judgment. ... At higher levels of
organization, they are a source of great flexibili-
ty and adaptivity in the overall conceptual
system.22
The observation that individuals can derive "a
quasi-determinate result from unreliable data" will
become apparent in the next section on human informa-
tion processing.
To summarize this first section, a description
of the individual's semantic and syntactic space has
been proposed. This description is concerned with the
meaning or semiotic potential of words and word com-
plexes (i.e., phrases, clause, sentences, etc.). A
perceptual basis, rather than an internal or external
logical basis, has- been offered as an organizing crite-
rion for meaning at this level. As such, this
construct is open to influence from other semiotic


31
levels and systems. This conceptualization allows for
semantic and syntactic change in the individual. Fur-
thermore, the perceptual basis allows for a Gestaltist
interpretation of encoding and decoding language.
Thus, the "fuzziness" and ambiguity which normally
occurs in language use has been addressed through the
use of perceptually defined preference rule systems.
Semantic and syntactic space may be understood
to be words and Word complexes that are disambiguated
and understood through necessity, centrality, and typi-
cality conditions organized as sets of preference rule
systems. In addition, the words and word complexes are
understood through the employment of correspondence
rules which serve to relate semantic and syntactic
structures.
Human Information Processing
Human information processing has been a major
subject for theory and research for almost.three dec-
ades.2^ The term information has evolved to mean some-
thing that reduces uncertainty or. entropy in a re-
ceiver, a definition that had its origins in the work
of Shannon and Weaver.^5 Thus, the phrase human infor-
mation processing (HIP) means communication that re-
duces uncertainty or ambiguity in the mind of a re-
ceiver. HIP is recognized to be an active process of
the individual whereby he perceives his environment,


32
organizes those perceptions, and makes interpretations
from the results of that organization. The underlying
assumption for
information is
understanding,
tion, there is
A plethora of
HIP defined in this manner is that
communication that alters one's present
beliefs, values, etc. Without altera-
no need for organizing or interpreting,
recent research, however, suggests that
this definition may be too limited. Kiesler and
Sproull describe HIP in the following way:
Drawn to salient material in their environment,
people consider it informative. The information,
if it fits with existing beliefs, is incorporated.
. . Hence, much of what people would label as
information only reaffirms old news. True informa-
tion--that which alters conceptions, tests atti-
tudes, or changes how data are usedseems in all
approaches to require both some measure of incon-
sistency or incongruence and a good concordance
with existing expectations and cognitive organiza-
tion .27
Rather than stipulate possibly artificial or manufac-
tured differences between information as a whole and
"true" information, it might be more provident to
change the definition itself. Such is the case with
Goss' definition of information: "Information is de-
fined as any input that the person attends to for the
purposes of reducing uncertainty or confirming prior
knowledge. "2
The differences between information which re-
duces uncertainty and that which confirms prior
O Q
knowledge are differences in subjective knowledge. ^
One can imagine that an individual's knowledge exists


33
on a continuum with one terminal point being that which
is well known and the other terminal being that which
is totally unknown with uncertain or ambiguous knowl-
edge lying somewhere in between. Information, then,
can affect knowledge in the following ways: (1) It
may reaffirm prior knowledge making it even more well
known. (2) It may reduce uncertainty in suspect knowl-
edge. (3) It may become new knowledge. (4) Or, it may
make known knowledge more uncertain. This last aspect
of information seems to have received little attention.
This is somewhat extraordinary in that many theories of
change (e.g., Lewin's) involve an "unfreezing" of prior
perceptions, behaviors, and conceptions before change
can occur. This subject will be discussed later in
this chapter.
The recent research findings that have cast
some doubt on prior conceptualizations of HIP involve
the type of problems encountered in organizations and
the way individuals input information. Ungson et al.
comment on the type of problems involved in prior
studies of HIP:
The tasks or problems used in earlier studies . .
were defined as "well-structured," that is,
problem-related information (such as rules, trans-
formation states, and desired outcomes) was typi-
cally specified* complete, and familiar to the
problem solver. 0


34
O 1
However, researchers have found in field studies'^ that
problems encountered by managers are not well-struc-
tured, but rather, "ill-structured":
In summary, problems faced by managers can be de-
scribed as ill-structured due to (1) the ambiguity
and incompleteness of problem-related information,
(2) the extent to which problems are continually
defined and redefined by managers, (3) the lack of
a program for the desired outcomes, (4) the possi-
bility of multi-person influences, and (5) the
extended period in which a decision is made. 2
This restructuring of organizational problems has
changed the research focus from "describing the content
and context of judgmental heuristics" to one consider-
ing stylistic differences in handling information
inputs, causal modeling, and multiple processing. To
briefly comment on each of the new foci, information
handling has been found to involve different strategies
depending on different informational inputs, different
reactions depending on the information's concreteness,
distinctiveness, and saliency, and different styles of
information acquisition depending on the degree of task
structure. Causal modeling involves the individual's
use of preferential cognitive algorithms or scripts in
relating cues to cause-effect relationships. These
algorithms and scripts cause biases in HIP and may even
result in a certain amount of "mindlessness" in react-
ing to cues. Multiple processing has been offered as a
counter hypothesis to the premise that underlies the
use of cue-combinatorial rules and judgmental


35
heuristics, namely, that individuals process information
serially or sequentially.
O'Reilly has succinctly described the movement
from "rational" models of information processing to
models:
... in which choice behavior is embedded in a
complex of other claims on the attention of deci-
sion makers and other structures of social and
cognitive relations. Organizational decision
makers, in this view, are pursuing multiple objec-
tives subject to a variety of pressures and con-
straints, often with considerable ambiguity
surrounding the choice process. Under these cir-
cumstances, preferences for outcomes may be the
least ambiguous component of the decision process,
more certain than the definition of the problem,
the range of feasible alternatives, or the proba-
bilities associated with various alternatives. In
this situation, it is argued that decision makers
are likely to take actions which both reduce their
uncertainty and help them achieve desired outcomes
(e.g., search for supportive information or selec-
tively interpret signals as favorable to a prefer-
red outcome). 4
O'Reilly adopts March's term for this model as one
a c
which involves "contextual rationality."
One may abstract two major characteristics of
information processing' from the research: (1) HIP
involves limiting the information processed. This
characteristic has been referred to as HIP being "selec-
tive,"^ as involving "filtering and pigeonholing,"3^
as "sampling,"38 or as "bracketing."39 An individual is
not only limited in the amount of information he can
process but selects the information he does process
based on his goals, the goals of the organization, the
preferred outcomes, his self-concept, the type of


36
information, the external pressures, and a host of other
reasons. All of this will be refered to as the limit--
ing aspects of HIP. (2) HIP is an informed activity of
the individual. Here, "informed" refers to the obser-
vation that individuals add or impose structure on
their information processing through cognitive algo-
rithms or scripts. How one associates cues to causes
is individually preferential but may come from organi-
zational preference imposed on the individual as well.
Thus,. informing may be seen as analogous to "enact-
ment. ^
There remains to be developed how the semantic
and syntactic level is embedded in human information
processing. Basically, this means that some sort of
association must be described between the limiting and
informed effects of HIP with the preference rules and
the necessity, centrality, and typicality conditions of
semantic and syntactic structure.
Consider the following hypothetical situation
in which a department manager is analyzing his last
month's budget:^
The manager will first "inform his" meaning of
"budget." This will involve a decomposition of
"budget." Such a decomposition will result in a
reading of necessary, central, and typical entries.
Necessary entries might involve "expenses" and
"revenues," entries close to the focal value of
"budget," and therefore, "expenses" and "revenues";
i.e., raw material costs, margins, etc.), and typi-
cal entries such as cost of item "x," and selling
price of item "Z." Although this decomposition
could theoretically continue for some time,


37
preference rules come into play when the decomposi-
tional reading achieves coherency, saliency, and
stability and the search for information is ended.
The manager then structures the data. This process
also involves a decomposition of the phrase "budg-
etary presentation" or "budgetary analysis."
Decomposition involves limiting in that not all the
possible entries are included in the reading, i.e.,
only those entries which are necessary, central, and
typical. These conditions are not only established by
the individual but by organizational, professional, or
technical procedures, practices, and policies as well.
These conditions are incorporated into the preference
rule or rules for the particular concept or work in-
volved. Decomposition is also informed in that prefer-
ence rules act as cognitive algorithms and scripts.
Again, preference rules are established organizational-
ly as well as individually.
The ambiguity or incompleteness of information
in ill-structured problems indicates that decomposi-
tions are ambiguous or incomplete and appropriate pref-
erence rules are ambiguous or contradictory as well.
Constant redefinition of ill-structured problems sug-
gests that appropriate preference rules cannot be found
or formulated. Lack of programming definition for
desired outcomes indicates a lack of preference rules.
Multiperson influences are the consideration by the
individual of multiple and possibly contradictory pref-
erence rules.


38
Thus, at least a theoretical connection between
decompositional conditions and preference rules has
been established with the effects of limiting and in-
forming observed in HIP. The discussion above also
suggests from a semantic and syntactic point of view
how HIP can become "scripted." Consider an organiza-
tion that has well-defined goals, procedures, and poli-
cies. In this organization certain decompositions of
organizational-specific terms or concepts (i.e., lan-
guage) will also be well-defined because preference
rules will have been inculcated in the individual.
Thus, information processing will be analogous to fol-
lowing a script. In such an organization, change will
be difficult. But organizations do frequently change
and so the discussion must turn to a semantic/HIP
interpretation, of organizational change.
Although human information processing in the
organizational setting could involve decision making,
scanning the environment, setting policy, developing
goals, and so on, the discussion of change will be
limited to those changes resulting from ill-structured
problems. A similar analysis could be undertaken of
the other characterizations of HIP but problem solving
seems particularly apropos since it is a prime progeni-
tor of organizational change.
Recall that ill-structured problems lead to
ambiguous or incomplete decompositions caused by


39
ambiguous, contradictory, or even a lack of preference
rules. This confusion manifests itself at the level of
information processing as a loss of saliency in infor-
mational inputs, insufficient strategic programs in
information acquisition, and inadequate or inappropri-
ate cognitive algorithyms or scripts. In such a situa-
tion psychological tension may build in the individual
which manifests as semantic "pressure." This pressure,
mentioned by jackendoff,influences the individual to
create a more global preference rule to relieve in-
stabilities in one's conceptual system. This means
that the individual will reformulate decompositions
using different necessity, centrality, and typicality
conditions. Referring to the previous hypothetical
situation this reformulation may indicate to the manag-
er that, for example, psychological costs and benefits
derived from an employee benefits package must be some-
how ascertained and included in the budget. This re-
formulation would represent a radically different de-
composition from the one presented and would not be
undertaken unless there existed organizational pressure
and the possibility of reward for such a reformulation.
However, in many situations an individual's or
organization's unquestioned allegiance to certain pref-
erence rules and schemes for limiting and informing
information processing may make the organization unable
to solve its problems. In such cases an outside


40
organizational consultant may be invaluable. It is in-
teresting to note, however, that Organization Develop-
ment (OD) consultants do not either consider or admit
that a primary subject for their development is the
organization's or individual's semantic structure.
Consider this fairly typical definition of OD given by
Miles and Schmuck: "OD can be defined as a planned and
sustained effort to apply behavioral science for system
improvement, using reflexive, self-analytic methods."4^
Compare this definition with the observation made by
Pfeffer:
The point is that many organizational activi-
ties, ranging from executive succession to organiz-
ation development practices, can be productively
analyzed from the perspective of management as
symbolic action. The implication of this point is
that understanding organizational language, set-
tings, stories and sagas, ceremonies, and practices
can be enhanced by considering the symbolic as well
as the more directly behavioral causes and conse-
quences of administrative behavior. 4
Although.Pfeffer has couched his observation in terms
of symbolic action, this paper will show that organiza-
tional symbology is seated at the level of semantics.
Therefore, the OD consultant will be successful if he
can in some way change the organization's as well as
the individual's semantic structure.
One can describe the connection between the
levels of semantics and syntactics and HIP by posing
two general processes which are not necessarily mutual-
ly exclusive but are not totally interdependent. They


41
will be called Processes of Restriction and Processes
of Elaboration. However, each group of processes will
have two definitions, i.e., one definition will de-
scribe the processes going from the level of informa-
tion processing to the level of semantics and syn-
tactics (top-down), and the other will describe proces-
ses going from the level of semantics and syntactics to
the level of information processing (bottom-up).
Process of Restriction
(1) Top-down: Processes whereby "limiting" and
"informing" restrict preference rules and therefore
decompositions to acceptable varieties from the point
of view of individual, work group, or organization.
(2) Bottom-up: Processes whereby preference rules and
decompositions limit perceptions and restrict inform-
ing .
Process of Elaboration
(1) Top-down: Processes whereby lack of infor-
mation, loss of saliency in inputs, insufficient
strategies of information acquisition, or inappropriate
algorithms or scripts may force the individual to
search for new or reformulative previous preference
rules resulting in different and/or expanded decomposi-
tions. (2) Bottom-up: Processes whereby semantic
pressure created by semantic system instability from,
for example, newly learned concepts may force new or


42
reformulated preference rules which result in new sa-
liencies in information acquisition or inputs, etc.,
and new ways of informing information.
Referring to the continuum existing between
what is known and what is unknown, one can see the
relationship between this continuum, information, and
the processes of restriction and elaboration. Proces-
ses of restriction yield information that reaffirms
prior knowledge or reduces the uncertainty in suspect
knowledge. Processes of elaboration yield information
that becomes new knowledge or makes what was previously
known more uncertain. It should be noted that what is
known and unknown by the individual is also a function
of what is allowed to be known or unknown by the work
group or the organization. These processes thus allow
social coordination as well as social change in the
work group or organization by restricting, in the first
case, HIP and semantic decompositions to those realiz-
able in the organization; and in the second case, by an
elaboration of HIP and semantic decomposition caused by
tensions created in problem solving, decision making,
environmental scanning, etc.
The Level of Self-Concept and Role
In this section a discussion of the systemic level
of the individual will be presented. Although the
systemic level is not included in most discussions on


43
social semiotics, this level was added to describe the
effects of an individual's self-concept and role reper-
tory on information processing, semantics, syntactics,
and thus the communication process itself. The impor-
tance of self-concept to HIP will become evident below.
However, before that discussion can begin, a more cur-
rent conceptualization of self-concept must be de-
veloped .
Traditionally, the self-concept was viewed as
the information the individual had available about the
relationship between himself and objects or groups of
objects. J Here, objects refer to persons, places,
things, and concepts one might encounter or experience.
In this formulation the self-concept served to supply
the individual with identity information, thus naming
or labeling an individual's attributes, or evaluative
information, which described how one valenced one's
feelings about himself.
Confusion could arise as to where this informa-
tion is stored. It could be stored at the level of
individual semantics and retrieved, i.e., the decom-
positions are "read" when one refers objects to him-
self. This retrieval also includes HIP in that the
decompositions are "limited" and "informed." Or, it
could be stored episodically, i.e., "as a repertoire of
episodes that are enacted sequentially."^ The pre-
eminence given to semantics in this paper comes from


44
the observation that for one to socially articulate
information stored episodically, it usually.requires a
translation of the "scene" into semantics.
Recently, Cushman et al. have proposed that in
addition to providing identity and evaluative informa-
tion, the self-concept "prescribes an appropriate beha-
vior to be performed in regard to the self-object
relationship and constitutes the behavioral self"
(italics theirs).^ The behavioral self is described
as a "set of imperatives for action--rules governing an
individual's behavior with respect to relevant objects
A O
in a situation." In that view, the self-concept
allows one to classify one's relationship with objects,
and therefore, to make inferences about newly encoun-
tered objects. It provides expectations about the
nature of the self-object relationship and thus directs
perception to cues for those expectations. Further-
more, from the relationships in the self-concept come
preconceived plans for processing-experience and
initiating actions.
Therefore, Cushman et al. presents a more cur-
rent description of the self-concept in the following
passage:
Hence, we regard the self-concept as an organized
set of structures that defines the relationship of
objects to individuals and that is capable of gov-
erning and directing human action. Furthermore,
the self-concept, as an organized set of struc-
tures, provides the rationale for choice in the


45
form of a yalanced repertory of alternative plans
of action. *
The similarity between the description of self-
concept above and the previous description of HIP indi-
cates that before the processes interrelating the two
are discussed, self-concept and HIP should be con-
trasted .
First, consider that the self-concept is com-
posed of self-object relationships and the classifica-
tions, expectations, and preconceived plans for main-
taining or altering these relationships. Thus, the
self-concept involves only those relationships con-
sidered self-object. Obviously, this is a large number.
of relationships. However, the other category of rela-
tionships, namely object-object relationships, is very
large as well. Distinguishing between the two types of
relationships may be difficult. For example, consider
the utterance, "She is very tall" made by man "A" to
man "B" both of whom are observing woman "C." Super-
ficially, this might be understood as an object-object
relationship, i.e., a relationship between "C" and
"tall." However, "A" might be a very short person.
Seeing a woman as tall as "C" might remind him of his
lack of height and thus resulted in him making the
original statement. That is, prior to making the
statement, "A" classified "C" as a tall woman. "A's"
expectations involving tall women are limited; and


46
therefore, his preconceived plans are minimal. There-
fore, the original object-object relationship was in
reality a self-object relationship of "A" and "tall C."
This rather simple example does not do justice to the
difficulty of categorizing self-object and object-
object relationships but at least it does indicate how
problematical such categorizations would be to an out-
side observer. Thus, one important difference is that
in information processing both types of relationships
are involved whereas in the self-concept only self-
object relationships are found.
Second, consider that the self-concept is a
relatively stable construct in comparison with the
frequent and varied machinations of information proces-
sing. Indeed, the self-concept acts as a repository of
historical information an individual has regarding his
relationships to different objects. It acts as a
standard to which one's behavior in different situa-
tions is compared or contrasted. HIP, on the other
hand, is basically an adaptive structure. This is the
reason behind it being discussed and posited at the
level of pragmatics. Information processing may re-
ceive guidance from above (i.e., the self-concept) and
restriction .and elaboration from below (i.e., the
semantic and syntactic space) but its basic social
function is to allow the individual entrance into the
immediacy of the present situation. The self-concept


47
allows for the continuation of the individual from
situation to situation.
The discussion can now be turned to a descrip-
tion of the processes that relate the self-concept to
HIP. Cushman et al. describe the self-concept as a
cybernetic control system for an individual's actions:
An individual's judgment that a new approach to
some situation is useful and worth pursuing re-
quires a previous organizational pattern for com-
parison purposes. The self-concept provides the
previous pattern and the information needed to
recognize the implications of the new pattern.
Thus, the self-concept is a necessary constituent
in the positive feedback system. The new organiza-
tion pattern being pursued will also be represented
in the self-concept as a new rule, or pattern for
action in specified situations. Similarly, when
the individual has a fixed goal and is in the
process of pursuing a standardized pattern of coor-
dinated behavior in order to obtain that goal, the
self-concept provides the pattern of information
needed for a negative feedback system to monitor
behavior in accordance with previously established
rules for goal attainment. 0
Before proceeding further, an understanding of
what is involved in an organized "pattern" is neces-
sary. Since a pattern is provided by the self-concept,
it must be derivable from a constellation of self-
object relationships. These self-object relationships
involve needs (e.g., "I need power," or "achievement,"
or "affiliation"), values (e.g., "I value honesty." or
"I value aggressiveness."), and roles.
This last concept, roles, is somewhat problem-
atical because it not only involves the self-concept
but socially expected, desired, and allowable behaviors
/


48
as well. The relationship between the self and roles
is explained by Faules and Alexander:
It is through interaction with others that people
come to see themselves as possessing certain quali-
ties. In addition, particular qualities are asso-
ciated with a given status or position, and the
enactment of a role depends on the person's exhi-
biting those qualities. 1
Conflict and tension can result in the individual if
(1) there is a discrepancy between expected or allow-
able behaviors and the needs or values included in
one's self-concept, (2) if contradictory types of be-
havior are expected from the same role, (3) if behav-
iors required of an individual who occupies several
roles are contradictory, and (4) if the behaviors
required by a particular role are ambiguous. The first
situation is described as a form of cognitive disson-
ance; the second and third, as simply role conflict.
Furthermore, the goals referred to by Cushman
et al. are desirable individual consequences of pat-
terns based on the individual's needs, values, and
roles.
Returning to the description of the self-
concept as a cybernetic control system, one may say
that the self-concept is interrelated to HIP through
positive and negative feedback loops. Positive feed-
back loops will be defined for the purpose of this
paper as Processes of Differentiation. Processes of
differentiation refer to those processes connecting HIP


49
and the self-concept that are: (1) Top-down: Processes
whereby organizational role ambiguity or conflict;
needs for achievement, power, or affiliation, or indi-
vidual values force or influence the individual to
consider new saliencies. in information acquisition or
inputs, etc., and new ways of informing information.
(2) Bottom-up: Processes whereby lack of information,
loss of saliency in inputs, etc., force the individual
to expand his behavior repertoire to include preplanned
actions for accomplishing goals that are different from
the standard patterns of behavior presently involved in
the makeup of his self-concept.
Negative feedback loops will be defined for the
purposes of this paper as Processes of Conformity.
Processes of conformity refer to those processes con-
necting HIP and the self-concept that are: (1) Top-
down: Processes whereby strict role adherence, in-
dividual needs or values, force or influence the indi-
vidual to adhere to organizational or work group pro-
cedures, policies, or methods for information acquisi-
tion, use of algorithms or scripts, etc., and
particular ways of informing information. (2) Bottom-
up: Processes whereby habitual or organizationally
inculcated ways of limiting and informing information
forces or influences the individual to conform his
"self" to work group or organizationally acceptable


50
roles, and organizationally allowable realizations of
needs and values.
Summary
To summarize this chapter, three semiotic
levels that describe the semantic and syntactic, prag-
matic, and systemic organization of the individual have
been offered. These levels have been called the seman-
tic and syntactic space, information processing, and
the self-concept/role of the individual, respectively.
The first level, i.e., the semantic and syntactic
space, is embedded in the second, HIP; and the second
is embedded in the third, i.e., self-concept/role. The
processes that allow for the inclusion of one level
into the other have been defined as processes of re-
striction and elaboration in the case of the first and
second level, and processes of conformity and differen-
tiation in the case of the second and third levels.
The definitions of these processes are intuitively
appealing in that, (1) from a psychological and socio-
logical point of view the processes partially describe
the ways in which people may act and think alike or
ways in which people may act and think differently; and
(2) from a systems point of view the processes describe
networks of positive and negative feedback where the
former changes the system in some way and the latter
acts to maintain system homeostasis.


51
There are some assumptions that appear as a
result of describing the individual in the manner
above. The treatment of the semantic and syntactic
space as containing a system of words, and therefore,
meanings; and concepts, and therefore, complexes of
words implying complex meanings; and the subsequent
treatment of HIP as the process whereby meanings of
words and word complexes as information are restricted
or elaborated, limited and informed; and finally, the
self-concept as a constellation of wordsmeaning
information about or relevant to the self, limits the
area of concern in this paper to that part of the
individual that processes language/communication.
Simply put, this paper focuses on the semantic or
semiotic aspects of individuals. Although this view is
very limited and much "informed," it addresses an area
of study much neglected in the study of organizational
communication. This particular view is important be-
cause :
. . Language expresses and symbolizes a dual
aspect in its semantic system, which is organized
around twin motifs of reflection and action-
language as a means of reflecting on things, and
language as a means of acting on things. The
former is the "ideational" component of meaning;
the latter is the "interpersonal"--one can act
symbolically only on persons, not on objects
(italics his).
The discussion of the interpersonal "motif"
will begin in the next chapter by moving from the


52
semiotic subsystem of the individual to the subsystem
of the group.


NOTESCHAPTER II
*-R. Jackendoff, Semantics and Cognition
(Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1983), p. 112.
9
J.J. Katz, "The Realm of Meaning," in Communi-
cation, Language, and Meaning: Psychological Perspec-
tives, ed. George A. Miller (New York: Basic Books,
Inc., 1973), pp. 41-42.
3 lb i d., p. 43.
^Ibid., p. 44.
^Ibid.
Jackendoff, pp. 115-117.
^H. Putnam, "The Meaning of 'Meaning,In
Language, Mind, and Knowledge, ed. K. Gunderson
(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1975),
p. 133.
^Jackendoff, p. 116.
^L. Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations,
translated by G.E.M. Anscombe (New York: Macmillan,
1953).
10 lb i d., P- 32.
jackendoff f P-
12Ibid., P- 121.
13Ibid., P- 122.
^Ibid., pp. 122
15 Ibid., P- 128.
16Ibid., P- 132.
^^Ibid., P- 16.
3Ibid., P- 140.


54
^Jackendof f, p. 19.
20Ibid., p. 144.
2 ^Ibid., pp. 9-10.
22Katz, p. 44.
23jackendoff, p. 157.
2^G.R. Ungson, D.N. Braunstein, and P.D. Hall,
"Managerial Information Processing: A Research Review,"
Administrative Science Quarterly, 26 (1981), 116-134.
o c
C.E. Shannon and W. Weaver, The Mathematical
Theory of Communication (Urbana, IL: University of
Illinois Press, 1949).
2^Ungson et al.; C.A. O'Reilly, III, "The Use of
Information in Organizational Decision Making: A Model
and Some Propositions," in Research in Organizational
Behavior, Vol. .3, eds. B. Stan and L. Cummings
(Greenwich, CT: JAI, 1981), pp. 103-104; S. Kiesler arid
L. Sproull, "Managerial Response to Changing Environ-
ments: Perspectives on Problem Sensing From Social
Cognition," Administrative Science Quarterly, 27
(1982), 548-570.
2^Kiesler and Sproull, p. 559.
? ft
B. Goss, Processing Communication (Belmont,
CA: Wadsworth, 1982) p. 23.
0 Q
JWith the inclusion of knowledge confirmation
into the definition of HIP, the differences between
communication itself and HIP become vague as well.
These differences will not be discussed since they are
not germane to this thesis.
3Ungson, Braunstein, and Hall, p. 120.
3-*-H. Mintzberg, The Nature of Managerial Work
(New York: Harper and Row, 1973).
32Ungson, Braunstein, and Hall, p. 121.
33Ibid., p. 122.
3^0'Reilly, pp. 109-110.
35J.G. March, "Bounded Rationality, Ambiguity,
and the Engineering of Choice," Bell Journal of
Economics, 9 (1978), 587-608.


55
360'Reilly.
q 7
D.E. Broadbent, Decision and Stress (London:
Academic Press, 1971).
q o
U. Neisser, Cognition and Reality (San
Francisco: W.H. Freeman, 1976).
q Q
^K.E. Weick, The Social Psychology of Organi-
zing, 2nd Edition (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1974).
40Ibid.
4-*-This could represent a well-structured problem
if enough information, rules for analysis, and clear,
desired outcomes are known. Or it could represent an
ill-structured problem if these factors are not known.
In this hypothetical situation it will be posited as a
well-structured problem.
42Jackendoff, p. 149.
43M.B. Miles and R.A. Schmuck, "The Nature of
Organization Development," In Organization Develop-
ment: Theory, Practice, Research, eds. W.L. French,
C.H. Bell, Jr., and R.A. Zauacki (Plano, TX: Business
Publications, Inc., 1983), pp. 23-30.
44J .Pfeffer, "Management as Symbolic Action: The
Creation and Maintenance of Organizational Paradigms,"
in Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol. 3, eds. B.
Stan and L. Cummings (Greenwich, CT: JAI, 1981), pp. 1-
52.
43D.P. Cushman, B. Valentinsen, and D. Dietrich,
"A Rules Theory of Interpersonal Relationships," in
Human Communication Theory, ed. Frank E.X. Dance (New
York: Harper and Row, 1982), pp. 90-119.
A £
W.B. Pearce and V.E. Cronen, Communication,
Action, and Meaning: The Creation of Social Realities
(New York: Praeger, 1980), p. 136.
4^Cushman, Valentinsen, and Dietrich, p. 98.
48Ibid.
4Ibid.
50Ibid., p. 99.


56
C 1
D.F. Faules and D.C. Alexander, Communication
and Social Behavior: A Symbolic Interaction Perspective
(Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1978), p. 64.
c o
M.A.K. Halliday, Language as Social Semiotic:
The Social Interpretation of Language and Meaning
(Baltimore: University Park Press, 1978), p. 2.


