“RHETORICAL INVESTIGATION OF MANAGERIAL LEGITIMATIONS: STUDYING ARGUMENTS ON ALLEGEDLY UNFAIR CAREER ADVANCEMENT DECISIONS”
by Rasim Serdar Kurdoğlu
University of Leicester
This present study offers a new theoretical view on organisational justice, and then empirically applies it to study fairness of career advancement decisions in organizations. Theoretically, it challenges the concept of procedural justice in organizations by drawing on Hayek’s liberal justice theory. It then introduces a new understanding of interactional justice derived from Perelman and his colleague’s argumentation theory. Accordingly, eristic modes of legitimations (preposterous reasoning to win the argument) are considered to be a breach of interactional justice, which is crucial to enable economic exchanges without deception. For applying these theoretical views in an empirical investigation, 15 interviews were conducted with former employees who claimed that their promotions were denied unfairly. In addition, 21 interviews were conducted with HRM professionals to elicit their general views on career advancement decisions. The consequent rhetorical analysis indicates that raising unfairness concerns can be futile and destructive when managerial authorities are in eristic mode of discussion which instigates malevolent political strives within organizations. Breach of interactional justice is found to be conducive to various inefficiencies for organizations as well as for individual careers.