This paper presents a discourse‐analytic approach to the study of human resource management (HRM) and organisational change, which is more sensitive than conventional research designs to the dynamic role of language in shaping processes of change. The prevailing positivism within business and management research is noted, in which language is treated as unproblematic; it simply mirrors or represents an objective “reality” that can be measured in some way. In contrast, discourse‐based studies accept that language is not simply reflective of reality, but is significant in constituting reality. The paper moves on to examine the potential of discourse‐based studies to offer fresh insights into the role of HRM in producing change. Drawing on the work of Ford and Ford, change is treated as a “shift in conversation” and case‐study evidence is presented of the surfacing of a change initiative within a large UK manufacturing firm.
Journal of Organizational Change Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 1, 2003
Keywords: Human resource management; Organizational change; Communication; Teamworking
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