Talk-action Dynamics: Modalities of Aspirational Talk

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This paper investigates talk-action dynamics in the context of organizations, focusing in particular on situations where the talk concerns complex organizational aspirations, that is, situations where the implied action takes considerable effort to unfold and therefore extends into an unknown future.
Using corporate social responsibility (CSR) as recurrent exemplar, we address talk-action dynamics in four different modalities of aspirational CSR talk: exploration, formulation, implementation and evaluation. By conceptualizing the precarious relationship between talk and action in each of these modalities, the paper disentangles talk and action, all the while acknowledging that the two are
mutually intertwined. Hereby, the paper extends theories of communicative performativity, recovering the perlocutionary dimension and focusing on uptake beyond the moment in which the speech act is uttered.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganization Studies
Number of pages44
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: December 10, 2019


  • Talk and action
  • Speech acts
  • Aspirational talk
  • Performativity
  • CSR

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