In search of subtlety - Discursive devices and rhetorical competence

Andrea Whittle, Frank Mueller, Anita Mangan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    31 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    What is the role of contradiction in organizational rhetoric? This article argues that existing research tends to focus on contradiction at an institutional level and then develop a distinct but complementary perspective that views contradictory rhetoric at an interactional level and as a practical concern, especially when routine is disrupted and repair tactics are required. Drawing on data from a study of a quality improvement initiative in the United Kingdom, the authors examine the contradictions that were constructed when a "change champion" attempted to deal with resistance to change. They conclude by depicting how contradiction can emerge when actors reflexively shift their identifications to portray themselves and their actions in a contextually appropriate manner.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)99-122
    Number of pages24
    JournalManagement Communication Quarterly
    Volume22
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008

    Keywords

    • contradiction
    • discourse
    • identity
    • identification
    • rhetoric
    • total quality management
    • DISCOURSE
    • MANAGEMENT
    • IDENTIFICATION
    • ORGANIZATIONS
    • CONTRADICTION
    • CONSTRUCTION
    • TECHNOLOGY
    • METAPHOR
    • ACCOUNTS
    • QUALITY

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