Summoning the spirits: Organizational texts and the (dis)ordering properties of communication

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This article addresses the question: why does disorder tend to simultaneously accompany efforts to create order when organizing? Adopting a communication-centered perspective, we specifically examine the role of texts in the mutual constitution of order and disorder. Drawing on empirical material from three qualitative case studies on project organizing, we show that attempts of ordering through language use and texts (i.e. by closing and fixing meaning) tend to induce disordering (i.e. by opening the possibility of multiple meanings), at the same time. As we contend, these (dis)ordering dynamics play a key role in the communicative constitution of organization, keeping them in motion by calling forth continuous processes of meaning (re-)negotiation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)629-659
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 01.03.2016

    Research areas

  • Management studies
  • communicative constitution of organization, cross-case analysis, disordering, order and disorder, organization theory, organizational texts, project organizing