CHAPTER III
THE GROUP SOCIOSEMIOTIC SYSTEM
Introduction
This chapter will describe the next step up the
organizational sociosemiotic systems ladder after the
individual, namely, the group sociosemiotic system.
The study of how groups communicate in organizations
has a.long history. Scholastic interest in groups
reflects the fact that the individual does not act in
isolation in an organization; rather, he influences and
is influenced by other organizational members. These
influential associations can be temporary or permanent,
formal or informal, and may consist of one's superordi-
nates, subordinates, or peers. Furthermore, the indi-
vidual can be said to be effected semantically,
pragmatically, and systemically by his membership in
these groups. However, a description of the group
semiotic system must not solely "map" or "project" the
social situation onto the individual. This thesis will
also consider the effects of an individual's speech
behavior on group semantics, pragmatics, and systemics.
Group membership is a "two-way street" and any


58
description of group phenomenon must reflect this inter-
relationship .
The semantic, pragmatic, and systemic levels in
a group will be called register, episode, and informa-
tion domain, respectively. Register is usually a con-
cept found only in linguistic and sociolinguistic
studies. It is used to describe the "different seman-
tic configurations" that can be observed in different
social situations.-*- Episodes refer to "communicative
routines which (the participants) view as distinct
wholes, separate from other types of discourse, charac- -
terized by special rules of speech and nonverbal behav-
ior and often distinguished by clearly recognizable
opening or closing sequences." Information Domain
refers to recurring situations which have become insti-
tutionalized to the point where language (speech behav-
ior) enables "role playing by the participants, (which)
in part, consist of the appropriate code from the
linguistic repertories of the individuals involved.
Code can be understood in this case to mean a specific
register.
There is a certain amount of theoretical justi-
fication for a tri-level description of group semiotics
as can be seen in the following quotation from Frentz:
Increasingly, communication scholars are
studying interpersonal communication from an ac-
tional or rules perspective. Recently, a
"language-action" paradigm was developed for this


59
approach, consisting of three hierarchically struc-
tured constructs: context/ episodes, and symbolic
acts. Contexts include "forms of life," which
define general criteria for meaningfulness, and
"encounters," which co-orient actors and activate
specific rules of propriety. Episodes are rule
conforming sequences of communicative action con-
jointly created by two or more actors. Finally,
symbolic acts are verbal and/or non-verbal utter-
ances .that manifest propositional, expressive, and
consequential forces, and that acquire communica-
tive meaning through episodic force. This paradigm
reaffirms the importance of language in communica-
tion, stresses conscious, strategic choices of
actors, and includes judgement as a logical comple-
ment to description and explanation (italics his).
Although the direction of this paper reflects social
semiotics as manifested in speech communication, there
exist certain similarities between this approach and
that described in more general behavioral terms above.
For example, the "context" as described by Frentz is
the "information domain" of the group semiotic system.
The "episode" is defined similarly for both approaches
"symbolic acts" are derived from the group "register."
Before proceeding further a more detailed de-
scription of each of the levels of the group semiotic
system will be given.
Register
Halliday has defined register in the following
way:
A register can be defined as the configuration
of semantic resources that the member of a culture
typically associates with a situation type. It is
the meaning potential that is accessible in a given


60
social context. Both the situation and the regis-
ter associated with it can be described to varying
degrees of specificity; but the existence of regis
ters is a fact of everyday experiencespeakers
have no difficulty in recognizing the semantic
options and combinations of options that are "at
risk" under particular environmental conditions.
Since these options are realized in the form of
grammar and vocabulary, the register is recogniz-
able as a particular selection of words and struc-
tures. But it is defined in terms of meanings; it
is not an aggregate of conventional forms of ex-
pression superposed on some underlying content by
"social factors" of one kind or another.
From the description of register given above certain
essential characteristics that define register may be
seen. First, to reiterate, it is
fic use of grammar and vocabulary
not so much a speci-
that delimits regis-
ter, rather it is the expected, promoted, constrained
meanings that are associated with certain social situa
tions that make a register an identifiable phenomenon.
Second, in every situation there exist cues (setting,
relationships between participants, subject of dis-
course, etc.) that inform the participants as to what
registers are appropriate.
Register should not be confused with dialect;
the former is language according to use and the latter
is language according to user. Registers depend on
what social activity the speaker (and other partici-
pants) are engaged. Registers differ in semantics
(lexicogrammar) and sometimes even in phonetics.
Whereas it is fairly easy to distinguish two different


61
dialects, it is somewhat more difficult to differen-
tiate between two registers. Registers may effect
syntax, tenses, linguistic mood, sentence organization,
intonation patterns of voice and theme, etc. Possibly
the best examples for the reader of the manifestations
of different registers can be had if the reader recalls
recent conversations he or she had with wife or hus-
band, colleague or peer, and subordinate or superior.
Most likely in each case a different register was in
use and was realized through different content, rela-
tional orientation, and form of textual production.
Indeed, Halliday proposes that these three factors are
related to the three primary semantic functions of
language, the ideational, the interpersonal, and the
textual.** These three functions define the semantic
and grammatical choices a speaker has in any one regis-
ter. They are interdependent and must all be con-
sidered in any analysis of register.
The ideational refers to words (labels, con-
cepts, ideas, names, categories, etc.) or collections
of words that function to yield propositional informa-
tion but "also includes, under the general heading the
'expression of experience,' the evaluative and affec-
tive aspects of attitude, value, emotion and feeling."
Thus Halliday explains this semantic function as that:
7


62
. . concerned with the content of language, it
functions as a means of the expression of our
experience, both of the external world and of our
own consciousnesstogether with what is perhaps a
separate sub-component expressing certain basic
logical relations.
It should be repeated that although the ideational
function serves to express experience with its asso-
ciated attitudes, values, and so forth, the ideational
function refers to the semantic and grammatical choices
that make this expression possible.
The interpersonal function refers to semantic
and grammatical choices that serve as "mediator" for
one's role:
including all that may be understood by
sion of our personalities and personal f
the one hand, and forms of interactions
interplay with other participants in the
tion situation on the other hand.
The interpersonal function serves in Dance and
Larson's^ words as the "linking function" of communi-
cation. Thus, the presentation of self to others,
communication of one's identity, as well as accommoda-
tion, elaboration, empathy, and so forth are expressed
with a certain vocabulary and syntax taken from the
appropriate register. For example, the common phrase
"Hi, how are you?" has little ideational information
but does signal to the receiver that one may be open to
further conversation.
the expres-
eelings on
and social
communica-


63
The third function, the textual:
. . has an enabling function, that of creating
text, which is language in operation as distinct
from strings of words or isolated sentences and
clauses. It is this component that enables the
speaker to organize what he is saying in such as
way that it makes sense in the context and fulfills
its function as a message.
This function is therefore related more to grammar than
vocabulary.. The textual function yields choices for
the symbolic organization of one's speech through
choices of rhetorical mode, i.e., whether one is being
didactic, persuasive, imperative, etc., or even through
channel, i.e., whether one expresses oneself verbally
or through a written form.
In summary, the level of semantics and syntac-
tics in the group semiotic system:
. . can be defined as a functional or function-
oriented meaning potential; a network of options
for the encoding of some extralinguistic semiotic
system or systems in terms of the two basic com-
ponents of meaning that we have called the idea-
tional and the interpersonal. 2
One need only add that the meaning potential expressed
through the ideational and the interpersonal functions
are further symbolically organized through the textual
function .
Thus far, register has been approached from the
standpoint of the individual. However, register is
also a group-specific phenomena. Therefore, it would
be valuable to consider the effects of register on
groups of individuals.


64
There are many registers that are relatively
easily recognized. For example, the register of a
church service, sporting events, bidding at bridge,
"talk shows," etc., can be readily identified. Regis-
ters of this type approach what EdwardsXJ refers to as
a "special language." Special languages not only have
specific vocabularies and grammars but have further
social significance as well. From a group perspective
a register can be "an instrument of effective common
action . and the means and symbol of group loyal-
ty. "1^ Thus, two additional functions of register from
a social perspective are the "linguistic intellectual"
and the "linguistic conventional." Edwards defines
these, functions as follows:
The first term refers to denotation, to words which
are essential for precise and rapid communication
between fellow-specialists, and which make dis-
criminations for which everyday language . have
no need. The second refers to connotations, to the
associations a word has for the insider, and the
way it reinforces his sense of at least temporary
separation from the everyday world. It marks the
"psychological reality" of the specialist group. 5
Thus, one can think of register as a shared
semantic and syntactic "space" whereby meaning is con-
strained and focused through particular ideational,
interpersonal, and textual forms of vocabulary and
grammar. The effects of meaning constraint and focus
allow for concise and specific communication among


65
group participants and gives these participants a sense
of sharing in a common experience.
Episode
The delimiting characteristics and structure of
episodes have been a primary concern of Frentz and
Farrell in their "Language-action" approach to mean-
ing. Their contention is that "conventional" and
"intentional" theories of meaning might be necessary
for an understanding of a speech act or utterance, but
neither alone, nor both, are.sufficient. Conventions
. are either behavioral norms or semantic 'essen-
tials' that are recombined to produce definitional
meanings for a given language." From this definition
one can include conventions in the group register.
However, a conventional analysis of meaning disregards
temporal, circumstantial, and individual factors that
qualify interpretations of meaning in any analysis of a
communicative event. The intentional approach to mean-
ing, on the other hand, conceives of speech acts as
being purposeful and thus requires an understanding of
the underlying intent of the speaker. However, "a
severe limitation of the intentional account is its
neglect of unconscious dimensions to human interac-
tion." Therefore, a full account of meaning must
include another approach in addition to the


66
conventional and intentional. That is proposed by
Farrell and Frentz by offering an "actional account of
meaning." Actional meaning mediates between
conventional and intentional meaning and is realized
through "form-of-life rules," "encounter rules," and
"episodic rules." Form-of-life and encounter rules
relate to contextual factors and will be elaborated
upon in the discussion on information domain.
Episodic rules contribute to the governance of
speech acts in the episode. Episodic rules may allow
for considerable flexibility in speech acts in a com-
municative- interchange or they may constrain speech
acts to a relatively select few. The applicability of
different rules emerges through the communicative in-
terchange, unlike the constraint placed on interchanges
from contextual factors (e.g., form-of-life and encoun-
ter rules). Thus, according to Farrell and Frentz,
"The meaning of any utterance or symbolic act emerges
through its use, rather than through logical universals
1 Q
or personal motives . ."
Returning now to the description of the episode
itself, one may define episode in the following manner:
An episode is a rule-conforming sequence of sym-
bolic acts generated by two or more actors who are
collectively oriented toward emergent goals. Epi-
sodes are both flexible in content and collective
in creative origin; because of this, they cannot be
"operationalized" in any reductionistic sense. u


67
Thus, three general characteristics of episodes are
their rule-conforming, goal-oriented, and developmental
features. The rule conforming nature of episodes has
already been covered with the discussion of episodic
rules. Goal-orientat.ion refers t the observation
that:
. . in order for an episode to progress, actors
must agree, at least tacitly, upon the complimen-
tarity of goals they are pursuing. Even in those
extremely asymmetrical episodes involving conflict,
actors must agree to discuss divergencies in their
goals or the episode will literally "break down."21
For example, a rather commonly observed goal-
orientation of episodic participants is their initial
speech behaviors that begin an episode by signaling to
each an interest in a communicative interchange. This
is referred to as the "initiation imperative" by Frentz
and Farrell. The developmental structure of episodes
refers to the observation that episodes progress under
no single participant's control or predictive ability.
Rather, the progress of an episode is dependent upon
the actual textual interchanges that occur between
participants, their goal orientation, and the rules to'
which they conform. Thus, utterances are rarely under-
stood outside the entire context of the episode.
One can summarize the discussion above by stat-
ing that the construct "episode" describes a unit of
analysis for the communication theorist that is charac-
terized by rule-conforming, .goal-orientating, and


68
developmental features and must be considered as a
"whole" recognizable by the participants. Any reduc-
tion of this unit of analysis will result in a less
than complete understanding of the episode, i.e., a
less than adequate description of the meaning implicit
in the textual interchange.
Given this description of episode it is obvious
that it must be included in any model of the social
semiotic system of the organization. It, in fact,
describes the pragmatic level of the group semiotic
system. However, here is an example of the problems
incurred by the use of two different registers (i.e., a
language-action approach and a language-function ap-
proach [or, sociosemiotic approach]). Fortunately,
Halliday J has provided a way whereby one can go from
the language-action register to a sociosemiotic one
through the investigation of "text-in-situation."
As the episode may be considered the basic unit
of analysis for the language-action theorist, so then
text may be considered:
. . the basic unit of semantic structurethat is,
of the semantic process. The concept "text" has no
connotations of size; it may refer to speech act,
speech event, topic unit, exchange, episode, narra-
tive and so on.2^
For the purposes of this paper "text" will be restrict
ed to the episodic situation.


69
Much in the same way that Frentz and Farrell
describe the relationships between meaning, communica-
tion, and episode, Halliday describes the relationship
between meaning, text, and situation. The relationship
between meaning and text is described by Halliday as
follows:
The text is the linguistic form of social interac-
tion. It is a continuous progression of meanings,
combining both simultaneously and in succession.
The meanings are the selections made by the speaker
from the options that constitute the meaning poten-
tial; text is the actualization of this meaning
potential, the process of semantic choice (italics
his ).2b
Halliday describes the relationship between text and
situation in the following:
A text is embedded in a context of situation. The
context of situation of any text is an instance of
a generalized social context or situation type.
The situation type is not an inventory of ongoing
sights and sounds but a semiotic structure; it is
the ecological matrix that is constitutive of the
text (italics his). 6
At this point one needs to consider what fac-
tors are involved in the "semiotic structure."
Halliday proposes three variables that describe the
semiotic structure of the situation. They are field,
tenor, and mode. There is likely to be some confusion
of these three variables with the semantic functions of
the ideational, interpersonal, and textual unless the
discussion of field, tenor, and mode is prefaced with
some explanatory remarks.


70
The confusion revolves around the differences
between the level of semantics, i.e., register, and the
level of pragmatics, i.e., episode. Essentially, in
this paper the focus is on the function and use of
language as a system of symbols used to denote and
signify certain things (e.g., places, persons, objects,
or concepts) in the organization. In addition, how-
ever, the paper also encompasses the individuals and
social structure of the organization. Language as a
system of signifying and denoting symbols is realized
through the level of semantics. The effect of the
symbols on the speech behavior of individuals (as in-
terpreter of symbols) is realized through the level of
pragmatics. The contexts under which the symbols are
realized is through the level of systemics. Thus, in
the following discussions of the semiotic structure of
situations (i.e., episodes), the focus is on how indi-
viduals interpret symbols (language, participants, and
settings) in the episode and thus determine register
(ideational, interpersonal, textual) choices. In
Halliday's words:
The categories of field, tenor, and mode are thus
determinants and not components of speaking; col-
lectively they serve to predict text, via . what
is called the register. . These concepts are
intended to make explicit the means whereby the
observer can derive, from the speech situation, not
the text itself, of course, but certain systematic
norms governing the particulars of the text.


71
The field describes the subject matter at hand
but also considers the whole activity involved in by
speaker and other participants. For
occasion "talking about the weather"
would be the field of "weather-talk.
example, on one
may be just what
" On another occa-
sion "talking about the weather" may be a precursor to
a buying or selling activity and thus in this case
"weather-talk" would be part of the field for buying
and selling. As Halliday describes it:
In differing contexts, we tend to select different
words and different grammatical patterns--simply
because we are expressing different kinds of mean-
ing. . the "meanings" that are involved are a
part of what we are doing; or rather, they are part
of the expression of what we are doing. ... In
fact, "what we are talking about" has to be seen as
a special case of a more general concept, that of
"what we are doing," or "what is going on, within
which the language is playing a part."29
Thus, field specifies those semantic choices and gram-
matical patterns the speaker makes realizable through
the ideational semantic function.
The tenor of a situation (or more accurately,
the tenor of the discourse) determines those semantic
and grammatical choices realizable through the inter-
personal semantic function. That is, tenor is related
to those changes in registers attributable to changes
in the relationships of the participants. The type of
role one assumes in a relationship has also a great
deal to do with the language one uses. Tenor deter-
mines the degree of formality, the level of


72
technicality, the flow of meaning, selection of gram-
matical mood and modality, and so on. Tenor is affect-
ed by the type of permanence of the relationship, the
degree of emotional charge in it, or any other factor
relatable to the relationship between speaker and hear-
er. Halliday adds:
Contexts of situation, or settings, such as a pub-
lic lecture, playground at playtime, church ser-
vice, cocktail party, (one may also include
organizational settings and relationships) and so
on can be regarded as institutionalized role rela-
tionships and hence as stabilized patterns of the
tenor of discourse. 0
Finally, the mode of discourse refers to the
channel and role of language in the situation. The
channel chosen can be written or spoken language. (In
this paper only spoken language will be considered.)
However, equally important to determining the register
is the role of language in the situation. This refers
to whether one is being didactic, imperative, fanciful,
consultative, i.e., the rhetorical mode one has chosen.
The question underlying the concept of the mode of
discourse is, what function is language being used
for, what is its'specific role in the goings-on to
which it is contributing? to control? to explain?
or just to oil the works . ? 31
Thus, mode specifies a range of semantic and grammati-
cal choices realizable through the textual semantic
function.
Halliday sums up the discussion of meaning,
text, and situation in the following:


73
The semiotic features of the situation activate
corresponding portions of the semantic system, in
this way determining the register, the configura-
tion of potential meanings that is typically
associated with this situation type, and becomes
actualized in the text that is engendered by it. 2
The semiotic structure of the situation "activates" the
semantic system because:
. . the type of symbolic activity (field) tends to
determine the range of meaning as content, language
in the observer function (ideational).; the role
relationship (tenor) tends to determine the range
of meaning as participation, language in the in-
truder function (interpersonal); and the rhetorical
channel (mode) tends to determine the range of
meaning as texture, language in its relevance to
the environment (textual). 3
One should suspect a correspondence of some
sort between the episode from the perspective of the
language-action theorist, on the one hand, and the
episode as one particular type of a communicative in-
terchange situation as considered from a sociosemiotic
perspective on the other. Clearly, there are similari-
ties between the two descriptions of episodic struc-
ture. However, Halliday's sociosemiotic approach
emphasizes the investigation of how an exchange of
meaning is possible between episodic participants.
Consider the following set of assumptions that must be
made by participants in any exchange of meanings.
These assumptions are:
(i) that interpretations of experience are shared
(others see things the same way);
(ii) that there are principles of selection and
organization of meaning, and therefore also


74
(iii) of reconstituting and supplementing omissions
(we agree on what to leave out, and the other
fills it in. .) and
(iv) that words, or rather words-in-structures,
linguistic forms, are referred identically to
past experience.
These principles act as "instructions for the
speaker-hearer for assigning infinitely possible
meanings to unfolding social scenes." The speaker-
hearer relies heavily on the social system for the
decoding of text. 4
Thus, from Halliday's point of view it is not so
important "what is said" as is the importance of "what
is not said" or what does not need to be said in order
to "enable" an exchange of meaning to occur. Partici-
pants need only recognize the field, tenor, and mode of
the semiotic structure of the episode to guide them in
the selection of the appropriate register which in turn
allows them to make certain assumptions and limit their
text.
Halliday's approach to understanding episodic
structure, however, does not focus on how and why an
episode unfolds, i.e., how it develops and why it
develops in certain ways. These questions are addres-
sed in the language-action approach. From this per-
spective an episode exhibits speech acts which are
rule-conforming, goal oriented, and develop through a
structure of episodic imperatives, namely, the initia-
tion, definitional, rule-conformation, strategic
3 5
development, and termination imperatives.


75
In order to combine these approaches into one
that considers both the static and dynamic dimensions
of the episode, one can offer three generic terms:
frame, control, and strategy. Frame involves those
aspects of the episode'that have been referred to as
field and developmental structure. Thus, frame would
involve the subject matter, "what is going on," and how
the episode develops. Control refers to those aspects
that have been referred to as tenor (role relationship)
and rule-conforming. Thus, control describes episodic
aspects that require status or position recognition as
well as the appropriate communication rules episodic
participants must follow.. For example, control v/ould
describe what degree of deference a subordinate should
show a superordinate. Strategy involves those discur-
sive tactics episodic participants may use to try to
persuade, inform, etc. Thus, strategy involves the
aspects of mode and goal orientation.
At this point the interrelationships between
register and episode may be described and defined. The
first point to consider, however, is how registers may
change.
Individuals, of course, have access to many
different registers. The registers define different
meaning potentials for different situations. One will
move to a different register depending on whom one is


76
talking to, the subject matter involved, or what one is
trying to accomplish through the communicative
interchange. The immediate question that comes to mind
is: Does a change in register signify a change in
episode? If one recalls that different registers ex-
hibit different ideational, interpersonal, and textual
functions and that these functions interact, one may
suspect that a categorical change in any one may result
in a change in the other two. Also, recalling the
close relationship between the ideational, interper-
sonal, and textual functions and the episodic dimen-
sions of frame, control, and strategy (through field,
tenor, and mode), one can thus say a change in register
will result in a change in episode. However, this
statement is somewhat misleading in that it implies
that there is some sort of phenomenal difference be-
tween registers and episodes. A better way of concep-
tualizing the interconnectiveness of the two is to
think of them as "realizations" of the same phenomena
(i.e., an exchange of meaning) in which register is a
semantic .and syntactic manifestation and episode is a
pragmatic manifestation of a communicative exchange of
meaning. Thus, register refers to an access to shared,
knowledge and episode refers to an access to a behav-
ioral repertoire.


77
A more interesting question from the perspec-
tive of this thesis is: How does a particular register
change?
Halliday identifies two means whereby a
register may change. The first involves the introduc-
tion of a new vocabulary. This change:
... is characterized by the appearance in the
language of a large number of previously non-
existent thing-meariings: objects, processes, rela-
tions, and so forth, realized by a variety of means
in the lexicogrammatical structure includingbut
not limited to--the creation of vocabulary. (To
call this process "introduction of a new vocabu-
lary" is a misleading formulation; rather it is the
introduction of new thing-meanings, which may or
may not be expressed by new lexical elements.)3
This type of change occurs when "the language is to
1
function in new settings, types of situation to which
O 7
it has previously been unadapted." Subsumed in this
category are directed or promulgated semantic changes.
Such changes occur through the activity of authority
agencies, i.e., schools, universities, governments,
etc., or accepted authorities, scholars, managers,
consultants, i.e., anyone in authority because of their
position or information.
The other type of semantic change involves
semantic styles. When semantic changes in meanings
occur as described above., then other changes occur in
the semantic system (i.e., the interpersonal and the
textual).


78
New registers are created, which actuate new
alignments and configurations in the functional
components of the semantic system. It is through
the intermediary of the social structure that the
semantic change is brought about. Semantic style
is a function of social relationships and situation
types generated by the social structure. If it
changes, this is not so much because of what people
are now speaking about as because of who they are
speaking to, in what circumstances, through what
media, and so on. A shift in the fashions of
speaking will be better understood by reference to
changing patterns of social interaction and social
relationships than by the search for a direct link
between the language and the material culture. 8
It is apparent from these two descriptions of
semantic change that one has a framework for defining
interrelational processes between the group register or
episodic structure. For example, the introduction of a
new vocabulary involves the effects of register on
episodic structure, thus, a "bottom-up" process. A
change in semantic style involves the effects of
changes in the episodic structure on register, a "top-
down" process.
The groundwork has now been laid for a discus-
sion of register and episodic structure in the organi-
zation. Registers in an organization will have an
ideational component that defines areas of interest of
focus in the organization semantically. The vocabulary
involving, for example, finance, production, or market-
ing, to name a few examples, are easily recognizable
ideational components of registers. More difficult to
recognize are the vocabularies of management,


79
coordination and control, employee rights and concerns,
etc. The interpersonal component defines options in-
volving degrees of respect, deference, agreement, com-
ment, evaluation, permission, conflict, etc., as ex-
pressed lexicogrammatically through grammatical mood,
modality, key, tonal intensity, etc. The textual com-
ponent of register defines options involving medium and
symbolic organization, such as rhetorical mode (i.e.,
expository, didactic, persuasive, descriptive, etc.)
and genres (story, myth, fable, etc.) as expressed
through the organization, pattern, theme, and cohesion
of the text. It is interesting to note how much
interest recently has been directed to the role of
myths, stories, and fables as a means of exchanging
meanings in organizations.
When one limits the inquiry of episodic struc-
ture to that of episodes occurring in the organization,
one can offer a range of descriptions for the episodic
dimensions of frame, control, and strategy. The range
will vary for each dimension from one describing a
"restricted" dimensional component to one which can be
described as "open." For example, a restricted frame
in an episode would be one in which the subject matter
is insulated (e.g., if the subject matter is finance,
the topic of discussion does not range into other
fields) and the episode develops to termination through


80
nearly habitual pattern of communication interchanges.
Restricted control describes an episode in which social
control is accomplished through power (rewarded or
coercive) invested in the status position of a member.
Thus, roles are well defined and rigid with deference
given to the member holding the highest status as
related to the formally defined .areas of concern
(frame). Rules for communicative interchange could be
described as being very formal, are not flexible, and
are adhered to unquestionably. Restricted strategy in
an episode involves a limited number of rhetorical
modes and genres available to participants with goal
orientation established by the highest status member of
the episode.
An open frame would describe an episode in
which the subject matter is not as insulated as in a
restricted frame. Thus, topic differentiation is more
flexible and a wider range of interpretation is given
to verbal meanings. The episode develops loosely in
that communication interchanges are not as predictable.
Open control refers to episodes in which role defini-
tions are fluid and less dependent on status. Social
control is based on appeals to reason and logic and not
related to the positions of participants. Rules for
communicative interchange are flexible, informal and
changeable as the situation in the minds of the


81
participants warrants it. Open strategy means that
different rhetorical modes and genres are acceptable.
Goal orientation is established in the episode
consensually.
Analogous to the processes of restriction and
elaboration interrelating the individual's semantic
space and information processing, one can define
Processes of Constraint and Processes of Potentiality
interrelating register and episodic structure. Here,
potentiality refers to something having the capacity
for change.
Processes of Constraint
Top-down: Processes whereby organizational or
work group influences restrict frame, control, and
strategy, thus limiting available lexicogrammatical
options in a particular register. Examples of work
group or organizational influences that restrict frame,
control, and strategy are: (1) Frame: from
Smircich's^ study, "If you've got anything that is
controversial, you just don't bring it up. (2) Con-
trol: from Smircich,^ "The President likes to keep
it cool" and "doesn't like to see any friction or
animosity." (3) Strategy: "The President's role at
the staff meetings appeared to be that of a
newscaster .
n 4 2


82
Bottom-up: Processes whereby a limited or
insulated vocabulary (i.e., a limited number of
ideational, interpersonal, and textual options)
restrict frame, control, and strategy in often
recurring episodes (e.g., episodes in staff meetings,
department meetings, etc.).
Processes of Potentiality
Top-down: Processes whereby organizational or
work group influences "open" the frame, control, and
strategy of the episode thus changing the semantic and
syntactic style manifested in the register.
Bottom-up: Processes whereby a change in
vocabulary or semantic understanding are reflected in
oft recurring episodes as an opening of frame, control
and strategy.
Information Domain
Organizations have recently been characterized
as information processing systems.^ This characteri-
zation manifests in the sociosemiotic systems model at
the level of systemics and is called the Information
Domain. "Domain" is used here in two different senses
First, sociolinguistically, domain describes repeated
situations generally in which the setting, partici-
pants, and task or, topic of discussion are the same.
Bell refers to domains in industrial organizations as


83
secondary relationships (vs. primary relationships in
the family) which:
. . are typified by spatial distance, short dura-
tion and larger number of participants. Disparate
goals, extrinsic or use-oriented valuations,
limited knowledge of the other participants and a
feeling of inhibition, brought about by the opera-
tion of formal controls on the behavior of those
involved, characterize secondary relationships, as
they express power, rather than solidarity (italics
his).44
Secondly, domains describe a bounded space of lexico-
grammatical objects that have a potential for being
information. This sense of domain is akin to the
conceptualizations of organizational "bodies of
thought" and "thinking practices" as used by Weick in
his description of cognitive processes in
45
organizations.
Just as the description of register and episode
included three subcomponents, it is proposed that the
information domain is characterized by three
components. They are task information, social informa-
tion, and discursive information.
Task information describes topic, subject, or
technical information that the group has consensually
ascribed as pertinent to the task. Included in task
information are organizationally or work group accepted
schemata, perceptions of causal textures, relational
algorithyms, habits, saliencies, simplifications, and
so forth that serve to limit and inform information for


84
the group.48 Consequently/ task information is inter-
related with the level of pragmatics through the frame
of the episode.
Social information is a more difficult
construct to describe. Social information is related
to what Farrell calls social knowledge;
Social knowledge comprises conceptions of symbolic
relationships among problems, persons, interests,
and actions, which imply (when accepted! certain
notions of preferable public behavior. '
Contrast this definition with Farrell's explanation of
technical or specialized knowledge (i.e., task informa-
tion ) :
. . technical or specialized knowledge is actual-
ized through its perceived correspondence to the
external world . 8
This knowledge, whether localized in science,
craft, or technology, will acquire its character as
an object through the general patterns which are
found to inhere in the natural environment
process.
Specialized or technical knowledge, then, reflects
the outcome of an actual consensus on specialized
modes of inquiry or procedures of research. 0
In opposition to this last statement social knowledge
in part rests on an attributed consensus on the norms
of communicative behavior that exist in the group
domain. Thus, social information will be defined as
that information which describes the norms of accept-
able communicative behavior for a particular group.
The norms govern "indexical" information, i.e., infor-
mation that:


