This much-needed systematic exploration of the emerging field of organizational discourse addresses both scholarly perspectives and empirical applications of the concepts. The interpretive, functional, critical, and structurational perspectives are examined in detail. Issues discussed include the constructive potential of discourse; prominent interpretive approaches; the role of discourse, in particular metaphor, in fostering certain organizational outcomes; a critical view addressing the power and political dimensions of discourse; and the dual aspects of discourse as both communicative actions and deep structures, interrelated through the modality of interpretive schemes. Application chapters illustrate how discourse theory can be employed in field research, aiding the analyst in gaining a deeper understanding of the social context and of the effects of discourse on that context. In particular, a view of discourse as situated symbolic action, and a structurational view of discourse are illustrated empirically, using examples from a major IT organization and a global consulting firm.

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