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Article
Publication date: 30 August 2011

Hanne Nørreklit

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the symbolic forms used in selected mainstream management models and to assess whether it would be expedient for enforcing the…

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1778

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the symbolic forms used in selected mainstream management models and to assess whether it would be expedient for enforcing the connection between leadership and individual human reality if such management models were fundamentally inspired by a successful manager and artist.

Design/methodology/approach

The theoretical starting point of this article is Cassirer's philosophy on symbolic forms. The paper analyses the symbolic forms embedded in the management discourse practice of art in the way that the concept is practiced by Kasper Holten, the highly successful Artistic Director of the Royal Danish Opera.

Findings

The analysis shows that conventional management control models are rooted in the symbolic form of science, but are at risk of getting caught in assumptions of the form gliding into the symbolic form of religion and myth, where all the forms tend to oppress essential aspects of individuality. Kasper Holten integrates the symbolic forms of art and science, which makes him capable of binding to the individual's life‐world.

Research limitations/implications

Analysing Kasper Holten's views on management reveals features and structures for a new management discourse practice which is far better suited to most of the knowledge jobs in contemporary society than the more conventional management discourse.

Originality/value

The paper provides novel insight into the interrelationship between the specific way of using language and the way of managing and constructing a world. It paves the way for another way of doing management control and accounting.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 7 October 2014

Anu Pynnönen and Tuomo Takala

The purpose of this paper is to qualitatively describe and explain the contemporary Finnish discourse of municipal managers. The emphasis within is on analyzing the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to qualitatively describe and explain the contemporary Finnish discourse of municipal managers. The emphasis within is on analyzing the encounters of the public sector management discourse and the private sector management discourse, and the effects that these encounters have on the construction and representation of municipal management.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on a three-phase discourse analysis, proceeding from the textual and linguistic level through interpretive analysis to critical analysis. This analysis is based on the proceedings and presentations of a seminar of municipal leadership and management, arranged in 2013 in Finland.

Findings

The encounters of the discourses form three types: apposition of actors; contradiction and conflict of contexts; and domination of the private sector discourse. Apposition is a surface-level phenomenon, synonymizing the actors of the two discourses. Contradiction and conflict are caused by the incompatibility of operational and value contexts. Domination is a phenomenon of prioritizing the private sector principles and values in conflict situations. All these may affect the role and work of, as well as expectations toward, the municipal manager.

Research limitations/implications

Further research and more samples are needed to assess wider applicability of the present findings.

Originality/value

The study highlights the roles of language and discourse in the construction and representation of municipal management and managers. It increases the importance of understanding the discursive elements of the new public management phenomenon. In addition, the study supplements the existing macro-level studies.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 27 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article
Publication date: 25 June 2010

Leonie Heres and Yvonne Benschop

Originating from the USA in the early 1990s, diversity management has been “imported” to Europe to become a fashionable practice in many business organizations. The aim of…

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1476

Abstract

Purpose

Originating from the USA in the early 1990s, diversity management has been “imported” to Europe to become a fashionable practice in many business organizations. The aim of this paper is to provide further insight into whether and how the diversity management discourse challenges and replaces existing local discourses on equality and diversity, and how diversity management is given content and meaning in a specific local context.

Design/methodology/approach

Statements on diversity, diversity management and equality on both the Dutch and the international websites of ten leading companies in the Netherlands are analyzed.

Findings

The analysis shows that translations of diversity management may in fact not actually replace existing local discourses, but rather leave the existing local discourse more or less intact and alter the original diversity management discourse to fit into this local discourse.

Originality/value

This paper offers some important lessons for management practice.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 29 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2008

Lars Nordgren

The formation and spreading of market‐, management‐ and individual‐rights discourses into society, as well as the movement of consumerism, have paved the way for a…

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1929

Abstract

Purpose

The formation and spreading of market‐, management‐ and individual‐rights discourses into society, as well as the movement of consumerism, have paved the way for a transformation of the linguistic usage. The transformation suggests that the view of the care seeker has shifted from a waiting patient, via a consumer to a customer creating value. Another example of the process is that the former medical meeting between patient/doctor now is described as a service meeting. With this background, the purpose of this paper is to explore the transformation of linguistic usage and to analyse the performativity of the service management discourse in health care.

