Communication and Cognition in Appraisal: A Tale of Two Paradigms

Dennis A. Gioia, Anne Donnellon, Henry P. Sims

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


This research explores the basic question: Are there shared cognitive structures (scripts) underlying common organizational events'? Linguistics and social cognition were used to fashion a framework for the interpretation and analysis of videotaped appraisal interviews, which were coded via speech act analysis and then computer-mapped to create a graphic display of each appraisal interaction. Interpretive analyses of these maps revealed a common behavioural script, which implied the existence of a consensual cognitive script for enacting the appraisal interviews. Additionally, the approach and findings of this study, which is based on an ‘interpretive’ research paradigm, are contrasted with a companion study (Gioia and Sims 1986), which was based on a ‘positivist’ paradigm. The comparison of two studies investigating the same set of events from alternative paradigmatic perspectives reveals not only convergent and divergent findings, but also suggests that when one adopts different ‘lenses’ with which to view ostensibly the same organizational phenomena, one simply ‘sees’ different things.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-529
Number of pages27
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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