Based on the argumentation theory of new rhetoric, this paper offers an analytical framework to facilitate empirical investigations on how managers in organizations handle unfairness claims. The proposed framework advocates a rhetorical approach that seeks to understand whether managers absolve themselves of unfairness accusations by pseudo-legitimations. Pseudo-legitimation is defined as an attempt to legitimate an action without any genuine reasoning. While the precision of formal deductive reasoning tends not to apply to moral disputes, rhetoric enables rational argumentation and the use (...) of practical reasoning to achieve resolution. Therefore, if managerial judgments are genuine products of reasoning, managers' use of rhetoric to legitimate their actions should be respected in acknowledging value plurality within their boundaries of authority. By contrast, managerial legitimations that are based on irrational grounds should be disrespected, as they can lead to arbitrariness and abuse of power. Institutional dynamics may either permit or inhibit such uses of irrationality. Thus, the proposed framework should be considered alongside the perspective of rhetorical institutionalism. (shrink)
By synthesizing the argumentation theory of new rhetoric with research on heuristics and motivated reasoning, we develop a conceptual view of argumentation based on reasoning motivations that sheds new light on the morality of decision-making. Accordingly, we propose that reasoning in eristic argumentation is motivated by psychological (e.g., anxiety reduction) or material (e.g., vested interests) gains that do not depend on resolving the problem in question truthfully. Contrary to heuristic argumentation, in which disputants genuinely argue to reach a practically rational (...) solution, eristic argumentation aims to defeat the counterparty rather than seeking a reasonable solution. Eristic argumentation is susceptible to arbitrariness and power abuses; therefore, it is inappropriate for making moral judgments with the exception of judgments concerning moral taboos, which are closed to argumentation by their nature. Eristic argumentation is also problematic for strategic and entrepreneurial decision-making because it impedes the search for the right heuristic under uncertainty as an ecologically rational choice. However, our theoretical view emphasizes that under extreme uncertainty, where heuristic solutions are as fallible as any guesses, pretense reasoning by eristic argumentation may be instrumental for its adaptive benefits. Expanding the concept of eristic argumentation based on reasoning motivations opens a new path for studying the psychology of reasoning in connection to morality and decision-making under uncertainty. We discuss the implications of our theoretical view to relevant research streams, including ethical, strategic and entrepreneurial decision-making. (shrink)
This paper offers a novel situational approach to study organizational justice in which the proposed unit of analysis is managerial behavior manifested in argumentation rather than employee justice perceptions. The currently dominant theoretical framework in justice research, which is built on justice perceptions, neglects the unique features of organizational order and vulnerability of procedural justice perceptions. As the procedural justice concept belongs chiefly to a spontaneous market order under which the rule of law is made possible, it is inappropriate to (...) transfer this concept to an organization in which the rule of authority is dominant. Therefore, except the limited legal domain in which managerial freedom is restrained by laws, procedural justice in organizations represents a mirage that can give rise to hypocritical managerial actions that can legitimate morally controversial outcomes via eristic tactics. In contrast, interactional justice is of great importance to organizations in that employees and organizations can ensure their rational economic exchanges without deception. However, current formulations of interactional justice often regard interactions as a palliative recipe designed to alleviate reactions to outcomes and not as a constituent of distributive justice. Perelman’s argumentation theory can offer a new conceptualization of interactional justice that addresses this gap. (shrink)
As the cultural evolution of a puritanical moral norm in Turkey illustrates, puritanical moral norms are not developed by nonrational reasoning concerned with purity and cleanliness. People use puritanical moral rules as moral heuristics for making intendedly rational decisions about whether to cooperate or not when the commitment of the counterparty is uncertain.