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The 24th EGOS Colloquium 2008  

General Theme


Postdoctoral pre-colloquium workshop

PhD pre-colloquium workshop

Roland Calori Prize

EGOS Best Paper Award
EGOS Best Student Paper Award

Organizing Committee

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Tourist Information


Sub-theme 37:

Transforming Others: The Discourse Strategies and Practices of Change



Shirley Leitch
University of Wollongong (Australia)

Judy Motion
University of Wollongong (Australia)

Ian Palmer
University of Technology Sydney (Australia)

Sally Davenport
Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand)

Call for papers

In this theme we are interested in the discourse practices and strategies deployed by organizations to transform others – people, organizations, governments, societies – rather than themselves (Fairclough, 1992). This focus is a relatively unusual one in the field of organizational studies which has tended to be inwardly focused. There is, however, nothing unusual or uncommon about externally-oriented change discourses. For example, through marketing discourses, organizations routinely attempt to change the way we perceive our identities, behaviours and relationships. Similarly, through membership of lobby groups and front organizations as well as by direct action, organizations influence the decisions of governments and the practices of bureaucracies.

Organizational struggles over discourse formation and transformation, including the disruption and destabilisation of circuits of power (Clegg, Courpasson & Phillips, 2006) and the resultant productive or negative effects unsettle and upset societal relations. Unsettling others in order to effect change is, then, a core component of organizational activity and the rationale for many external organization communication practices.

For this sub-theme, we seek participants who take a discourse perspective on the ways in which organizations set out to change others. Our interest is not in the success or failure of particular change initiatives but rather in the character and operation of the discourse strategies that are enacted including the underlying power relations. We invite submissions which focus on transforming discourses and that:

  • explore the role of organizational identity or identities in constraining or enabling action;
  • examine the use of strategic ambiguity, indeterminacy and unintended effects in upsetting discourses;
  • examine the power effects and contexts of particular discourse strategies and practices, including the creation of organizational subjects;
  • explore the circuits of power that underlie these discourses;
  • challenge and extend theory relating to externally focused change;
  • suggest new directions for research in this area.

Key readings

Clegg, S., D. Courpasson & N. Phillips (2006): Power and Organizations. London: Sage.

Fairclough, N. (1992): Discourse and Social Change. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

About the convenors

Shirley Leitch is Dean of Commerce and Professor of Management at the University of Wollongong (Australia). Her research has focused on the discourses associated with the introduction of the social, scientific and organizational change.

Judy Motion is Professor of Marketing and Management at the University of Wollongong (Australia). Her research focuses on the transformation of public and organizational discourses.

Ian Palmer is Associate Dean (Research) and Professor of Management, Faculty of Business, UTS. Ian's teaching, research and consulting expertise is in the area of organization analysis, design and change.

Sally Davenport is Professor at Victoria Management School, Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand). Her research has focused on strategy and technology management and policy, and more recently, on the strategic use of discourse.