Organisational Change and Discourse: Hegemony, Resistance and Reconstitution

Christian De Cock*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The article considers the discourse surrounding culture change programmes in two British manufacturing organisations. The analysis of organisational discourse is pursued as a means of revealing the indeterminacy of organisational experiences and the problems inherent to the introduction of generic change approaches such as TQM (Total Quality Management) and BPR (Business Process Reengineering). An examination of the discourse used in the case companies will show an intricate set of structural, cultural, economic, and personal pressures passing through the TQM/BPR concepts. Organisational actors from all hierarchical levels are shown to be "disciplined" by the change discourse to various degrees. Three discursive movements are examined: the imposition/ introduction of a hegemonic discourse, the resistance to this discourse, and the appropriation of the discourse by line managers to reconstitute their actions and those of senior management. The outcome of these movements is a contested set of stories, full of contradiction and ambiguity. If the change discourse is to be embodied in local practices it cannot remain purely monologic, but has to engage in a dialogic relationship with existing and emerging concepts and meanings.

Original languageEnglish
JournalManagement
Volume1
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-22
ISSN1286-4892
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

Cite this

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title = "Organisational Change and Discourse: Hegemony, Resistance and Reconstitution",
abstract = "The article considers the discourse surrounding culture change programmes in two British manufacturing organisations. The analysis of organisational discourse is pursued as a means of revealing the indeterminacy of organisational experiences and the problems inherent to the introduction of generic change approaches such as TQM (Total Quality Management) and BPR (Business Process Reengineering). An examination of the discourse used in the case companies will show an intricate set of structural, cultural, economic, and personal pressures passing through the TQM/BPR concepts. Organisational actors from all hierarchical levels are shown to be {"}disciplined{"} by the change discourse to various degrees. Three discursive movements are examined: the imposition/ introduction of a hegemonic discourse, the resistance to this discourse, and the appropriation of the discourse by line managers to reconstitute their actions and those of senior management. The outcome of these movements is a contested set of stories, full of contradiction and ambiguity. If the change discourse is to be embodied in local practices it cannot remain purely monologic, but has to engage in a dialogic relationship with existing and emerging concepts and meanings.",
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Organisational Change and Discourse : Hegemony, Resistance and Reconstitution. / De Cock, Christian .

In: Management, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1998, p. 1-22.

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

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