Organization

What is organization? Review research and scholarship on organization. Explore the organizational schemas that writers, speakers, knowledge workers . . . use to communicate.
Phil Manker, "Swirling fish schools from off the Turks and Caicos islands, CC 2.0 Generic Phil Manker, "Swirling fish schools from off the Turks and Caicos islands, CC 2.0 Generic

What is Organization?

Most broadly, organization is an informal gathering of people around a shared purpose or a legal entity, such as limited liability corporation or a business.

From the perspective of a writer, speaker, knowledge maker . . ., organization is

  1. a rhetorical act.
    1. Writers . . . engage in rhetorical analysis to identify the best way to organize their communications with audiences, especially communities of practice. Writers especially focus on audience: how can they organize information, data, theses, hypotheses, research questions in ways that will help their audience better understand the message?
  2. a pattern of discourse, an organizational schema
    1. Writers . . . use common patterns of development, including
      1. Modes of Discourse: Causes & Effects, Classification, Comparison & Contrast, Definition, Description, Exemplification, Exposition, Narration
      2. Genres of Discourse: Argument; Proposal; Feasibility Study — and so on
  3. an interpretative framework that writers, readers, knowledge workers . . . share with their readers, listeners, and users. writers. For instance, writers and readers expect new information to follow given information. They share assumptions about the best ways to organize documents for recurring rhetorical situations and over time those assumptions become expressed as genres, as recurring ways of organizing information, data, research and scholarship.
    1. In order to communicate writers . . and their readers. . . share an interpretive framework. This framework is informed by the literary traditions and scholarly conversations of particular discourse communities, communities of practice.
  4. a mode of thinking, a way of organizing and recalling our experiences in the world
    1. Organization is a mode of thinking, a tool of logic. Organization is a way of interpreting the world. It’s a way of imposing some sort of logic on events or data. To think, we name the world. We engage in logic to identify similarities and differences. We define, categorize and prioritize. We recall information by keeping like items together and keep contrasting items apart. We tear things apart and then put them back together in order to understand the logic behind their design.

Key Concepts: Framework; Genre; Organizational Schemas; Rhetorical Lens; Rhetorical Stance;


The human mind craves order. We look into the sky and we give names to the stars.

When reading, people may grow impatient. People are busy and consumed by too many demands on their time. Thus, it’s important for writers, readers, knowledge workers . . . to give thought to how they can best organize information, data so the audience can best understand it.

You can

  • enhance the unity, clarity, and persuasiveness of your writing by
    • explicitly considering its logical structure
    • refining your thesis or research question so readers understand the focus and significance of your work

When it comes to organizing your thoughts for others, distinguish between two different levels of organization:

  • Organization @ the Global Level
    • The Global Level concerns organizational schemas that govern how an entire document is organized. For instance, the writer’s Thesis or Research Question and desired Rhetorical Stance influences how an entire document is organized.
  • Organization @ the Local Level
    • The Local Level concerns organizational schemas that occur at paragraph, sentence, and word-level. For instance, readers expect a logical flow across sentences and paragraphs