85
. . conveys aspects of the psychological make-up
and social status of the speakerhis identity,
attributes, attitudes and emotional stateand
serves to portray his attitude to himself and to
others and to define the cole he sees himself as
playing in the interaction. 1
These norms also govern "interaction management infor-
mation," i.e., information that:
... is exchanged as a means of initiating, con-
tinuing and terminating the interaction itself,
since for there to be successful communication, the
participants must adopt positions relative to each
other in space to make an exchange possible, have
shared procedures for beginning, changing roles,
providing feedback, . and finally bringing it
to a conclusion. 2
Social information is thus related to the level of
pragmatics through the control of the episode.
Another aspect of social knowledge derives from
"the symbolic relationships among problems, persons,
interest, and actions" J which give rise to what
c /
Bitzer called "rhetorical situations." Rhetorical
situations are characterized by two factors:
(1) The outcome of the situation must be indeter-
minate; i.e., it must always be possible for
the audience to refrain from acting in the
recommended manner, and
(2) The exigence of a situation must be amenable to
resolution by an audience's action. 5
Rhetorical situations require a way to organize
symbolic activity. Indeed, this is the rhetoric of the
situation.
Although there is as yet little or no research
into organizational group meetings as being rhetorical
situations, one can hypothesize that because these


86
group meetings will usually involve organizational
members in problems of interest to the participants,
work group, or organization, and which will end when
some action plan has been formulated, and where the
outcome of the meeting is indeterminate and the prob-
lems involved are assumed to be solvable by the parti-
cipants, that these group meetings constitute
rhetorical situations. Discursive information is then
the pool of rhetorical modes available to group
participants.
Studies in leadership and superior-subordinate
relationships lend support to the value of the con-
struct "discursive information." For example, Richmond
and McCroskey^ developed the concept of Management
Communication Style (MCS) in one of their studies.
Management Communication Style is described as:
... a function of both the management style im-
posed on the supervisor by the organization (or
chosen by the supervisor within the parameters per-
mitted by the organization) and the communication
style of the individual supervisor which that indi-
vidual brings to the organizational context . '
They identified four familiar orientations of MCS:
"tells," "sells," "consults," "joins." It takes no
great leap of imagination to realize that these four
different orientations involve four different rhetori-
cal modes.
A small digression is in order at this point to
clear up a possible confusion between information


87
domain and episode. Much the same way the difference
between self-concept and information processing in the
individual semiotic system is one whereby self-concept
captures the observation that the individual maintains
a behavioral consistency from situation to situation
and that the individual's information processing
ability enables him to enter unique or common situa-
tionsso it is similar with information domain and
episodes. Information domain describes a context
wherein episodes occur. The information domain
includes the form-of-life rules and encounter rules of
C O
Farrell and Frentz. There can be any number of
episodes occurring in an information domain, but not an
unlimited number. One would not be expected to
disclose familial problems in a staff meeting. Indeed,
the terms "staff meeting," "executive meeting," etc.,
carry with them certain expectations of task, social,
and discursive information. The limits or boundaries
of the information domain can not be easily ascertained
in the structure of a single episode.
Smircich provides an example of the limiting
aspects of the information domain on episodes in a. case
study of executive staff meetings in an insurance
company she observed for six weeks:
The dominant interpretation that the executive
staff used to account for their way of life was the
belief that, in their group, differences or
problems which may be difficult or painful to


88
handle were submerged. There was widespread agree-
ment that "if you've got anything that is contro-
versial, you just don't bring it up. y
At the time of the fieldwork the staff members
shared an interpretation of these meetings. To
them they appeared to represent the way their
President wanted business to be conducted: calmly,
coolly, politely, harmoniously with no conflict,
controversy or upset, but.also with an air of
unreality. 0 '
There was a shared belief among staff members that
these meetings were an empty formality; they
consisted of "superficial" communications. 1
The executive group sustained an appearance of
smoothness and non-confrontation not only in their
activities but in their choice of vocabulary as
well. This was most obvious in their use of the
word "challenge" as a cover-up word to mask what
were really problems. The inability or unwilling-
ness to call a situation a problem was consistent
with the whole interaction pattern of keeping
things hidden. 2
Although the topics covered in these meetings
might range over marketing, sales, finance, etc., the
task information is limited to that which is unprob-
lematical, non-controversial, and superficial. Thus,
the episodic frames are limited to giving reports
("what is going on") and not to problem solving, deci-
sion making, and so forth. Social information is
limited to what can be expressed coolly, calmly,
harmoniously, etc. This makes episodic control largely
unneeded as the perceptions of the participants are
that the President desires the meetings to be imper-
sonal. Roles are of an informational nature with the
President setting the example. Communicative


89
interchange rules are minimal in that interchanges are
implicitly discouraged. Discursive information is
limited to the propositional mode (i.e., communicating
facts and figures). Thus, strategy is largely non-
existent in that there is minimal discussion, argumen-
tation, or persuasion. These meetings could even be
characterized as nonrhetorical although Smircich's
individual interviews indicated that a great deal of
staff anxiety and animosity existed at the company.
Thus, the meeting had a "potential" for being rhetori-
cal .
Furthermore, one can imagine several ways in
which episodes might affect the information domain.
For example, the introduction of a new member to the
group in the example above whose self-concept is strong
and who resisted the norms implicit in the information
domain might cause a re-evaluation of the domain. The
organizational development procedure of team building
represents an approach where the information domain is
changed by, in effect, practicing or experiencing
different episodes (i.e., different structures). If
the participants flourish in the new structures, it is
likely that a new domain will result. Process consul-
tants observe episodes to determine domain norms which
may be unobserved by participants. Here again,


90
episodes may be staged in an effort to change domain
norms.
Consequently, processes interrelating the
information domain with episodic structure are proposed
and will be called Processes of Coordination and
Processes of Discongruity.
Processes of Coordination
Top-Down: Processes whereby organizational or
work group influences limit domain information and,
therefore, restrict episodic frame, control, and
strategy.
Bottom-Up: Processes whereby, for example,
individual control available through status or position
or the insulation of register restrict episodic frame,
control, and strategy whereby over time domain informa-
tion becomes restricted.
Processes of Discongruity
Top-Down: Processes whereby organizational or
work group influences remove previous limits on domain
information causing episodic frame, control, and
strategy to become more "open."
Bottom-Up: Processes whereby the opening of
episodic frame, control, and strategy remove over time
(cause new limits) the limits on domain information.


91
Summary
Much of the information covered in this chapter
does not represent what could be considered "new
material." Rather/ it is "old material" in a new
register, if you will. The effect of tasks, management
styles, and interpersonal relationships on group
behavior and communication is part of a long and rich
research tradition. However, this chapter does
represent a "different semantic configuration" of much
of which is presently understood about group
communication--that is, a semiotic basis is given to
the exchanges of meaning comprising group communicative
interchanges. Furthermore, it hopefully reflects a
growing interest in the rhetorical nature of organiza-
tional group communication. This is interesting in
itself in that rhetorical theory has a tradition
spanning centuries but has had little impact in con-
temporary studies of organizational communication.
This is not to say that one might soon expect to see
the Rhetoric amongst the texts studied by business
majors, but an appreciation of the importance and
vicissitudes of persuasion and argumentation in group
situations may be considered indispensable to the
knowledge of successful managers.


92
Even the so-called new material presented in
Chapters Two and Three might be "older" than is at
first considered if one reads what Charles Peirce wrote
below in 1903. In it there is justification (at least
in Peirce's view) for considering a language semiotic
approach to communication and thought, justification
for considering an isomorphic relationship between the
levels of the individual semiotic system and that of
the group, justification for considering information
processing to be at the level of pragmatics, and justi-
fication for considering the powerful influences of
groups on individual behavior:
Two things here are all-important to assure oneself
of and remember. The first is that a person is not
absolutely an individual. His thoughts are what he
"is saying to himself," that is saying to that
other self that is just coming into life in the
flow of time. When one reasons, it is that criti-
cal self that one is trying to persuade; and all
thought whatsoever is a sign, and is mostly of the
nature of language. The next thing to remember is
that man's circle of society (however widely or
narrowly this phase may be understood), is a sort
of loosely compacted person, in some respects of
higher rank than the person of an individual
organism.j


NOTESCHAPTER III
1M.A.K. Halliday, Language as Social Semiotic:
The Social Interpretation of Language and Meaning
(Baltimore: University Park Press, 1978), p. 67.
J.J. Gumperz, "Introduction," in Directions
in Sociolinguistics, eds. J.J. Gumperz and Del Hymes
(New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972), p. 17.
2R.T. Bell, Sociolinguistics: Goals, Ap-
proaches and Problems (New York: St. Martins Press,
1976), p. 102.
^T.S. Frentz, "A Generative Approach to Epi-
sodic Structure," Communication Quarterly, 29 (Winter
1981), 12.
^Halliday, p. 111.
^Ibid.
^Bell. p. 85.
Halliday, p. 58.
Q
M.A.K. Halliday, Exploration in the Function
of Language (New York: Elsevier, 1973), p. 58.
'^F.E.X. Dance and C.E. Larson, The Functions
of Human Communication: A Theoretical Approach (New
York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976).
''Halliday, 1973, p. 58.
12Halliday, 1978, p. 79.
'2A.D. Edwards, Language in Culture and Class
(New York: Crane, Russak & Co., Inc., 1979).
1^M. Lewis, Language and Society (Nelson, 1947),
p. 49.
15
Edwards, p. 151.


Full Text

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A SOCIOSEMIOTIC SYSTEMS APPROACH TO ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION by Burton A. Johnson B.S., North Carolina State University, 1910 A thesis to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Communication 1985

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This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Burton A. Johnson has been approved for the Department of Communication by ___

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i i i Johnson, Burton A. (M.A., Communication) A Sociosemiotic Systems Approach to Organizational Communication Thesis directed by Associate Professor Sam Betty. This thesis presents a sociosemiotic systems approach to organizational communication. This approach builds upon nine constructs which are defined and explained in this thesis. These constructs are the semantic/syntactic space, human information processing, the self-concept and role, the group register, the episode, the information domain, the symbolic register, the symbolic event, and the ideology of the organization. In addition, the interrelating processes among these constructs are defined. Part of these interrelating processes are aspects of communication. These aspects are given special attention in the last chapter of this thesis. Although the sociosemiotic systems approach might be considered primarily language based, it draws from several diverse fields of study. Among these fields are semantics, socio-linguistics, languageaction theory, the language semiotic theory of M.A.K. Halliday, and management science. It is hoped that the sociosemiotic systems approach with its broader scope and respect for the

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i v complexities of the communication process will overcome some of the criticisms of previous approaches to organizational communication.

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CONTENTS CHAPTER I. OVERVIEW TO THE SOCIOSEMIOTIC SYSTEMS APPROACH .......................... 1 Introduction............................. 1 A Brief outline of the Sociosemiotic Systems Model ....................... 12 Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . l 7 Notes... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 II. THE INDIVIDUAL SEMIOTIC SYSTEM ............. 22 22 Semantic and Syntactic Space ............. 23 Human Information Processing .......... : .. 31 The Level of Self-Concept and Role ..... 42 Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Notes ................................. 53 III. THE GROUP SOCIOSEMIOTIC SYSTEM ............. 58 Introduction............................. 58 Register... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Episode .................... ._.............. 65 Information Domain .................... 82 Summary ............... -................... 91 NoteS ................ .................... 93

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vi IV. THE ORGANIZATIONAL SOCIOSEMIOTIC SYSTEM......... ........ .-. 97 Introduction. 97 Symbolic Register. 99 Symbolic Event. 105 Organizational Ideologies. 11"5 Summary. 121 Notes ................................. 123 v. THE ASPECTS OF COMMUNICATION. .............. 126 Introduction ......... 126 Encoding and ................ 12 7 Invocation and. Interpretation ..... 133 The Speech Act. 134 Performance Act .......................... 141 Discourse. ................................ 144 Voice .. .. 152 summary. 155 Notes ... 157 BIBLIOGRAPHY ...................... . . . . . . . . 16 0

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v i i FIGURES Figure 1. The Sociosemiotic Systems Model............ 15 2. Taxonomy of symbolic events ................ 107

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CHAPTER I OVERVIEW TO THE SOCIOSEMIOTIC SYSTEMS APPROACH Introduction There exists a diversity of contemporary theo-. retical approaches to organizational studies. Each approach represents a set of basic assumptions, re-search methodologies suited to the particular objects of the research, and an underlying world-view or ideology associated with each. Burrell and Morgan 1 organized this plethora of perspectives by posing a typology derived from two fundamental dimensions; The first dimension describes a continuum between subjectivity and objectivity. Burrell and Morgan have included four elements in this dimension, i.e., ontology, epistemology, assumptions about human nature, and methodology. When described along the subjective-objective dimensional continuum, these elements can be represented as follows:

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2 Subjective Objective (a) ontology Nominalism Realism (b) epistemology Anti-Positivism Positivism ( c ) human nature Voluntarism Determinism (d) methodology Ideographic Nomothetic The second dimension describes a continuum between the sociology of regulation and the sociology of radical change. Associated with each socioiogy Burrell and Morgan 2 list a collection of concerns that are described below: Sociology of Regulation (a) The status quo ( b ) Socia 1 order (c) Consensus (d) Social integration and cohesion (e) Solidarity (f) Need satisfaction (g) Actuality Sociology of Radical Change (a) Radical change (b) Structural conflict (c) Modes of domination (d) Contradiction (e) Emancipation (f) Deprivation (g) Potentiality Given these two dimensional continua, Burrell and Morgan propose that all approaches to organizational s t u dies w i 11 be subsumed by one or another of the following paradigms: (a) Functionalist Objective and relying on a sociology of regulation. That is to say, that the Functionalist paradigm assumes realism as its ontological stance, has a positivistic epistemology, regards man as determined by the situa-tion or environment, uses a nomothetic methodology, and is concerned with the status quo, social order, consen-sus, social integration and cohesion, solidarity,

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3 satisfaction of needs, and what is actually occurring in organizations. (b) Interpretive --Subjective and relying on a sociology'of regulation. Hence, the Interpretive paradigm assumes a normalist ontology, an anti-positivistic epistemology, regards man as nondetermined and creative, employs an ideographic methodology, but has the same areas of concern as the Functionalist paradigm. (c) Radical Humanist sub-jective and relying on a sociology of radical change. Therefore, the Radical Humanist paradigm shares its ontology, epistemology, assumptions about humannature, and methodology with the Interpretive paradigm, but is concerned with radical change, structural conflict, modes of domination, contradiction, emancipation, deprivation, and potentiality (i.e., utopian perspec-tives). (d) Radical Structuralist --Objective and relying on a sociology of radical change. Therefore, the Radical Structuralist paradigm has an ontology based on realism, a positivistic epistemology, a view of man as being determined and a nomothetic methodology, but shares its concerns with Radical Humanism. Putnam has taken Burrell and Morgan's typology and used it "to explicate the paradigmatic assumptions that underlie key research domains in organizational communication."3 She cites, and posits each of the many approaches to organizational communications

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4 into one of the four paradigms. She also critiques each communication paradigm from the standpoint of the others. Finally, she identifies areas of new research that are indicated by each paradigm. While one cannot deny the utility of Putnam's classification, descrip-tion, and critique of organizational communication approaches, one can take issue with her implicit notion that future studies will or should proceed within the framework of one or another of the paradigms. The issue revolves around two related observa-tions made by cusella: Whether communication processes have been investi gate& in organizatiqnal communication research is open to discussion, although it appears that the prevailing view of critics of past organizational communication research is that it has not .... However, there seems to be little disagreement among critics about the academic disciplines from which a majority of communication concepts have been derived. These two observations call into question the authenticity of current concepts employed in organizational communication research as well as question the treat-ment of communication as an epiphenomenon. The second observation is based on cusella citations of several critics of current research. For example, Redding states: The fact is blatantly obvious that the scholarly literature of organizational communication ... reflects the wholesale transporting (borrowing?, stealing?) of and nvariablesn from our

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5 academic cousins in such areas as social psychology, organizational psychglogy, sociology, and the administrative sciences. Cusella also quotes Phillips who suggests that the field is: ... essentially derivative, not concerned with issues specific to and generally in selecting modes and objects of study. The blatant transportation of concepts, the derivative nature of these concepts, the fuzzy focus of the con-cepts with regard to the communication process, and the unoriginality of modes and objects of study of the lack of conceptual authenticity found in contempo-rary studies. The first observation is directly related to the second .. When concepts to be used in communication studies are imported from other disci-plines, the resulting studies focus overly much on "individual "differences in communication behavior" to the detriment of understanding "the process of interaction itself."? cusella8 that this bias could be caused by researchers being intimated by the ubiqriity of communication in organizations which, in turn, causes a difficulty in limiting the scope of their study to manageable proportions. Thus, re-searchers will tend to merge the communication process into other typical areas such as leadership, superior-subordinate relations, interpersonal relationships, and

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6 the like. In essence, it is easier to borrow concepts only indirectly related to the communication process than it is to create new concepts that may better capture the nature of the phenomena. Unfortunately, the result of borrowing concepts is the treatment of communication as an epiphenomenon, i.e., as leaders having this sort of communication "style" or another, as this or that type of superior-subordinate relation-ship being "characterized" by this or that sort of comfuunication, and so on. To reiterate, there is some doubt that many scholars have actually studied the communication process itself. The criticisms above are not presented with the intention of belittling previous research; rather, they are presented to suggest the need for a more concept-ually appropriate model for the communication process. cusella has suggested that any new theory or model of organizational communication should include treatment of "messages, information and as well as proposing: it would be helpful for the advancement of organizational communication if the definitions used pertained to processes involving symbols since this notion appears cenral to the organizational communication process. 0 I would agree with cusellas call for a reconceptualization of organizational communication theory as well as with his proposed concepts which he places central to any understanding of the communication

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7 process. However, one must be cautioned against focusing overly much on any one of these concepts; i.e., messages, information, meaning, or symbols, and thus de-emphasizing or excluding the others. These concepts are all part of a complex whole (organizational communication) which, while including them, also demands consideration of contexts or system effects, power and influence, cybernetic effects, individual and social norms, leadership, subordinate-superior relations, organizational politics; i.e., those very "borrowed" concepts and variables which have tended to obfuscate research of organizational communication in the past. At least at this point in time, one does not want to throw out the baby with the bath water. On the other hand, a theory or model of organizational communication that would integrate these some-times disparate concepts would of necessity be complex. This complexity might upset those scholars who are primarily interested in theory parsimony. However, it is a lack of complexity, or, if you will, a lack of theoretical scope, adequacy, and sufficiency that has plagued previous research and resulted in the present day criticisms of organizational and communication theory. For example, previous systems theory approaches, which are deemed by many as capable of-describing the intricacies involved in the interdependencies, interrelat1onships, and functions of

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8 many of the concepts and variables mentioned above, are themselves being criticized for a lack of complexity.11 Pondy and Mitroff12 critically addressed the level of complexity of the system models used by re-searchers to describe organizations. Reflecting on an article by Boulding13 published decades earlier, Pondy and Mitroff examined "current open system modelling" used in research.14 They found that the models played were limited to the complexity found on the fourth level of a nine level embedded system hierarchy (first described by Boulding) and that research method-ologies reflected an even lower, level one, complexity. The nine levels of system complexity are presented below with comments by Pondy and Mitroff: Level 1: Frameworks -Only static, properties are represented in frameworks. Level 2: Clockworks --Noncontingent dynamic properties are represented in clockwork systems. Level 3: Control Systems --Control system models describe regulation of system behavior according to an prescribed target or criterion. Level 4: Open Systems --Whereas a control system tends toward the equilibrium target provided to it and therefore produces uniformity, an open system maintains its internal differentiation (resists uniformity) by "sucking orderliness from its environment." Level 5: Blueprinted Growth System --Involves a rule-based generative-mechanism . Explaining level 5 systems means discovering the generating mechanisms that produce the observed behavior. Level 6: Internal Image Systems --The essential characteristic of level 6 systems (and models of them) is a detailed awareness

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9 of the environment acquired through differentiated information receptors and organized into a knowledge structure or image. Level 7: Symbol Processing Systems --The system has to be conscious of itself ... It has to be able to form the concept "my image of t he en v i ron men t and w or k on i t. And to work on that image, it needs a coding scheme or language. Level 8: Multi-Cephalous Systems --These are literally systems with several brains . . What is at issue is thatthe collections or assemblage of "individuals" ... creates a sense of social order, a shared culture, a history and a future, a value system. Level 9: To avoid premature closure, Boulding adds a ninth, open level to reflect the possibility that some new level of system complexynot yet imagined might emerge. It is apparent that human organizations are phenomena of a level 8 system complexity and that the individual is a phenomenon of level 7 system complexi-ty. Pondy and Mitroff's criticism is that models of a complexity lower than that of the phenomena they are trying to describe cannot possibly capture the nature of that phenomena. Pondy and Mitroff propose: an oveiarching framework of models (that) is used to begin the development of a new set of assumptions, one that might be referred to as a cultural model of the key elements of which include an emphasis on the use of language and the creation of shared meanings.l6 They suggest that those researchers who would study language use and function in organizational settings would be going beyond level 4 ("open system") conceptualizations of organizational systems. They

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10 base this suggestion on four distinct and important roles that language plays in organizations. These roles are as follows: 1. Language controls our perceptions; it tends to filter out of conscious thbse events for which terms do not exist in the language. 2. It helps to define the meaning of our experience by categorizing streams of events. 3. It influences the ease of communication; one cannot exchange ideas, information, or meanings except as the language permits. 4. It provides a channel of social influence.17 Language as used to filter one's perceptions and to categorize one's experience represents language as a code (or codified knowledge). Language as used in the exchange of meaning and as providing a means of social influence is language as behavior. Although many theoreticians have used language in their approaches to organizational studies,18 none have provided a model or system prospective whereby the many manifestations of language as code and behavior could be analyzed. Rather, they have tended to ap-proach organizations as cultures primarily by the languages used Halliday19 suggests to understand language function one must understand the interrelationship of language code and behavior as well as the culture and situations in which they Halliday proposes a semiotic framework whereby one may approach language: The social context of the linguistic code is the culture. But.in order to refer to this we need to represent the culture as an information system,

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11 or rather as a network of information systems; that is, in semiotic terms. A culture is a configuration of semiotic systems. The social context of language behavior--the situation in which meanings are exchanged--is also a semiotic it is perceived as such by those taking part. Thus, Halliday views culture "as a network of informa-tion systems," or more broadly, a network of meaning systems. One of these meaning systems is language (another might be non-verbal "language," and still another the physical maDifestations of cultural sym-bols). Furthermore, Halliday views language behavior as occurring in a "situation" which can be described as a "semiotic construct" or, in other words, as contextu-ally meaningful. Although Halliday's semiotic perspective gives one a way in which language code and behavior, culture and situation may be theoretically integrated, it is still too general and abstract to provide a framework for understanding language use and function specific to organizations. However, one may specify a semiotic approach to organizational communication by proposing the following: (1) Limit the semioti6 systems under consideration to that of language. Thus, for the pur-pose of this thesis, a semiotic system will be defined as a system of meanings which can be codified through language, through speech acts (language as behavior; i.e., communication) as well as constrained by organizational culture and communication situations.

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12 (2) Propose that a semiotic system may be approached on three levels. The first level is language as code--for the purposes of this thesis--language as semantic and syntactic resources. The second is language as behavior, or pragmatics. The third level is language occurring within certain systemic constraints. These levels will be called semiotic categories. (3) Propose that within the semiotic system called the organization culture (a subsystem of the culture-as-a-whole), one may identify two other types of semiotic subsystems; i.e., groups and individuals. A Brief .Outline of the Sociosemiotic Systems Model As proposed, three semiotic subsystems will be considered in this model. They are: (l) the individ-ual, (2) the group, and (3) the organizational culture as a whole. In addition, three semiotic categories will be considered. To reiterate, the semiotic cate-gories are as follows: (1) the semantic and syntactic semiotic category (language as code), ( 2) the pragmatic semiotic category (language as behavior), and (3) the systemic constraint semiotic category (language in context). It w i 11 be assumed that the individual is a s u b s y s t em o f the g r o up w h i c h i n t u r n i s a s u b s y s t em o f the organization. In addition, it will be hypothesized that the semantic and syntactic level is of lower

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13 complexity than, and is embedded in, the pragmatic level. This level is in turn of lower complexity than, and is embedded in, the level of.systemic constraints. This hypothesis is based on the observation that semantic and syntactic systems reflect a complexity found in Bouldings21 and Pondy and Mitroffs22 level 5 system complexity, i.e., "Blueprinted Growth Systems" or those which produce as directed by a rulebased generative mechanism. On the other hand, pragmatic or behavioral systems reflect level 6 system complexity, i.e., "Internal Image Systems" or those in which "behavior is response not to a specific stimulus but to an 'image' or knowledge structure or view of the environment as a whole."23 This level is the first where behavior can become teleological (i.e., involves intent). Finally, the level of systemic constraint reflects level 7 sys tern complexity, i.e., "Symbol Proc essing or those in which the is selfconscious.24 In addition, the different system contexts reflect that of a level 8 system complexity, i.e., "Multi-cephalous Systems" or those with a "social order, shared culture, history, future, and value system."25 When the three levels of semiotic categories (or manifestations of language) and the semiotic systems are considered together while maintaining the hierarchies described above, a 3 x 3 matrix is the

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14 result Where a semiotic level intersects a semiotic system, a name or label is offered to describe the resulting construct. This is shown in Figure 1 on the following page. 0 For example, where the semiotic level of seman-tics and syntactics intersects the individual semiotic system, it has been called the individual's "semantic and syntactic space." From a language perspective this "space" includes the individual's vocabulary, denota-tive and connotative meanings, and any valencies placed on these meanings. In addition, syntactic rules are included in this construct. The intersection of the pragmatic level and the individual semiotic system results in information processing. Thus, human in-formation processing is considered in this thesis as internal behavior. Finally, the intersection of the systemic constraint level and the individual semiotic system results in the self-concept and role. In addition, it is hypothesized that there exist processes which interrelate the different semiotic levels of each semiotic system. In each case and throughout the model two different types of proces-ses are defined. One type describes processes that act to differentiate or elaborate codified or behavior, or constraints. The other type describes processes that act to consolidate or consensualize codified knowledge, or behavior, or constraints.

PAGE 22

Ill :c .. .. Ill ,. Ill u .. 0 :: "' Ill (U01adsy "'lli.UIOJ) II (Sl;.a4sy "'""-WO:J) ,., "' 0 .. ;: .. !! 0 > CIAJS _,O.I.dlo::J ...... JCJ'lU;) (+) alu.,nc4:t I Q) u c 0 .. .. ... 'OJUl c OiJA'J.Ii ... .. J..-)UOJlt:Ulp.lOD:J E 0 c 'Oj\ll c .2 lt:J:)OS .. .. e 'OJUI ll'"l c H I .. .. 0 u "' c .. ... .. u c 0 u .... 1+)YOflVJlUiU.3J JTD .. "' .... .,_ .. ...... .... .... .... Q)U "'0 cw !:"' w..IOJ >un .. .. lr.tl 1!1\SUolStiC !:! .(OI.J uon "' w -1!tnlatt Q) "' -UJt!J. u ... .... 0 ,., Ill .. .. u < .ol5,\S u f.-T+)UOT:It'flUOUC3JJ1'1f .... 0 -<:IWt'.J.i "' e :-. ... "' 0 .. ... Q, "' I .. u < .c. u .. CJ "' "' \ c 0 .... .. .. E .. .;! .. I c 0 ... .. u 0 > c H _._ (-)lUl\"USUO:) to.nuo:) .... I aft.JJ "' .!; "' Ul Q) u e .. (+)hJtV'J:)UitlD (-) UOfl;ll.lHi3lf.. (+) \WJlB.JOqt'lJ "' c .,_ "" ..... Q)" .. .. Q) vu .. o cw ...... c .2 .. z Q) .. .. .. "' -uuuad .... "' -.lalUJ Q "' teuop 0 .. -aap1 I "' ... c c ... "' "' 0 0 u u c .. "' c Q) u u iii .. c c ... .. VI u c "' .. S 'l 3 II 3 'l :l I .1. 0 I H 3 S' 15

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16 Either type can occur in either direction (between consecutive levels) and thus processes are also labeled "top-down" and "bottom-up." In the same manner as above, the intersection of the semiotic levels and the group system results in the following constructs: (1) group regis-ter; (2) episode; (3) and information domain. Here, the work of Halliday26 will be drawn upon. Specifically, Halliday contends that language functions in three different ways, i.e., an ideational function, an interpersonal function, and a textual function. These functions are reflected on each of the semiotic levels as well as in each of the socio-semiotic systems. As in the case of the individual semiotic system, the interrelating processes for the consecutive semiotic levels will be described. Furthermore, the intersection of the semiotic levels and the organizational semiotic system will be described as consisting of the organizational symbolic register, symbolic events, and ideologies. Through "ideologies" a viewpoint similar to Geertz's27 will be integrated into the model. As before, interrelating processes will be tentatively described. Finally, the aspects of communication that embed each semiotic system into the next will be delineated and described. These aspects correspond to each semiotic level and to each semiotic system

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17 context. Embedding the individual into the group are the communicative aspects of encoding and decoding at the semantic and syntactic level, speech acts at the pragmatic level, and discourse at the level of systemic constraints. Embedding the individual into the organizational culture are the communicative aspects of invocation and interpretation, performance acts, and voice. Although 0performance acts" appears to be redundant, "acts" in this case refers to action, not acting. summary This chapter introduces the sociosemiotic systems model as an approach to the study of organizational communication. A semiotic system may be defined as symbols organized into a code (in this case, codified knowledge distributed through the meaning of words, phrases, sen ten<;:es, paragraphs, texts, etc.), which are ostensibly manifested as behavior (in this case, speech behavior or verbal manipulation of the code with intent), and which are constrained by the self, the group, or the organizational culture, all of which possess a degree of self-consciousness. Language function and use as manifested on these three levels contributes to the "meaning" underlying and construing the semiotic system.

