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A Context-sensitive Approach to Analysing Talk in Strategy Meetings

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2011
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Journal number4
Volume23
Number of pages19
Pages455-473
Early online date27/09/11
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The talk of managers in meetings is central to organizational life and crucial to research in strategic management, as well as managerial and organizational cognition, sensemaking and decision-making. To achieve full understanding, both the text and the context of discussion require systematic analysis, but most approaches treat context as everything that is known and observed beyond the immediate text. This obscures different readings of the text of meetings. To resolve this problem, the discourse historical approach (DHA) to critical discourse analysis is outlined as a framework within which researchers can analyse the text and context of talk in meetings. The primary contribution of this paper is to isolate four ‘levels of context’ as a heuristic framework within which discursive practices, strategies and texts can be located. By making explicit the levels of contextual analysis that are implicit in other methods, and illustrating the DHA using an episode of strategic discussion from a multinational company, this paper shows how researchers can use the approach to analyse the naturally occurring talk of senior managers in meetings, which is arguably the most important but yet under-explored venue for strategizing.