Dialogue: Life and Death of the Organization
Gergen, Kenneth J.
Gergen, Mary M.
Barrett, Frank J.
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There is a pervasive tendency in organizational studies to view acts of communication in terms of the individual agent. It is the individual who speaks, writes, gestures, and so on; it is the individual we credit for effective speaking, just as it is the individualís ineffective listening that invites discredit. This tendency to focus on individual acts of expression is indeed unfortunate because it suppresses perhaps the central feature of such actions, their function within relationships. Indeed, as we shall soon make clear, it is from the relational matrix that the very possibility of individual sense making comes into being, and without the existence of ongoing relationship communicative acts lose their status as communication. As the editors of this Handbook have made clear, organizational worlds are created and sustained through discourse. This chapter makes it equally clear that it is through relational process that discourse acquires its significance. More broadly stated, it is by virtue of relational processes that organizations live or die.
Draft copy for the Handbook of Organizational Discourse, D. Grant, C.Hardy, C. Oswick, N. Phillips and L Putnam. (Eds.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
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