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Technological determinism and discursive closure in organizational mergers

Technological determinism and discursive closure in organizational mergers In times of organizational change leaders often tell stories that justify publicly the directions in which organizations move. Such stories are always political in nature and often reflect the motives of the storyteller. We observe how leaders in high‐tech organizations use the story of technological determinism in organizational settings as a discursive practice through which they invoke the “inevitability” of technology to justify managerial decisions to the public. Rather than taking ownership of certain actions, managers are able to use this story to claim that certain organizational changes are inevitable, and to eliminate alternative stories. We examine this strategy as it appears in the public discourse produced during two mergers in the high‐tech and telecommunications industries occurring from 1998 to 2002: US West and Qwest, and AOL and TimeWarner. Finally, we demonstrate that the story of technological determinism performs discursive closure around each merger. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Organizational Change Management Emerald Publishing

Technological determinism and discursive closure in organizational mergers

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0953-4814
DOI
10.1108/09534810410564587
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In times of organizational change leaders often tell stories that justify publicly the directions in which organizations move. Such stories are always political in nature and often reflect the motives of the storyteller. We observe how leaders in high‐tech organizations use the story of technological determinism in organizational settings as a discursive practice through which they invoke the “inevitability” of technology to justify managerial decisions to the public. Rather than taking ownership of certain actions, managers are able to use this story to claim that certain organizational changes are inevitable, and to eliminate alternative stories. We examine this strategy as it appears in the public discourse produced during two mergers in the high‐tech and telecommunications industries occurring from 1998 to 2002: US West and Qwest, and AOL and TimeWarner. Finally, we demonstrate that the story of technological determinism performs discursive closure around each merger.

Journal

Journal of Organizational Change ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Dec 1, 2004

Keywords: Organizational change; Acquisitions and mergers; Narratives

References