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18 Furthermore, there is interaction between semiotic levels (categories) and there is interaction between semiotic systems. The inqividual is influenced by and influences the group and the organization as a whole. The self-concept is influenced by and influences one's behavior whether it is internal processing or external behavior. One's information processing or speech behavior influences and is influenced by one's semantic and syntactic resources ... and so forth. This complex interrelationship of semiotic systems and levels makes the phenomena of communication difficult to capture. It also makes the sociosemiotic systems approach difficult to posit in any one of Burrell and Morgan's paradigms. A cursory glance at the diagram of the model indicates that as one moves left to right, one passes from the individual, to groups of individuals, to bigger groups of individuals. Each of these semiotic systems has an ontological status, i.e., exists as a participant in and creator of meaning. It is therefore difficult to say whether this model is subjectivist or objectivist. Regardless, such ontological classifications as nominalism or realism do little to elaborate the model. Epistomologically, one might say this is a positivist model (since models are unheard of in antipositivist approaches). However, for one to explain or predict a particular speech act, for example, one must

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19 be well acquainted with all the variables involved. This is an improbability. Human nature is seen as somewhat voluntaristic and somewhat determined. Ideographic and nomothetic methodologies would both be appropriate for this model. On the other hand, looking at the model from the bottom-up one finds two different types of processes interrelating semiotic levels. one type has labels such as "differentiation," "elaboration," "potentiali ty," "discongruity," and "challenge" and thus reflects a sociology of radical change. The other set of processes, i.e., "restriction," "conformity, .. "constraint," "coordination," "consensualization," and "reification," reflects a sociology of regulation. This model either exists outside Burrell and Morgan's four paradigms or is located half-way on the continua of both dimensions. Either way, it may represent a new paradigm--hopefully, one that more accurately and authentically describes communication in organizations as well as captures the many variables and foci involved in the communication process. One final note:. this model has been arbitrarily truncated at the organizational culture sociosemiotic system. One could go on to larger subsuming cultures. This will be left to a date.

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NOTES--CHAPTER I 1G. Burrell and G. Morgan, Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis (Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 1979). 2Burrell and Morgan, p. 18. 31.1. Putnam, "Paradigms for organizational communication Research: An overview and Synthesis," The Western Journal of Speech Communication, (Spring 1982), 192. 41.P. cusella, "Conceptual Issues in Organizational Communication Research: Elements of a Model of Conceptual Authenticity," communication Quarterly, 32 (Fall 1984), 294. 5w.c. Redding, "Organizational Communication Theory and Ideology: An overview," in Communication Yearbook _J, ed. B.D. Ruben (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction-rcA, 1971), p. 321. 6G.M. Phillips, "Science and the Study of Human Communication: An Inquiry From the Other Side of the Two Cultures," Human Communication Research, 7 (1981), 361. 7cusella, p. 295. 8rbid. 9rbid., p. 299. 1rbid., p. 296. llBurrell and Morgan, pp. 56-68. 12T.R. Pondy and s.s. Mitroff, "Beyond Open System Models of Organization," in Research and Organizational Behavior, Vol. r, eds. B. Staw and T. cummings (Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, 1979). 13K. Boulding, "General Systems Theory--The Skeleton of a Science," Management Science, 2 (April 1956), 197-208.

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l4Pondy and Mitroff, p. 10. 15Ibid. pp. 6-9. l6Ibid., pp. 3-4. 17Ibid. p. 21 l8For example: D. Silverman, The Theory of Or ganizations (London: Heinemann, 1970); J.G. March and H.A. Simon, Organizations (New York: Wiley, 1958); J. Pfeffer, Power in Organizations (Boston: Pitman, 1981). l9M.A.K. Halliday, Language as Social Semiotic: The Social Interpretation of Language and Meaning (Baltimore: University Park Press, 1978), pp. 7-8. 20M. A. K. Ha 11 ida y, p. 8. 218ou1ding. 2 2Pondy and Mitroff. 2 3Boulding, p. 204. 24Although it is not immediately level 7 s y s t em c o mp 1 ex i t y can a 1 so be seen i n g roup s a group can be said to be a symbol-processing entity and therefore, self-conscious if its members share a common definition of reality." Pondy and Mitroff, p. 9. 25Ibid. 26Halliday, 1978. 27c. Geertz, "Ideology as a Cultural System," in Ideology and Discontent. ed. D.E. Aptor (New York: The Free Press, 1964).

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CHAPTER II THE INDIVIDUAL SEMIOTIC SYSTEM Introduction This chapter introduces the of the individual as a semiotic system. At the level of semantics and syntactics of language the individual reflects a semantic and syntactic space. At the level of pragmatics the individual demonstrates human information processing. Finally, at the level of systemic constraints an individual possesses a self-concept and a repertory of roles. In this chapter each of the constructs above will be described. the interrelating processes of elaboration and restriction, and differentiation and conformity will also be defined. The individual as a semiotic system focuses on the human being as a meaning retaining and meaning constructing_system. Meaning is retained in the semantic and syntactic space. Meaningful behavior is realized through information processing. Meaning that is pertinent to the self is identified and evaluated, and meaningful behavior is patterned through the selfconcept.

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23 Although a semiotic description of the individ-ual may appear somewhat theoretically clumsy, this clumsiness is abated through the utility of this con-ceptualization in explaining the function of language in organizations. Semantic and Syntactic Space Generally, current theoretical explanations of semantics can be seen to take one of two different approaches. One approach is semantic marker theory which is based on the following premise: The meaning of a word can be exhaustively decomposed into a finite set of conditions that are collectively necessary and1sufficient to determine the reference of the word. Katz, for example, describes this decomposition of word meanings in the following way: If we carry this analysis to its logical conclusion, the semantic representations of senses, both of lexical items and syntactically complex constituents, will consist of configurations of single symbols, each of which stands for an atomic concept. These single symbols will be referred to as semantic markers. These symbols, together with representations of other concepts de-f i nab 1 i n t e r m s o t h m w i. 11 e r e f e rr e d t o a s sernant1c markers (1tal1cs h1s). Thus, "bachelor" might have the following configuration of semantic markers: "object," "physical," "human," "adult," "male," and "never married." These configura-tions are referred to as readings. The lexical items in a reading come from the individual's dictionary. However, a word might have several different xeadings

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24 not necessarily consistent with each other; for exam-ple, the readings for "bank" in "river bank" and "Bank of England." Thus, rules are necessary to disambiguate word senses. Katz3 calls these "projection rules" and they specify "how lexical readings for the syntactic atoms can be combined to form derived readings for a whole expression or sentence." Thus, grammar exists when: .. First, the dictionary will assign a set of lexical readings to each lexical item of the sentence by associating each terminal symbol of an underlying phrase marker with just readings from its dictionary entry that are compatible with its syntactic description in the phrase marker. Second, the projection rule will combine lexical readings, then combine the derived readings that result from such combinations, and so on, until a set of readings is associated with each constituent of sentence, including the whole sentence itself. The phrase markers in this description are generated by the base rules of syntax which "specify all the con-stituents of a sentence and their grammatical relations."5 This approach is a typical example of a seman-tic marker theory. With a dictionary and projection rule there exist the necessary and sufficient condi-tions to unambiguously categorize the meaning of a word. However, Jackendoff6 that many word meanings do not fall neatly into a category. There may exist necessary conditions for word meanings but

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25 sufficiency conditions are not apparent. Indeed, many word meanings are "fuzzy." As Putnam observes: . words in a natural language are not generally "yes-no": .there are things of which the description "tree" is clearly true and things of which the description is clearly false, to be sure, but there are a host of borderline cases. worse, the line between the c7ear cases and the borderline cases is itself fuzzy. Therefore, sufficiency conditions for word meanings must be abandoned in favor of a "less rigid sort of condition."8 Complicating the issue of necessity and sufficiency conditions further is the concept of the "family resemblances" of word meanings. "Family resemblances" arose out of Wittgenstein's9 treatment of language as a game. For example, the phrases "board-games," "card-games," "ball-games," "Olympic games," and so on, all use the word "game." However, what necessary and sufficient conditions establish a die-tionary of readings realized through projection rules for "game" in these usages. As Wittgenstein suggested: "For if you look at them you will not see something that is common to all, but similarities, relationships, and a whole series of them at that."10 Jackendoff concludes that: n fuzziness is an inescapable characteristic of the concept that language expresses."ll Jackendoffl2 offers three sets of conditions needed to adequately specify word meanings. They are as follows: (1} necessary conditions --those conditions (readings) that a word must contain; e.g., "red" must

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26 contain the of "color;" (2) centrality conditions --these conditions specify a focal value for a continuously variable attribute with the most secure judgments of meanings being those that lie closest to the focal value; ( 3) typicality conditions --conditions that are typical but subject to excep-tions, and therefore, encompass "family resemblances." In this way Jackendoff maintains a-decompositional (internal) approach to specifying word meanings but one that does not include sufficiency conditions. The other approaches to semantic theory are those whi6h are called "associative network" theories and those which consider "meaning postulates." Jackendoff states: What is common to both is that they treat lexical entries as semantically unanalyzed monads; semantic information about lexical items is stored externally in of network links or meaning postulates. Jackendoff shows how this "external" approach to word meanings represents the same information as semantic marker theory's internal approach, rinly the notation is different.14 It thus is plagued by the same inadequacies. Jackendoff himself explains word meanings as decompositions. That is to say, a word can be decem-posed into readings of primitives utilizing conditions of necessity, centrality, These read-ings Jackendoff calls a word group. But as noted

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27 previously these conditions do not form a set of suf-ficiency conditions. The question then arises as to what is the "lower bound on the complexity of the theory of word meanings;"15 in other words, when does one have enough meaning entries in the group to under-stand a sample word meaning? Jackendoff proposes that individuals possess preference rule systems. Prefer-ence rules are analogous to Weitheimer's "principles of grouping" and express the complex psychological concept of "well-formedness." Jackendoff describes the rules in the following way: We chose the term "preference rule" because these rules establish not inflexible decisions about structure (grouping), but relative preferences among a number of logically possible analyses . Such a structure (grouping) is judged the most highly preferred, ol6most coherent, or most salient, or most stable. Perceptual coherency, saliency, and stability known to exist psychologically in individuals through the work of Wertheimer and the other Gestaltists. Thus, Jackendoff bases his semantic theory on perception rather than logic (external theories) or syntax (Katz's. semantic marker theory; i.e., internal theo):'ies). A perceptually based theory of semantics may at first appear odd until one is reminded that "hearing" is a perceptual process. One "hears" others as well as "sees" them. One also "hears" himself. It seems logi-cal and possible for individuals to hold words as aural images in memory as well as holding visual images.

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28 Jackendoff proposes his "Conceptual Structure Hypothesis" to explain how: There must be levels of mental representations at which information conveyed by language is compatible with information from other peripheral systems such as vision, audition, smell, kines-thesia, and so forth. Jackendoff's hypothesis is important to this thesis in that it gives a foundation for conceptualizing the individual as a semiotic system. At some level all semiotic information (not just language) is organized. Although this hypothesis is beyond the scope of this thesis, it helps in understanding the semiotic perspec-ti ve taken herein. The preference rules are divided into two types, local and global, and they can be interpreted akin to "bottom-up" or "top-down" processing rules found in many discussions on perception or cognition. Furthermore, the necessity, centrality, and typicality conditions "are embedded in a preference rule system, operating according to Wertheimer's principles of reinforcement and conflict. nl8 Jackendoff lists five consequences of prefer-ence rule systems: (l) Judgments of graded acceptability and of family resemblance; (2) Two or more rules, neither of which is necessary, but each of which is under certain conditions sufficient for a judgment; (3) Balancing effects among rules that apply in conflict; (4)_ A measure of stability based on rule applica tions;

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29 (5) Rules that not logically necessary used as in the face of inadequate informatlon .. A default value is fill-in or anticipated information not present in a visual or textual input and can be interpreted as semantic attribution. The above conse-quences enable Jackendoff to allow for change in his semantic theory, ari allowance not addressed by the other semantic theories presented but an integral part of the semantic level as conceptualized in this thesis. In response environmental input, not only are new concepts formed, but in addition these new concepts create pressures on existing concepts in an effort to make their own niche in the taxonomy. An accumulation of instabilities. here and there in a conceptual system may upon occasion be relieved by a more global restructuring--if the organism has sufficient computational capacity to measure relative stability of two or more competing global organizations. Alternatively, one may simply learn to live with local instabilities (or deny them, as in a neurosis). In short, a processing model of .cognition must include an active component that continually seeks to adjust and reorganiie conceptual in an effort to maximize overall stability. As yet, 1 it tle has been said of syntax. Jackendoff proposes the contribution of syntax to word meaning can be found in the correspondence rules which relate semantic structure with syntactic structure.21 These correspondence rules are the "projection rules" described by Katz.22 As such, these rules combine word readings with sentence constituents (i.e., phrases, -clause, etc.) to help derive the meanings of the words, phrases, etc. In so doing, these combinations also

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30 obey "well-formedness principles." Therefore, corres-pondence rules are also preferential in nature and will be included in the preference rule systems. The descriptions of semantics and syntactics presented in this first subsection. are complex. Jackendoff's theory has been employed because it is one of the few that appears to actually describe what happens at the level of semantics and syntactics when individuals use language. In Jackendoff's words: I see preference rule systems as a way to accomplish what psychological systems do well but computers do very badly: deriving a quasi-determinate result from unreliable data. In a preference rule system there are multiple converging sources of evidence for a judgment .... At higher levels of organization, they are a source of great flexibility and in the overall conceptual system. The observation that individuals can derive "a quasi-determinate result from unreliable data" will become apparent in the next section on human informa-tion processing. To summarize this first section, a description of the individual's semantic and syntactic space has been proposed. This .description is concerned with the meaning or semiotic potential of words and word com-plexes (i.e., phrases, clause, sentences, etc.). A perceptual basis, rather than an internal or external logical basis, has been offered as an organizing crite-rion for meaning at this level. As such, this construct is open to influence from other semiotic

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31 levels and systems. This conceptualization allows for semantic and syntactic change in the individual. Furthermore, the perceptual bisis allows for a Gestaltist interpretation of encoding and decoding language. Thus, the "fuzziness" and ambiguity which normally occurs in language has been through the use of perceptually defined preference rule systems. Semantic and syntactic space may be understood to be words and word complexes that are disambiguated and understood through necessity, centrality, and typicality conditions organized as sets of preference rule systems. In addition, the words and word complexes are understood through the employment of correspondence rules which serve to relate semantic and syntactic structures. Human Information Processing Human information processing has been a major subject for theory and for almost three decades.24 The term has evolved to msan something that reduces uncertainty or entropy in a ceiver, a definition that had its origins in the work of Shannon and Weaver.25 Thus, the phrase human information procesSing (HIP) means commuriication that reduces uncertainty or ambiguity in the mind of areceiver. HIP is recognized to be an active process of the individual whereby he perceives his environment,

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32 organizes those perceptions, and makes interpretations from the results of that organization. The underlying assumption for HIP defined in this manner is that information is communication that alters one's present understanding, beliefs, values, etc. Without altera-tion, there is no need for organizing or interpreting. A plethora of recent research,26 however, suggests that this definition may be too limited. Kiesler and Sproull describe HIP in the following way: Drawn to salient material in their environment, people consider it informative. The information, if it fits with existing beliefs, is incorporated . . Hence, much of what people would label as information only reaffirms old news. True information--that which alters conceptions, tests attitudes, or changes how data are used--seems in all approaches to require both some measure of inconsistency or incongruence and a good concordance expectations and cognitive organizatlon. Rather than possibly artificial or manufac-tured differences between information as a whole and "true" information, it might be more provident to change the definition itself. Such is the case with Goss' definition of information: "Information is de-fined as any input that the person attends to for the purposes of reducing uncertainty or confirming prior knowledge. n"2 8 The differences between information which re-duces uncertainty and that which confirms prior knowledge are differences in subjective knowledge.29 One can imagine that an individual's knowledge exists

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33 on a continuum with one terminal point being that which is well known and the other terminal being that which is totally unknown with uncertain or ambiguous knowl-edge lying somewhere in between. Information, then, can affect knowledge in the following ways: (1) It may reaffirm prior knowledge making it even more well known. ( 2) It may reduce uncertainty in suspect knowl-edge. (3) It may become new knowledge. (4) or, it may make known knowledge more uncertain. This last aspect of information seems to have received little attention. This is somewhat extraordinary in that many theories of change (e.g., Lewin's) involve an "unfreezing" of prior perceptions, behaviors, and conceptions before change J can occur. This subject will be discussed later in this chapter. The recent research findings that have cast some doubt on prior conceptualizations of HIP involve the type of problems in organizations and the way individuals input information. Ungson et al. comment on the type of problems involved in prior studies oe HIP: The tasks or problems used in earlier studies ... were defined as "well-structured," that is, information (such as rules, transformation states, and desired outcomes) was typically complete, and familiar to the problem solver.-'0

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34 However, researchers have found in field studies31 that problems encountered by managers are not well-struc-tured, but rather, "ill-structured": In summary, problems faced by managers can be described as ill-structured due to (1) the ambiguity and incompleteness of problem-related information, (2) the extent to which problems are continually defined and redefined by managers, (3) the lack of a program for the desired outcomes, (4) the possibility of multi-person influences, and (5) extended period in which a decision is made. This restructuring of organizational problems has changed the research focus from 0describing the content and context of judgmental heuristics0 to one consider-ing stylistic differences in handling information inputs, causal modeling, and multiple processing.33 To briefly comment on each of the new foci, information handling has been found to involve different strategies depending on different informational inputs, different reactions depending the information's concreteness, distinctiveness, and saliency, and different styles of information acquisition depending on the degree of task structure. causal modeling involves the individual's use of preferential cognitive algorithms or scripts in relating cues to cause-effect relationships. These algorithms and scripts cause biases in HIP and may even result in a certain amount of 0mindlessnessn in react-ing to cues. Multiple processing has been offered as a counter hypothesis to the premise that underlies the use of cue-combinatorial rules and judgmental

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35 heuristics, namely, that individuals process information serially or O'Reilly has succinctly described the movement from "rational" models of information processing to models: in which choice behavior is embedded in a complex of other claims on the attention of decision makers and other structures of social and cognitive relations. Organizational decision makers, in this view, are pursuing multiple objectives subject to a variety of pressures and constrairtts, often with considerable ambiguity surrounding the choice process. Under these circumstances, preferences for outcomes may be the least ambiguous component of the decision process, more certain than the definition of the problem, the range of feasible alternatives, or the probabilities associated with various alternatives. In this situation, it is argued that decision makers are likely to take actions which both reduce their uncertainty and help them achieve desired outcomes (e.g., search for supportive information or selectively signals as favorable to a preferred outcome). O'Reilly adopts March's term for this model as one which involves "contextual rationality."35 One may abstract two major characteristics of information processing from the research: (1) HIP involves limiting the information processed. This characteristic has been referred to as HIP being "selective,"36 as involving "filtering and pigeonholing,"3 7 as "sampling,n38 or as An individual is not only limited in the amount of information he can process but selects the information he does process based on his goals, the goals of the organization, the preferred outcomes, his self-concept, the type of

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36 information, the external pressures, and a host of other reasons. All of this will be refered to as the limit-, aspects of HIP. (2) HIP is an informed activity of the individual. Here, "informed" refers to the obser-vation that individuals add or impose structure on their information processing through cognitive algo-rithms or scripts. How one associates cues to causes is individually preferential but may come from organi-zational preference imposed on the individual as well. Thus, informing may be seen as analogous to "enactment."40 There remains to be developed how the semantic and syntactic level is embedded in human information processing. Basically, this means that some sort of association must be described between the limiting and informed effects of HIP with the preference rules and the necessity, centrality, and typicality conditions of semantic and syntactic structure. Consider the hypothetical situation in which a department manager is analyzing his last month's budget:41 The manager will first "inform his" meaning of "budget." This will involve a decomposition of "budget." Such a decomposition will result in a reading of necessary, central, and typical entries. Necessary entries might involve "expenses" and "revenues," entries close to the focal value of "budget," and therefore, "expenses" and "revenues": i.e., raw material costs, margins, etc.), and typical entries such as cost of item "X," and selling price of item "Z." Although this dec6mposition could theoretically continue for some time,

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37 preference rules come into play when the decompositional reading achieves coherency, saliency, and stability and the search for information is ended. The manager then structures the data. This process also involves a decomposition of phrase "budgetary presentation" or "budgetary analysis." Decomposition involves limiting in that not all the possible entries are included in the reading, i.e., only those entries which are necessary, central, and typical. These conditions are not only established by the individual but by organizational, professional, or technical procedures, practices, and policies as well. These conditions are incorporated into the preference rule or rules for the particular concept or work in-volved. Decomposition is also informed in that prefer-ence rules act as cognitive algorithms and scripts. Again, preference rules are established organizational-ly as well as individually. The ambiguity or incompleteness of information in ill-structured problems indicates that decomposi-tions are ambiguous or incomplete and appropriate pref-erence rules are ambiguous or contradictory as well. Constant redefinition of ill-structured problems sug-gests that appropriate preference rules cannot be found or formulated. Lack of programming definition for desired outcomes indicates a lack of preference rules. Multiperson influences are the consideration by the individual of multiple and possibly contradictory pref-erence rules.

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38 Thus, at least a theoretical connection between decompositional conditions and preference rules has been established with the effects of limiting and informing observed in HIP. The discussion above also suggests from a semantic and syntactic point of view how HIP can become "scripted." Consider an organization that has well-defined goals, procedures, and policies. In this organization certain decompositions of organizational-specific terms or concepts language) will also be well-defined because preference rules will have been inculcated in the individual. Thus, information processing will be analogous to following a script. In such an organization, change will be difficult. But organizations do frequently change and so the discussion must turn to a semantic/HIP interpretation. of organizational change. Although human information processing in the organizational setting could involve decision making, scanning the environment, setting policy, developing goals, and so on, the discussion of change will be limited to those changes resulting from ill-structured problems. A similar analysis could be undertaken of the other characterizations of HIP but problem solving seems particularly apropos since it is a prime progenitor of organizational change. Recall that ill-structured problems lead to ambiguous or incomplete decompositions caused by

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39 ambiguous, contradictory, or even a lack of preference rules. This confusion manifests itself at the level of information processing as a loss of saliency in informational inputs, insufficient strategic programs in information acquisition, and inadequate or inappropriate cognitive algorithyms or scripts. In such a situation psychological tension may build in the individual which manifests as semantic "pressure." This pressure, mentioned by Jackendoff,42 influences the individual to create a more global preference rule to relieve instabilities in one's conceptual system. This means that the individual will reformulate decompositions using different necessity, centrality, and typicality conditions. Referring to the previous hypothetical situation this reformulation may indicate to the manager that, for example, psychological costs and benefits derived from an employee benefits package must be somehow ascertained and included in the budget. This reformulation would represent a radically different decomposition from the one presented and would not be undertaken unless there existed organizational pressure and the possibility of reward for such a reformulation. However, in many situations an individual's or organization's unquestioned allegiance to certain preference rules and schemes for limiting and informing information processing may make the organization unable to solve its problems. In such cases an outside

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40 organizational consultant may be invaluable. It is in-teresting to note, however, that Organization Develop-ment (OD) consultants do not either consider or admit that a primary subject for their development is the organization's or individual's semantic structure. Consider this fairly typical definition of OD given by Miles Schmuck: "OD can be defined as a planned and sustained effort to apply behavioral science for system improvement, using reflexive, self-analytic methods.n43 Compare this definition with the observation made by Pfeffer: The point is that many organizational activities, ranging from executive succession to organization development practices, can be productively analyzed from the perspective of management as symbolic action. The implication of this point is that understanding organizational language, settings, stories and sagas, ceremonies, and practices can be enhanced by considering the symbolic as well as the more directly behavioral cau44s and consequences of administrative behavior. Although.Pfeffer has couched his observation in terms of symbolic action, this paper will show that organiza-tiona! symbology is seated at the level of semantics. Therefore, the OD consultant will be successful if he can in some way change the organization's as well as the individual's semantic structure. One can describe the connection between the levels of semantics and syntactics and HIP by posing two general processes which are not necessarily mutual-ly exclusive but are not totally interdependent. They

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41 will be called Processes of Restriction and Processes of Elaboration. However, each group of processes will have two definitions, i.e., one definition will describe the processes going from the level of information processing to the level of semantics and syntactics (top-down), and the other will describe processes going from the level of semantics and syntactics to the level of information processing (bottom-up). Process of Restriction (1) Top-down: Processes whereby "limiting" and "informing" restrict preference rules and therefore decompositions to acceptable varieties from the point of view of individual, work group, or organization. (2) Bottom-up: Processes whereby preference rules and decompositions limit perceptions and restrict informing. Process of Elaboration (1) Top-down: Processes whereby lack of information, loss of saliency in inputs, insufficient strategies of information acquisition, or inappropriate algorithms or scripts may force the individual to search for new or reformulative previous preference rules resulting in different and/ot expanded decompositions. (2) Bottom-up: Processes whereby semantic pressure created by semantic system instability from, for example, newly learned concepts may force new or

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42_ reformulated preference rules which result in new saliencies in information acquisition or inputs, etc., and new ways of informing information. Referring to the continuum existing between what is known and what is unknown, one can see the relationship between this continuum, information, and the processes of restriction and elaboration. Proces-ses of restriction yield information that reaffirms prior knowledge or reduces the uncertainty in suspect knowledge. Processes of elaboration yield information that becomes new knowledge or makes what was previously known more uncertain. It should be noted that what is known and unknown by the individual is also a function of what is allowed to be known or unknown by the work group or the organization. These processes thus allow social coordination as well as social change in the work group or organization by restricting, in the first case, HIP and semantic decompositions to those realizable in the organization: and in the second case, by an elaboration of HIP and semantic decomposition caused by tensions created in problem solving, decision making, environmental scanning, etc. The Level of Self-Concept and Role In this section a discussion of the systemic level of the individual will be presented. Although the systemic level is not included in most discussions on

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43 social semiotics, this level was added to describe the effects of an individual's self-concept and role repertory on information processing, semantics, syntactics, and thus the communication process itself. The importance of self-concept to HIP will become evident below. However, before that discussion can begin, a more current conceptualization of self-concept must be developed, Traditionally, the self-concept was viewed as the information the individual had available about the relationship between himself and objects or groups of objects.45 Here, objects refer to persons, places, things, and concepts one might encounter or experience. In this formulation the self-concept served to supply the individual with identity information, thus naming or labeling an individual's attributes, or evaluative information, which described how one valenced one's feelings about himself. Confusion could arise as to where this information is stored. It could be stored at the level of individual semantics and retrieved, i.e., the decompositions are "read" when one refers objects to himself. This retrieval also includes HIP in that the decompositions are "limited" and "informed." or, it could be stored epiSodically, i.e., "as a repertoire of episodes that are enacted sequentially."46 The preeminence given to semantics in this paper comes from

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44 the observation that for one to socially articulate information stored episodically, it usually requires a translation of the "scene" into semantics. Recently, cushman et al. have proposed that in addition to providing identity and evaluative informa-tion, the self-concept "prescribes an appropriate beha-vior to be performed in regard to the self-object relationship and constitutes the behavioral self" theirs).47 The behavioral self is described as a "set of imperatives for action--rules governing an individual's behavior with respect to relevant objects in a situation."48 In that view, the self-concept allows one to classify one's relationship with objects, and therefore, to make inferences about newly encoun-tered objects. It provides expectations about the nature of the self-object relationship and thus directs perception to cues for those expectations. Further-more, from the relationships in the self-concept come preconceived plans for processing experience and initiating actions. Therefore, cushman et al. presents a more cur-rent description of the self-concept in the following passage: Hence, we regard the self-concept as an organized set of structures that defines the relationship of objects to individuals and that is capable of governing and directing human action. Furthermore, the self-concept, as an organized set of structures, provides the rationale for choice in the

