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Making strategic change: A critical discourse analysis
journal contributionposted on 2015-02-09, 00:00 authored by Steve Jaynes
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present the findings from a discourse model that was developed for an empirical study of a strategic change program.Design/methodology/approach – The perspective informing the discourse model is that discursive processes are central to strategic change in organizations, and that strategic change works by constructing a particular organizational reality in which the possibilities for change are preconditioned. This perspective offers a discursive understanding of how strategic change is formed, articulated, engaged, and contested by managers and employees.Findings – The paper reports the findings from a study in which the discourse model was applied to a strategic change program in a Bank. The findings demonstrate the inter-discursive nature of strategic change in showing how different levels of discourse, from the grand to the local, were intertwined in an organizational and situated context.Research limitations/implications – This paper builds on the small but growing body of empirical work that studies organizational strategy as a discourse. In this paper it has been argued that discursive processes are central to strategic change in organizations - central to the understanding and the practice of how strategic change is formed, articulated, and engaged by managers and employees. This argument was informed by a post-structuralist definition and articulation of language and an understanding of language as discourse in organizations.Practical implications – The paper demonstrates the central role of language and discourse in the formation of a strategic change program. The findings reported in the paper show the importance of strategy discourse in providing a framework for strategic change, for mobilizing change in an organization, and for legitimizing the change imperative.Social implications – A critique of the management of emotional intelligence is set out. The centrality of employee identity and subject position to the processes of change is illustrated. Originality/value – The discourse model made possible an investigation of how a program of strategic change was formed through the discursive framing of organizational reality.