Discourses of Post-Bureaucratic Organization

Rick A.M. Iedema | The University of New South Wales
ISBN 9789027232052 (Eur) | EUR 95.00
ISBN 9781588114136 (USA) | USD 143.00
ISBN 9789027296481 | EUR 95.00 | USD 143.00
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This book considers the discourses that come into play in organizational change. The book outlines the tensions that arise for people having to enact change, and analyzes the ways in which they position themselves in changing organizational environments. The book takes a social semiotic perspective on discourse, organization and change. Here, discourse encompasses not only the multi-modal resources that people mobilize in organizational (inter)action, but also the practices and transformative dynamics afforded by those resources. The organizational changes highlighted in the book revolve around three dimensions of work that are increasingly coming to the fore: participation, boundary-spanning and knowledging. These dimensions are explored through case studies, including a health planning project, an initiative to standardize work practices, and the tension between paper-based and IT-based reporting. The book addresses the relevance of this discourse perspective to organizational research more broadly, by investigating organization as a dynamic of ‘resemiotizations’.

Cover illustration by John Reid
[Document Design Companion Series, 5] 2003.  xiv, 234 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“The book is likely to be of interest to scholars in both discourse studies and organization studies. In particular, it may be useful to those studying the ongoing transformation of Western mediacl institutions.”
“I think this book makes an exceptionally important contribution to research on organizational discourse in developing a discourse perspective on changes in the nature of organizing and organizations which Iedema identifies as 'post-bureaucratic' and others have referred to as for instance the 'new work order'. Iedema identifies these changes in organization as changes in the literacy demands placed on members of organizations, and especially in the new salience of what he calls 'textualization' as a facet of work in organizations. Workers in organizations are increasingly required to engage in participatory forms of interaction about their work which are defined as part of their work, and which ongoingly do the work of (re)organizing and so of (re)constituting organizations. They are required to produce accounts of their work for each other as well as for distant others which simultaneously reposition them as agents (reflexive and self-regulating workers) and in time and space (by mapping the local specificity of their work onto distal and decontextualized procedures). Iedema argues that close analysis of these forms of interaction in terms for instance of quite specific linguistic categories such as 'nominalization' can give insight into the processes of textualization and thus into this new facet of work in post-bureaucratic organizations and into the process of organizing itself. The argument is a complex one, with a number of loose ends, as well as repetitive reclycling, due in part I suspect to the book having been compiled from previously published papers. But Iedema makes a strong case that micro analysis of language (as well as other semiotic forms) has an important and essential place in organizational research which should and I think will attract a great deal of attention and interest.”
“[...] ably demonstrates how usefully linguistic research, allied with other disciplines, can contribute to the finding of solutions for many intractable social problems.”
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Main BIC Subject

CFG: Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
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ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2003052291 | Marc record