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45 form a repertory of alternative plans of act1on. The similarity between the description of selfconcept above and the previous description of HIP indi-cates that before the processes interrelating the two are discussed, self-concept and HIP should be contrasted. First, consider that the self-concept is cornposed of self-object relationships and the classifica-tions, expectations, and preconceived plans for main-taining or altering these relationships. Thus, the self-concept involves only those relationships con-sidered self-object. obviously, this is a large number. of relationships. However, the other category of rela-tionships, namely object-object relationships, is very large as well. Distinguishing between the two types of relationships may be difficult. For example, consider the utterance, 11She is very tall11 made by man "A" to man "B" both of whom are observing woman 11C." Super-ficially, this might be understood as an object-object relationship, i.e., a relationship between "C11 and "tall. 11 However, 11 A" rn igh t be a very short person. Seeing a woman as tall as "C" might remind him of his lack of height and thus resulted in him making the statement. That is, prior to making the statement, ''A" classified "C" as a tall woman. "A's" expectations involving tall women are limited; and

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46 therefore, his preconceived plans are minimal. Therefore, the original object-object relationship was in reality a self-object relationship of "A" and "tall c." This rather simple example does not do justice to the difficulty of categorizing and objectobject relationships but at least it does indicate how problematical such categorizations would be to an outside observer. Thus, one important difference is that 'in information processing both types of relationships are involved whereas in the self-concept only selfobject relationships are found. Second, consider that the self-concept is a relatively stable construct in comparison with the frequent and varied machinations of information processing. Indeed, the self-concept acts as a repository of historical information an individual has regarding his relationships to different objects. It acts as a standard to which one's behavior in different situations is compared or contrasted. HIP, on the other hand, is basically an adaptive structure. This is the reason behind it being discussed and posited at the level of pragmatics. Information processing may receive guidance from above (i.e., the self-concept) and restriction .and elaboration from below (i.e., the semantic and syntactic space) but its basic social function is to allow the individual entrance into the immediacy of the present situation. The self-concept

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47 allows for the continuation of the individual from situation to situation. The discussion can now be turned to a descrip-tion of the processes that relate the self-concept to HIP. cushman et al. describe the self-concept as a cybernetic control system for an individuals actions: An individuals judgment that a new approach to some situation is useful and worth pursuing requires a previous organizational pattern comparison purposes. The self-concept provides the previous pattern and the information needed to recognize the implications of the new pattern. Thus, the self-concept is a necessary constituent in the positive feedback system. The new organiza.tion pattern being pursued will also be represented in the self-concept as a new rule, or pattern for action in specified situations. Similarly, when the individual has a fixed goal and is in the process of pursuing a standardized pattern of coordinated behavior in order to obtain that goal, the self-concept provides the pattern of information needed for a negative feedback system to monitor behavior in accordance witg previously established rules for goal attainment. 0 Before proceeding further, an understanding of what is involved in an organized is neces-sary. Since a pattern is provided by the self-concept, it must be derivable from a constellation of selfobject relationships. These self-object relationships involve needs (e.g., "I need power," or "a chi eve men t," or "affiliation"), values (e.g., "I value honesty." or "I value aggressiveness."), and roles. This last concept, roles, is somewhat problem-atical because it not only involves the self-concept but socially expected, desired, and allowable behaviors

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48 as well. The relationship between the self and roles is explained by Paules and Alexander: It is through interaction with others that people come to see themselves as possessing certain qualities. In addition, particular qualities are asso-ciated with a given status or position, and the enactment of a role on the person's exhibiting those qualities. Conflict and tension can result in the individual if (1) there is a discrepancy between expected or allow-able behaviors and the needs or values included in one's self-concept, (2) if contradictory types of be-havior are expected from the same role, (3) if behav-iors required of an individual who occupies several roles contradictory, and (4) if the behaviors required by a particular role are ambiguous. The first situation is described as a form of cognitive disson-ance; the second and third, as simply role conflict. Furthermore, the goals referred to by Cushman et al. are desirable individual consequences of pat-terns based on the individual's needs, values, and roles. Returning to the description of the self-concept as a cybernetic control system, one may say that the self-concept is interrelated to through positive and negative feedback loops. Positive feed-back loops will be defined for the purpose of this paper as Processes of Differentiation. Processes of differentiation refer to those processes connecting HIP

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49 and the self-concept that are: (1) Top-down: Processes whereby organizational role ambiguity or conflict; needs for achievement, power, or affiliation, or individual values force or influence the individual to consider new saliencies. in information acquisition or inputs, etc., and new ways of informing information. (2) Bottom-up: Processes whereby lack of loss of in inputs, etc., force the individual to expand his behavior repertoire to include preplanned actions for accomplishing goals that are different from the standard patterns of behavior presently involved in the makeup of his self-concept. Negative feedback loops will be defined for the purposes of this paper as Processes of Conformity. Processes of conformity refer to those processes connecting HIP and the self-concept that are: (l) Topdown: Processes whereby strict role adherence, individual needs or values, force or influence the individual to adhere to organizational or work procedures, policies, or methods for information acquisition, use of algorithms or scripts, etc., and particular ways of informing information. (2) Bottomup: Processes whereby habitual or organizationally inculcated ways of limiting and informing information forces or influences the individual to conform his "self" to work group or organizationally acceptable

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50 roles, and organizationally allowable realizations of needs and values. Summary To summarize this chapter, three semiotic levels that describe the semantic and syntactic, pragmatic, and systemic organization of the individual have been offered. These levels have been called the seman tic and syntactic space, information processing, and the self-concept/role of the individual, respectively. The first level, i.e., the semantic and syntactic space, is embedded in the second, HIP; and the second is embedded in the third, i.e., self-concept/role. The processes that allow for the inclusion of one level into the other have been defined as processes of restriction and elaboration in the case of the first and second level, and processes of conformity and differentiation in the case of the second and third levels. The definitions of these processes are intuitively appealing in that, ( l) from a psychological and sociological point of view the processes partially describe the ways in which people may act and think alike or ways in which people may act and think differently; and (2) from a systems point of view the processes describe networks of positive and feedback where the former changes the system in some way and the latter acts to maintain system homeostasis.

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51 There are some assumptions that appear as a result of describing the individual in the manner above. The treatment of the semantic and syntactic space as containing a system of words, and therefore, meanings; and concepts, and therefore, complexes of words complex meanings; and the subsequent treatment of HIP as the process whereby meanings of words and word complexes as information are restricted or elaborated, limited and informed; and finally, the self-concept as a constellation of words--meaning--information about or relevant to the self, limits the area of concern in this paper to that part of the individual that processes language/communication. Simply put, this paper focuses on the semantic or semiotic aspects of individuals. Although this view is very limited and much "informed," it addresses an area of study much neglected in the study of organizational communication. This particular view is important be-cause: Language expresses and symbolizes a dual aspect in its semantic system, which is organized around twin motifs of reflection and actionlanguage as a means of reflecting on things, and language as a means of acting on things. The former is the "ideational" component of meaning; the latter is the "interpersonal"--one can act symbolically only on persons, not on objects (italics his).52 The discussion of the interpersonal "motif" will begin in the next chapter by moving from the

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52 semiotic subsystem of the individual to the subsystem of the group.

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NOTES--CHAPTER II 1R. Jackendoff, Semantics and Cognition (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1983), p. 112. 2J.J. Katz, "The Realm of Meaning," in Communication, Language, and Meaning: Psychological Perspectives, ed. George A. Miller (New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1973), pp. 41-42. 3rbid., p. 43. 4rbid., p. 44. 5Ibid. 6Jackendoff, pp. 115-117. 7 H. Putnam, "The Meaning of 1 Meaning, 1 In Language, Mind, and Knowledge, ed. K. Gunderson (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1975), p .. 133. 8 Jackendoff, p. 116. 9L. Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, translated by G.E.M. Anscombe (New York: Macmillan, 1953). 10Ibid., p. 3 2. 11Jackendoff, p. 117. 12Ibid., p. 121. 13Ibid., P 12 2. 14Ibid., pp. 122-127. 1 5Ibid., p. 12 8. 16Ibid., p. 13 2. 17Ibid., p. 16. 18Ibid., p. 14 0.

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l9Jackendoff, p. 19. 20Ibid., p. 144. 21Ibid., pp. 9-lo. 22 Katz, p. 44. 23Jackendoff, p. 157. 54 24 G.R. Ungson, D.N. Braunsteln, and P.D. Hall, "Managerial Information Processing: A Review," Administrative Science Quarterly, 26 (1981), 116-134. 25c.E. Shannon and w. Weaver, The Mathematical Theory of Communication (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1949). 26ungson et al.; C.A. O'Reilly, III, "The Use of Information in Organizational Decision Making: A Model and Some Propositions," in Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol. .3, eds. B. Stan and L. Cummings (Greenwich, CT: JAI, 1981), pp. 103-104; S. Kiesler arid L. Sproull, Response to Changing Environments: Perspectives on Problem Sensing From Social Cognition," Administrative Science Quarterly, 27 (1982), 548-570. 2 7 K i e s 1 e r and Sp r o u 11 p. 5 5 9. 28B. Goss, Processing Communication (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1982) p. 23. 29with the inclusion of knowledge confirmation into the definition of HIP, the differences between communicati6n itself and HIP become vague as well. These differences will not be discussed since they are notgermane to this thesis. 30ungson, Braunstein, and Hall, p. 120. 3lH. Mintzberg, The Nature of Managerial Work (New York: Harper and Row, 1973). 32ungson, Braunstein, and Hall, p. 121. 33Ibid., p. 122. 34o'Rei1ly, pp. 109-110. 35 J.G. March, "Bounded Rationality, Ambiguity, and the Engineering of Choice," Bell Journal of Economics, 9 (1978), 587-608.

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55 36o'Reilly. 37 D.E. Broadbent, Dec is ion and Stress (London: Academic Press, 1971). 38u. Neisser, Cognition and Reality (San Francisco: W.H. Freeman, 1976). 3 9K.E. Weick, The Social Psychology of Organi zing, 2nd Edition (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1974). 40Ibid. 41This could represent a well-structured problem if enough information, rules for analysis, and clear, desired outcomes are known. or it could represent an ill-structured problem if these factors are not known. In this hypothetical situation it will be posited as a well-structured problem. 42Jackendoff, p. 149. 43M.B. Miles and R.A. Schmuck, "The Nature of Organization Development," In Organization Development: Theory, Practice, Research, eds. W.L. French, C.H. Bell, Jr., and R.A. zauacki (Plano, TX: Business Publications, Inc., 1983), pp. 23-30. 44 J .Pfeffer, "Management as Symbolic Action: The Creation and Maintenance of Organizational Paradigms," in Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol. 3, eds. B. Stan and 1. cummings (Greenwich, JAI, 1981), pp. 1-52. 45 D.P. Cushman, B. Valentinsen, and D. Dietrich, "A Rules Theory of Interpersonal Relationships," in Human Communication Theory, ed. Frank E.X. Dance (New York: Harper and Row, 1982), pp. 90-119. 46 w.B. Pearce and V.E. Cronen, Communication, Action, and Meaning: The Creation of Social Realities (New York: Praeger, 1980), p. 136. 47cushman, Valentinsen, and Dietrich, p. 98. 48Ibid. 49Ibid. 50Ibid., p. 99.

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56 51o.F. Faules and D.C. Alexander, Communication and Social Behavior: A Symbolic Interaction Perspective (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1978), p. 64. 52M.A.K. Halliday, Language as Social Semiotic: The Social Interpretation of Language and Meaning (Baltimore: University Park Press, 1978), p. 2.

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CHAPTER III THE GROUP SOCIOSEMIOTIC SYSTEM Introduction This chapter will describe the next step up the organizational sociosemiotic systems ladder after the individual, namely, the group sociosemiotic system. The study of how groups communicate in organizations has a long history. Scholastic interest in groups reflects the fact that the individual does not act in isolation in an organization; rather, he influences and is influenced by other organizational members. These influential associations can be temporary or permanent, formal or informal, and may consist of one's superordinates, subordinates, or peers. Furthermore, the individual can be said to be effected semantically, pragmatically, and systemically by his membership in these groups. However, a description of the group semiotic system must not solely "map" or "project" the social situation onto the individual. This thesis will also consider the effects of an individual's speech behavior on group semantics, pragmatics, and systemics. Group membership is a "two-way street" and any

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58 description of group phenomenon must reflect this inter-relationship. The semantic, pragmatic, and systemic levels in a group will be called register, episode, and informa-tion domain, respectively. Register is usually a con-cept found only in linguistic and sociolinguistic studies. It is used to describe the "different seman-tic configurations" that can be observed in different social situations.1 Episodes refer to "communicative routines which (the participants) view as distinct wholes, separate from other types of discourse, charac-. terized by special rules of speech and nonverbal behav-ior and often distinguished by clearly recognizable opening or closing sequences."2 Information Domain refers to recurring situations which have become insti-tutionalized to the point where language (speech behav-ior) enables "role playing by the participants, (which) in part, consist of the appropriate code from the linguistic repertories of the individuals involved."3 Code can be understood in this case to mean a specific register. There is a certain amount of theoretical justi-fication for a tri-level description of group semiotics as can be seen in the following quotation from Frentz: communication scholars are studying interpersonal communication from an actional or rules perspective. Recently, a "language-action" paradigm was developed for this

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59 approach, consisting of three hierarchically structured constructs: context, episodes, and symbolic acts. Contexts include "forms of life," which define general criteria for meaningfulness, and "encounters," which co-orient actors and activate specific rules of propriety; Episodes are rule conforming sequences of communicative action conjointly created by two or more actors. Finally, acts are verbal and/or non-verbal utterances .that manifest propositional, expressive, and consequential forces, and that acquire communicative meaning through episodic force. This paradigm reaffirms the importance of language in communication, stresses conscious, strategic choices of actors, and includes judgement as a logical complement to description and explanation (italics his).4 Although the direction of this paper reflects social semiotics as manifested in speech communication, there exist certain similarities between this approach and that described in more general behavioral terms above. For example, the "context" as described by Frentz is the "information domain" of the gr6up semiotic system. The "episode" is defined similarly for both approaches "symbolic acts" are derived from the group "register." Before proceeding further a more detailed de-scription of each of the level!:i of the group semiotic system will be given. way: Register Halliday has defined register in the following A register can be defined as the configuration of semantic resources that the member of a culture typically associates with a situation type. It is the meaning potential that is accessible in a given

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60 social context. Both the situation and the register associated with it can be described to varying degrees of specificity; but the existence of registers is a fact of everyday experience--speakers have no difficulty in recognizing the semantic options and combinations of options that are "at risk" under particular environmental conditions. Since these options are realized in the form of grammar and vocabulary, the register is recognizable as a particular selection of words and structures. But it is defined in terms of meanings; it is not an aggregate of conventional forms of expression superposed on some underlying cgntent by "social factors" of one kind or another. From the description of register given above certain essential characteristics that define register may be seen. First, to reiterate, it is not so much a speci-fie use of grammar and vocabulary that delimits regis-ter, rather it is the expected, promoted, constrained meanings that are associated with certain social situa-tions that make a register an identifiable phenomenon. Second, in every situation there exist cues (setting, relationships between participants, subject of dis-course, etc.) that inform the participants as to what registers are appropriate. Register should not be confused with dialect; the former is language according to use and the latter is language according to user. Registers depend on what social activity the speaker (and other partici-pants) are engaged. Registers differ in semantics (lexicogrammar) and sometimes even in phonetics. Whereas it is fairly easy to distinguish two different

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61 dialects, it is somewhat more difficult to differentiate between two registers. Registers may effect syntax, tenses, linguistic mood, sentence organization, intonation patterns of voice and theme, etc. Possibly the best examples for the reader of the manifestations of different registers can be had if the reader recalls recent conversations he or she had with wife or husband, colleague or peer, and subordinate or superior. Most likely in each case a different register was in use and was realized through different content, relational orientation, and form of textual production. Indeed, Halliday proposes that these three factors are related to the three primary semantic functions of language, the ideational, the interpersonal, and the textual.6 These three functions define the semantic and grammatical choices a speaker has in any one register. They are interdependent and must all be considered in any analysis of register. The ideational refers to words {labels, concepts, ideas, names, categories, etc.) or collections of words that function to yield propositional information but "also includes, under the general heading 'expression of experience,' the evaluative and affective aspects of attitude, value, and feeling."? Thus Halliday explains this semantic function as that:

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62 ... concerned with the content of language, it functions as a means of the expression of our experience, both of the external world and of our own consciousness--together with what is perhaps a sepaiate sub-component expressing certain basic logical relations. It should be repeated that although the ideational function serves to express experience with its asso-ciated attitudes, values, and so forth, the ideational function refers to the semantic and grammatical choices that make this expression possible. The interpersonal function refers to semantic and grammatical choices that as "mediator" for one's role: including all that may be understood by the expression of our personalities and personal feelings on the one hand, and forms of interactions and social interplay with other participants9in the communication situation on the other hand. The interpersonal function serves in Dance and Larsons10 words as the "linking function" of communi-cation. Thus, the presentation of self to others, communication of one's identity, as well as accommoda-tion, elaboration, empathy, and so forth are expressed with a certain vocabulary and syntax taken from the register. For example, the common phrase "Hi, how are you?" has little ideational information but does signal to the receiver that one may be open to further conversation.

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63 The third function, the textual: has an enabling function, that of creating text, which is language in operation as distinct from strings of words or isolated sentences and clauses. It is this component that enables the speaker to organize what he is saying in such as "'!a y that t makes sense in 11_h e context and f u 1 f i 11 s 1ts funct1on as a message. This function is therefore related more to grammar than vocabulary .. The textual function yields choices for the symbolic organization of one's speech through choices of rhetorical mode, i.e., whether one is being didactic, persuasive, imperative, etc., or even through channel, i.e., whether one expresses oneself verbally or through a written form. In summary, the level of semantics and syntac-tics in the group semiotic system: ... can be defined as a functional or functionoriented meaning potential; a network of options for the encoding of some extralinguistic semiotic system or systems in terms of the two basic components of meaning that we harz called the ideational and the interpersonal. One need only add that the meaning potential expressed through the ideational and the interpersonal functions are further symbolically organized through the textual function. Thus far, register has been from the standpoint of the individual. However, register is also a group-specific phenqmena. Therefore, it would be valuable to consider the effects of register on groups of individuals.

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64 There are many registers that are relatively easily recognized. For example, the register of a church service, sporting events, bidding at bridge, "talk shows," etc., can be readily identified. Regis-ters of this type approach what Edwards13 refers to as a "special language." Special languages not only have specific vocabularies and grammars but have further social significance as well. From a group perspective a register can be "an instrument of effective common action and the means and symbol of group loyal-ty."14 Thus, two additional functions of register from a social perspective are the "linguistic intellectual" and the "linguistic conventional." Edwards defines these. functions as follows: The first term refers to denotation, to words which are essential for precise and rapid communication between fellow-specialists, and which make discriminations for which everyday language ... have no need. The secorid refers to connotations, to the associations a word has for the insider, and the way it reinforces sense of at least temporary separation from the everyday world. It marks thl "psychological reality" of the specialist group. 5 Thus, one can think of register as a shared semantic and syntactic "space" whereby meaning is con-strained and focused through particular ideational, interpersonal, and textual forms of vocabulary and grammar. The effects of meaning constraint and focus allow for concise and specific communication among

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65 group participants and gives these participants a sense of sharing in a common experience. Episode The delimiting characteristics and structure of episodes have been a primary concern of Frentz and Farrell in their "Language-action" approach to meaning.16 Their contention is that "conventional" and "intentional" theoiies of meaning might be necessary for an understanding of a speech act or utterance, but neither alone, nor both, are.sufficient. Conventions are either behavioral norms or semantic 'essen-tials' that are recombined to produce definitional meanings for a given language."17 From this definition one can include conventions in the group register. However, a conventional analysis of meaning disregards temporal, circumstantial, and individual factors that qualify interpretations of meaning in any analysis of a communicative event. The intentional approach to meaning, on the other hand, conceives of speech acts as being purposeful and thus requires an understanding of the underlying intent of the speaker. However, "a severe limitation of the intentional account is its neglect of unconscious dimensions to human interaction."18 Therefore, a full account of meaning must include another approach in addition to the

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66 conventional and intentional. That is proposed by Farrell and Frentz by offering an "actional account of meaning." Actional meaning mediates between conventional and intentional meaning and is realized through "form-of-life rules," "encounter rules," and "episodic rules." Form-of-life and encounter rules relate to contextual factors and will be elaborated upon in the discussion on information domain. rules contribute to the governance of speech acts in the episode. Episodic rules may allow for considerable flexibility in speech acts in a com-municative-interchange or they may constrain speech acts to a relativeiy select few. The applicability of different rules emerges through the communicative in-terchange, unlike the constraint placed on interchanges from contextual factors (e.g., form-of-life and encoun-ter rules). Thus, according to Farrell and Frentz, "The meaning of any utterance or symbolic act emerges through its use, rather than through logical universals or personal motives ... "19 Returning now to the description of the episode itself, one may define episode in the following manner: An episode is a rule-conforming sequence of symbolic acts generated by two or more actors who are collectively oriented toward emergent goals. Episodes are both flexible in content and collective in creative origin: because of this, they be "operationalized" in any reductionistic sense.

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67 Thus, three general characteristics of episodes are their rule-conforming, goal-oriented, and developmental features. The rule conforming nature of episodes has already been covered with the discussion of episodic rules. refers to the observation that: in order for an episode to progress, actors must agree, at least tacitly, upon the complimentarity of goals they are pursuing. Even in those extremely asymmetrical episodes involving conflict, actors must agree to discuss divergencies in thei21 goals or the episode will literally "break down." For example, a rather commonly observed goal-orientation of episodic participants is their initial speech behaviors that begin an episode by signaling to each an interest in a communicative interchange. This is referred to as the "initiation imperative" by Frentz and Farre11.22 The developmental structure of episodes refers to the observation that episodes progress under no single participant's control or predictive ability. Rather, the progress of an episode is dependent upon the actual textual interchanges that occur between participants, their goal orientation, and the rules to which they conform. Thus, utterances are rarely under-stood outside the entire context of the episode. one can summarize the discussion above by stat-ing that the construct "episode" describes a unit of analysis for the communication theorist that is charac-terized by rule-conforming, _goal-orientating, and

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68 developmental features and must be considered as a "whole" recognizable by the participants. Any reduc-tion of this unit of analysis will result in a less than complete understanding of the episode, i.e., a less than adequate description of the meaning implicit in the textual interchange. Given this description of episode it is obvious that it must be included in any model of the social semiotic system of the It, in fact, describes the pragmatic level of the group semiotic system. However, here is an example of the problems incurred by the use of two different registers (i.e., a language-action approach and a language-function ap-proach [or, sociosemiotic approach]). Fortunately, Halliday23 has provided a way whereby one can go from the language-action register to a sociosemiotic one through the investigation of "text-in-situation." As the episode may be considered the basic unit of analysis for the language-action theorist, so then text may be considered: ... the basic unit of semantic structure--that is, of the semantic process. The concept "text" has no connotations of size; it may refer to speech act, speech event, toP.ic unit, exchange, episode, narrative and so on.27.J: For the purposes of this paper "text" will be restrict ed to the episodic situation.

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69 Much in the same way that Frentz and Farrell describe the relationships between meaning, tion, and episode, Halliday describes the relationship between meaning, text, and situation. The relationship between meaning and text is described by Halliday as follows: The text is the linguistic form of social interaction. It is a continuous progression of meanings, combining both simultaneously and in succession. The meanings are the selections made by the speaker from the options that constitute the meaning potential; text is the actualization of this meaning the process of semantic choice (italics his). Halliday describes the relationship between text and situation in the following: A text is embedded in a context of situation. The context of situation of any text is an instance of a generalized social context or situation type. The situation type is not an inventory of ongoing sights and sounds but a semiotic structure; it is the ecological that is constitutive of the text (italics his). At this point one needs to consider what fac-tors are involved in the "semiotic structure." Halliday27 proposes three variables that describe the semiotic structure of the situation. They are field, tenor, and mode. There is likely to be some confusion of these three variables with the semantic functions of the ideational, interpersonal, and textual unless the discussion of field, tenor, and mode is prefaced with some explanatory remarks.

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70 The confusion revolves aroundthe differences between the level of semantics, i.e., register, and the level of pragmatics, i.e., episode. Essentially, in this paper the focus is on the function and use of language as a system of symbols used to denote and signify certain things (e.g., places, persons, objects, or concepts) in the organization. In addition, how-ever, the pa-per also encompasses the individuals and social structure of the organization. Language as a system of signifying and denoting symbols is realized through the level of semantics. The effect of the symbols on the speech behavior of individpals (as in-terpreter of symbols) is realized through the level of pragmatics. The contexts under which the symbols are realized is through the level of systemics. Thus, in the following discussions of the semiotic structure of situations (i.e., episodes), the focus is on how indi-viduals interpret symbols (language, participants, and settings) in the episode and thus register (ideational, i nte rper sonal, textual) choices. In Halliday's words: The categories of field, tenor, and mode are thus determinants and not components of speaking; collectively they serve to predict text, via ... what is called the register .... These concepts are intended to make explicit the means whereby the observer can derive, from the speech situation, not the text itself, of course, but certain norms governing the particulars of the text.

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71 The field describes the subject matter at hand but also considers the whole activity involved in by speaker and other participants. For example, on one occasion "talking about the weather" may be just what would be the field of "weather-talk." On another occa-sion "talking about the weather" may be a precursor to a buying or selling activity and thus in this case "weather-talk" would be part of the field for buying and selling. As Halliday describes it: In differing contexts, we tend to select different words and different grammatical patterns--simply because we are expressing different kinds of meaning. .. the "meanings" that are involved are a part of what we are doing; or rather, they are part of the expression of what we are doing. .. In fact, "what we are talking about" has to be seen as a special case of a more general concept, that of "what we are doing," or "what is within which the language is playing a part." Thus, field specifies those semantic choices and gram-matical patterns the speaker makes realizable through the ideational semantic function. The tenor of a situation (or more accurately, the tenor of the discourse) determines those semantic and grammatical choices realizable through the inter-personal semantic function. That is, tenor is related to those changes in registers attributable to changes in the relationships of the participants. The type of role one assumes in a relationship has also a great deal to do with the language one uses. Tenor deter-mines the degree of formality, the level of

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72 technicality, the flow of meaning, selection of gram-matical mood and modality, and so on. Tenor is affect-ed by the type of permanence of the relationship, the degree of emotional charge in it, or any other factor relatable to the relationship between speaker and hear-er. Halliday adds: Contexts of situation, or settings, such as a public lecture, playground at playtime, church service, cocktail party, (one may also include organizational settings and relationships) and so on can be regarded as institutionalized r6le relationships and stabilized patterns of the tenor of discourse. Finally, the mode of discourse refers to the channel and role of language in the situation. The channel chosen can be written or spoken language. (In this paper only spoken language will be considered.) However, equally important to determining the register is the role of language in the situation. This refers to whether one is being didactic, imperative, fanciful, consultative, i.e., the rhetorical _mode one has chosen. The question underlying the concept of the mode of discourse is, what function is language being used for, what is its specifid role iri the goings-on to which it is contributing? to co91rol? to explain? or just to oil the works ... ? Thus, mode specifies a range of semantic and grammati-cal choices realizable through the textual semantic function. Halliday sums up the discussion of meaning, text, and situation in the following:

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73 The semiotic features of the situation activate corresponding portions of the semantic system, in this way determining the register, the configuration of potential meanings that is typically associated with this situation type, and becomes32 actualized in the text that is engendered by it. The semiotic structure of the situation "activates" the semantic system because: ... the type of symbolic activity (field) tends to determine the range of meaning as content, language in the observer function (ideational).; the role relationship (tenor) tends to determine the range of meaning participation, language in the intruder function (interpersonal); and the rhetorical channel (mode) tends to determine the range of meaning as texture, in its relevance to the environment (textual). One should suspect a correspondence of some sort between the episode from the perspective of the language-action theorist, on the one hand, and the episode as one particular type of a communicative in-terchange situation as considered from a sociosemiotic perspective on the other. Clearly, there are similari-ties between the two descriptions of episodic struc-ture. However, Halliday's sociosemiotic approach emphasizes the investigation of how an exchange of meaning is possible between episodic participants. Consider the set of assumptions that must be made by participants in any exchange of meanings. These assumptions are: (i) that interpretations of experience are shared (others see things the same way); (ii) that there are principles of selection and organizatioh of meaning, and therefore also

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74 (iii) of reconstituting and supplementing omissions (we agree on what to leave out, and the other fills it in ... ) and (iv) that words, or rather words-in-structures, linguistic forms, are referred identically to past experience. These principles act as "instructions for the speaker-hearer for assigning infinitely possible meanings to unfolding social scenes." The speakerhearer relies on the social system for the decoding of Thus, from Halliday's point of view it is not so important "what is said" as is the importance of "what is not said" or what does not need to be said in order to "enable" an exchange of meaning to occur. Partici-pants need only recognize the field, tenor, and mode of the semiotic structure of the episode to guide them in the selection of the appropriate register which in turn allows them to make certain assumptions and limit their text. Halliday's approach to understanding episodic structure, however, does not focus on how and why an episode unfolds, i.e., how it develops and why it develops in certain ways. These questions are addres-sed in the language-action approach. From this per-spective an episode exhibits speech acts which are rule-conforming, goal oriented, and develop a structure of episodic imperatives, namely, the initia-tion, definitional, rule-conformation, strategic development, and termination imperatives.35

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75 In order to combine these approaches into one that considers both the static and dynamic dimensions of the episode, one can offer three generic terms: frame, control, and strategy. Frame involves those aspects of the episode that have been referred to as field and developmental structure. Thus, frame would involve the subject matter, "what is going on," and how the episode develops. Control refers to those aspects that have been referred to as tenor (role relationship) and rule-conforming. Thus, control describes episodic aspects that require status or position recognition as well as the appropriate communication rules episodic participants must follow. For example, conttol would describe what degree of deference a subordinate should show a superordinate. Strategy involves those discursive tactics episodic participants may use to try to persuade, inform, etc. Thus, strategy involves the aspects of mode and goal orientation. At this point the interrelationships between register and episode may be described and defined. The first point to consider, however, is how registers may change. Individuals, of course, have access to many different registers. The registers define different meaning potentials for different situations. One will move to a different register depending on whom one is

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76 talking to, the subject matter involved, or what one is trying to accomplish through the communicative interchange. The immediate question that comes to mind is: Does a change in register signify a change in episode? If one recalls that different registers ex-hibit different ideational, interpersonal, and textual functions and that these functions interact, one may suspect that a categorical change in any one may result in a change in the other two. Also, recalling the close relationship between the ideational, interper-sonal, and textual functions and the episodic dimen-sions of frame, control, and strategy (through field, tenor, and mode), one can thus say a change in register result in a change in episode. However, this statement is somewhat misleading in that it implies .:;_._ that there is some sort of phenomenal difference be-tween registers and episodes. A better way of concep-tualizing the interconnectiveness of the two is to think of them as of the same phenomena (i.e., an exchange of meaning) in which is a semantic .and syntactic manifestation and ep'isode is a .. \ -: pragmatic manifestation of a exchange of meaning. Thus, register refers to an access to shared. knowledge and episode refers to an access to a behav-ioral repertoire.

