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Organizational context and the discursive construction of organizing

Sillince, J.A.A. (2007) Organizational context and the discursive construction of organizing. Management Communication Quarterly, 20 (4). pp. 363-394. ISSN 0893-3189

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Abstract

Organizational discourse has very little meaning outside its context. To understand any discourse's meaning, we must theorize about both the discourse's possibility and the circumstances of its constitution. Otherwise, we abstract text, sundering it from context. The present article asks what is context and what types of discourse structures and discourse strategies construct context? The author develops four distinct dimensions of context: when, where, as whom, and why people speak. To collaboratively construct meaning, an organization's members use several discursive means whereby a discourse from one context can be inserted, reframed, appropriated, and recursively placed into a discourse from another context-to achieve cross-contextual organizing of their accounts. Through such cross-contextual discursive work, members strive to balance these four (sometimes conflicting) contextual dimensions.