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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2021

3 Deciding

From the book Handbook of Management Communication

Theresa Castor and Mariaelena Bartesaghi


This chapter advances the conceptualization of deciding as social practice by proposing a metamodel of deciding as the discursive interplay of action, agency, and accountability. To illustrate this dynamic, data from two crisis related organizational interactions are analyzed: Hurricane Katrina Emergency management teleconference calls; and New York state Governor Cuomo COVID-19 pandemic press briefings. As a discursive practice, deciding is described as being constituted through three performative and overlapping contexts: the immediate context of utterances; a metapragmatic vocabulary; and, metaconversations. This re-conceptualization and case studies highlight the relational nature of deciding as social activity that cuts across time and place(s) and is inclusive of human and nonhuman participants. The chapter begins with a historical overview of theoretical conceptualizations of decision- making as rational and individual, proceeds to focus on discursive approaches to deciding, explains the action-agency-accountability deciding framework, and concludes with an illustrative analysis of two crisis cases.

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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