Organizational decision-making, discourse, and power: integrating across contexts and scales

Discourse and Communication 3 (3):273-302 (2009)
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Research has downplayed the complex discursive processes and practices through which decisions are constructed and blurs the relationship between macro- and micro-levels. The article argues for a critical and ecologically valid approach that articulates how discursive practices are influenced by, and in turn shape, the organizational settings in which they occur. It makes a methodological contribution using decision-making episodes of a senior management team meeting of a multinational company to demonstrate the insights that can be obtained from embedding the Discourse-Historical Approach to Critical Discourse Analysis within a longitudinal ethnography. The approach illuminates the latent and intricate power dynamics and range of potentials of agents, triangulating micro-level discursive strategies with macro-level historical sources and background knowledge on the social and political fields. The article also makes a theoretical contribution by demonstrating the dependency of decision outcomes on often unpredictable and subtle changes in the power—context relationship.



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