The discourse of management and the management of discourse

Bertram C. Bruce, Jeanne M. Connell, Chris Higgins, Joseph T. Mahoney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Discourse is a pervasive tool of management; one might even say that discourse is what managers do. A widespread assumption among managers is that discourse is not only a pervasive tool, but an effective one for precise communication of information, for making decisions, and for enlisting action, essentially a transmission tool. This paper maintains that the transmission view is a limited conception of language use, one which leads to a faulty conception of what managers do. It ignores the need for an ethics of communication and misjudges the creative aspects of language use. Management discourse is a far more complex and fluid phenomenon, one requiring not just effective use, but management itself. In other words consideration of the discourse of management leads us to the need for the management of discourse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-154
JournalInternational Journal of Strategic Change Management
Issue number1/2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011


  • discourse management
  • management discourse
  • transmission models
  • communication ethics
  • misunderstanding
  • strategic management


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