In Search of Subtlety: Discursive Devices and Rhetorical Competence

Andrea Whittle, Frank Mueller, Anita Mangan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)


What is the role of contradiction in organizational rhetoric? This article argues that existing research tends to focus on contradiction at an institutional level and then develop a distinct but complementary perspective that views contradictory rhetoric at an interactional level and as a practical concern, especially when routine is disrupted and repair tactics are required. Drawing on data from a study of a quality improvement initiative in the United Kingdom, the authors examine the contradictions that were constructed when a “change champion” attempted to deal with resistance to change. They conclude by depicting how contradiction can emerge when actors reflexively shift their identifications to portray themselves and their actions in a contextually appropriate manner.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-122
JournalManagement Communication Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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