Main Article Content
This pilot study of a mental health call center clinician’s workplace tools, processes, and organizational structures proposes a preliminary theory of “distributed and mediated ethos.” A distributed and mediated ethos refers to how an organization uses various resources—artifacts, technologies, and processes—situated across disparate locations in order to expand and control their identity in the service of extending their reach and capacity to render essential services. An analysis of a participant clinician’s rhetorical context flowcharts and network pictures shows how an agency’s ethos is mediated through various technologies. Findings suggest that a distributed ethos (1) projects the impression of being “always there”; (2) relies on dexterity across several human and nonhuman actors; and (3) necessitates targeted tasks from branches that extend ethos farther from the organization. This pilot study, thus, provides researchers of rhetoric of health and medicine (RHM) with a new tool for exploring the intricate and complex nature of health at a distance and other complicated 21st century healthcare delivery formats.