Presentation Details

The Fourth International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organisations

Critical Analysis of Management Discourse: -relations between field of production

Dermot Joseph Kelly.

Foucault (1980) argues that there is no such thing as 'truth' but instead discourse/knowledge that comes to be accepted as true is produced rather than discovered. Increasingly the concept of the community of practice is included in the discourse on knowledge validation. This concept is conceived as involving groups of people bound together informally through sharing their experience of, and passion for a joint enterprise (Wenger and Snyder, 2000).

To explore the process of negotiation within community discourse it is worthwhile drawing on Basil Bernstein’s (1996) framework as to how power and control translate into principles of communication. Not only do power and control set the spaces or fields in which discourse takes place (classification) but they also act to frame ways in which discursive activity and communication occur (Thomas, 2003). Bernstein advances the idea of recontextualisation in exploring how ideology performs within the process of discursive activity. Recontextualisation involves the relocation of a discourse of practice into a new discursive space.

Drawing on Foucauldian principles, the presenter will propose an approach towards understanding how accounts of reality are constructed through discourse. Included is the use of narrative and discourse analyses based across different communities of practice. Using a social constructionist approach the aim is to theorise relations between the different fields of production within management discourse

Bernstein, B. (1996) Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity. London: Taylor and Francis.

Foucault, M. (1980). Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and other Writings, 1972-1977. Brighton: Harvester Press.

Thomas, P. (2003) The Recontextualisation of Management: A Discourse-based Approach to Analysing the Development of Management Thinking. Journal of Management Studies. 40 (4): 775-801.

Wenger, E., and Snyder, W. M. (2000). Communities of Practice: The Organisational Frontier. Harvard Business Review, January-February 2000, 139-145.


Dermot Joseph Kelly  (United Kingdom)
senior lecturer
School of Management
St. Mary's College

Dermot Kelly is a senior lecturer in management studies at St. Mary’s College. Prior tp o a career in academia, he
worked in management within the hospitality industry.

  • Critical discourse analysis
  • social constructivist theory
  • knowledge validation

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)