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Title:Argument and Group Decision-Making: An Interactional Test of Persuasive Arguments Theory and an Alternative Structurational Perspective
Author(s):Meyers, Renee Ann
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Seibold, David R.,
Department / Program:Speech Communication
Discipline:Speech Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Speech Communication
Abstract:This dissertation sought to answer the question: How do members' arguments concerning decision choices affect the practices and outcomes (especially polarization/choice shifts) of decision-making interaction? Three objectives imperative to answering that question were accomplished in this investigation. First, following explication of a historical foundation and context in Chapter One, Chapter Two proposed and delineated a metatheoretical framework useful for distinguishing and interpreting prominent contemporary research programs on interpersonal/group argument. This framework, and its distinction between cognitive-informational (CI) and social-interactional (SI) perspectives on argument, was utilized to contrast several noninteractional and interactional accounts of interpersonal/group argument.
Second, in Chapters Three and Four, a prominent noninteractional (CI) theory of group argument, Persuasive Arguments Theory, was tested against a congruent interactional (SI) argument perspective. Results from analysis of forty-five group discussions were generally nonsupportive of PAT's cognitive-informational approach to group argument. Chapter Three findings discounted PAT claims that (a) cognitive and discussion arguments are correspondent, and (b) novelty is an important predictor of argument persuasiveness in group discussion. Chapter Four results revealed that the PAT models of argument and argument influence were generally poor predictors of postdiscussion shifts. Only when the PAT model of argument influence was modified to include more interaction-based (SI) elements (member collaboration and number of arguments) did model predictions correlate significantly with observed values at some levels of analysis.
Finally, because the findings of Chapters Three and Four indicated that neither the PAT nor the SI perspectives on argument alone were sufficient to explain the argument-shift relationship, Chapters Five and Six endeavored to locate argument within an integrative theoretical perspective which posits communication as a centralizing force. The structurational approach to group argument was explicated and a preliminary model of argument informed by the tenets of this perspective was advanced. A qualitative analysis of twenty group discussions revealed initial support for the model and its key components. Chapter Six concluded that future research must refine this preliminary structurational model if a coherent and complete account of group argument is to be fully realized.
Issue Date:1987
Type:Text
Language:English
Description:608 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1987.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/77298
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8803140
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-05-13
Date Deposited:1987


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