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Agreeing on what? creating joint accounts of strategic change

Spee, A. P. and Jarzabkowski, P. (2017). Agreeing on what? creating joint accounts of strategic change. Organization Science, 28(1), pp. 152-176. doi: 10.1287/orsc.2016.1105


This paper addresses a fundamental conundrum at the heart of meaning-making: how are multiple meanings accommodated within a joint account, given the plurivocal nature of organizations? While a new strategic initiative introduces new meanings that must coexist within multiple prevailing meanings; studies on meaning-making processes place different emphases on the accommodation of such multiplicity within a joint account. Based on the findings from a longitudinal case study conducted in a university setting, we develop a framework that demonstrates two patterns of meaning-making on the basis of distinct micro processes of expanding, combining and reframing that are involved in the accomplishment of a joint account. Our study offers counter-intuitive insights into the way vested interests enable or constrain the construction of a joint account of meaning. In doing so, we contribute to knowledge about resistance, ambiguity and the role of agreement, or lack of agreement in constructing joint accounts within a plurivocal context.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: To be published in Organization Science,
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Departments: Cass Business School > Management
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