Working the knowledge game? : the power of the everyday in managing truth in organisations
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This thesis focuses on what I have called truth management. First it traces how modernist and postmodern theorists play their versions of what counts as true. A key critique I stage of modernist theorising is that it privileges decontextualised ways of knowing and silences agency. Drawn from postmodern concerns and my critique of 'normal science', two maps of 'thinking tools' (Bourdieu 1992) are proposed as the basis of my theorising of how truth is managed in organisations. The first map aims to position contextualism within the empirical gaze. It is made up of three contingencies - discourses, time and space. The second map of thinking tools aims to bring agency back into view. It is made up of four contingencies - identity, capital, practices and power. Each of the seven contingencies is used to frame the story of an inter-organisational partnership between an Australian university and a financial institution in part two of the thesis. The story traces their engagement in a negotiated postgraduate degree program - the Work-Based Learning (WBL) program from 1996-2003. In this way, I aim to demonstrate the power of everyday decision making in determining what counts as true. The management of truth is seen to be dynamic, multiple and contingent rather than causal, singular and able to be plotted on a linear trajectory.
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