• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This major work from renowned scholars in the field analyzes the role of language and symbolic media and show how this enables us to move to new levels of understanding of contemporary organizational issues. Chapters examine the role and growing importance of discourse in the study of organizations; the relationship between discourse, action, and interaction and their impact on organizational structure and behavior; the analytical potential of the “store” as a means of illuminating the ways in which organizational members make sense of their experience of organization; the fundamental significance of linguistic usage and discursive construction to the ontologies of “organization.” Finally, a concluding discourse explores the claims and limitations of organizational discourse as a means of enriching our understanding of organization.

An Organization is a Conversation
An organization is a conversation

Playing God is a self-appointed role that many top managers tenaciously cling to. Despite a transforming world, they appear to be mesmerized by the illusion of being in control. Judging from their behaviour, these supermanagers still fancy themselves sitting at the apex of a command-and-control hierarchy, in possession of ultimate authority, and in the secret belief of omniscience. Etymologically, hierarchy derives from the Greek words hieros, meaning ‘holy’, and archein, meaning ‘to command’. Therefore hierarchy means ‘holy management,’ which is taken all too seriously by these managers and, in the comfortable warmth of their omnipotent aureole, by the devoted high priests of the corporate staff curia.

One day, these self-serving autocratic command-and-control pyramids will have become a ...

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