Change as shifting identities: a dialogic perspective

Muayyad Jabri (New England Business School, University of New England, Armidale, Australia)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Publication date: 1 December 2004


Narrative and dialogic modes of theorizing identity are both premised on textuality. However, theories of narrative identity tend towards unity and coherence (in accordance with the notion of narrative as constant and pre‐given), whereas the dialogic mode is more aligned with the postmodern novelistic literature (thus drawing heavily on dispersion, voice, disorder, and otherness). In accordance with the approach of Mikhail Bakhtin, the present study attempts to remedy the shortcomings of narrative identity by proposing change as involving shifting identities that are achieved through the transposition of utterances. Only through the recognition of the undecidable, unfinalizable nature of utterance can change be conceived as being shaped and reshaped through shifting identities. Such an approach reveals the interlocking relation between change and the varied texts people inhabit as they contemplate change.



Jabri, M. (2004), "Change as shifting identities: a dialogic perspective", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 17 No. 6, pp. 566-577.

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