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In search of subtlety: Discursive devices and rhetorical competence

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Andrea Whittle, Professor Frank Mueller



What is the role of contradiction in organizational rhetoric? This article argues that existing research tends to focus on contradiction at an institutional level and then develop a distinct but complementary perspective that views contradictory rhetoric at an interactional level and as a practical concern, especially when routine is disrupted and repair tactics are required. Drawing on data from a study of a quality improvement initiative in the United Kingdom, the authors examine the contradictions that were constructed when a "change champion" attempted to deal with resistance to change. They conclude by depicting how contradiction can emerge when actors reflexively shift their identifications to portray themselves and their actions in a contextually appropriate manner.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mueller F; Whittle A; Mangan A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Management Communication Quarterly

Year: 2008

Volume: 22

Issue: 1

Pages: 99-122

Date deposited: 24/04/2015

ISSN (print): 0893-3189

ISSN (electronic): 1552-6798

Publisher: Sage Publications, Inc.


DOI: 10.1177/0893318908318515


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