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Category predication work, discursive leadership and strategic sensemaking

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Category predication work, discursive leadership and strategic sensemaking. / Whittle, Andrea; Housley, William; Gilchrist, Alan; Mueller , Frank ; Lenney, Peter.

In: Human Relations, Vol. 68, No. 3, 03.2015, p. 377-407.

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Whittle, Andrea ; Housley, William ; Gilchrist, Alan ; Mueller , Frank ; Lenney, Peter. / Category predication work, discursive leadership and strategic sensemaking. In: Human Relations. 2015 ; Vol. 68, No. 3. pp. 377-407.

Bibtex

@article{51bcb865762f48c9b9ca9e1f60474313,
title = "Category predication work, discursive leadership and strategic sensemaking",
abstract = "Categorisation is known to play an important role in organizations because categories {\textquoteleft}frame{\textquoteright} situations in particular ways, which informs managerial sensemaking and enables managerial intervention. In this paper, we advance existing work by examining the role of categorisation practices in discursive leadership during periods of strategic change. Drawing on data from an ethnographic action research study of a strategic change initiative in a multi-national corporation, we use Membership Categorisation Analysis to develop a framework for studying {\textquoteleft}category predicates{\textquoteright}, defined as the stock of organizational knowledge and associated reasoning procedures concerning the kinds of activities, attributes, rights, responsibilities, expectations, and so on that are {\textquoteleft}tied{\textquoteright} or {\textquoteleft}bound{\textquoteright} to organizational categories. Our analysis shows that discursive leadership enabled a radical shift in sensemaking about organizational structure categories through a process of {\textquoteleft}frame-breaking{\textquoteright} and {\textquoteleft}re-framing{\textquoteright}. In so doing, the leader co-constructed a {\textquoteleft}definition of the situation{\textquoteright} that built a compelling {\textquoteleft}vision{\textquoteright} and concrete {\textquoteleft}plan{\textquoteright} for strategic change. We go on to trace the organizational consequences and material outcomes of this shift in sensemaking for the company in question. We conclude by arguing that {\textquoteleft}category predication work{\textquoteright} comprises a key leadership competence and plays an important role in organizational and strategic change processes.Keywords: Discursive Leadership, Ethnomethodology, Membership Categorisation Analysis, Politics, Power, Sensemaking, Structure, Strategy",
keywords = "Discursive Leadership, ethnomethodology, membership categorization analysis, politics, power, strategy, structure",
author = "Andrea Whittle and William Housley and Alan Gilchrist and Frank Mueller and Peter Lenney",
year = "2015",
month = mar,
doi = "10.1177/0018726714528253",
language = "English",
volume = "68",
pages = "377--407",
journal = "Human Relations",
issn = "0018-7267",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Ltd",
number = "3",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Category predication work, discursive leadership and strategic sensemaking

AU - Whittle, Andrea

AU - Housley, William

AU - Gilchrist, Alan

AU - Mueller , Frank

AU - Lenney, Peter

PY - 2015/3

Y1 - 2015/3

N2 - Categorisation is known to play an important role in organizations because categories ‘frame’ situations in particular ways, which informs managerial sensemaking and enables managerial intervention. In this paper, we advance existing work by examining the role of categorisation practices in discursive leadership during periods of strategic change. Drawing on data from an ethnographic action research study of a strategic change initiative in a multi-national corporation, we use Membership Categorisation Analysis to develop a framework for studying ‘category predicates’, defined as the stock of organizational knowledge and associated reasoning procedures concerning the kinds of activities, attributes, rights, responsibilities, expectations, and so on that are ‘tied’ or ‘bound’ to organizational categories. Our analysis shows that discursive leadership enabled a radical shift in sensemaking about organizational structure categories through a process of ‘frame-breaking’ and ‘re-framing’. In so doing, the leader co-constructed a ‘definition of the situation’ that built a compelling ‘vision’ and concrete ‘plan’ for strategic change. We go on to trace the organizational consequences and material outcomes of this shift in sensemaking for the company in question. We conclude by arguing that ‘category predication work’ comprises a key leadership competence and plays an important role in organizational and strategic change processes.Keywords: Discursive Leadership, Ethnomethodology, Membership Categorisation Analysis, Politics, Power, Sensemaking, Structure, Strategy

AB - Categorisation is known to play an important role in organizations because categories ‘frame’ situations in particular ways, which informs managerial sensemaking and enables managerial intervention. In this paper, we advance existing work by examining the role of categorisation practices in discursive leadership during periods of strategic change. Drawing on data from an ethnographic action research study of a strategic change initiative in a multi-national corporation, we use Membership Categorisation Analysis to develop a framework for studying ‘category predicates’, defined as the stock of organizational knowledge and associated reasoning procedures concerning the kinds of activities, attributes, rights, responsibilities, expectations, and so on that are ‘tied’ or ‘bound’ to organizational categories. Our analysis shows that discursive leadership enabled a radical shift in sensemaking about organizational structure categories through a process of ‘frame-breaking’ and ‘re-framing’. In so doing, the leader co-constructed a ‘definition of the situation’ that built a compelling ‘vision’ and concrete ‘plan’ for strategic change. We go on to trace the organizational consequences and material outcomes of this shift in sensemaking for the company in question. We conclude by arguing that ‘category predication work’ comprises a key leadership competence and plays an important role in organizational and strategic change processes.Keywords: Discursive Leadership, Ethnomethodology, Membership Categorisation Analysis, Politics, Power, Sensemaking, Structure, Strategy

KW - Discursive Leadership

KW - ethnomethodology

KW - membership categorization analysis

KW - politics

KW - power

KW - strategy

KW - structure

U2 - 10.1177/0018726714528253

DO - 10.1177/0018726714528253

M3 - Journal article

VL - 68

SP - 377

EP - 407

JO - Human Relations

JF - Human Relations

SN - 0018-7267

IS - 3

ER -