Mark Aakhus's Blog
CFP - Communication and Design
December 1st, 2012 / 4:57 pm
Journal of Applied Communication Research Special Issue Communication and DesignSubmission Deadline March 15 2013 The purpose of this special issue is to promote design as a mode of scholarship in the field of communication for theorizing about design and practicing design as it relates to communication. Manuscripts are invited that address this broad purpose in any area of
...(continue reading)
Design and Organizing
September 24th, 2012 / 3:58 pm
  Aakhus, M., & Laureij, L. V. (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.   Communication design practice involves transforming given situations into preferred courses of action. This ubiquitous feature of organizational and profes-
...(continue reading)
Revisiting the Role of “Shared Value” in the Business-Society Relationship
September 15th, 2012 / 3:00 pm
  Aakhus, M., & Bzdak, M. (2012). Revisiting the Role of “Shared Value” in the Business-Society Relationship. Business & Professional Ethics Journal, 31(2), 231–246. (Full copy available: This article critically examines Porter and Kramer’s shared value concept to identify its boundaries and limits as a framework for understanding
...(continue reading)
MIS Quarterly: Special Issue on Information Systems for Symbolic Action - Social Media and Beyond
April 12th, 2011 / 1:35 am
CFP: Pragmatic and Action-Oriented Approaches to Positive Design
December 4th, 2008 / 11:13 am
CFP: Theory and Research on IT in its Social and Organizational Context
October 2nd, 2008 / 2:33 pm
Mark Aakhus
Associate Dean
Dean's Office and IT Staff
Contact Info
CI 316

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, this research advances 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 TheoryCommunication MonographsArgument & 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.

PhD, University of Arizona, Communication and Management Information Systems
MA, Washington State University, Language and Social Interaction
BA, University of North Dakota, Political Science and Journalism

Current research, teaching, and doctoral projects emphasize the following themes:

  • Sustainability Communication: Controversy and Rationality in Polylogues about the environment and wellness in the New Media Ecology. 
  • Designing Common(s) Ground for Open Innovation in Healthcare: Social Media and Information Systems for Deliberation and Collective Intelligence.
  • Accountability & Communication in the Business-Society Relationship

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.

Publications and Presentations

Selected Publications by Research Theme

Communication and Design

Design practice and design thinking

  • Aakhus, M., & Harrison, T. (2015). Design Thinking about Communication in Health Systems Innovation: Orchestrating Interaction and Participation for Wellness. In T. R. Harrison & E. A. Williams (Eds.), Organizations, Communication, and Health (pp. 402–419). New York: Routledge.
  • Aakhus, M. & Jackson, S. (Eds.) (2014). Design and Communication [Special Issue]. Journal of Applied Communication Research.
  • Jackson, S. & Aakhus, M. (2014). Becoming More Reflective about the Role of Design in Communication, Journal of Applied Communication Research, 42(2), 125-134.  
  • 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. & 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.
  • 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 Monographs74(1), 112-117.
  • Aakhus, M. & Jackson, S. (2005). Technology, interaction, and design. In K. Fitch & R. Sanders (Eds.), Handbook of language and social interaction (pp. 411-437). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Organizations, Information Infrastructures, & Society

