This paper draws on the principles of linguistic theorist Mikhail Bakhtin to analyze and explain discursive diversity in organizational Web pages. Organizational Web sites are typically produced by multiple content providers and must typically appeal to multiple audiences, a condition that often results in different discourses being juxtaposed within the same interface. To analyze and explain the effects of such juxtapositions, this paper adapts to the Web the principles that Bakhtin developed to conceptualize discursive diversity in the novel, in particular his concept of dialogism. To illustrate their efficacy, the paper applies these principles to analyze a pair of government Web sites about forests, the forest industry, and the environment. Whereas the homepages of the two sites project divergent approaches to the discourses of their diverse audiences, a dialogic analysis of the new site’s deeper levels reveals how the government’s discursive strategy appears to favor one audience at the expense of others. Drawing on this case study, this paper discusses how an approach informed by Bakhtin’s principles can illuminate our analysis and production of organizational Web discourse.
Key Words: audience, dialogism, environmental rhetoric, government, homepages, ideology, interface design, organizational Web sites