Dr. Mark Aakhus, Professor in the School of Communication & Information (SC&I) at Rutgers University, earned a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in Communication with an emphasis in Management Information Systems and an M.A. from the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University.
Dr. Aakhus's research investigates the uses of language, argumentation, and social interaction in professional practice, organizational processes, and information systems. This research articulates the competence and creativity involved in managing complex situations through communication and design. By examining the relationship between communication and design, his research seeks to advance knowledge about augmenting human interaction and reasoning through technological and organizational interventions and innovations. This research informs professional education, promotes organizational and technological innovation, and inspires forms of engagement for deliberation and creative problem solving.
Dr. Aakhus’s research appears in international publications on communication, organizations, new media and information systems, discourse, argumentation, and disputing processes. Funding for his research has been received from the Kellogg Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Sun Micro-Systems, Rutgers Academic Excellence Fund, and Rutgers Office of the Vice President for Research. He has given keynote addresses and special invited presentations at a variety of places including Uppsala University, University of Montreal, University of Colorado-Boulder, University of Amsterdam, Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, George Mason University, Penn State University, University of Italian Speaking Switzerland, and the New University of Lisbon as well as the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement.
Dr. Aakhus has held several leadership positions in international research societies. He was Chair of the International Communication Association’s (ICA) Language and Social Interaction Division. He served on the Research Board for the National Communication Association (NCA), was a co-founding chair of NCA’s Human Communication and Technology Division, and was a founding executive committee member of the Association for Information Systems (AIS) Special Interest Group on Pragmatist Information Systems Research. He has served on the editorial boards of Communication Theory, Communication Monographs, Argument & Advocacy, and Argumentation in Context and was an associate editor for the inauguration of Communication Measures and Methods.
Over the years, Dr. Aakhus has been engaged with his local communities through community service as dispute mediator and volunteer in local community justice programs in Iowa and Arizona and as an elected school board member and held an appointment as an environmental commissioner in his local community in New Jersey.
Current research, teaching, and doctoral projects emphasize the following themes:
The aim in these streams of research is to improve understanding of the intentional, and emergent, design of institutions for communication and the consequences for the co-creation of health, wellness, and democracy.
Aakhus, M. & Jackson, S. (Eds.) (2015). Design and Communication [Special Issue]. Journal of Applied Communication Research.
Aakhus, M., Ågerfalk, P., Lyytinen, K., & Te’eni, D. (2014). Symbolic Action Research in Information Systems [Special Issue]. MIS Quarterly, 38(4), 1187–1200.
Aakhus, M. (Ed.) (2010). Coding Argument in Social Interaction[Special Issue]. Communication Methods & Measures, 4 (1 & 2).
Katz, J. & Aakhus, M. (Eds.) (2002). Perpetual contact: Mobile communication, private talk, public performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Translated: Katz, J. & Aakhus, M. (Eds.). (2004). Taemanaki kooshin no jidai: keetai bunka no tanjoo/The age of perpetual contact: The birth of mobile culture. Tokyo: NTT.
Aakhus, M., & Bzdak, M. (2015). Stakeholder engagement as communication design practice. Journal of Public Affairs, 15(2), 188–200. doi:10.1002/pa
Jackson, S. & Aakhus, M. (2014). Becoming More Reflective about the Role of Design in Communication, Journal of Applied Communication Research, 42(2), 125-134. DOI: 10.1080/00909882.2014.882009
Lewiński, M. & Aakhus, M. (2014). Argumentative Polylogues in a Dialectical Framework: A Methodological Inquiry. Argumentation, 28(2), 161-185. DOI: 10.1007/s10503-013-9307-x
Aakhus, M. (2013). Deliberation Digitized: Designing disagreement space through Communication-Information Services. Argument in Context 2(1), 101-126. DOI: 10.1075/jaic.2.1.05aak
Aakhus, M., & Bzdak, M. (2012). Revisiting the Role of “Shared Value” in the Business-Society Relationship. Business & Professional Ethics Journal, 31(2), 231–246. DOI: 10.5840/bpej201231211
Aakhus, M. & Laureij, L. (2012). Activity, materiality, and creative struggle in the communicative constitution of organizing: Two cases of communication design practice. Language and Dialogue, 2(1), 41-59. DOI: 10.1075/ld.2.1.03aak
Aakhus, M. (2011). Crafting interactivity for stakeholder engagement: Transforming assumptions about communication in science and policy. Health Physics, 101(5), 531-535.
