10th International Conference on Organizational Discourse

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The biannual Organizational Discourse Conference celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2012. In the past two decades ‘discourse analysis’ has firmly established itself as a topic of interest, an analytical perspective informing a variety of critical theoretical approaches, and a methodology for organizational research. A discursive approach has been widely adopted in a variety of subfields. In the 10th Conference we take the opportunity to critically reflect on the contribution of organizational discourse to some of these fields in which ‘discourse’ is frequently invoked as a frame of analysis, such as culture and collaborative practices, power and identity processes, discourse and institutional change, diversity and distinction-drawing, and materiality and embodiment.

Theme "Processes, Practices and Performance"

The substantive theme for the 2012 conference – Processes, Practices and Performance – refracts a range of analytic themes which have come to characterise process approaches to organizational analysis. Discourse analytical approaches are particularly well suited to address repeated calls:

  • to develop our understanding of the discursive aspects of organizing or organization as an emergent process and illustrate how such processes sustain, disrupt or transform institutionalized power asymmetries;
  • to bring everyday work practices back into organizational analysis in order to illuminate how social action contributes to the creation and re-creation of the institutional realm; and
  • to explore the relationships between discourse and the variety of ways in which we might call the ‘role’ of performance contributes to the everyday construction of organizational life.

We welcome submissions which develop a process understandings of organization, taking seriously the notion that – within the contextual constraints of what are taken to be pre-defined structures – organizational actors can be viewed as ‘talking’, ‘writing’ and ‘acting’ organizations into existence. We also welcome papers which take the workaday practices and discursive acts of organizational members as its primary focus, bringing organizational analysis closer to the mundane, day-to-day aspects of organizing. Finally, we wish to investigate the performative dimensions of organizational life by analysing the material, textual and bodily performances at work and organizational actors’ ‘dramaturgical’ presentations of their individual and collective ‘selves’ in different arenas.


In keeping with past conferences, the theme for the 10th Conference deliberately constitutes a broad discursive canvas. We expect the precise conference streams to emerge from the papers themselves. We anticipate papers that will organize themselves within and around the following topics:

Culture, Collaboration and Symbolism  Identity and Boundaries
Institutions, Networks and Agency   Time, Space and Materiality
Sense-making, Stories and Narrative  Crisis and Transformation
Knowledge, Power and Politics    Diversity and Distinction-drawing
Ethnography and Organizational LifeLanguage, Culture and Ideology


Papers are invited on talk and text addressing issues of social representation, social construction and social interaction in relation to any aspect of organization or organizing in relation to these themes. It is envisaged that the Conference will provide a forum in which academics with contrasting epistemological and ontological perspectives on both organization and discourse engage in dialogue. Contributions may thus adopt any epistemological perspective but we are concerned to achieve a balance between empirical studies and conceptual/theoretical contributions.