Design/methodology/approach

The concept of performativity (Butler) supported with discursive formation and subjectivization (Foucualt) is used as theoretical framework. The performativity of the discourse is understood as a vehicle within the discourse, which influences people on an ontological level that names and makes them active subjects in line with what the discourse is saying.

Findings

When the service management discourse travels into the world of health care, discursive tensions between medical‐, care‐ and management discourses follow. These become apparent in the distinction between the different discursive constructions of patient – related to passivity, and customer – related to the performative image of active participation in value creating health. Even if the customer in service management discourse is imagined as an agent for himself with power and individual responsibility it is doubtful if people view themselves as customers. The dialectics between the use of the customer concept in commercial service meetings and the patient – doctor meeting, which is illustrated, point to unexpressed and implicit presumptions of an ontological kind in the ways service management researchers describe service meetings. Recent health care research can be interpreted as if a majority of patients have a desire to be part of their value creating processes. Since the responsibilities and tasks of the professions in health care however are regulated by law and institutionalised, the process of delegating tasks to patients seems not to be a matter of course.

Practical implications

It seems to be problematic to replace the patient concept with the customer concept in general. This concept gives hardly much room for the vulnerability that characterises a sick person. A reasonable approach would of course be to use the customer concept in a nuanced way.

Originality/value

The paper demonstrates that the performativity of service management theories, through the use of discursive analysis, is valuable in order to understand shifts in linguistic usage.

Details

Journal of Health Organization and Management, vol. 22 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7266

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2012

Anne Ellerup Nielsen and Hanne Nørreklit

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the construction of discourses in current popular management models described in the field of management coaching in order to…

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1333

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the construction of discourses in current popular management models described in the field of management coaching in order to examine the disciplining forms and the type of authority appeal drawn upon in these models.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors apply a discourse analysis to two selected works on management coaching in order to investigate the rhetorical articulation of the coaching concept in terms of established discourses of management.

Findings

It seems that the analysed works draw on both a rationalistic and a spiritual paradigm of disciplining. Self‐realisation is mainly a superficial change. The discourse pattern thus fits into a wider social postmodern context in which social order seems to be constituted through a blending of rational and spiritual discourse order.

Practical implications

The analysis provides insight into the extent to which management coaching practices are likely to facilitate intrinsic employee involvement and hence organisational innovation and learning.

Originality/value

Since there are only sparse studies of discourse analysis within management coaching, the study provides new insight into how a rather new emerging management technique constructs and disciplines the employee's project of self‐realisation.

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Article
Publication date: 13 November 2007

Jennifer Adelstein

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the knowledge work discourse has been transformed from a celebration of those who create knowledge to one of leaden…

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1298

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the knowledge work discourse has been transformed from a celebration of those who create knowledge to one of leaden prescription to purposively separate the knowledge from the knower.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach takes the form of genealogical discourse analysis of the dominant and alternative knowledge work discourses.

Findings

From its earliest conceptions, knowledge work as a discourse was conceived as creating a new class of worker who was highly educated, motivated and financially aspirational. Through alignment with significant discourses from such fields of knowledge as economics, the law and technology, knowledge has become an organisational asset, to be secured by technology and protected by law even from those who created it. Discursive transformation shows that knowledge work and those who perform it – the knowledge workers – have become marginalised in the discourses until they have virtually disappeared altogether.

Research limitations/implications

As a conceptual paper, the analysis does not address an empirical research frame. However, the paper illustrates how power is implicated in all aspects of the knowledge work discourse.

Originality/value

The paper identifies how power relations are implicit in organisational discourses of knowledge work. Knowledge is seen to be central to studies of organisations, economics and globalisation, yet human beings as creators of knowledge have been marginalised in the knowledge discourses.

Details

Equal Opportunities International, vol. 26 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0261-0159

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Article
Publication date: 27 July 2012

Thomas Andersson

The article aims to analyze how personal development training influences managers' identity processes.

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2434

Abstract

Purpose

The article aims to analyze how personal development training influences managers' identity processes.

Design/methodology/approach

The article, taking an interpretive‐critical approach, is based on a qualitative, longitudinal study of five participants (managers) in a personal development training program. During the two years of research, 62 interviews (with the managers and related personnel) were conducted and 13 observations were made.

Findings

Personal development training provokes identity regulation by prescribing a normative identity process that claims managers should engage in a process of reflection in order to gain self‐awareness. Such training constitutes a local management discourse that may influence different levels of identity work and identity regulation processes depending on the participants' expectations, their organizations and professional situations, their level of insecurity, as well as their previous experience with management discourse.