Aakhus, M. & Rumsey, E. (2010). Crafting supportive communication online: A communication design analysis of conflict in an online support group. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 38(1), 65-84.
Makoul, G., Zick, A., Aakhus, M., Neely, K., & Roemer, P. (2010). Using an online forum to encourage reflection about difficult conversations in medicine. Patient Education and Counseling, 79(1), 83-86.
Aakhus, M. (2007). Communication as design. Communication Monographs, 74(1), 112-117.
Moor, A. de & Aakhus, M. (2006). Argument support: From technologies to tools. Communications of the ACM 49(3), 93-98.
Aakhus, M. (2003). Neither naïve nor normative reconstruction: Dispute mediators, impasse, and the design of argumentation. Argumentation: An International Journal on Reasoning, 17(3), 265-290.
Aakhus, M. (1999). Science court: A case study in designing discourse to manage policy controversy. Knowledge, Technology, and Policy, 2(3), 20-37.
Aakhus, M., Muresan, S., & Wacholder, N. (2014). Integrating natural language processing and pragmatic argumentation theories for argumentation support. In D. Mohammed & M. Lewiński (Eds.), Virtues of Argumentation. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference of the Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation (OSSA), 22-26 May 2013 (pp. 1-12). Windsor, ON: OSSA.
Aakhus, M. (2010). Transparency work and argumentation design in deliberation about business in society. In D. Gouran (Ed.), The functions of argument and social context: Selected papers from the 16th Biennial Conference on Argumentation (pp. 11-17). Washington, DC: National Communication Association.
Aakhus, M. (2009). The experiences of policy professionals in designing deliberation. In S. Jacobs (Ed.), Concerning argument: Selected papers from the 15th Biennial Conference on Argumentation (pp. 33-40). Washington, DC: National Communication Association.
Aakhus, M. & Ziek, P. (2008). Sustainability Communication: A role for IT and IS in Relating Business and Society. In P. J. Ågerfalk, M. Aakhus, & M. Lind (Eds.), Proceedings of the Inaugural Meeting of AIS SIGPrag (pp. 29-37). (Position paper).
Aakhus, M. (2004). Understanding the Socio-Technical Gap: A case of GDSS Facilitation. In G. Goldkuhl, M. Lind, & S. Cronholm (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2cd International Conference on Action in Language, Organisations, and Information Systems (pp. 137-148). Linköping, Sweden: Research Network VITS.
Aakhus, M. (1997). Settlement on the electronic frontier: The use of group decision support systems in argumentation management. In J. Klump (Ed.), Proceedings of the Tenth NCA/AFA Conference on Argumentation: Argument in a Time of Change—Definitions, Frameworks, and Critiques (pp. 132-137). Annandale, VA: National Communication Association.
Aakhus, M. (forthcoming). Design. In K. Tracy (Ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Language and Social Interaction. Wiley: New York.
Aakhus, M. & DiDomenico, S. (forthcoming). Language and interaction in the new media environments. In A. Rocci & L. de Saussure (Eds.), Handbook of Verbal Communication. DeGruyter Mouton: Berlin.
Aakhus, M. (2013). Managing conflict in information systems design stakeholder conferences: The role of Transparency Work (pp. 327-352). In J. Carroll (Ed.), Creativity and Rationale: Enhancing human experience by design. London: Springer-Verlag.
Aakhus, M. & Lewinski, M. (2011). Argument analysis in large-scale deliberation. In E. Feteris, B. Garssen, F. Snoeck Henkemans (Eds.), Keeping in touch with pragma-dialectics (pp. 165-184). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Aakhus, M. & Vasilyeva, A. (2008). Managing disagreement space in multiparty deliberation. In F. H. van Eemeren & B. Garssen (Ed.), Controversy and Confrontation: Relating controversy analysis with argumentation theory (pp. 197-214). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Aakhus, M. (2007). Conversations for reflection: Augmenting transitions and transformations in expertise. McInerney, C.R. & Day, R.E. (Eds.), Re-thinking knowledge management: From knowledge objects to knowledge processes (pp. 1-20). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer-Verlag.
Aakhus, M. & Jackson, S. (2005). Technology, interaction, and design. In K. Fitch & R. Sanders (Eds.), Handbook of language and social interaction. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Ågerfalk, P. J., Aakhus, M. and Lind, M. (2010, April 29; 2010, May 4). Researching Open Innovation through Social Media—Part I: The Problem & Part II: The Exploration. Open Innovation Forum.