Discursive Leadership and Power-Sensemaking in Strategy Meetings

Whittle, Andrea and Mueller, Frank and Housley, William and Gilchrist, Alan and Lenney, Peter (2013) Discursive Leadership and Power-Sensemaking in Strategy Meetings. In: UNSPECIFIED.

Full text not available from this repository.


This paper analyses leadership interaction in strategy meetings in a multi-national company. The paper operationalizes ethnomethodological and related approaches to the understanding and analysis of structure-in-action, in particular Membership Categorisation Analysis (MCA) and Boden’s (1994) organization-in-action model. Through the close examination of transcribed empirical materials we analyse the ‘power talk’ of an action researcher who was undertaking a leadership role as a management consultant. Our analysis shows the importance of membership categorization practices, account formulations and the ‘definition of the situation’ as a means of informing strategy, giving sense to organizational relations and affecting organizational change. Power and politics are not new themes within the strategy-as-practice (SAP) literature. Existing studies have painted a rich picture of the everyday working lives of strategists: lives that are understood to be structured by hierarchical power relations (Balogun et al, 2005), power plays (Jarzabkowski, 2008), turf battles and political agendas (Balogun & Johnson, 2004), power bases (Jarzabkowski & Balogun, 2009), micro-tactics used to exert resistance (Whittington, 2006), macro struggles within external political contexts (Tsoukas & Papoulias, 2005), mediation of political tensions and conflicts (Nordqvist & Melin, 2008) and the problems of dealing with competing interests and values in pluralistic contexts (Pye & Pettigrew, 2006). Our study contributes to this research agenda by seeking to uncover the fine detailed and granular characteristics of leadership interactions and strategic sensemaking in contemporary corporate life, which can also be used to inform reflective practice. Thus, our aim is to re-specify (Lynch and Bogen, 1996) power as a member’s resource in making sense of organizational relations and to contribute to an agenda of understanding ‘discursive leadership’ (Fairhurst, 2007, 2011).

Item Type:
Contribution to Conference (Paper)
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
26 Apr 2013 15:41
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 13:58