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77 A more interesting question from the perspec-tive of this thesis is: How does a particular register change? Halliday identifies two means whereby a register may change. The first involves the introduc-tion of a new vocabulary. This change: ... is characterized by the appearance in the language of a large number of previously nonexistent thing-meanings: objects, processes, relations, and so forth, realized by a variety of means in the lexicogrammatical structure including--but not -limited to--the creation of vocabulary. (To call this process "introduction of a new vocabulary" is a formulation: rather it is the introduction of new thing-meanings, which may may not be expressed by new lexical elements.) This type of change occurs when "the language is to function in new settings, types of situation to which it has previously been unadapted."37 Subsumed in this category are directed or promulgated semantic changes. Such changes occur through the activity of authority agencies, i.e., schools, universities, governments, etc., or accepted authorities, scholars, managers, consultants, i.e., anyone in authority because -of their position or information. The other type of semantic change involves semantic styles. When semantic changes in meanings occur as described above, then other changes occur in the semantic system (i.e., the interpersonal and the textual).

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78 New registers are created, which.actuate new alignments and configurations in the functional components of the semantic system. It is through the intermediary of the social structure that the semantic change is brought about. Semantic style is a function of social relationships and situation types generated by the social structure. If it changes, this is not so much because of what people are now speaking about as because of who they are speaking to, in what circumstances, through what media, and so on. A shift in the fashions of speaking be better understood by reference to changing patterns of social interaction and social relationships than by the search for a direct between the language and the material culture. It is apparent from these two descriptions of semantic change that one has a framework for defining interrelational processes between the group register or episodic structure. For example, the introduction of a new vocabulary involves the effects of register on episodic structure, thus, a "bottom-up" process. A change in semantic style involves the effects of changes in the episodic structure on register, a "top-down n process. The groundwork has now been laid for a discus-sion of register and episodic structure in the _organi-zation. Registers in an organization will have an ideational component that defines areas of interest of focus in the organization semantically. The vocabulary involving, for example, finance, production, or market-ing, to name a few examples, are easily recognizable ideational components of registers. More difficult to recognize are the vocabularies of management,

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79 coordination and control, employee rights and concerns, etc. The interpersonal component defines options involving degrees Df respect, deference, agreement, comment, evaluation, permission, conflict, etc., as expressed lexicogrammatically through grammatical mood, modality, key, tonal intensity, etc. The textual component of register defines options involving medium and symbolic organization, such as rhetorical mode (i.e., expository, didactic, persuasive, descriptive, etc.) and genres (story, myth, fable, etc.) as expressed through the organization, pattern, theme, and cohesion of the text. It is interesting to note how much interest recently has been directed to the role of myths, stories, and fables as a means of exchanging meanings in organizations.3 9 When one limits the inquiry of episodic structure to that of episodes occurring in the organization, one can offer a range of descriptions for the episodic dimensions of frame, control, and strategy. The range will vary for each dimension from one describing a "restricted" dimensional component to one which can be described as "open." For example, a restricted frame in an episode would be one in which the subject matter is insulated (e.g., if the subject matter is finance, the topic of discussion does not range into other fields) and the episode develops to termination through

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80 nearly habitual pattern of communication interchanges. Restricted control describes an episode in which social control is accomplished through power (rewarded or coercive) invested in the status position of a member. Thus, roles are well defined and rigid with deference given to the member holding the highest status as related to the formally defined areas of concern (frame). Rules for communicative interchange could be described as being very formal, are not flexible, and are adhered to unquestionably. Restricted strategy in an episode involves a limited number of rhetorical modes and genres available to participants with goal orientation established by the highest status member of the episode. An open frame would describe an episode in which the subject matter is not as insulated as in a restricted frame. Thus, topic differentiation is more flexible and a wider range of i?terpretation is given to verbal meanings. The episode develops loosely in that communication interchanges are not as predictable. Open control refers to episodes in which role defini-tions are fluid and less dependent on status. social control is based on appeals to reason and logic and not related to the positions of participants. Rules for communicative interchange are flexible, informal and changeable as the situation in the minds of the

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81 participants warrants it. open strategy means that different rhetorical modes and genres are acceptable. Goal orientation is established in the episode consensually. Analogous to the processes of restriction and elaboration interrelating the individual's semantic space and information processing, one can define Processes of Constraint and Processes of Potentiality interrelating register and episodic structure. Here, pqtentiality refers to something having the capacity for change. Processes of constraint Top-down: Processes whereby organizational or work group influences restrict frame, control, and strategy, thus limiting available lexicogrammatical options in a particular register. Examples of work group or organizational influences that restrict frame, control, and strategy are: (1) Frame: from Smircichs40 study, "If you've got anything that is controversial, you just don't bring it up." (2) Control: from Smircich,41 "The President likes to keep it cool" and "doesn't like to see any friction or animosity." (3) Strategy: "The Pres ide n t s r o 1 e at the staff meetings appeared to be that of a newscaster ... n42

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82 Bottom-up: Processes whereby a limited or insulated vocabulary (i.e., a limited number of ideational, interpersonal, and textual options) restrict frame, control, and strategy in often recurring episodes (e.g., episodes in staff meetings, department meetings, etc.). Processes of Potentiality Top-down: Processeswhereby organizational or work group influences "open" the frame, control, and strategy of the episode thus changing the semantic and syntactic style manifested in the register. Bottom-up: Processes whereby a change in vocabulary or semantic understanding are reflected in oft recurring episodes as an opening of frame, control, and strategy. Information Domain Organizations have recently been characterized as information processing systems.43 This characterization manifests in the sociosemiotic systems model at the level of systemics and is called the Information Domain. "Domain" is used here in two different senses: First, sociolinguistically, domain describes repeated situations generally in which the setting, participants, and task topic of discussion are the same. Bell refers to domains in industrial organizations as

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83 secondary relationships (vs. primary relationships in the family) which: ... are typified by spatial distance, short duration and larger number of participants. Disparate goals, extrinsic or use-oriented valuations, limited knowledge of the other participants and a feeling of inhibition, brought about by the operation of formal controls on the behavior of those involved, characterize secondary relationships, as they power, rather than solidarity (italics his). Secondly, domains describe a bounded space of lexico-grammatical objects that have a potential for being information. This sense of domain is akin to the conceptualizations of organizational "bodies of thought" and "thinking practices" as used by Weick in his description of cognitive processes in organizations.45 Just as the description of register and episode included three subcomponents, it is proposed that the information domain is characterized by three components. They are task information, social informa-tion, and discursive information. Task information describes topic, subject, or technical information that the group has consensually ascribed as pertinent to the task. Included in task information are organizationally or work group accepted schemata, perceptions of causal textures, relational algorithyms, habits, saliencies, simplifications, and so forth that serve to limit and inform information for

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84 the group.46 consequently, task information is inter-related with the level of pragmatics through the frame of the episode. Social information is a more difficult construct to describe. Social information is related to what Farrell calls social knowledge: Social knowledge comprises conceptions of symbolic relationships among problems, persons, interests, and a6tions, which imply (when certain notions of preferable public behavior. Contrast this definition with Farrell's explanation of technical or specialized knowledge (i.e., task information): technical or specialized knowledge is actualized through its correspondence to the external world ... This knowledge, whether localized in science, craft, or technology, will acquire its character as an object through the general patterns which are found in the natural environment process. Specialized or technical knowledge, then, reflects the outcome of an actual consensus on modes of inquiry or procedures of research. In opposition to this last statement social knowledge in part rests on an attributed consensus on the norms of communicative behavior that exist in the group domain. Thus, social information will be defined as that information which describes the norms of accept-able communicative behavior for a particular group. The norms govern "indexical" information, i.e., infor-mation that:

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85 . conveys aspects of the psychological make-up and social status of the speaker--his identity, attributes, attitudes and emotional state--and serves to portray his attitude to himself and to others and to define the he sees himself as playing in the interaction. These norms also govern "interaction management infer-mation," i.e., information that: is exchanged as a means of initiating, continuing and terminating the interaction itself, since for there to be successful communication, the participants must adopt positions relative to each other in space to make an exchange possible, have shared procedures for beginning, changing roles, providing ... and finally bringing it to a conclus1on. Social information is thus related to the level of pragmatics through the control of the episode. Another aspect of social knowledge derives from "the symbolic relationships among problems, persons, interest, and actions"53 which give rise to what Bitzer54 called "rhetorical situations." Rhetorical situations are characterized by two factors: (1) The outcome of the situation must be indeterminate; i.e., it must always be possible for the audience to refrain from acting in the recommended manner, and (2) The exigence of a situation must to resolution by an audience's action. situations require a way to organize symbolic activity. Indeed, this is the rhetoric of the situation. Although there is as yet little or no research into organizational group meetings as being rhetorical situations, one can hypothesize that because these

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86 group meetings will usually involve organizational members in problems of interest to the participants, work group, or organization, and which will end when some action plan has been formulated, and where the outcome of the meeting is indeterminate and the prob-lems involved are assumed to be solvable by the parti-cipants, that these group meetings constitute rhetorical situations. Discursive information is then the pool of rhetorical modes available to group participants. Studies in leadership and superi6r-subordinate relationships lend support to the value of the con-struct "discursive information." For example, Richmond and McCroskey56 developed the concept of Management Communication Style (MCS) in one of their studies. Management Communication Style is described as: ... a function of both the management style im posed on the supervisor by the organization (or chosen by the supervisor within the parameters permitted by the organization) and the communication style of the individual supervisor which that vidual brings to the organizational context ... They identified four familiar orientations of MCS: "tells," "sells," "consults," "joins." It takes no great leap of imagination to realize that these four different orientations involve four different rhetori-cal modes. A small digression is in order at this point to clear up a possible confusion between information

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87 domain and episode. Much the same way the difference between self-concept and information processing in the individual semiotic system is one whereby self-concept captures the observation that the individual maintains a behavioral consistency from situation to situation and that the individual's information processing ability enables him to enter unique or common situations--so it is similar with information domain and episodes. Informati9n domain describes a context wherein episodes occur. The information domain includes the form-of-life rules and encounter rules of Farrell and Frentz.58 There can be any number of episodes occurring in an information domain, but not an unlimited number. One would not be expected to disclose familial problems in a staff meeting. Indeed, the terms "staff meeting," "executive meeting," etc., carry with them certain expectations of task, social, and discursive information. The limits or boundaries of the information. domain can not be easily ascertained in the structure of a single episode. Smircich provides an example of the limiting aspects of the information domain on episodes in a case study of executive staff meetings in an insurance company she observed for six weeks: The dominant interpretation that the executive staff used to account for their way of life was the belief that, in their group, differences or problems which may be difficult or painful to

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88 handle were submerged. There was widespread agreement that "if you've got anything controversial, you just don't bring it up." At the time of the fieldwork the staff members shared an interpretation of these meetings. To them they appeared to represent the way their President wanted business to be conducted: calmly, coolly, politely, harmoniously with no conflict, controversy or upset, but. also with an air of unreality.00 There was a shared belief among staff members that these meetings were an empty formality; consisted of "superficial" communications. The executive group sustained an appearance of smoothness and non-confrontation not only in their activities but in their chQice of vocabulary as well. This was most obvious in their use of the word "challenge" as a cover-up word to mask what were really problems. The inability or unwillingness to call a situation a problem was consistent with the whole6nteraction pattern of keeping things hidden. Although the topics covered in these meetings might range over marketing, sales, finance, etc., the task information is limited to that which is unprob-lematical, non-controversial, and superficial. Thus, the episodic frames are limited to giving reports ("what is going on") and not to problem solving, deci-sian making, and so forth. Social information is limited to what can be expressed coolly, calmly, harmoniously, etc. This makes episodic control largely unneeded as the perceptions of the participants are that the President desires the meetings to be imper-sonal. Roles are of an informational nature with the President setting the example. communicative

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89 interchange rules are minimal in that interchanges are implicitly discouraged. Discursive information is limited to the propositional mode (i.e., communicating facts and Thus, strategy is largely nonexistent in that there is minimal discussion, argumentation, or persuasion. These meetings could even be characterized as nonrhetorical although Smircichs indivioual interviews indicated that a great deal of staff anxiety and animosity existed at the company. Thus, the meeting had a npotentialn for being rhetorical. Fuithermore, one can imagihe several ways in which episodes might affect the information domain. For example, the introduction of a new member to the group in the example above whose self-concept is -strong and who resisted the norms implicit in the information domain might cause a of the domain. The organizational development procedure of team building represents an approach where the information domain is changed by, in effect, practicing or experiencing different episodes (i.e., different structures). If the participants flourish in the new it is likely that a new domain will result. Process consultants observe episodes to determine domain norms which may be unobserved by participants. Here again,

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90 episodes may be staged in an effort to change domain norms. Consequently, processes interrelating the information domain with episodic structure are proposed and will be called Processes of Coordination and Processes of Discongruity. Processes of Coordination Top-Down: Processes whereby organizational or work group influences limit domain information and, therefore, restrict episodic frame, control, and strategy. Bottom-Up: Processes whereby, for example, individual control available through status or position or the insulation of register restrict episodic frame, control, and strategy whereby over time domain information becomes restricted. Processes of Discongruity Processes whereby organizational or work group influences remove previous limits on domain information causing episodic frame, control, and strategy to become more "open." Bottom-Up: Processes whereby the opening of episodic frame, control, and strategy remove over time (cause new limits) the limits on domain information.

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91 Summary Much of the information covered in this chapter does not represent what could be considered "new rna ter ial." Rather, it is "old material" in a new register, if you will. The effect of tasks, management styles, and interpersonal relationships on group behavior and communication is part of a long and rich research tradition. However, this chapter does represent a "different semantic configuration" of much of which is presently understood about group communication--that is, a semiotic basis is given to the exchanges of meaning comprising group communicative interchanges. Furthermore, it hopefully reflects a growing interest in the rhetorical nature of organizational group communication. This is interesting in itself in that rhetorical theory has a tradition spanning centuries but has had little impact in contemporary studies of organizational communication. This is not to say that one might soon expect to see the Rhetoric amongst the texts studied by business majors, but an appreciation of the importance and vicissitudes of persuasion and argumentation in group situations may be considered indispensable to the knowledge of successful managers.

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92 Even the so-called new material presented in Chapters Two and Three might be "older" than is at first consideied if one reads what Charles Peirce wrote below in 1903. In it there is justification (at least in Peirce's view) for considering a language semiotic approach to communication and thought, justification for considering an isomorphic relationship between the levels of the individual semiotic system and that of the group, justification for considering information processing to be at the level of pragmatics, and justification for considering the powerful influences of groups on individual behavior: Two things here are all-important to assure oneself of and remember. The first is that a person is not absolutely an individual. His thoughts are what he "is saying to himself," that is saying to that o t h e r s e 1 f t h a t i s j'u s t c om i n g i n t 6 1 i f e i n t h e flow of time. When one reasons, it is that critical self that one is trying to persuade; and all thought whatsoever is a sign, and is mostly of the nature of language. The next thing to remember is that man's circle of society (howevei widely or narrowly this phase may be understood), is a sort of loosely compacted person, in some respects of highe: than the person of an individual organ1sm.

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NOTES--CHAPTER III 1 M.A.K. Halliday, Language as Social Semiotic: The Social Interpretation of Language and Meaning (Baltimore: University Park Press, 1978), p. 67. 2J,J, Gumperz, "Introduction," in Directions in Sociolinguistics, eds. J,J, Gumperz and Del Hymes (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972), p. 17. 3 R.T. Bell, Sociolinguistics: Goals, Ap-proaches and Problems (New York: St. Martins Press, 1976), p. 102. 4T.S. Frentz, "A Generative Approach to Episodic Structure," Communication Quarterly, 29 (Winter 1981), 12. 5Halliday, p. 111. 6rbid. 7 Be 11. p. 8 5. 8Halliday, p. 58. 9 M.A.K. Halliday, Exploration in the Function of Language (New York: Elsevier, 1973), p. 58. 1F.E.X. Dance and C.E. Larson, The Functions of Human Communication: A Theoretical Approach (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976). 11 Ha 11 ida y, 19 7 3, p. 58. 12Halliday, 1978, p. 79. 13A.D. Edwards, Language in Culture and Class (New York: Crane; Russak & co., Inc., 1979). 14M. Lewis, Language and Society (Nelson, 1947), p. 4 9. 15 Ed wards, p. 151.

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94 l6T.S. Frentz and T.B. Farrell, "LanguageAction: A Paradigm for Communication," The Quarterly Journal of Speech, 62 (December 1976), 333-349, T.B. Farrell and T.S. Frentz, "Communication and Meaning: A Language-Action Synthesis," Philosophy and Rhetoric, 12 (Fall 1979), 215-255. 17Farrell and Frentz, p. 217. 18rbid., p. 221. 19rbid., p. 222. 2Frentz and Farrell, p. 336. 21rbid., p. 3 3 7. 22rbid., p. 3 3 8. 23Halliday, 1978. 24Halliday, 19 7 8, 25rbid., p. 12 2. 26rbid. 27Halliday, 1978. 28Halliday, 197 81 29rbid., p. 221. 30rbid., p. 2 2 2. 31rbid., p. 2 2 3. 32rbid., p. 117. 33rbid., p. 33. 34Ibid., p. 60. p. 6 0. p. 6 2. 3 5Frentz and Farrell. 36Halliday, 1978, p. 76. 37rbid. 38rbid., p. 77

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95 39 B.R. Clark, "The occupational Saga in Higher Education," Administrative Science Quarterly, 17 (1972), 178-18.4; J. Meyer and B. Rowan, "Institutional Organizations: Formal Structures as Myth and ceremony," American Journal of Sociology, 30 (1977), 431-450; I.I. Mittoff and R. Kilman, "On Organizational Stories: An Approach to the Design and Analysis of Organizations through Myth and Stories," in The Management of Organization Design: Strategies and Implementation, eds. R.H. Kilman, L.R. Pondy, and D.P. SleVin (New York: American Elsevier Publishing co., Inc., 1976); J. Martin and M.E. Powers, "Truth or corporate Propaganda: The Value of a Good War Story," in Organizational Sym bolism, eds. L.R. Pondy, P.J. Frost, G. Morgan, T.C. Dandridge (Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, Inc., 1983); L.R. Pondy, "The Role of Metaphors and Myths in Organization and in the Facilitation of Change," in Organizational Symbolism, eds. L.R. Pondy et al. (Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, Inc., 1983). 401. Smircich, "Organizations as Shared Meanings," in Organizational Symbolism, eds. L.R. Pondy, P.J. Frost, G. Morgan, and T.C. Dandridge (Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, Inc., 1983), p. 57. 41smircich, p. 57. 42smircich, p. 60. 43M.S. Feldman and J.G. March, "Information in Organizations as Signal and Symbol," Administration Science Quarterly, 26 (1981), 215-255, M.L. Tushman and D.A. Nadler, "Information Processing as an Integrating Concept in Organizational Design," Academy of Manage ment Review, 3 (1978), 613-624. 44 Bell, p. 103. 45K.E. Weick, "Cognitive Processes in Organization," in Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol. I, ed. B.M. Stan (Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, 1979). 46weick, 1979; Feldman and March, 1981. 47 T.B. Farrell, "Knowledge, Consensus, and Rhetorical Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Speech, 62 (February 1976), 4. 48Ibid. 49Ibid., pp. 4-5.

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5Farrell, p. 7. 51 Bell, p. 72. 52Ibid., pp. 72-73. 53Farrell, p. 4. 54 L.F. Bitzer, "The Rhetorical Situation," Philosophy and Rhetoric, 1 (1968), 1-14. 55 Farrell, p. 8. 96 56v.P. Richmond and J.C. McCroskey, "Management Communication Style, Tolerance for Disagreement, and Innovativeness as of Employee Satisfaction: A of Single Factor, Two Factor, and Multiple Factor Approaches," Communication Yearbook III (New Brunswick: Transaction-Communication Association, 1979). 57Richmond and McCroskey, p. 256. 58Farrell and Frentz. 59smircich, p. 57. 60Ibid., p. 6 0. 61Ibid., p. 61. 62Ibid., p. 6 3. 63Quoted in Farrell, p. 13.

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97 CHAPTER IV THE ORGANIZATIONAL SOCIOSEMIOTIC SYSTEM Introduction This chapter provides a description of the organization as a "cultural" system. The anthropolo-gical-sociological paradigm of organizational cultures which is appearing more and more frequently in the literature is due to: ... a growing dissatisfaction with traditional research efforts, especially those grounded in essentially positivistic views of organizations. Many have become disillusioned with fundamental inadequacies in traditional methods and the meager grasp and levelage on organizational phenomena they have provided. Morgan et al. adding to this indictment state that: Traditional organizations and management theory has for the most part failed to grasp the full significance and importance of symbolic side of the organizational life ... A cultural perspective of the organization is helpul, if not necessary, because: In the pursuit of our everyday tasks and objectives, it is all too easy to forget the less rational and instrumental, the more expressive social tissue around us that gives those tasks meaning. Yet in order for people to function within any given setting, they must have a continuing sense of what that reality is all about in order to be acted upon. Culture is the system of such publicly and

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collectively accepted operating for a given group at a given time. 98 The importance to organizations of language as codified knowledge in providing a cultural history as well as a means for symbolic exchange, or language as behavior by providing a means of co-orientation and coordination of the many diverse activities and goals of organizations, or language as an informational system whereby order is brought to chaos, can hardly be denied. This chapter will the organizational culture as consisting of a symbolic register (the level of semantics-syntac-tics), symbolic events (the level of pragmatics), and ideology (the level of systemics). Ideology (language as an informational constraint system) is desqribed by Geertz as: extrinsic sources of information in terms of which human life can be patterned--extrapersonal mechanisms for the perceptions, understanding, and manipulation of the world. Cultural patterns ; are "programs"; they provide a template or blueprint for the organization of social and psychological processes, much as genetic such a the organiza-tlon of organ1c processes ... Ideologies are behaviorly manifested through symbolic Symbolic events as behavior) are episodes in which at least part of the meaning of the episode or episodes is contextually determined by (i.e., must be deduced from) an ideological source. Forming the semantic-syntactic foundation for symbolic events is the symbolic register. Much like the group

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99 register, the symbolic register (language as codified knowledge) describes options (symbols or symbol complexes) that either support (as in "are used to elaborate") or challenge in "are used to support a competing ideology") the dominant ideology. Symbolic Register The discussion of symbols in the organization begins with a quandary--where to begin? The study of symbols has long been important in the fields of anthropology, psychology, and philosophy to name a few among many. The discussions of symbols in this thesis will use philosophy, specifically the approach to symbols as explicated by Susanne Langer in Philosophy In A New Key, as its departure point. Langer prefaces her discussion of symbols by distinguishing them from signs. Signs, as well as symbols, can not be given meaning6 unless one investigates the sign in relation the object and in relation to the subject. A sign stands for an object and is related to the subject through "signification."7 The signification of a sign results in an appropriate behavioral response by the subject. The use of signs is common in animals as well as man. Symbols, on the other hand, are particular to man. Symbols are involved in the relationship of subject to conception

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100 to symbol to object. The difference between and symbol is the difference between signification and denotation, i.e., "the complex relationship which a name has to an object which bears it."8 Involved in this complex relationship is "connotation" which is the relationship between the symbol and the individual "conception" of that symbol. One's "concept" (denotation) of a symbol allows one to remember or hold on to the meaning of a symbol albeit the symbol is not present. Furthermore, the concept through one's sub-jective abstraction (connotation) transforms the concept into a conception. In Langer's words: A concept is all that a symbol really conveys. But just as quickly as the concept is symbolized to us, our own imagination dresses it up in a private personal conception, which we can distinguish from the communicable public only by a process of abstraction (italics hers). In Langer's view the unique human ability of using symbols manifests itself in one way through language as used in thinking and speech (discursive forms of symbolization). Another way is through ritual (presentational forms of symbolization) and include art, religion, poetry, magic, etc. Unfortunately, Langer maintains a clear separation exists between the expression of thought and feeling. That is to say, Langer reflects her early positivistic training by declaring that language subsumes conceptions but not

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101 feelings. This thesis, on the other hand, assumes Jackendoff that: .. There must be levels of mental representations at which information conveyed by language is compatible with information from other peripheral systems such as vision, nor8erbal audition, smell, kinesthesic, and so forth. Feelings, of course, supply information of some sort, and, therefore, are included with the other peripheral systems above. currently, it is well established that. language expresses emotions as well as thought. Of importance to this thesis are the symbols that are significant in that they are found in and distinguish organizational culture from other forms of culture or distinguish one organizational culture from another.11 Furthermore, the use of language involved in and associated with these symbols (or more appropri-ately, "metasymbols") can only be understood (given meaning to) when considering language as knowledge (the level of semantics, syntactics), as behavior (the level of pragmatics), and as a system (the level of system-ics). Thus, contrary to Langer, involved in symbols from the sociosemiotic perspective are conceptions, values, and beliefs and the concomitant emotions. An important distinction that Langer does make that is critical to this thesis is the differentiation of the symbol from its connotation and its denotation. The denotation (concept) is public knowledge but the

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102 connotation (conception) is located in the individual's semantic/syntactic space. Consequently, the symbolic register will be described as composed of the "concepts" of symbols. Definition of symbols in organizations range over many perspectives: from Pettigrews12 anthropological definition; Louis13 sociological; Morgan, Frost and Pondys14 semiotic; to Dandridge, Mitroff, and Joyces15 functional definition. The common thread running through ihese definitions is that symbols are objects, actions, events, utterances, relationships, concepts, images, or devices that are associated, however ambiguously, with a multiplicity of meanings not explicitly manifested by the symbol itself and these meanings are invested with emotion, value, or significance by the individual, group, or organization. There are several aspects of symbols in organizations that should be articulated: (1) Implicit in the defi-nition is that organizational symbols must be individually interpreted (connoted) by organizational members. The fact that organizations use symbols does not imply that there are universal interpretations of these symbols. One can assume from this observation that the individual will have a connoted meaning of a symbol particular to himself, a denoted meaning of what a symbol means to his work or reference group, and a

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103 denoted meaning of what the symbol means to the organization as a whole.16 (2) An organization's symbols could involve everything from a motto, pin, cuff links, or name tag to dress codes, slang names and labels, or even entire organizational settings. In other words, anything the organization possesses or processes, is a potential symbol.17 (3) Although this thesis is limited to verbal symbols, these verbal symbols do not merely include slang, slogan, or jargon terms but com-plex lexicogrammatical symbols such as patterns of humor, stories, myths, legends, creeds, fables, or any other metaphorical imagery. Also included would be technological or management symbols such as MIS, Pert, MRP, "Bottom-line," ROI, etc., and any terms associated with the symbols that occur in communicative inter-changes. The variety of the examples above infer the prevalence of symbols in the organization. (4) Another important point to make is that the relationship be-tween a symbol and an associated meaning may so inculcated that it may become habitual. This habitual association may then be considered unconscious, or more correctly, preconscious. The importance of studying symbols in organiza-tions is justified in: ... that organizations are not simple systems like machines or adaptive organisms, they are human systems manifesting complex patterns of cultural activity. .. Members of an organization are able

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104 to use language, can exhibit insight, produce and interpret metaphors, are able to vest meaning in events, behavior, and objects, seek meaning ig their lives--in short, can act symbolically. According to Dandridge et al. symbols serve several functions in the organization. They are as follows: Descriptive: A shorthand to convey the direct experienci9of a work situation and the associated Energy controlling: Individuals are inspired2sr dernotivated through the impact of the symbol. System Maintenance: Here the patterning or stability of the system is or reinforced through the various symbol types. One may justifiably ask if the conceptions of symbols are at the level of semantics and syntactics then should not the functions of symbols reflect the semantic functions of language? Indeed, this is the case if one recalls that the ideational semantic function refers to lexicograrnrnatical options that are used to express experience as well as propositional information. Thus, the descriptive function symbols sterns from the ideational function of semantics. Secondly, the energy-controlling function of symbols is a progeny of the textual semantic function in that for energy (symbolic activity) to be directed it must first be organized, or de-organized as the case may be, through some sort of rhetorical mode or genre (symbolic organization). Thirdly, the system maintenance

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105 function of symbols is related to the interpersonal -semantic function in that the. interpersonal component defines lexicogrammatical options in the degrees of respect, de fe renee, agreement, conflict, etc., i.e., the interpersonal modes necessary for stability and change. Symbolic Event symbols form the lexicogrammati-cal foundation for the symbolic event. A event is an episode in which part or all the meaning expressed and exchanged in the episode is transcenden-tal to the episode. One typical symbolic event is the ritual. Lane explains the ntranscendental naturen of the symbolic event in the following: The symbolic nature of ritual lies in the fact that it is significant not for its ostensible meaning but that it stands for, and has to be interpreted by reference to, a transcendental principle outside the means-goal relationship (of the episode). The. "transcendental principle" is constituted by those beliefs and values at the top of a hierarchy of meaning order and structure those at the lower levels. The "top of a hierarchy of meaning" will be taken to be the dominant organizational ideology. Thus, the use of the term "transcendental" does not allude to a meta-physical concept or system but to an observable and describable system of beliefs and values. Ideology will be addressed later in this chapter.

