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Organizational Discourse

Gail T. Fairhurst

Subject Linguistics
Communication Studies » Organizational Communication

People Foucault, Michel

Key-Topics discourse

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Organizational discourse is a burgeoning area of study featuring the role of discourse and communication in organizational dynamics. While its rhetorical and literary roots date back to the ancient Greeks (→  Rhetorical Studies ), a more recent impetus has been the analysis of professional talk in institutional settings, beginning in the 1970s, and the role of slogans, creeds, jokes, and stories as reflections of organizational culture in the 1980s ( Putnam & Fairhurst 2001 ). From these early beginnings, organizational discourse analyses have taken on a number of forms. Discourse and communication are not synonymous; communication is conceived as a related but broader construct that goes beyond the language and meaning-centered concerns of organizational discourse. Although discourse can be defined in a number of ways, Alvesson and Kärreman (2000) generally distinguish between d iscourse and D iscourse. Specifically, d iscourse is the study of talk and text in social practices. Talk-in-interaction represents sociality, the processes of messaging and conversing. It is the “doing” of organizational discourse, while text is the “done” or material representation of discourse in spoken or recorded forms. Texts can include both written documentation and verbal routines, such as performance appraisals and job interviews that are reconfigured through continued use. The ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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