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Listening to the organization: change evaluation with discourse analysis

Ozgur Akarsu (Department of Management, Istanbul Bilgi Universitesi, Istanbul, Turkey)
Mehmet Gencer (Department of Business Administration, İzmir Ekonomi Universitesi, Izmir, Turkey)
Savaş Yıldırım (Faculty of Engineering and Natural Science, Istanbul Bilgi Universitesi, Istanbul, Turkey)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 12 July 2018

Issue publication date: 12 September 2018



Change is continuous and leaves many digital traces in contemporary organizations, while research on change usually lacks such continuity. The purpose of this paper is to test and explore the claim that change can be monitored through employee discourse. In doing so, the authors introduce basic text mining methods to detect prevailing keywords and their changes over time. Such monitoring of content and its change promises a continuous feedback and improvement for change management efforts.


The authors use a mixed research design, combining an ethnographic approach with digital methods. The quantitative element of the method involves applying text mining techniques to a document corpus that is representative of people in organizations, and is originally collected as part of a relatively common performance management system. The findings about discursive categories and their change patterns through time are then combined with observations and secondary information about change management for interpretation.


By combining these measurements with additional information about the change program in focus, the authors develop an interpretation of the dynamics of organizational change. Results showed that even in a successfully implied change effort that realize the planned targets, change does not occur directly and fully, with some elements of discourse being more persistent than others.

Research limitations/implications

Method of the research presents a new way of monitoring discursive change. Its incorporation into practice potentially allows for timely correction of change efforts and increasing possibility of success.


This research provides a framework for understanding how, and to what extent, planned change efforts effect organizations. Furthermore, the method developed in this research presents an innovative approach to monitor discursive change and timely managerial intervention.



Akarsu, O., Gencer, M. and Yıldırım, S. (2018), "Listening to the organization: change evaluation with discourse analysis", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 31 No. 5, pp. 1040-1053.



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