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Political ideology and the discursive construction of the multinational hotel industry

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mairi Maclean, Professor Charles Harvey, Professor Roy Suddaby



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Sage Publications Ltd., 2018.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


How might political ideology help to shape an organizational field? We explore the discursive construction of the multinational hotel industry through analysis of one of its leading actors, Hilton International (HI), conceived by Conrad Hilton as a means of combatting communism by facilitating world peace through international trade and travel. While the politicized rhetoric employed at hotel openings reflected institutional diversity, it resonated in parallel with a strong anti-communist discourse. We show that through astute political sensemaking and sensegiving, macro-political discourse which is ideological and universalising may be allied to micro-political practices in strategic action fields. Our study illuminates the processes of early-stage post-war globalization and its accompanying discourses, demonstrating that the foundation of a global industry may be ideologically inspired. Our primary contribution to theory is specific acknowledgement of the importance of political ideology as a particular ‘social skill’, helping to determine how international business has been ‘won’.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Maclean M, Harvey C, Suddaby R, O'Gorman K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Human Relations

Year: 2018

Volume: 71

Issue: 6

Pages: 766-795

Print publication date: 11/05/2018

Online publication date: 08/09/2017

Acceptance date: 09/06/2017

Date deposited: 11/06/2017

ISSN (print): 0018-7267

ISSN (electronic): 1741-282X

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/0018726717718919


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