Browsing by Subject "rhetorical social psychology"

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  • Markkula, Marita (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The topic of this study is to explore how the senior business leaders construct their attitudes and describe the role of trust in the context of business transformations related to the company's business and organization, for example during mergers or acquisitions (M&A) and hyper-growth. The focus of the study is on attitudes constructed by these leaders and observed through their argumentation when talking about trust. These attitudes and argumentation are examined from the theoretic-methodological approach of qualitative attitude approach, offering a unique angle to trust research, widely dominated by quantitative research. The qualitative attitude approach relies on rhetorical social psychology and constructivist viewpoint, which draws attention to the socially constructed nature of argumentation when examining attitudes. In the qualitative attitude approach, attitude is seen as relationist, where attitude is viewed to be built in argumentation. Examining the argumentation of speech provides new insights into the role of trust in an organization. The research data consisted of five individual interviews of experienced corporate executives in top management positions (members of the company’s executive leadership team or the board of directors). The interviews were conducted in the spring and summer of 2019. These semi-structured interviews consisted of seven attitude prompts to which comments were requested. Five prompts addressed trust within the organization and two addressed leadership. In their speech, the interviewees formed statements and justifications to the questions and topics at hand, substantiating and negotiating their views. The study identified 20 different attitude constructs related to trust and two attitude constructs related to leadership overall. These attitudes were constructed from the classification of statements and justifications that emerged from the interview material. According to the qualitative attitude approach, analysis was conducted on two levels: through classifying and interpretative analysis. Attitudes were interpreted based on six evaluative argumentation patterns when talking about trust, forming six rhetoric versions of trust: Trust as a relational and interactional phenomenon across different organizational levels, Trust as an organizational catalyst, Trust as an outcome of multidimensional elements, Trust as an intentional act, Trust as a collective construct, and Trust-building as a leadership skill. The senior leaders formed these versions of trust from four subject positions - Trustor, Trustee, Observer and Evaluator of Trust, and Active Trust Builder. Positive, conditional, and negative justifications, subject positions, self-reflection, framing, and social influence were used as rhetoric and social resources to form attitudes related to trust. In the trust speech of senior business leaders, trust is described as an atmosphere of common trust, building material, and a bedrock of the company, that must be consciously and collectively built within organizations. Modern leadership was described as a school of fish with collective intelligence, a team jointly creating success. Trust-building needs to be contributed by the whole organization but it’s also seen as a leadership skill just like budgeting. The benefits of trust for organizations are empirically indisputable. Trust helps an organization to bear and share risks, creates psychological safety at all levels of the organization as well as supports risk-taking and decision-making in transformational situations.
  • Järvinen, Katriina (2004)
    My research subject was how parents view the relation between knowledge and common sense when raising children. I studied the subject from the point of view of rhetorical social psychology. The study was based on the dilemmatic nature of thinking, which means that a person often ends up talking against one of his values while defending another. I was interested in if the parents under my study experienced a conflict between knowledge and common sense and how a possible dilemma was dealt with in argumentation. In the theoretical part I examined discussions considering the concept of common sense and anti-scientific thinking. I also took a look at the history of Finnish upbringing. I made a connection between the resent discussion about the parents high education in relation to the distress of their children and the tradition of viewing scientific knowledge as some kind of a threat to common sense. My empiric source material was the interviews of 21 parents living in the capital area. In the interviews I used the method of qualitative attitude research. The parents were commenting on seven different sentences with claims, which were formed using research literature and views that have appeared in public discussion. The subject of the analysis was the argumentative speech produced by the interviewees. In the analysis I focused mainly on the processes of arguments and on how the dilemmatic nature of the thoughts provoked by the claims was dealt with. The interviewees were able to consider how their views could be questioned and they used various rhetorical methods in their arguments. A dilemma arose between knowledge and common sense but rhetorical methods led rather to approval of expertise in bringing up of children, than disapproval. Also a picture of the 21st century's sensible bringing up of children was formed, based on the source material. The 'love and limits'-upbringing, as I call it, can be interpreted as a taking of an attitude to the views of previous generations. The underlining of love and respect in relation to the child, that was eminent in the source material, could be interpreted as a counter argument to the discipline and humiliation culture that prevailed until the 1950 -60's and the underlining of limits as a counter argument to the free upbringing of the 60 - 70's. My interviewees considered the balancing of work and family life as the biggest problem of modern parents. My primary sources were the works of Michael Billig (rhetorical social psychology and qualitative attitude research), the works of Kari Vesala and Teemu Rantanen (qualitative attitude research), Benjamin Spock's 'The Common Sense Book Of Baby And Child Care' (the dilemma of knowledge and common sense in bringing up of children) and Janne Kivivuori's book 'Paha tieto' (anti-scientific thinking).