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The Recontextualization of Management: A Discourse-based Approach to Analysing the Development of Management Thinking


  • Pete Thomas


Many analysts have sought to explain the development and growth of management ideas and discourse in recent years, using notions such as the diffusion and consumption of ideas, and analogies with the fashion industry. These frameworks have a number of weaknesses that inhibit their value. Conceptualizing management knowledge or ideas or thinking as a form of discourse leads us to alternative frameworks for examining developments in this field. Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) can be used to explore the social processes and structures from which discourse emanates and which discourse in turn underpins. Bernstein's concept of recontextualization can be employed to analyse the discursive relations between different social spheres or conjunctures within which human action takes place and how discourse is changed as it moves between conjunctures to meet the needs of different social agents. In this respect it can be used to analyse how management discourse unfolds as it is produced, distributed and acquired by agents within the academic, consultant and practitioner conjunctures. By doing so we can explore: the intertextual relations between the discourses; how the management discourse becomes technologized; and how hybrid forms of discourse, which mix genres and styles, emerge. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2003.

Suggested Citation

  • Pete Thomas, 2003. "The Recontextualization of Management: A Discourse-based Approach to Analysing the Development of Management Thinking," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(4), pages 775-801, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:40:y:2003:i:4:p:775-801

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    Cited by:

    1. Liu, Xiaohui & Gao, Lan & Lu, Jiangyong & Wei, Yingqi, 2015. "The role of highly skilled migrants in the process of inter-firm knowledge transfer across borders," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 56-68.
    2. Janssen, M. & Stoopendaal, A.M.V. & Putters, K., 2015. "Situated novelty: Introducing a process perspective on the study of innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(10), pages 1974-1984.
    3. Julia Balogun & Claus Jacobs & Paula Jarzabkowski & Saku Mantere & Eero Vaara, 2014. "Placing Strategy Discourse in Context: Sociomateriality, Sensemaking, and Power," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 175-201, March.
    4. Ruebottom, Trish, 2013. "The microstructures of rhetorical strategy in social entrepreneurship: Building legitimacy through heroes and villains," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 98-116.
    5. John Ferguson, 2007. "Analysing accounting discourse: avoiding the “fallacy of internalism”," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 20(6), pages 912-934, October.

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