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The Scripting of Total Quality Management Within its Organizational Biography

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Frank Mueller, Professor Chris Carter


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The last 20 years or so have seen a proliferation of managerialist innovations, including Total Quality Management. Many existing accounts, however, tend to view TQM either as a copy of an institutional template or lose themselves in the richness of ‘the case’. Our intention is to trace institutional influences at the organizational level. For this purpose, we put forward an organizational biography perspective. The main promise of an organizational biography perspective is its concern with scripts of typical activities occurring during the ‘biography’ of an organizational innovation. We argue that scripts such as ‘exhortation’, ‘mimetic learning’, ‘structuring’, ‘contesting’, ‘routinizing’ and ‘disbanding’ are useful concepts in order to understand the dynamics of a management innovation at organizational level. The scripts refer to different combinations of rhetoric and practice(s). There will be some form of temporal sequence, but it will not be a strict sequence: for example, exhortation in some parts of the organization will co-exist with routinization in others. Accounting for such diversity is a strength of scripting analysis.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Carter C; Mueller F

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Organization Studies

Year: 2005

Volume: 26

Issue: 2

Pages: 219-245

ISSN (print): 0170-8406

ISSN (electronic): 1741-3044

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/0170840605049466


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