Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the problem of reconfiguring epistemic boundaries and the authority relationships that these boundaries represent in corporate R&D. The authors focus the analysis on the mediation of this reconfiguration by project management tools, specifically the development plan and its subsidiary roadmaps and timelines. Design/methodology/approach – The authors analyze discourse data from an ethnographic study to show in situ the communication about and through project management tools in collaborative project development. The concepts of organizational map and mapping from the perspective of the communicative constitution of organization (CCO) frame the close-up analysis of this communication. Findings – The analysis reveals how the plan and its subsidiary texts participate in the negotiation and legitimation of epistemic ownership and authority for a collaborative strategy to be implemented. The authors illustrate the material agency of these texts in the objectification and prioritization of strategic choices in this implementation. Research limitations/implications – To conclude, the authors discuss the significance of exploring the mapping function of supposedly mundane representational tools used in project management. Originality/value – The originality of this study comes from applying the organizational map concept to demonstrate the politically charged materiality of project management tools in the discursive establishment of authority and accomplishment of corporate strategy.
Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 4, 2014