The art and science of persuasion is my playing field. I study how different types of argumentation (e.g. evidence-based and/or value-based) influence decision-making.
My PhD project specifically aims to contribute to the field of rhetoric in strategic decision-making. Strategic decisions about future outcomes are often highly uncertain, and two (opposing) views regarding the same proposal can be equally reasonable; the reasons justifying such views and potential recommendations for decisions equally so. Gut-feelings and relying on simple heuristics can in fact lead to reasonable decisions; however, the extensive work on heurstics and biases have also shown that humans should not in general trust their intuitive (gut) feelings preceding decisions. Therefore, the focus is on arguments-from-consequence and how individuals that have a chance to influence decision-makers try to justify what they (emotionally) believe to be the best decision even when they cannot necessarily prove it logically.
The project will adopt a case study approach. The core of the empirical data will consist of qualitative material from executive meetings in an international pharmaceutical company.