A Methodological Framework for Organizational Discourse Activism: an Ethics of Dispositif and Dialogue

Ann Starbæk Bager, Martin Mølholm

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

In the present article, we elaborate an interdisciplinary methodological framework that enables us to study and prepare the grounds for development of organizational practices through discourse perspectives. The framework counters mainstream monological and complexity reducing tendencies within organizational studies and argues that we ought to take both historical as well as situational power relations and discourses in to consideration when we engage in ethical organizational development. We place the framework within Organizational Discourse Studies (ODS) and discusses how an intersection of Foucauldian and Bakhtinian ideas and concepts as well as their diverse analytical strategies contribute to the field. The former focuses on organizations broader historical discursive circumstances whereas the latter zooms in on situated dialogic encounters. The combination entails that we take a dissensus approach to organizational discursive phenomenon which we view as dynamic features that are historically and locally (re)created through battles of unifying (centripetal) and diversifying (centrifugal) force relations. We further argue how Deleuze’s refinement on Foucault’s term dispositif as consisting of ever changing lines is seen as an intermediary that assists the combination of the diverse theoretical, philosophical and analytical perspectives. Following similar ideas of Deleuze and Bakhtin we argue how every (organizational) situation and dialogue is seen as a plurivocal, open ended and unique time-space in which subjects have agency to change and transform the power relations and lines of subjectification that they are embedded in. We arrive at a methodological framework that bridges the often-existing gulf between discourse perspectives that tend to either focus on situated or more abstract and historical discursive dimensions. Furthermore, the frame involves an ethics of dispositif and dialogue that insists on organizational discourse scholars to engage in organizational discourse activism furthering local change processes. The paper does not display empirical data and concrete analysis but focuses on the theoretical, philosophical and practical implications that the methodology brings about.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophy of Management
Volume19
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)99-126
ISSN1740-3812
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1. Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bakhtin
  • Discourse
  • Ethics
  • Foucault
  • Organization
  • Power

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