|Author(s)||Douglas W. Maynard|
|Title||On “realization” in everyday life: the forecasting of bad news as a social relation|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Narratives, Medical EMCA, News, Forecasting|
|Journal||American Sociological Review|
Forecasting is a strategy for delivering bad news and is compared to two other strategies, stalling and being blunt. Forecasting provides some warning that bad news is forthcoming without keeping the recipient in a state of indefinite suspense (stalling) or conveying the news abruptly (being blunt). Forecasting appears to be more effective than stalling or being blunt in helping a recipient to "realize" the bad news because it involves the deliverer and recipient in a particular social relation: The deliverer of bad news initiates the telling by giving an advance indication of the bad news to come; this allows the recipient to calculate the news in advance of its final presentation, when the deliverer confirms what the recipient has been led to anticipate. Thus, realization of bad news emerges from intimate collaboration, whereas stalling and being blunt require recipients to apprehend the news in a social vacuum. Exacerbating disruption to recipients' everyday world, stalling and being blunt increase the probability of misapprehension (denying, blaming, taking the situation as a joke, etc.) and thereby inhibit rather than facilitate realization. Realization and lack thereof are features of social psychology; social practices and interactional organization are implicated in individual cognition. My data include more than 100 narratives about the delivery and receipt of bad news.