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Title: Discursive leadership in technological change
Authors: Gadelshina, Gyuzel
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis is contributing to a greater understanding of discursive leadership by exploring as it happens in situ and by looking more closely at the daily interactional work of leadership actors in the process of technological change. In this thesis, I argue that many of the existing accounts of leadership in organisational studies have contributed to a widely accepted ‘grandiose’ image of leadership conceptualising the phenomenon as a pre-existing entity and a taken-for-granted privilege of people on the top of organisational hierarchy who are responsible for making the executive decisions. My view on leadership is different. It is less grandiose, more mundane, and fundamentally a reality-defining activity. Being intrigued by daily discursive practices of doing leadership - as moments of providing an ‘intelligible formulation’ of reality - I contribute to the discursive leadership agenda by following a social constructionist path. The ‘linguistic turn’ in social sciences is my point of departure towards embracing the social and linguistic aspects of leadership. My thesis contributes to the field of management and organisation studies by developing an analytical framework to study discursive leadership as an interactional accomplishment by elaborating and synthesising theoretical insights from organisational sensemaking, discursive leadership and the social studies of technology. The value of this framework informed by the principles of ethnomethodology is that it has the potential for providing a better understanding of how technological change is constructed, negotiated and accomplished through the daily discursive practices of leadership actors who make sense of and give sense to processes of technological change in organisations. Responding to the empirical challenge of tracing the everyday interactional constitution of discursive leadership, my study is based on an extensive dataset, including meeting observations, interviews, and documents obtained during a twelve-month fieldwork. Drawing on this data, I use a range of interpretive approaches; namely, ethnomethodologically-informed discourse analysis (EDA), conversation analysis (CA), membership categorisation analysis (MCA) and organisational ethnography that iv enabled me to undertake a painstaking exploration of discursive micro-granularity of members’ sensemaking accounts which I used as units of my analysis. My study advances the existing research on organisational sensemaking by analysing reasoning procedures through which leadership actors construct a meaningful sense of the technological change through accounts. By setting a micro-discursive lens on leadership as a situated discursive practice and giving priority to participants’ own sensemaking, I identified a repertoire of discursive devices used by leadership actors to make sense and to give sense to the technological change in an organisation. Through examining the interactional accomplishment of the leadership phenomenon, my research advances the existing work on organisational sensemaking by an empirical demonstration of the organising properties of leadership as ‘sensemaking in action’. My thesis contributes to the discursive leadership field by offering insights into category predication work of leadership actors which enable sensemaking and sensegiving about technological change through the processes of framing and reframing. Three vignettes (each comprising of a set of episodes) demonstrate the membership categorisation work in leadership interaction which includes the following processes: reconstituting a category, characterising a category and generating category constraints thus revealing how technological change is accomplished through discursive practice of leadership actors.
Description: Phd Thesis
Appears in Collections:Newcastle University Business School

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