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'Totally Un-Australian!': Discursive and Institutional Interplay in the Melbourne Port Dispute of 1997-98


  • John W. Selsky


We examine how discourses are mobilized and deployed by actors in an inter-organizational domain during a critical industrial relations event. We identify the ways that business interests and union interests in the Melbourne Port industrial dispute of 1997-98 related to each other. We weave concepts from domain theory and organizational discourse theory in deriving the concept of the "discursively ordered domain". This suggests that the main processes that occur in a domain are actors''mapping' texts onto discourses and discourses onto interpretive schemes which make certain courses of action rational and sensible. Methodologically, we join an institutional-historical analysis and a text-based discourse analysis to gain a well-rounded understanding of the situation. We extract several discursive frameworks which the major actors mobilized to make sense of the situation, and draw linkages to the actions that those positions made possible. The main findings are that actors in the two networks performed complex mapping in different ways, the material and symbolic outcomes of the dispute are products of those mapping processes, and the material and discursive aspects of the domain interweave. We discuss the value of the concept of discursively ordered domain for mutually enriching domain theory and discourse analysis and for understanding critical events such as major industrial disputes in new ways. Copyright 2003 Blackwell Publishing Ltd..

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  • John W. Selsky, 2003. "'Totally Un-Australian!': Discursive and Institutional Interplay in the Melbourne Port Dispute of 1997-98," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(7), pages 1729-1760, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:40:y:2003:i:7:p:1729-1760

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, January.
    2. Baumol, William J, 1982. "Contestable Markets: An Uprising in the Theory of Industry Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 1-15, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Isabelle Huault & Véronique Perret & André Spicer, 2012. "Beyond macro and micro emancipation," Post-Print halshs-00804129, HAL.

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