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106 Furthermore, one can observe the symbolic event as occurring anywhere along the spectrum of episodes running from ones with "open" to ones with "restricted" dimensions. A symbolic event with open dimensions can signal a change in the information domain and a challenge to the dominant ideology or it can involve a defense of that ideology and support for the extant information domain. A symbolic event with restricted dimensions usually acts to reinforce the dominant ideology but it may be employed as a ritualized challenge to it.23 Examples of this latter type of symbolic event are organizational rituals, ceremonies, celebrations, labor strikes (as a ritualized challenge), relating organizational stories, fables, legends, and so forth. Therefore, it might be helpful to picture the symbolic event as occurring along the spectrum between the emergent episode described in the last chapter and the formalized, recurrent, or stylized event as manifested in ritual, ceremony, etc. A graphical representation of the relationship between episodes and degree of transcendence is presented in Figure 2. The taxonomy described is crude but serves the purposes of this thesis. This taxonomy is helpful because it addresses a problem mentioned by Moore and Myerhoff in their introduction to Secular Ritual, namely:

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Emergent Episode (open) Symbolic Episode Emergent Episode I I I I I I I I I I I I I I Emergent Episode (restricted) 107 Globalized Symbolic Event Localized Symbolic Event Symbolic Event (Formal, stylized, recurrent) Fig. 2. Taxonomy of symbolic events.

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108 ... if social behaviors were put on a continuum, with the extreme of prescribed formality at one end and the most open, optative, $pontaneous behavior at the other, that almost any complex social occa in various permutations and comb1nat1ons. Equally problematical is transcendence, which in this thesis, is defined as the use of symbols drawn from the organizational symbolic register which provide at least part (not necessarily all) of the semantic foundation of the dominant ideology. However, there are other organizational symbols which are indirectly supportive, neutral to, or in conflict (from the perspective of some organizational members) with the symbols utilized in the dominant ideology. These indirect, neutral, or counter-symbols will be said to reside in the symbolic register as well. Although counter-symbols (those that conflict with dominant symbols) may be significant to certain individuals, groups, or subcultures in the organization, they are only potentially significant to the organization as a whole. The problem of recognizing episodes as emergent or ritualized as implied by Moore and Myerhoff's comment and the problem of deciding when an episode is employing transcendental symbols thus requires categor-izing the symbolic event along two continuums (tran-scendent symbols and episodic symbols; emergent or ritualized episodes) as has been done in the taxonomy.

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109 The lower left-hand quadrant of the taxonomy represents those types of episodes described in the previous chapter. Here, since the degree of symbolic transcendence is low (i.e., the meaning of the symbols employed can be understood with references to the register, the episodic dimensions, and the information domain) and since the development of the episode is only partially predictable (emergent), this quadrant describes the episode as only marginally a symbolic event. The upper left-hand quadrant represents those varieties of episodes in which the episodic development is still emergent but at least some of the symbols employed are transcendental. These symbols are either used as reinforcement of the dominant ideology or as a challenge to it. This is the symbolic event as symbolic episode. The right-hand quadrants represent varieties of episodes where episodic dimensions are progressively restricted. The terms "formalized," "stylized," and "recurring" have been employed to emphasize that the maximum degree of restriction has been placed on the episodic dimensions. Thus, when the frame describes a situation where the subject matter is not only insulated but programmed with little or no variation, and the episode develops through formal and repetitious

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110 steps (repeated for each similar event), then the "frame" becomes a framework. When social control is programmed through strict, explicit role definitions and communication is through inflexible, explicit communication rules, then "control" becomes regulation. When strategy becomes non-discursive, i.e., when an uttered proposition "partakes of the same sense as truth"25 and the episodic goal is dictated, then "strategy" becomes form. Therefore, framework, regulation, and form are not so much variables as they are descriptors of the ritualized symbolic event. The "framework" of a symbolic event gives episodic participants a common vocabulary for defining and guiding their through celebrations of commitment, performance evaluations, ritualized presentations of organizational "heroes" (e.g., "sales-man of the year"), and so on. Frameworks affectively influence members in that it gives participants a sense of security (false or otherwise) through the sharing of a common experience. "Regulation" provides for stability in interpersonal relations as well as the socialization of the individual into the organization: . there may be effects on the participants which directly involve their social roles, identities, sense of collective attitudes toward other persons, and the like. "Form" involves how the programmed symbolic content of the event is organized, i.e., as ritual, as ceremony,

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111 as story telling, etc., as well as the rhetorical modes involved in the symbolic organization of the event. Although not immediately obvious, form is an integral part of the symbolic event: Ritual is in part form, and a form which gives certain meanings to its contents. The work of ritual, then, is partly attributable to its morphological Its medium is part of its message. The lower right-hand quadrant describes those varieties of episodes where the episodic dimensions have become framework, regulation, and form. However, the degree of transcendence of the symbols employed is low. Such symbolic events might occur .as ritualized coffee breaks and lunch hours, group-specific cere-monies, company picnics or parties, etc. It is important to note that although these types of events may have little import to the dominant organizational ideology, they may have great significance to the participants. Thus, these symbolic events are "localized" (i.e., significant to some of the organizational members). The upper right-hand quadrant represents those varieties of formalized, stylized, or recurring epi-sodes where symbol transcendence is high. Deal and Kennedy describe these types of symbolic events: (Rituals) guide behavior in corporate life and are, in effect, dramatizations of the company's basic cultural values. Behind each ritual is a myth that symbolizes a belief central to the culture.

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112 Without this connection, rituals are just habits and do nothing but give people a false sense of security and certainty. Rituals provide the place and script with which employees can experience meanings; they bring order to chaos. Whether they are cultural extravaganzas or simple events when employees pass particular milestones, ceremonies help the company celebrate heroes, myths, and sacred symbols. Like habits, rituals are commonplace and taken for granted. Ceremonies, meanwhile, are the full corporate spotlight shines on them. Thus, these types of symbolic events will be described as "globalized" as they draw on dominant ideological symbols or affect the entire organization. Organizations have one dominant ideology with other localized ideologies competing with it. In times of major crisis a competing ideology may replace the present dominant one. However, even in times of plenty competing ideologies will be active rather than incubating. This competition will create a certain amount of tension between individuals or groups. Another aspect of the globalized symbolic event is to reduce this tension by "smoothing over" differences between ideologies. Ceremonies and rituals can buffer the interaction between ideologies ... Metaphorical. language facilitates low threat influence attempts because the receivers have the option of misinterpreting messages, and stylized messages allow people to even threatening to attempt influence. If one recalls Smircich's30 case study from the previous chapter, one has an excellent example of a globalized symbolic event. Although the executive

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113 staff meetings Smircich described were used as an exam-ple of the influence that the information domain has over episodic structure, these meetings are a better example of symbolic transcendence. The framework de-scribes an event where the subject matter has been programmed to encompass only external environmental information as selected and presented by the President and internal information as reported by each staff participant. Regulation was programmed in that each staff participant's role was only that of an information source. The form of the meeting was, in Smircich's31 words, "an organizational ritual." The raison-d'etre for the particular framework, regulation, and form describing these meetings lies in that they are a reflection of the dominant ideology defined by Smircich in. the following words: The dominant interpretation that the executive staff used to account for their way of life was the belief that, in their group, differences or problems which may be difficult or painful to handle were submerged. There was widespread agreement that "if you've got anything controversial, you just don't bring it up." Processes of Differentiation and Consensualization The processes interrelating the symbolic register and the symbolic events are described in the following:

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114 Processes of Consensualization. Top-down: Processes whereby individual, work group, or organizational behavior influences stemming from the dominant ideology formalize or stylize episodic dimensions into framework, regulation, and form thus restricting ideational, interpersonal, or textual symbolic options. Bottom-up: Processes whereby an unchanging symbolic register through time transforms episodic dimensions into framework, regulations, and form. This enables organizations to function routinely but also can result in stiltification. Processes of Differentiation. Top-down: Proc-esses whereby individual work group, or organizational behavior influences stemming from subsystem conflict (arising from localized ideological challenges) create new or elaborated saliencies and distinctions in the symbolic register and thus allow for more or different descriptive, energy controlling, and system maintenance options. Bottom-up: Processes whereby .options in the symbolic register as introduced through new or elaborated semantic/syntactic contents of localized ideologies transform framework, regulation, and form into the more emergent dimensions of frame, control, and strategy.

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115 Organizational Ideologies Organizational Ideologies are essentially cognitive templates that give selective significance to certain systems of beliefs, values, ideas, concepts, tasks, or any symbol or behavior that is used to evaluate, justify, consensualize, identify, interpret or understand experience by the organizational members.33 Organizational ideologies are expressed through rituals, ceremonies, stories, fables, job descriptions and titles, operating procedures, tech-nologies and techniques, performance evaluations, and many other activities engaged in by the members. The relationship between the semantic level (symbols), the pragmatic level (ritual), and the systemic level (ide-ology) can be seen in the following quotation from Starbuck: ... one can see that when people watch the results of their organizations actions, they carry out ceremonies that incorporate linguistic rituals. These rituals are quite judgmental: results are quickly classified as good or bad, not merely described in neutral terms. These leaps to judgment are consequences of ideologies in ideologies integrate values with perceptions. From a language sociosemiotic point of view (recall the semantic-syntactic potential functions of the ideational, interpersonal, and textual), underlying the components of and relationships in ideological systems

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116 are the dimensions of the logical-experiential, social, and expressive. The logical-experiential dimension defines for organizational members that which constitutes relevant and information and how this knowledge and information is.and should be diffused in the organization; what goals the organization has and should have, what is and should be the organization's "ethos" (e.g., beliefs, values, identity, character); what the patterns of activity are and should be within the organization, what is and should be the structure of the organization (matrix, hierarchical, etc.); or in other words, how experience is made "rational" or "logical," and furthermore, what constitutes "rationality" and "logic" within the organization. The twin nature of organizational ideologies as expressed by the use of the terms "is" and "should" above, namely, their descriptive and normative aspects,35 help explain certain observations made of ideologies. Through the member's inculcation of the dominant ideology by processes of assimilation and socialization, only certain aspects of their experience are made significant and relevant. These significant aspects tend to reinforce the normative propositions of the ideology. Normative ideological propositions are of the form "If x occurs, then y will follow." Problems will occur in organizations

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117 if: ( 1) members' experiences can not be described through the use of the ideological "filter," or, (2) although the experiences can be described ideologically, the outcomes from employing ideological norms are unexpected and counterproductive. one can see that the dominant organizational ideology is to the organization what information processing is to the individual; that is, ideologies "limit" and "inform" the experiences of the organization. While H.I.P. is situationally based, the dominant ideology is employed until another takes its place (i.e., epochally based). Thus, ideologies can be conceived of as "models" of experience. The more logically consistent the model is, that is, the "better" at describing and members' experiences, the "better" the ideology is. This logical consistency is part of the logical-experiential dimension and is reflected in and is a reflection of the framework of the symbolic event. Since the relationships between beliefs, values, concepts, and tasks, expressed symbolically, and behaviors are not immanent but emergent, or in most cases, contrived, then their relationships must be programmed or modeled through the framework of the symbolic event. The social dimension of organizational ideologies, on the other hand, provide descriptive vocabularies and norms for the way in which "the members act

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in relation to each other or to people outside the organization."36 The social dimension includes 118 assumptions about the nature of human beings (such as in McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y, or Maslow's "hierarchy of needs"), peer relations, and superior and subordinate relationships: Ideologies frequently portray hierarchical relationships as being necessary for effective accomplishment, and so organizations distinguish between superior and subordinate positions ... Superiors supposedly define consistent ideologies, defend existing ideologies, and symbolize what the ideologies have acc6mplished. Subordinates are told to look to superiors for guidance in ideological matters, to carry out the functions assigned to them. In general, it is the social dimension of ideologies that describe the role relationships in the organiza-tion. Furthermore, it is the social dimension of ideologies that describes how social control is accom-plished. The limits of and uses for the familiar power variables, i.e., reward, coercive, referent, expert, or legitimate, are described by the social dimension. The role definitions and interrelationships and the means of social control are reflected in the stylized manner of interpersonal behavior found in the "regulation" of symbolic events. The expressive dimension of organizational ideologies provides inf'ormation on the manner in which the dominant ideology is and should be presented to organizational members. For example, organizations

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119 employ "formal" modes of information exchange such as reports, manuals, ceremonial presentations, ritualistic meetings, technical training seminars, and so forth, and "informal" modes such as story-telling, "bull" sessions, whisper campaigns, coffee breaks, etc. Thus, the expressive dimension of the dominant ideology de-scribes the unique mixture of modes or channels used in an organization to provide a means of assimilation, socialization, control, expression, sense-making, or in other words, a means of inculturating individuals into the organization. The existence of localized ideologies offers different logical-experiential, social, and expressive norms to members that are utilized when one group in the organization differentiates itself from other groups or when the dominant ideology is failing to show consistency between norms and experience, failing to provide adequate or appropriate norms for .interpersonal behavior, or failing to provide ways of expressing the organizational "reality." Some of the aspects of com-petition among ideologies, including the role of individuals and groups in these competitions, are offered by Dunbar, Dutton, and Torbert in the following selections: Ideologies which are believed by all members integrate organizations and enable resources to be mobilized towards focused objectives. Performances improve over time, but this very success along

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120 narrowly defined dimensions also erects constraints. over time, organizational members with different statuses come to believe that different performance dimensions should be emphasized, and heretics question the value of successes on traditional dimensions. Uncertainty develops and political.coalitions realign to propose new organizational ideologies. ideological changes grow more likely when an organization has suffered some clearly recognized losses and faces continuing external pressures. Such circumstances create strategic indecision, as members attempt to redefine both the organization's mission and its supporting ideologies. Usually members voice different opinions as to What should be this provides opportunities for covert heret1cs. As can be seen from the above types of challenges of the dominant organizational ideology, these challenges may originate from within or without the organization. External challenges, for the purpose of this thesis, are included in "organizational influences." Processes of Reification and Challenge Therefore, the interrelationship between the dominant organizational ideology and symbolic events can be defined as follows: Processes of Reification. Top-down: Processes whereby constraints located in logical-experiential, social, and expressive ideological dimensions through time transform episodic situations into symbolic events (as described by framework, regulation, and form). Bottom-up: Processes whereby the formalization and

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121 stylization of framework, regulation, and form in symbolic events reinforce dominant ideological constraints located in three ideological dimensions (descriptions). Processes of Challenge. Top-down: Processes whereby outside ideological challenges influence dominant ideological constraints thereby transforming the descriptors of symbolic events into the dimensions of emergent episodes. Bottom-up: Processes whereby behavioral manifestations of localized ideologies influence a change in the descriptors of symbolic events and thereby challenge (not necessarily successfully) ideological constraints located in the dominant ideological dimensions. summary This chapter has described organizational culture as having a lexicogrammatical foundation in its symbolic register, its behavioral in symbolic events, and its guiding or informational principles in its ideology. As such, organizational culture reflects the sociosemiotic structure of the group and the individual. However, it is problematic whether organizational cultures are characterized by more complexity than group cu 1 t ures (i.e., the registers, episodes, and information domains). Both groups and organizations are multicephalous systems. On the other

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122 hand, groups form subsystems that are embedded in the larger organizational cultural system. Therefore, one may tentatively state that although it may be no more complex than groups, an culture provides a higher criterion for judgment on what symbols, behaviors, and information or knowledge are and should be preferred by the organizational members. This observation is based on the efficaciousness of symbolic events to co-orientate and coordinate individuals, groups, or subcultures to all-encompassing organizational goals or standards, an observation that is at least anecdotally born-out by such recent writings as Corporate Cultures and In Search of Excellence. What is left to describe is by what means individuals are embedded in groups, and by what means individuals and groups are embedded in organizational cultures. This statement, of course, implies communications, and it is the aspects of communication, level by level, that will be described in the next chapter.

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NOTES--CHAPTER IV 1M.R. Louis, "Organizations as Culture-Bearing Mi 1 ieux," in Organizational Symbolism, eds. L.R. Pondy, P.J. Frost, G. Morgan, and J.C. Dandridge (Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, Inc., 1983), p. 39. 2G. Morgan, P.J. Frost and L.R. Pondy, "Organi zational Symbolism," in Organizational Symbolism, eds. L.R. Pondy, P.J. Frost, G. Morgan, and T.C. Dandridge (Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, Inc., 1983), p. 3. 3 A.M. Pettigrew, "On Studying or gani za tional Culture," Administrative Science Quarterly, 24 (1979), 574. 4G. Geertz, "Ideology as a Culture System," in Ideology and Discontent, ed. D.E. Apter (New York: The Free Press, 1964), p. 63. 5Although Geertz is describing "symbol-systems" of which "ideology" is one example, the description will be solely applied to "ideologies" in this thesis. 6s. Langer, Philosophy in a New Key, 4th ed. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1967), p. 56. 7c. Morris, Signs, Language and Behavior (New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1946). 8 Langer, p. 64. 9Ibid., pp. 71-72. 10R. Jackendoff, Semantics and Cognition (Cambridge: the MIT Press, 1983), p. 16. 11obviously, symbols constitute what has been called the individual's semantic and syntactic space and the group register in this thesis. However, in this chapter "symbol" is used to signify organizationspecific "metasymbols" which may be found in a semantic and syntactic space or a group register as well. 12Pettigrew.

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124 13Louis. 14Morgan, Frost, Pondy. 15T.C. Dandridge, J. Mitroff, W.F. Joyce, .. Or ganizational Symbolism: A Topic to Expand Organizational Analysis, .. Academy of Management Review, 5 (1980), 77-82. 16some anecdotal support for this assumption is provided by L. Harris and V.E. Cronen. 11A Rules-Based -Model for the Analysis and Evaluation of Organizational Communication, .. Communication 27 (Winter 1979), 12-28. 17see T.C. De,al and A.A. Kennedy, Corporate Cultures: The Rites and Rituals of Corporate Life (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publication Co., 1982). l8Morgan, Frost, and Pondy, p. 4. l9Dandridge, Mitroff and Joyce, p. 79. 20Ibid. 21Ibid. 22c. Lane, The Rites of Rulers: Ritual in Industrial Society--The Soviet Case (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), p. 11. 23 b'd 12 13 I 1 ., pp. -. 24s.F. Moore and B.G. Myerhoff, 11Introduction: Secplar Ritual; Forms and Meanings, .. in Secular Ritual, eds. S.F. Moore and B.G. Myerhoff (Amsterdam: Van Gorcum, 1977), p. 22. 2 5R.A. Rappaport, "Ritual, Sanctity and Cybernetics," American Anthropologist, 73 (1971), 70. 26 Moore and Myerhoff, p. 16; s .. Millham, R. Bullock, and P. Cherrett, 11Social Control in Organizations, .. British Journa1 of Sociology, 23 (December 1972), 412. 27 Ibid., p. 8. 28oeal and Kennedy, pp. 62-63.

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125 2 9w .H. Star buck, "Congealing Oi 1: Inventing Ideologies to Justify Acting Ideologies Out," Journal of Management Studies, 19 {1982), 16. 3 0L. Smircich, norganizations as Shared Mean ings," in Organizational Symbolism, eds. L.R. Pondy, P.J. Frost, G. Morgan, and T.C. Dandridge {Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, Inc., 1983). 31Ibid., p. 60. 32Ibid., p. 57. 33Geertz, 1964; Starbuck, 1982; T.J. Watson, "Group Ideologies and Organizational Change," Journal of Management Studies, 19 {1982), 259-275; A.D. Meyer, "How Ideologies Supplant Formal Structure and Shape Responses to Journal of Management Studies, 19 {1982), 45-61; N. Brunsson, nThe Irrationality of Action and Action Rationality: Decisions, Ideologies and Organizational Actions,n Journal of Man-agement Studies, 19 {1982) 29-44; R.L.M. Dunbar, J.M. Dutton, an.d W.R. Torbert, ncrossing Mother: Ideological Constraints on Organizational Improvements," Journal of Management Studies, 19 {1982), 91-108; L.L. cummings, "The Logics of Management," Academy of Management Review, 8 {1983), 532-538. 3 4starbuck, p. 23. 35Brunsson. 36 b'd 38 I 1 ., p. 37Dunbar, Dutton and Torbert, p. 93. 38Ibid., p. 96. 39rbid., p. 97; see also R. O'Day, "Intimidation Rituals: Reactions to Reform,n The Journal of App 1 i e d Behavior a 1 S c i en ce, 1 0 { 1 9 7 4 ) 3 8 5-3 8 6

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CHAPTER V THE ASPECTS OF COMMUNICATION Introduction This chapter describes six aspects of communication. The term "aspect" is used to indicate six different perspectives on communication as a whole. These perspectives are generated from the model and as such represent language as manifested in three different ways (codified knowledge, behavior, and systemic constraint) and in two different contexts (group and organization). "Communication aspects," it would appear, promotes a meaning different from that of, for example, "communication components" or "the parts of communication." The latter phrases carry with them an assumption that no theoretical damage is done to the phenomenon when one divides, parcels, or in some other way, analytically separates it. In the sociosemiotic systems model the interdependent aspects of communication are derived from the three different levels of semiotic (meaning) manifestation and the two different but related sociosemiotic system contexts. Thus,

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127 embedding the individual into the group requires an elaboration of three aspects, and embedding the individual in the organizational culture as a whole requires the elaboration of three more but closely related aspects. It is hoped that this on communication will maintain the richness and complexity the phenomenon requires. Three communication aspects are fundamental: encoding, speech acts, and discourse. Anything that is said will be encoded and decoded, will be manifested as a speech act, and this speech act will be part of one's discourse. In this way encoding and decoding are embedded in speech acts and speech acts embedded in discourse. These three aspects come into play in the interpersonal or group context. In the context of the organization as a whole'these aspects are in part transformed into invocation and interpretation, performance, and voice, respectively. This chapter will describe these six aspects as well as articulating some ramifications of approaching communication from a sociosemiotic perspective. Encoding and Decoding At the level of semantics and syntactics the individual encodes his or her.own speech acts or decodes speech acts of others. Traditionally, studies on

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128 encoding and decoding have emphasized cognitive or emotional on coding processes. More recently, however, sociolinguistic scholars have focused their attention on the effects of culture on linguistic behavior, as well as the effects of linguistic behavior on cognitive activity. For example, one reads in Fowler and Kress: our studies demonstrate that social groupings and relationships influence the linguistic behavior of speakers and writers, and moreover, that these socially determined patterns of language influence non-linguistic behavior including, crucially, cognitive activity. Syntax can code a world-view without any conscious choice on the part of a writer or speaker. We argue that the world-view comes to language-users from their relation to the institutions and socioeconomic structure of their society. It is facilitated and confirmed for them by a language use which has society's ideological impress. To generalize further, there are social meanings in a natural language which are precisely distinguished-in its lexical and syntactic structure and which are articulated when we write or speak. There is no discourse which does not embody such meanings. our "organized selections" from among these meanings are responses to our practical theories of the nature of the communicative events in which we participate; we have been socialized into holding these theories and our judgments are largely automatic. It is to stress the automatic nature of this process. To paraphrase the above quotations using the register in this thesis, one may say that social groupings and relationships influence linguistic selec-tion of semantic and syntactic meaning options and that these selections are generally automatic (precon-scious). Furthermore, the selected options influence

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129 information processing and are reflections of social ideologies in the form of group information domains and organizational ideologies, and, one must add, these options also reflect the self-concept and the individual's role. Linguistic options, as has been stated, imply differences in semantic and syntactic meaning in the contents of an individual's semantic and syntactic space. Drawing from Chapter II of this thesis, semantic meaning can be described as word decompositions, ultimately to "primitive" symbols (in Langer's sense), which are influenced by necessity, centrality, and typicality conditions embedded in preference rule systems. Preference rule systems are in turn influenced by reinforcing or conflicting social perceptions of coherency, saliency, and stability. Therefore, the discussion must turn to the relationship between the internal (to the semantic and syntactic space) influences of necessity, centrality, and typicality conditions and preference rule systems, and external influences such as information processing, selfconcept, roles, information domain, and organizational ideology. The relationships between semantic/syntactic internal structure and information processing, selfconcept, and role were described in Chapter II. The relationship between the information domain and the

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130 internal structure of semantic/syntactic space is made by way of the group register and episodic structure. That is to say, the individual's preference rule system is the individual's interpretation (largely automatic) of the guides (rules?) provided by the group register dimensions of the ideational, interpersonal, and textual. These, at least theoretical, causal linkages (perhaps, "loose coupling" might be a better expres-sian) between the internal and external influences on one's semantic and syntactic space allow one to formu-late hypotheses of a fairly provocative nature. For example, the following hypotheses are provided by Fowler and Kress,2 who suggest that they invite "critical scrutiny": (1) Forms of social organization influence linguistic structure and linguistic usage. (2) This influence operates in a deterministic fashion: social structure demands linguistic variety a. ( 3) The process may be unconscious or, if a speaker does know what is going on, he or she is under great pressure not to resist it. (4) Social structure bears on all parts of language, not merely those parts that are "about" personal and group relationships such as personal pronouns or the labels for classes or roles. (5) Different forms of language should not be regarded as cognitively equivalent. They are not "merely in effect, but affect the potential expression of concepts, and thus the avai labi 1 i ty of concepts, too.

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131 Given the schema above any definition of encoding and decoding must explain social influences on these two activities as well as individual influences. Encoding involves the (frequently automatic) selection of linguistic options under the influence of internal semantic and syntactic "pressure"3 derived from necessity, centrality, and typicality conditions, and also under the influence of preference rule systems in part derived from the dimensions of register. Decoding on the other hand, involves the decomposition both semantically and syntactically (frequently of the linguistic selections of a speech act. The decompositions are influenced by necessity, centrality and typicality conditions as well as the preference rule systems activated by the particular register. Some further observations should be made with regard to encoding and register. The average individual's vocabulary is around 20,000 words. Yet, studies have. shown 4 that in everyday conversation individuals rarely use more than 3000 words. This would imply that the number of words comprising a particular register is much less than that available to the individual through his vocabulary. Thus, when one enters into a communicative interchange, the register developed and drawn from represents another limitation to what can be said

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132 in the interchange. One need only recall what happens in an episode where one participant employs a word with which the other participants are unfamiliar. Responses range from a total disregard (i.e., not asking for a definition or clarification) to indignation. Thus, there are behavioral constraints on those who would transgress the boundaries of registers. Blakar5 reiterates an even more fundamental observation concerning the limitations or saliencies placed on language users by their language. Blakar6 has made a series of studies to investigate how lan-guage "represents, reflects, preserves and conveys" sex-role patterns, and political and ideological perspectives. Blakar proposes that: ... the language system by its way of conceptualizing "the reality" represents particular perspec tives or interests, thereby giving those perspectives a pervasive influe9ce on everybody learning and using that language. One can logically extend Blakar's statements about language in general to the sublanguages of registers, i.e., registers represent, reflect, preserve and convey particular perspectives derived from restraints or saliencies located in information domains or organiza-tional ideologies.

