Mark Aakhus


Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Communication


CI 318

Mark Aakhus investigates the relationship among communication, argumentation, and design in digital society as realized in contemporary discourses, professional conduct, organizational processes, and information infrastructures. Grounded in multiple methods of discourse analysis that also incorporate computational social science and digital ethnography, his studies focus on the conduct, conceptualization, and consequences of technological and organizational interventions that seek to augment interaction and reasoning in decision-making and conflict-management.


University of Arizona
Ph.D., Communication and Management Information Systems

Washington State University
M.A., Communication (Language and Social Interaction)

University of North Dakota
B.A., Political Science and Journalism


Aakhus's current research, teaching, and doctoral projects emphasize the following themes:

  • Argumentation in Complex Communication
  • Designing common(s) ground for open innovation and maintenance
  • Sustainability communication: Deliberation and collective intelligence for environmental and wellness decision making
  • Accountability in digital society: Information Infrastructures and Digital Social Ontology

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.

Centers, Labs, Working Groups, and Clusters

Funded Projects

Aakhus has received funding for his research from the Kellogg Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Sun Micro-Systems, Rutgers Academic Excellence Fund, Rutgers Office of the Vice President for Research, and the National Science Foundation. 

Selected Publications

Lewinksi, M. & Aakhus, M. (2023). Argumentation in Complex Communication: Managing Disagreement in Polylogue. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Aakhus, M. (2017). The Communicative Work of Organizations in Shaping Argumentative Realities. Philosophy & Technology, 30, 191-208. 

Aakhus, M., and Bzdak, M. (2015), Stakeholder engagement as communication design practice. J. Public Affairs, 15, 188–200. 

Aakhus, M., Ågerfalk, P., Lyytinen, K., & Te’eni, D. (2014). Symbolic Action Research in Information Systems: Introduction to the Special Issue. MIS Quarterly38(4), 1187–1200. 

Aakhus, M., and Jackson, S. (2014), Becoming More Reflective about the Role of Design in Communication. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 2.2 125–134.

Awards & Recognitions

Mercator Fellow Darmstadt Technical University (2022)

Center for Cultural Analysis Fellow (2019-2022)

Doctoral Faculty for Doctoral Program in Applied Linguistics: Argumentation in Professional Practice (Zurich University of Applied Sciences and Università della Svizzera italiana.

Distinguished Service to the National Communication Association -- Research Board (2009) 

Recipient of the National Communication Association’s Applied Communication Division’s 2015 Distinguished Publication Award for Journal of Applied Communication Research, Special Issue: Communication and Design

Guest Professor of Information Systems Uppsala University’s Department of Informatics and Media

Most Valuable Rutgers MCIS Professor (2009, 2012)

Distinguished Achievements in Teaching (2012) and Service (2009), Rutgers Department of Communication

Additional Resources

APPLY - European Network for Argumentation and Public Policy Analysis

APPLY WG3 Report:Basic resources and methods for designing public argumentation (PDF). Authors: Mark Aakhus, Monika Mačiulienė, Fabio Paglieri, Sandrine Roginsky, Paolo Torroni, Serena Villata.

PhD Theses Supervised (by date of completion)

Goldthwaite, C. (2018). Interdisciplinary Research as Communication Design Practice. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.;

Appel, L. (2016). Applying Design Science to address Health System Problems: A Case of Designing Communication to Manage Clinician Anonymity in an Academic Hospital. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
*2017 Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, National Communication Association.

Anderson, J. D. (2013). Communication Design Work in the Professional Practice of Association Management. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. 

Laureij, L. V. (2013). Supply Chain Contracting as Disagreement Management: Institutionalizing Procurement Practice Through Communication Design. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. 

Ziek, P. E. (2012). Inter-organizational infrastructure for communication: A study of the generative aspects of the communication context on CSR strategy and instrumentation. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.  

Grushina, S. (2011). Evolution of a design for communication: The case of the Global Reporting Initiative reporting guidelines. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.  

Vasilyeva, A. L. (2010). Creating deliberation in the context of social conflict: The examination of mediator practices for shaping interactivity in dispute mediation. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.  

Research Keywords