Discourse analysis and the study of organizations

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Text, 2005, 25 (1), pp. 37 - 66
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In this paper we provide an overview of research into organizational discourse, making a tentative distinction between organizational discourse studies (emerging from organization and management theory) and organizational discourse analysis (emerging from more linguistic-oriented research). Our primary aim is to focus on organizational discourse studies in a fashion that complements, rather than replicates, previous overviews of the field. In so doing, we suggest that organizational discourse research is too complex and multivariate to be pigeonholed on the basis of academic discipline or research method. Further, abstracting the multiplicity of organizational discourse research endeavors into just two single dimensions as do Alvesson and Kdrreman (2000), for example, runs the risk of losing some of this richness. We aim to provide insight into the complexity of organizational discourse and the philosophical and methodological richness that it embodies by highlighting that commentators often straddle different positions. To this end, we propose five dimensions by which to map this rich domain of research. Our concluding argument is that organizational discourse studies (ODS) and organizational discourse analysis (ODA) would do well to combine the former's normative and the latter's analytical prerogatives with attention to practitioner-situated problematics and struggles. © Walter de Gruyter.
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