Practical implications

Since management training influences participants' identity processes, program organizers, purchasers and participants should be wary of the expectation that management training will deliver content as “a package” of managerial skills.

Originality/value

The study challenges the traditional view of management training as a provider of skills and solutions for managers by focusing instead on its influence on managers' processes of identity work and identity regulation. Management training in general is claimed to regulate identities and direct identity work by providing inspirational identities. However, this study finds that personal development training regulates identities by prescribing the identity process in itself.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 41 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Article
Publication date: 9 September 2013

Vijaya Murthy and James Guthrie

The purpose of this paper is to consider the impact of social accounting at the micro level and examines the use of social reporting for constructive purposes through…

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2319

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider the impact of social accounting at the micro level and examines the use of social reporting for constructive purposes through internal communication devices. It explores the discourse adopted by a large organisation in social accounting and reporting (workplace flexibility) through employee newsletters. In doing so the paper seeks to answer two research questions. First, what workplace flexibility practices are evident in the employee newsletters? Second, do management use discourse (including self-accounts) in newsletters for self-serving management control purposes or for the emancipatory purposes of benefiting employees?

Design/methodology/approach

Content and discourse analysis are used to examine “workplace flexibility” practices portrayed within the newsletters. This study explores the discourse adopted by a large Australian financial institution, in its social accounting disclosure in employee newsletters. It does so by examining the discourse adopted by the organisation in relation to one aspect of social accounting, that is, “workplace flexibility” in the employee newsletters over the period 2003-2007.

Findings

The paper finds the financial institution used its internal newsletters to influence employee attitude and behaviour, not as claimed for social “betterment” – justice, welfare, emancipation. The possibility of social accounting's emancipatory potential was suppressed by those responsible for providing the accounts. The paper found that management used discourse (including self-accounts) in the newsletters for self-serving management control purposes and not as claimed for benefiting employees.

Originality/value

The idea that the organisation provides workplace flexibility for the sake of benefitting employees is questionable. The discourse found in the newsletters suggests that flexible work options instead appear to be aimed at garnering employee loyalty, with subsequent employer benefits of improved organisational performance. The organisation used the discourse on workplace flexibility to blur the boundaries of work and life and persuade the employees to work harder and longer, to continuously increase productivity. In doing so, the organisation camouflaged its own economic sustainability and profitability as workplace flexibility.

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Article
Publication date: 28 January 2014

Kaisa Airo and Suvi Nenonen

– The purpose of this article is to review the use of linguistic methods such as narrative and discourse analysis in workplace management research.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to review the use of linguistic methods such as narrative and discourse analysis in workplace management research.

Design/methodology/approach

Ten journals are reviewed in a time period of six years between years 2004-2010. The journals are categorized into three linguistic methodological journals and seven journals on built environment. Additionally articles were gathered with search words of workplace management, discourse and narrative analysis. Out of the total 2,245 articles, 40 articles were considered to be relevant for this research.

Findings

The linguistic methods of narrative and discourse analysis are not recognized in the workplace management research in a comprehensive way by combining the research on built environment to the research on organization and culture. In the workplace management research methods of narrative and discourse analysis were applied to the processes of built environment. Additionally methods were applied to the research of space and place as means of communication and means of identity construction.

Practical implications

Linguistic approach would reveal underlying messages behind evident structures of workplace and give new insights on understanding and developing workplaces both in design and in use.

Originality/value

The linguistic methods of narrative and discourse analysis are rarely used in workplace management research and should be considered as a new resource in the research of WPM.

Details

Facilities, vol. 32 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-2772

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 8 November 2010

Ulla Johansson and Jill Woodilla

This chapter considers problems and opportunities for design and management to contribute to creating a sustainable world. We consider the epistemology of two discourses

Abstract

This chapter considers problems and opportunities for design and management to contribute to creating a sustainable world. We consider the epistemology of two discourses bridging design and management, design management and design thinking, and that of appreciative inquiry, which we suggest has much in common with design thinking. We discuss problems with combining discourses from different paradigms, and highlight opportunities when paradigms are similar. We illustrate these opportunities with examples of three projects lead by designers, and comment on ways these discourses contribute to the concept of sustainability and ways in which practitioners create sustainable value.

Details

Positive Design and Appreciative Construction: From Sustainable Development to Sustainable Value
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-370-6

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