Account vocabularies and social accountability: constructing social reality in decision-making talk
This project examines group decision-making as a social construction process. Few group decision-making theories view communication as constitutive of social reality, and those that do have not addressed the processual and situated nature of communication. Moreover, while the social constructionist perspective has been discussed a great deal in the communication literature (see Leeds-Hurwitz, 1995), few empirical studies have been published. I utilize Shotter's (1993a) Rhetorical-Responsive social constructionist approach to address these gaps in the social constructionist and group decision-making literatures. I identify account vocabularies as a primary discursive site for the interactive negotiation of meaning, and apply Bunny's (1993) conversation analytic social constructionist methodology to describe account vocabularies. The decision-making cases analyzed here are from University of Washington Faculty Senate resolution discussions during the 1995--96 academic year. They concern the size of the Faculty Senate, a Culture and Ethnic Diversity requirement, and alleged Faculty Code violations during the 1994--95 program elimination and review process. This examination illustrates how interlocutors' account vocabularies function in constructing decisions, identity, and notions of social accountability.
- Speech