The communicative work of organizations

  • Aakhus, M. (2016). The Communicative Work of Organizations in Shaping Argumentative Realities. Philosophy & Technology
  • Aakhus, M. & Lewiński, M. (2016). Advancing polylogical analysis of large-scale argumentation: Disagreement management in the fracking controversy. Argumentation
  • Aakhus, M., Ziek, P., & Dadlani, P. (in press). Argumentation in large, complex practices. In Proceedings of the Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation 11. Windsor, ON.
  • Aakhus, M., Dadlani, P., Gigliotti, R., Goldthwaite, C., Kosterich, A., & Sahay, S.  (2016). Communication expertise as organizational practice: Competing ideas about communication in the market for solutions. In P. Leonardi & J. Treem (Eds.), Communication, Expertise, and Organizing (pp. 189-209). Oxford University Press: Oxford.
  • Aakhus, M., & Bzdak, M. (2015). Stakeholder engagement as communication design practice. Journal of Public Affairs, 15(2), 188–200.
  • Lewiński, M. & Aakhus, M. (2014). Argumentative Polylogues in a Dialectical Framework: A Methodological Inquiry. Argumentation, 28(2), 161-185. 
  • Aakhus, M. (2013). Deliberation Digitized: Designing disagreement space through Communication-Information Services. Argument in Context 2(1), 101-126. 
  • Aakhus, M., & Bzdak, M. (2012). Revisiting the Role of “Shared Value” in the Business-Society Relationship. Business & Professional Ethics Journal, 31(2), 231–246.
  • 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. & 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. (1999). Science court: A case study in designing discourse to manage policy controversy.  Knowledge, Technology, and Policy, 2(3), 20-37.

Argument Mining and Argumentation Modeling

Computational Methods in Deliberation and Decision Support

  • Aakhus, M., Muresan, S., & Wacholder, N. (in press). An Argument-Ontology for a Response-Centered Approach to Argumentation Mining [Abstract]. In The 16th Workshop on Computational Models of Natural Argument. New York. 
  • M. Janier, M. Aakhus, C. Reed, & K. Budzynska. (2015). Modeling impasse in argumentative activity with Inference Anchoring Theory: The case of impasse in mediation. In D. Mohammed & M. Lewinski (Eds.), Argumentation and Reasoned Action: Proceedings of the First European Conference on Argumentation (pp. 245-264).  Lisbon Portugal.
  • Lewiński, M. & Aakhus, M. (2014). Argumentative Polylogues in a Dialectical Framework: A Methodological Inquiry. Argumentation, 28(2), 161-185. 
  • Wacholder, N., Muresan, S., Ghosh, D. & Aakhus, M. (2014).  Annotating Multiparty Discourse: Challenges for Agreement Metrics. In Proceedings of the 8th Linguistic Annotation Workshop (pp. 120-128). COLING: Dublin, Ireland.
  • Ghosh, D., Muresan, S., Wacholder, N., Aakhus, M. & Mitsui, M. (2014). Analyzing Argumentative Discourse Units in Online Interactions. In Proceedings of the First Workshop on Argumentation Mining (pp. 39–48). Association for Computational Linguistics: Baltimore, Maryland.
  • 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. (Ed.) (2010). Coding Argument in Social Interaction[Special Issue]. Communication Methods & Measures, 4(1 & 2).
  • Moor, A. de & Aakhus, M. (2006). Argument support: From technologies to tools. Communications of the ACM 49(3), 93-98.
  • 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.

Communication Expertise in Professional Practice

Theory in practice

  • Aakhus, M. (2015). Understanding the competence involved in constructing argumentative contexts. In D. Mohammed & M. Lewinski (Eds.), Argumentation and Reasoned Action: Proceedings of the First European Conference on Argumentation (pp. 153-162). Lisbon Portugal.
  • 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. (2011). Crafting interactivity for stakeholder engagement: Transforming assumptions about communication in science and policy. Health Physics, 101(5), 531-535.
  • Selvin, A., Buckingham Shum, S., & Aakhus, M. (2010). The practice level in participatory design rationale- Studying practitioner moves and choices. Human Technology: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Humans in ICT Environments, 6(1), 71–105.
  • 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. (2003). Neither naïve nor normative reconstruction: Dispute mediators, impasse, and the design of argumentation. Argumentation: An International Journal on Reasoning, 17(3), 265-290.
  • Jacobs, S. & Aakhus, M. (2002). What mediators do with words: Implementing three models of rational discussion in dispute mediation. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 20(4), 177-204.
  • Aakhus, M. (2001). Technocratic and design stances toward communication expertise: How GDSS facilitators understand their work. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 29, 341-371.

Other Information