Speaking about vision, talking in the name of so much more: A methodological framework for ventriloquial analyses in organization studies

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Organizations have long been treated as stable and fixed entities, defined by concrete buildings, catchy names, and strategic goals neatly written on paper. The Communicative Constitution of Organizations (CCO) school proposes an alternative, practice-grounded conceptualization for studying organizations as emerging in communicative (inter)actions. In so doing, CCO invites organizational scholars to trace back organizational phenomena to how they are communicated into existence. The concept of ventriloquism can help us explain the communicative constitutive view as it depicts how various elements of a situation are communicated into being and make a difference in interaction. However, ventriloquism lacks a proper methodological outline. Taking employee conversations about visions—a classic constituent of organizations—as our venue, we created a four-step framework for ventriloquial analyses and explored how visions are talked into existence. In this paper, we introduce and illustrate our analytical framework, showing how to identify, order, and present ventriloquial effects. We thus provide organizational (communication) scholars with a new methodological tool that facilitates the systematic inquiry into organizing and the organized from a communicative constitutive perspective.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1457-1476
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.

    Research areas

  • Communicative constitution of organizations (CCO), Montreal school, ventriloquism, vision