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Finding the organization in the communication: Discourse as action and sensemaking
Unformatted Document Text:  FINDING THE ORGANIZATION IN THE COMMUNICATION 7 the term Discourse also refers to larger constellations of talk patterns, inscribed in language and part of the collective heritage of a group of organizations in society (Giroux and Taylor, 2002). Such patterns of talk naturalize the world of experiences and exemplify the role of language in shaping certain social/material configurations and power relations as inevitable and legitimate. Drawing on the these ideas, the second part of this article shows how contrasting patterns that emerge in the talk of organizational members reflect an evolution of ideas about the organization, ones that are part of a larger language environment. This dynamic of self- organizing is both particular to a single organization, and generalizable to many organizations, as preferred models evolve through the application of theorists and managers (Giroux and Taylor, 2002; Taylor and Giroux, in press). Organization as Coorientation: The Role of Conversation The core event of an activity-directed conversation is, we claim, coorientation. What is meant by coorientation is illustrated by the following episode, taken from a film that records the meeting of a senior management committee of a billion-dollar firm whose founder and president is about to resign. The meeting takes place in a mountain retreat over a long weekend and the discussion there is centered on what will, and should, happen to the company under a new president. The film is called Corporation after Mr. Sam, and was recorded in 1969 by the National Film Board of Canada for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It was the concluding episode in a series of programs devoted to the remarkable career of the out-going president, Sam Steinberg, who had built a company from humble origins into a giant in the food industry, and eventually a very successful conglomerate, with interests in a number of economic sectors. (Steinberg was known affectionately as “Mr. Sam,” hence the title of the film.) In the segment that follows, his vice- president of operations for Quebec, and longtime associate, Jack Levine, responds to his

Authors: Taylor, James. and Robichaud, Daniel.
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FINDING THE ORGANIZATION IN THE COMMUNICATION
7
the term Discourse also refers to larger constellations of talk patterns, inscribed in language and
part of the collective heritage of a group of organizations in society (Giroux and Taylor, 2002).
Such patterns of talk naturalize the world of experiences and exemplify the role of language in
shaping certain social/material configurations and power relations as inevitable and legitimate.
Drawing on the these ideas, the second part of this article shows how contrasting patterns
that emerge in the talk of organizational members reflect an evolution of ideas about the
organization, ones that are part of a larger language environment. This dynamic of self-
organizing is both particular to a single organization, and generalizable to many organizations, as
preferred models evolve through the application of theorists and managers (Giroux and Taylor,
2002; Taylor and Giroux, in press).
Organization as Coorientation: The Role of Conversation
The core event of an activity-directed conversation is, we claim, coorientation. What is meant by
coorientation is illustrated by the following episode, taken from a film that records the meeting of
a senior management committee of a billion-dollar firm whose founder and president is about to
resign. The meeting takes place in a mountain retreat over a long weekend and the discussion
there is centered on what will, and should, happen to the company under a new president. The
film is called Corporation after Mr. Sam, and was recorded in 1969 by the National Film Board
of Canada for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It was the concluding episode in a series
of programs devoted to the remarkable career of the out-going president, Sam Steinberg, who had
built a company from humble origins into a giant in the food industry, and eventually a very
successful conglomerate, with interests in a number of economic sectors. (Steinberg was known
affectionately as “Mr. Sam,” hence the title of the film.) In the segment that follows, his vice-
president of operations for Quebec, and longtime associate, Jack Levine, responds to his


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