IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

From National Service to Global Player: Transforming the Organizational Logic of a Public Broadcaster


  • André Spicer
  • Graham Sewell


We present organizational logics as a meso-level construct that lies between institutional theory's field-level logics and the sense-making activities of individual agents in organizations. We argue that an institutional logic can be operationalized empirically using the concept of a discourse - that is, a coherent symbolic system articulating what constitutes legitimate, reasonable, and effective conduct in, around, and by organizations. An organization may, moreover, be simultaneously exposed to several institutional logics that make up its broader ideational environment. Taking these three observations together enables us to consider an organizational logic as a spatially and temporally localized configuration of diverse discourses. We go on to show how organizational logics were transformed in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation between 1953 and 1999 by examining the changing discourses that appeared in the Corporation's annual reports. We argue that these discourses were modified through three main forms of discursive agency: (1) undertaking acts of ironic accommodation between competing discourses; (2) building chains of equivalence between the potentially contradictory discourses; and (3) reconciling new and old discourses through pragmatic acts of 'bricolage'. We found that, using these forms of discursive agency, a powerful coalition of actors was able to transform the dominant organizational logic of the ABC from one where the Corporation's initial mission was to serve national interests through public service to one that was ultimately focused on participating in a globalized media market. Finally, we note that discursive resources could be used as the basis for resistance by less powerful agents, although further research is necessary to determine exactly how more powerful and less powerful agents interact around the establishment of an organizational logic. Copyright (c) 2010 The Authors Journal compilation (c) 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and Society for the Advancement of Management Studies.

Suggested Citation

  • André Spicer & Graham Sewell, 2010. "From National Service to Global Player: Transforming the Organizational Logic of a Public Broadcaster," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(6), pages 913-943, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:47:y:2010:i:6:p:913-943

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Loizos Heracleous, 2006. "A Tale of Three Discourses: The Dominant, the Strategic and the Marginalized," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(5), pages 1059-1087, July.
    2. David L. Levy & Daniel Egan, 2003. "A Neo-Gramscian Approach to Corporate Political Strategy: Conflict and Accommodation in the Climate Change Negotiations," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(4), pages 803-829, June.
    3. David Buchanan & Patrick Dawson, 2007. "Discourse and Audience: Organizational Change as Multi-Story Process," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(5), pages 669-686, July.
    4. Elizabeth Goodrick & Trish Reay, 2010. "Florence Nightingale Endures: Legitimizing a New Professional Role Identity," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 55-84, January.
    5. Mary Ann Glynn, 2000. "When Cymbals Become Symbols: Conflict Over Organizational Identity Within a Symphony Orchestra," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 11(3), pages 285-298, June.
    6. Eero Vaara & Janne Tienari & Rebecca Piekkari & Risto Säntti, 2005. "Language and the Circuits of Power in a Merging Multinational Corporation," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(3), pages 595-623, May.
    7. Penny Dick, 2002. "Barriers to Managing Diversity in a UK Constabulary: The Role of Discourse," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(7), pages 953-976, November.
    8. Andrew H. Van de Ven & Marshall Scott Poole, 1990. "Methods for Studying Innovation Development in the Minnesota Innovation Research Program," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 1(3), pages 313-335, August.
    9. Christine Coupland & Andrew D. Brown, 2004. "Constructing Organizational Identities on the Web: A Case Study of Royal Dutch/Shell," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(8), pages 1325-1347, December.
    10. John Paul Macduffie, 1995. "Human Resource Bundles and Manufacturing Performance: Organizational Logic and Flexible Production Systems in the World Auto Industry," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(2), pages 197-221, January.
    11. Mary Ann Glynn & Michael Lounsbury, 2005. "From the Critics' Corner: Logic Blending, Discursive Change and Authenticity in a Cultural Production System," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(5), pages 1031-1055, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Hafsi, Taïeb & Hu, Hao, 2016. "Sectoral innovation through competing logics: The case of antidepressants in traditional Chinese medicine," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 80-89.
    2. Isabelle Huault & Benjamin Taupin, 2012. "Les fondements moraux d’une logique institutionnelle. Contestation, controverses et stabilité," Post-Print hal-01637436, HAL.
    3. repec:dau:papers:123456789/9544 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Dellagnelo, Eloise Helena Livramento & Böhm, Steffen & Mendonça, Patricia Maria Emerenciano de, 2014. "Organizando movimentos de resistência: contribuição da Teoria Política do Discurso," RAE - Revista de Administração de Empresas, FGV-EAESP Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo (Brazil), vol. 54(2), March.
    5. repec:spr:grdene:v:27:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10726-018-9564-z is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Royston Greenwood & C. R. Hinings & Dave Whetten, 2014. "Rethinking Institutions and Organizations," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(7), pages 1206-1220, November.
    7. Elisa Alt & Justin B. Craig, 2016. "Selling Issues with Solutions: Igniting Social Intrapreneurship in for-Profit Organizations," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(5), pages 794-820, July.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:47:y:2010:i:6:p:913-943. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley Content Delivery). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.