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133 Invocation and Interpretation What has been said above about group registers applies equally well to symbolic registers of the organizational semiotic system with the added proviso that symbolic registers will consist of a fewer number of constituents (symbols). Invocation and interpretation are to the semantic/syntactic space and symbolic register as encoding and decoding are to the semantic/ syntactic space and group register. The difference lies in that the linguistic options involved in invoca-tion and interpretation are drawn from the symbolic register and hence have a "transcendental" meaning. The importance of symbols to organizations can hardly be overstated. Pfeffer underlines this emphasis in the following comment: Ceremonies and language typically are associated with the use of symbols ... organizational structures serve symbolic as well as substantive functions, and therefore become a focus for ghange in political contests within organizations. In Pfeffer's perspective one can hardly change an organization's structure without also changing its symbolic register. For example: The creation of new subunits with new titles permits emphasis to be given to new aspects of the organization's operation. A restructuring which creates anew product development department, a new consumer affairs department, or a public relations department a visible manifestation to those inside and outside the organization that the

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134 activity just annointed through the creation of a more important to the organ1zat1on. Whether to maintain or change organizations someone will be required to invoke symbols and others will be required to interpret them. The Speech Act The speech act is an uninterrupted utterance (e.g., a single word, a phrase, a sentence, a group of sentences, a speech, lecture, etc.) that expresses intent on the part of the speaker. Since the speech act expresses intent, it is an outcome of information processing. Although from the presentation of human information processing givenin Chapter II one may construe HIP as a primarily passive activity, this is not the case. It is at the level of individual pragmatics (HIP) that the individual impresses his through lexicogrammatical selections from his semantic and syntactic space. Furthermore, the individual's speech acts reflect his self-concept and role. Ascribing individual intent to speech acts is not entirely accepted by many communication researchers. For example, the following quotation is from Berger and Douglas: We strongly believe that cognitive processes are critical to the explanation of communication

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135 behavior; however, we also believe that it is a mistake to assume that most utterances in social interactions are the result of highly conscious thought processes. Obviously, a position that asserts that communicative behavior is frequently not generated by highly conscious thought processes calls into question the usefulness of the of "intent" in explaining communicative conduct. Berger and Douglas make their statement based on the observations that: (1) Persons frequently may not have clear sets of interaction goals or strategies in mind before, during, or after their encounters with others. (2) Frequently, communicative "scripts" are employed by individuals allowing them to pay a limited amount of attention in episodes. (3) Scripts and social expectations may be interchangeable. (4) Especially in formal organizations, decoding and enc.odin.g may .be lesj_1than in many informal commun1cat1on ep1sodes. However, .as will hopefully be made clear in the follow-ing discussion, Berger and Douglas' reservations have been considered in this thesis. There is a close relationship between an individual's intent and his social expectations. If one has certain intentions reflected in a speech act, then he has expectations that his intent will be met by an expected behavioral response in other episodic participants. However, "intent" is used here having a broader definition than that usually ascribed to it, namely influence or persuasion. There may be an intent merely to inform, to maintain social amenities, and so forth. An individual may even enter an episode with no expectations, but this does not mean he has no intent.

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136 Rather, his intent is to limit the amount of his involvement in the episode. In many cases this would mean that the individual draws on communicative "scripts." Such is generally the case when individuals are involved in symbolic events or episodes with restricted dimensions where social expectations are clear and unambiguous. In such cases an individual's lexicogrammatical choices are habitual. This represents a positive aspect of self-conceptualization and role, i.e., one where the self and/or role has become so inculcated that the speaker is speaking as if from a script. No active monitoring of the self is deemed necessary. Berger and Douglas' last observation only provides support for a major contention of this thesis, that being, the strong cultural context given to human interaction in organizations requires that ideologies and information domains be investigated to arrive at any understanding of speech behavior in those organizations. Before leaving this topic one more aspect of the sociosemiotic approach should be considered. The speech act is considered by many scholars as a unit of meaning. Thus, there is likely to be a focus in research on speech acts in episodes in -order to ascertain the meaning of the situation. However, a sociosemiotic approach emphasizes attendance to all the

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137 possible mediating processes inherent and implicit in speech act. These mediating processes 6ould initiate from an individual's semantic and syntactic space, his self-concept and role, the group register, or the information domain. Furthermore, the speech act could in turn affect all these different levels and interrelating processes. Therefore, the speech act can not be considered a simple unit of meaning. Even in those cases where speech acts may be scripted many mediatory processes allow for that script. The sociosemiotic approach can be seen as especially valuable when one considers group communication. In this situation person A may be directing his speech acts toward person B. However, speech acts act either to maintain or change episodic dimensions which in turn through interrelating processes affect the information domain and group register. Thus, the speech acts of persons c, D, and any others present will be influenced as well as those of person B. Left to consider is the way in which the individual "impresses" himself (i.e., how choices made in HIP reflect self-concept and role) on his speech acts. Blakarl2 has suggested that because speakers through the use of language influence and structure a receiver's experience, then communication in its

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138 broadest sense is a means of social power. Some of the "tools" of power available to a source are as follows: (1) choice of words and expressions; (2) creation of (new) words and expressions; (3) choice of grammatical form; (4) choice of sequence; (5) use of suprasegmental features; (6) choice of implicit or tacit premises.13 These same linguistic tools impress the individual onto the speech act. of these tools will be discussed separately. Because of the redundancy and richness of language, the same phenomena can be expressed or described in several synonymous ways. However, there are subtle differences between synonymous words and expressions. Consider the synonymous expressions "the bottle is half full" and "the bottle is half empty." Although synonymous, they may express different feelings, attitudes, or personality traits. Or, recalling a few names for policemen, such as, "police," "fuzz," "bullets," or "cops," any one of theSe choices can indicate feelings or attitudes on the part of the label user. According to Blakar,14 on "choosing from among 'synonymous' expressions, one can signal his attitude toward that which is refer red. . The choice of words or expressions also helps to determine the way in which episodes develop. The creation of new words and expressions oc-curs frequently. Organizations are continually being

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139 bombarded by information regarding new processes, activities, or knowledge. This new information carries with it new labels and expressions. A source intro-ducing new terms is signaling that he has encountered this new information and it is now part of his knowledge. The choice of grammatical form can signal the psychological "distance" the source is implying to have occurred between himself and some event, or it can s i g n a 1 who t he sou r c e be 1 i eve d to be t he acto r s i n the event, or what caused the event, etc. In Blakar's words: Since a.change in grammatical form actually can determine "who it is about" and can indicate causitive relationships, it is naturally not surprising that the choice of forms also can :eflect thi5transmitter's perspective and 1nterests. The sequencing of adjective lists, adverb lists, or lists of clauses, and so forth can reflect a source's attitudes and interests. For example, the sequencing of adjectives can be balanced or listed in such a manner as only certain adjectives are salient and remembered.l6 Choices of emphasis, tone of voice, pauses, etc., are examples of suprasegmental characteristics a source may employ. In the case of emphasis, one can indicate what is new information or what is essential information, or in the case of tone of voice, one can

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140 indicate whether a statement is "an explanation, a denial, an acceptance, etc."17 Thus, events will be structured or restructured according to the petspective of the source. The choice of implicit or tacit premises is a non-linguistic tool. It has to do with the source's choice of what will be said and what will be left unsaid but will be assumed by the source to be known by the receiver. For a source may influence and structure a receiver's experience by stating information that is tied to unstated, problematical information. In this way the source presents what he is willing to talk about but de-emphasizes what he is not willing to talk about. An example is provided by Henry.18 In a speech to Congress, President was "reported" to have said, "It is not the regular increase in administration charges that calls for an increase of income taxes, but the Vietnam war." A tax increase was presented as a given while the of a tax increase was not given to discussion. To summarize this section, one can see from just the few "tools" described above that the individual has many means at his disposal to impress his interests, values, attitudes, or intent upon his speech acts. A similar observation has caused Fowler and Kress1 9 to suggest a "critical" approach to the

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141 study of linguistics and speech acts. In their article "Critical Linguistics" they have included a checklist to guide the reader in a critical analysis of speech acts. This checklist is retommended for those interested. Performance Act The performance act is a speech act in which the speaker invokes symbols from the organization's symbolic register. Thus, one will find performance acts in any symbolic episode or symbolic event. The speaker's intent in a performance act is to maintain or in some way influence the framework, regulation, and form dimensions in the symbolic event or the frame, control, and strategy dimensions in the symbolic episode. Pacanowsky and O'Donnell-Trujillo20 have addressed this aspect of speech phenomena in a recent publication. Their analysis of "Organizational Communication as Cultural Performance" differs from the "performance act" in several ways. Pacanowsky and O'Donnell-Trujillo treat performance as interactional, contextual, episodic, and improvisational and define performances "as those situationally relative and variable by which organizational members construct organizational reality."21 The difference in

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142 their treatment of "performance" and the "performance act" as presented herein is one of scope and approach. Their inclusion of the episodic structure, and therefore, the interactional and. improvisational characteristics of episodes, as well as their inclusion of the contextual embeddedness of these episodes in the organization's culture is similar to the overall scope of the sociosemiotic systems model (e.g., the semantic and syntactic, pragmatic, and systemic levels of the individual, group, and organizational culture). However, the limited scope given to the "performance act" in this thesis comes from the demand to critically analyze the individual's lexicogrammatical embeddedness in his speech behavior which in turn is embedded in the systemic informational constraints or contexts de-fined by the organizational culture. Thus, while Pacanowsky and O'Donnell-Trujillo's approach is anthro-pological, the approach presented in this thesis draws from a systems model. On the other hand, there are many observations made by Pacanowsky and O'Donnell-Trujillo that have also been made in this thesis. For example, they make the following observations: Some performances--"meetings of the board," "executive succession ceremonies," "new employee welcome and orientation"--are in fact quite ceremonial and usually "invoke special ways of acting, special language, rules, and even boundaries" (Abrahams, 1977, p. 100), which give a sense of pre-planning

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143 and rote execution of the performance. Other performances--"employee reprimands," "bitch sessions"--are similarly, though less formally, ritualized and may revolve around similar issues, similar sequences, and similar presentational styles. And repeat performance--from personal stories to employee quite structured and quite significant. However, Pacanowsky and O'Donnell-Trujillo go on to add that their statement above covers the exceptions and not the rule. There is one issue on which the sociosemiotic systems approach differs greatly from Pacanowsky and O'Donnell-Trujillo's anthropological approach. It is not clear whether or not their conception of tional communication as cultural performance addresses all communication in an organization or just a part of it. They present five generic categories of perform-ance, i.e., as ritual, as passion, sociality, politics, and inculturation. Do these generic categories always reflect the organizational culture or do they sometimes reflect a subculture within or a larger culture than the organizational culture? One can probably think of many episodes occurring within organizations that revolve around individual goals and intentions related to human culture as a whole, or episodes revolving around group relational interests (e.g., bowling teams, softball teams, social activities outside the organiza-tion, etc.). Certainly, the organizational culture may in some form or other restrict or constrain such

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144 episodes, but in this case, can it be said that the organizational culture reflects, or promotes such episodes? This .question is resolved by considering organizational culture as an informational or behav-ioral constraint, i.e., an ideology. Discourse Discourse describes the manner in which the "self" is impressed on communication. Discourse, although related to the speech act, differs from it in that as Levy states, the former involves "macrolevel planning," and the latter "microlevel planning": Macrolevel planning deciding which "chunks" of the discourse to say when, and how they are to be organized. Microlevel planning includes the choices to be made in deciding how to order the constituents of a sentence, corresponding to such notions as focus, theme, given-new, etc. Of course, sometimes a plan have application on both macro-and m1cro-1evels. However, one should not assume that discourse planning exhibits the same kind of structure as information processing and speech acts. If one realizes that one's "text" is the result of discourse planning, Halliday and Hasan's comment below concerning texts is equally applicable to discourse: A text is not something that is like a sentence, only bigger; it is something that differs from a sentence in kind ... A text does not CONSIST of sentences; it is REALIZED BY, or encoded in, sentences. If we understand it in this way, we shall not expect the same kind of STRUCTURAL integration among the parts of a text as we find among the

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145 parts of a sentence or clause. zahe unity of a text is a unity of a different kind. One may understand this "different kind" of unity if one recalls the earlier discussion on "intention." Discourse planning represents intention on a "macro-" level. Thus, one expects to find the speaker express-ing overall "communication goals" through discourse planning.25 These goals, according to Levy, can be ideational, interpersonal, or textual, or since the systemic level is being addressed, goals aimed at influencing task, social, or discursive information. Communication goals are products of the interrelation-ship between the self-concept, roles, and of course, the situation. Furthermore, Levy proposes that one employs "communicative strategies" or "the mental process whereby the speaker realizes a particular communicative goal as a linguistic expression" to accomplish his goals.26 These strategies have been referred to in this thesis as the choices made in information processing and which are expressed through speech. acts. One of the major means by which self-concept and role is impressed on discourse is through communicator style. Norton2 7 divides communicator style into "microbehavior" and "macrobehavior." The former is speech and paralinguistic behavior "that gives form to

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146 literal content" and the latter that behavior that occurs in consistently recurring patterns: Style in the latter sense is the accumulated pattern of styles determined by microbehaviors. As such, the macrostyle gives form to interaction by creating expectations dependent upon noims. Although both senses of style are frequently used in the literature, in essence, the macrostyle is upon multiple instances of the m1crostyle. Thus, microstyle describes lexicogrammatical and para-linguistic choices made in information processing; whereas, macrostyle describes those recurring patterns of self-presentation somewhat consistent from situation to situation. Norton has synthesized a large amount of research on communicator style and has identified nine macrostyle variables: the dominant, the dramatic, the contentious, the animated, the impression leaving, the relaxed, the attentive, the and the friendly. Rather than describe each of these styles, the reader is directed to Chapter Three of Norton's text.29 H o we v e r i n o r d e r t o g i '! e t h e r e a d e r s o m e i d e a o f attributes a few of Norton's comments on the "dominant" style variable are given below: Dominance is manipulated by eye contact, congruent body movements, voice loudness, voice modulation, rate of information, and. undue hesitations ... In general, the more dominant person responds longer and louder with shorter latencies, less compliance, and more requests for the other to change his or her behavior ... The person who communicates in a dominant way appears to be more confident, enthusiastic,

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147 forceful, active, competitive, self-confident,30 self-assured, conceited, and businesslike ... It is relatively easy to discern how a dominant style influences social and discursive information in the information domain. However, information is also affected through a dominant style, in that the speaker invests a substantial amount of effort toward the goal of having his or her interpretation of "what is going on" accepted by the other participants. Closely related to communicator styles are leadership styles. This topic has been an intensely studied area, especially by management theorists. How-ever, the resulting scope, utility, epistemology and methodological bias expressed in these studies have been questioned by Pondy. 31 He offers a different way of looking at leadership: Suppose we think of leadership as a language. To practice, say, democratic leadership is to understand the set of meanings (values?) to be conveyed, to give them primitive expression, to translate them into stylistic representations, and ultimately to choose iounds and actions that manifest them. My worry is that this overarching process has been truncated, and that we have reduced the grammar of leadership to its phonetics. The syntactics and especially of leadership have been lost sight of. What kind of insights can we get if we say that the effectiveness of a leader lies in his ability to make activity meaningful for those in his role set--not to change behavior but to give others a sense of understanding what they are doing, and especially to articulate it so they communicate about the meaning of their behavior.

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148 Smircich andMorgan equate "leadership" with "the management of meaning," and state: Leadership is realized in the process whereby one or more individuals succeeds in attempting to frame and define the reality of others. Indeed, leadership situations may be as those in which there exists an obligation or a perceived right on the part of certain define the reality of others (italics theirs). Leaders emerge: because of their role in framing experience in a way that provides a viable basis for action, e.g. by mobilizing meaning, articulating and defining what has previously remained implicit or unsaid, by inventing images and meaning that provide a focus for new attention, and by consolidating,3gonfronting, or changing prevailing wisdom ... Furthermore: . leadership depends on the existence of individuals willing, as a result of inclination or pressure, to surrender, at least in part, the36 powers to shape and define their own reality. The relationship in organizations between leadership and position (role) is drawn from a cultural-wide ideology.37 This relationship is realized at the level of microstyle (HIP and speech acts) in the following ways described by Blakar: (1) First of all, people with different positions of power have different opportunities to learn the more advanced linguistic tools. (2) He who has most power (position) can decide, at any given time, which linguistic tool is most advantageous .. (3) He who has power (position) determines, to a large extent, the use and meanings of words and expressions (instruments of power) ... (4) Finally, the linguistic tool is in the battle for a position of power.

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149 The relationship between leadership and position is realized at the level of self-concept/role through discourse. Position (role) brings with it the obligation and subordinate-deferred right to define to a great extent that which is meaningful in the group experience (task information), by what relational norms this meaning will be transferred (social information), and the manner in which this meaning is articulated (discursive information). As has been stated it is one's discourse (planning, goals, style, arrangement, etc.) that influences the information domain. Perhaps some recent research will make it clearer how discourse acts on the information domain. Mehan 39 investigated the relationship linguistic processes, cognitive activities, and social tures in the decision making process of committees which included a psychologist, nurse, special education teacher, classroom teacher, and the parents of students who were being considered for placement in special education programs. He found that the reports given by the psychologist and nurse (professional status) were treated differently than those given by the classroom teacher and parent (lay status). The reports given by teacher and parent were elicited, constantly interrupted, based on common sense, and viewed the student

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150 -in context. on.the other hand, the reports given by the psychologist and nurse were presented, uninterrupted, based on technical knowledge, and did not view the student in question in context. Mehan concludes: The differences in the manner in which the professional and lay people in the committee reported information highlights the way in which the language that people use structures role relationships. And, the structure of role relationships found embedded in the language used by the committee members, in turn provides the grounds of the authority of the claims and recommendations made. Despite the fact that they were composed of a highly technical vocabulary, the professional reports were accepted without challenge or question, while the lay reports were continually inter :upted f8quest for clarification and further 1nformat1on. Mehan attributes this unquestioned acceptance of the professional reports to "the mystification of language and the language of mystification." He goes on to say: The psychologist and the nurse gain their authority from the mastery and use of a technical language that others do not understand and do not question. The professional report gains its status and authority by virtue of the fact that it is obscure, difficult tb understand, and is embedded in the institutional trappings of the formal proceedings of the committee meeting. And, it is this authority that contributes to the assembly of the "discourse of persuasion" observed in the committee meetings, such that decisions are "presented," not "credentialled," "not negotiated" 4 Needless to say, it was the professional reports that carried the most influence, and therefore, it was the committee professionals who dictated the decision of the committee.

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151 The example above indicates how status and role, language, and interact to influence the information domain. On the other hand, it is interest-ing to note the different responses to "team training" given by members of a_team whose leader is involved in the training and a team whose leader is not present. Boss42 reported on such a .situation. He used two different instruments to pre-and post-test the two teams involved in training as well as a third team (used for comparison) not involved in training. Whereas and post-tests indicated significant changes in organizational climate ("Likert Profile") towards the ideal, and more positive changes in group effectiveness, leader approachability, and intragroup trust as measured by Friedlander's "Group Behavior Inventory" for the team with their present, no significant change was measured by either the Likert Profile or Group Behavior Inventory for the leaderless team o the comparison team. Furthermore, members of the leaderless team: . expressed serious reservations about their ability as a group and as individuals to apply what they learned to their _work in the home environment. Their primary reason for such reservations centered on their uncertainty about what the CEO (chief executive officer, i.e., leader) would think and the degree to which he would support their efforts to they had learned during the training sess1on.

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152 Boss added that: . the potential for transfer of learning increased for Team One (with leader) as compared to Team Two (without leader), since all members of the group (Team One) had same theoretical frame of reference and experienced the same training design. Since they learned the same language, so to speak, they perceived great potential for applying the cognitive to problems in their environment (italics added). Thus, it can be hypothesized that subordinates in "natural" groups because of their roles as ones from which information is elicited, who, to a great extent, defer their management of meaning to a leader, who have a lesser status than the legitimate leader, and who have been socialized into their organizational roles, have less access to discourse, as defined in this thesis, than their superiors. Voice When discourse (again, as defined in this thesis, i.e., the abi 1 i ty to influence the i nfor rna tion domain) is used in a broader context, i.e., the organi-zation as a whole, it will be called voice. Voice aims at influencing the organization's ideology (i.e., the logical-experiential, social, and expressive dimensions of ideology). Other than the contextual differences, voice and discourse differ in that voice may include not only the impression of one's self and role on one's communication but also the impression of a reference

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153 group on erie's communication. For example, when one is being a spokesperson for a group, one is employing voice. However, communicating for a group is not a necessary condition for voice. On the other hand, a necessary of voice that in many cases does not characterize is that those who employ voice must have a sufficient power base in the organization to be heard. Thus, voice involves the individual (alone or as a member of a group), power, and the organizational ideology. Power and ideology imply political activity. Pfeffer comments on the relationship between language (voice) and political activity in the following: If politics involves the rationalization and justification of those courses of action desired by the power holders, then language is the vehicle through which this justification occurs. Language can mobilize support by convincing others of a communality:of interests, thus enhancing the coalition building process. Language provides the justification for action for the legitimation of political choices. According to Pfeffer, it is only necessary for individuals to gain symbolic outcomes -(as opposed to tangible outcomes) to accept justification or ra-tionalization. Thus, it is incumbent on power holders. or resource allocators-to voice their justifications and rationalizations in the most style. This involves the invocation of accepted symbols from the symbolic register, the presentation of

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154 justifications through symbolic events, and the plan-ning of discourse, choice of goals, and selection of style that most reflects or reifies the dominant ideo-logy. In Pfeffer's words: .. one critical focus of political activity in organizations is the creation of meaning--meaning which justifies the positions of power of some participants, which justifies and decisions and actions, and which discredits the motivation or information of opponents. In this meaning cteation process, language, ceremonies, symbols and settings are important ingredients, and those effective in politics know how to use these elements. It is interesting to note that it appears a trend is developing whereby more and more organiza-tional members are being allowed access to voice. Obviously, the American Labor Movement gained access to voice many years ago. In addition, with the advent of quality circles, human relations training, matrix man-agement structures, etc. that have appeared more recently, it could be hypothesized that organizations are becoming more politicized than ever. Nevertheless, whether or not open access to voice is ever instituted in organizations, the existence of competing groups (localized ideologies) will forever maintain the neces-sity of political activity, and therefore, the communi-cation aspect of voice in organizations.

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155 Summary This chapter has discussed certain aspects of communication. These aspects were differentiated along two dimensions. The first was the level of language interaction, that is, the particular aspect was defined according to whether it was language as codified knowledge, as behavior, or as an informational constraint. The second dimension was contextual, that is, either communication in groups or communication for consumption by the whole organization. The most fundamental aspects of communication are encoding and decoding, speech acts, and discourse. However, when a speaker draws from the organizational ideology, he or she is adding a further context to the communicative episode. Therefore, one can be said to be employing invocation and interpretation, performance, and voice. These aspects are not substantively different from the interpersonal aspects. They differ in that the speaker has added broader goals and strategies to his or her discourse, may instill a performative aspect to his or her speech acts, and draws from symbolic resources important to the group or organization. Implicit in this chapter are some fundamental questions for students of organizational communication and management science. Several of these questions are listed below: (l) What effects on the sociosemiotic

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156 system of an organization does the easing of access to voice engender? (2) or, in a different context, what change does subordinate access through discourse engender in the group sociosemiotic system? (3) The sociosemiotic system implies that change can occur in the individual on any of three levels, i.e., semantic/ syntactic space, information processing, and selfconcept, and through elaboration and differentiation processes effect change on the other levels, or through restriction and conformity processes limit change on the other levels. Therefore, should a theory of change in the individual address as real or complete change that which changes in individual on_all three levels (i.e.' one's know ledge' behavior' and information about one's self)? ( 4) Extending quest ion ( 3), should change in groups and organizations be assessed as to what degree knowledge, speech behavior, and informational constraints are changed? (5) Finally, research con-cerning communicative competence has generally considered competence as a single or two-factored construct.47 The sociosemiotic systems model suggests that there are at least six factors (i.e., encoding, and decoding, speech acts, discourse, etc.) that have to be operationalized. Thus, the question arises: What constitutes competent encoding and decoding, speech_ acts, discourse, etc.?

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NOTES--CHAPTER V 1 R. Fowler, and G. Kress, "Critical Linguistics," in Language and control, eds., R. Fowler, B. Hodge, G. Kress, and T. Trew (London: Routledge & Kegan Pa u 1, 19 7 9). 2Ibid., pp. 194-195. 3R. Jackendoff, Semantics and Cognition (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1983), p. 144. 4R. Evered, "The Language of Organizations: The Case of the Navy," in Organizational Symbolism, eds. L.R. Pondy, P.J. Frost, G. Morgan, and T.C. Dandridge (Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, Inc., 1983). 5 R.M. Blakar, "Language as a Means of Social Power," in Studies of Language, Thought and Verbal Communication, eds. R. Rommetveit and R.M. Blakar (London: Academic Press, 1979). 6Ibid., p. 114. 7Ibid., p. 113. 8J. Pfeffer, Power in Organizations (Boston: Pitman, 1981), pp. 219-220. 9Ibid., p. 220. 10n.R. Berger' and w. Douglas, "Thought and Talk," in Human Communication Theory, ed. Frank E.K. Dance (New York: Harper and Row, 1982), p. 43. 11 Ibid., p. 43, italics theirs. 12Blakar. 13Ibid., p. 127. 14Ibid. 15Ibid., p. 131.

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158 16see A.H. Wold, "Impression Formation: A Psycholinguistic Study," in Social Cbntexts of Messages, eds. E.H. Carswell and R. Rommetveit (London and New York: Academic Press, 1971);. or for clauses see G.F. Soldow, "A Study of the Linguistic Dimension of Information Processing as a Function of Cognitive Complexity," Journal of Business Communication, 19 (Winter 1982), 55-69. 17 Blakar, p. 132. 18P. Henry, "On Processing of Language in Contexts and Referents of Message," in Social Contexts of eds. E.A. Carswell and R. Rommetveit (London and New York: Academic Press, 1971). l9Fowler and Kress. 20M.E .. Pacanowsky and N. O'Donnell-Trujillo, "Organizational Communication as Cultural Performance," Communication Monographs, 50 (June 1983), 126-147. 21Ibid., p. 131. 2 2Ibid., pp. 134-135. 23D.M. Levy, "Communication Goals and Strategies: Between Discourse and Syntax," in Syntax and Semantics, Vol. 12: Discourse and Syntax, ed. T. Givan (New York: Academic Press, 1979), p. 200. 24M.A.K. Halliday and R. Hasan, Cohesion in English ( New Yo r k : Longman s 19 7 6 ) p. 2 25Levy, p. 200. 2 6 . Ibid., p. 197. 27R. Norton, Communication Style: Theory, Application, and Measures (Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1983). 28rbid., p. 54. 29rbid. 30rbid., p. 65. 3lL.R. Pondy, "Leadership is a Language Game," in Leadership: Where Else Can We Go?, eds. M. McCall and M. Lombardo (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1976).

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3 2 Pond y, p. 8 9. 33rbid., p. 94. 159 34L. Smircich and G. Morgan, "Leadership: The Management of Meaning," Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 18 (1982), 258, italics theirs. 35rbid. 36rbid. 37 SeeR. L. Dunbar, J.M. Dutton, and W.R. Torbert, "Crossing Mother: Ideological constraints on Or gani za t'ional Improvements," Journal of Management Studies, 19 (1982), 91-108: M.S. Feldman and J.G. March, "Information in Organization as Signal and Symbol," Administrative Science Quarterly, 26 (1981), 171-186. 38 Blakar, p. 136. 39H. Mehan, "The Role of Language and the Language of Role in Institutional Decision Making," Language in Society, 12 (1983), 187-211. 40Ibid, pp. 208-209. 41 b'd 206 I 1 ., p. 42R.W. Boss, "Your CEO and Natural Team Training," Training and oevelopmen t Journal, 3 4 (July 198 0), 76-80. 43Ibid., p. 78. 44Ibid., italics added. 45 Pfeffer, p. 193. 46 Ibid., p. 228. 47P. Monge, S. Bachman, J. Dillard, and E. Eisenberg, "Communicative Competence in the Workplace: Model Testing and Scale Development," communication Yearbook V (New Brunswick: Transaction-Communication Association, 1979).

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