The construction of managerial knowledge in business networks: managers' theories about communication

Ellis, N and Hopkinson, G C (2009) The construction of managerial knowledge in business networks: managers' theories about communication. Industrial Marketing Management, 39 (3). 413–424. ISSN 0019-8501

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In this article we regard managers' knowledge as a nuanced construction of reality that produces particular ‘espoused theories’ about the self as a practitioner and the environment in which they practice. Everyday managerial practices take place within the context of these theories. We argue that a subtle analysis of managerial talk can enhance the study of inter-firm relationships by revealing the espoused theories on the basis of which boundary spanners act. To demonstrate the construction of managers' knowledge, we introduce and explore materials collected in interviews with marketing and purchasing managers in several industrial contexts. We restrict our focus to talk about instances of communication to explore in depth how this talk establishes perceived ‘facts’ about inter-firm communicative work. We identify key discursive repertoires that are deployed to establish the range of communicative work, the difficulty in managing the directionality of communication and the complexity of managing in sometimes ambiguous situations — managerial ‘facts’ that are absent in some communication research. At the same time, discursive repertoires are deployed to establish the self as an able practitioner and a capable participant in communication. Our study has implications for boundary spanners and their organizations. We consider how boundary spanners' understandings of communication may be better deployed by the organizations that employ them and also in management education and training

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Journal Article
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Industrial Marketing Management
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Deposited On:
11 Jul 2011 18:31
Last Modified:
17 Sep 2023 00:53