Critically discuss how far an awareness of the elements of discourse contributes to success in business?
ELS101 - Academic Communication For Business Management
Academic and Communication Essay
Critically discuss how far an awareness of the elements of discourse contributes to success in business?
Fairclough (1992) has defined discourse as a type of common practice using languages that forms part of political and business ideology, and based on his theory suggested a three dimensional framework for the analytical and examination of the practices of discourse, discursive products, social practices and context. He further suggested that discourses form social practices that are controlled and essential to social structure.
Academics over the years have introduced numerous elements that they considered crucial to the success of business. This essay examines discourses in the business ideology context using Fairclough’s three dimensional frameworks, focusing on the practices and events of strategic management which contribute to the success of businesses.
In analysing the discourse at strategic management level, I will look at how ideas and discourse are produced, especially in terms of who contributes these ideas and in what contexts. Furthermore, the implications of these ideas as a result of documentation are consumed, distributed, interpreted and form discursive practices within the organisations.
With regards to strategic management concept of ideology and its practices, academics research has concluded that strategic management was in fact a highly ideological idea and discourses influence the power structure of the organisation, and manipulate the distribution of resources (Shrivastava, 1986). Fairclough further argued that strategic management ideology has become supreme knowledge that are assimilate and handed down from top to bottom of the organisation structure to exhort control and influence.
Based on these arguments, strategic management ideology from a holistic prospective, can transform into advantageous position for any business, as these ideas are derived from a “pool” of thoughts, established through years of knowledge and experience, of which form the basis of the ideas that are expressed through a combine ideology from the senior management, influencing the direction in which the organisation should go to maximise its potential. Arguably, these discourses and practices should take priority as, firstly, strategic management members are responsible for the strategic direction of the organisation and secondly, they are expert in their field and thus, their ideas hold more weight than those coming up from the bottom of the organisation. Shrivastava (1986) contributions to strategic management ideology have argued that these ideologies from senior management become prominence through the manipulation of the communicational structure in the organisation, because the ideas are favourable and demonstrate controlling interest. The underlying concept is that senior manager are supported by a variety of theories, models and schemes, generated by strategic theorists, professionals and academics, of which greater importance is given, and so confirms the view put forward. Deetz (1992) also argued that organisation discourses are related to experts and technicians of which includes senior management team at the top of the organisation. The ultimate control and success of the business depends on the knowledge and procedures of these experts, who can influence alternative practices to bring about success. It should also be noted that if the success of the business depends on ideological discourses that dominated organisation structure by strategic management, should any aspect of the ideas fail, based on the expertise behind it, business failure would come as a result, and language discourse would view as the reason for this, as its domination through ideologistic form of strategic management fails to materialise.
Therefore, the awareness of the elements of discourse contributes to success of the business by the senior management setting strategic objectives and target objectives and effectively communicates these objectives and targets down the structure of the organisation. Senior management persuades the employees to carry out the actions which bring most revenue and profits to the company, as well as creating a competitive spirit and motivating employees to succeed, but also helping to persuade consumers to believe that the organisation offers better products or services comparing to its competitors. However, there are also some other factors which may affect the success of the business, such as the external environment: economic situation on the markets, for instance financial crisis, consumer trends, tastes and preferences for different products. Human Resource Management is another factor as well as Total Quality Management. The business can use any type of persuasive discourse elements, rhetoric, metaphors, repetition, however if the product or service is of a low quality, due to its poor quality control, poor pay, saving costs on staff, or poor HRM management, than consumers will simply not buy the product which is of a low quality, no matter how persuasive the company’s adverts and promotions are.
Strategic management discourses can be explained as the discursive events that relates to the fundamentals of management practices and relationship with different aspects of the organisation, of which would result in the success of the business. The text equating the documentation of these practices and relationship includes the academic theory based on research and teaching, professional consultant services and expertise are sold to the organisation and management expertise that is included in management education. These documentation or text forms the basis of discourse of which influence social practices within organisation, industry and society as a whole.
Discursive practices can be explained as those that involve in the production, consumption, distribution and interpretation of the text that is documented. Fairclough has explained that the author of the documented text used to educate the masses about business management strategy and success, generally consisted of those that are academics, professional and managers who are expert in their field. However, the text preparation may involve someone else that does not have a strategic management. The knowledge of different authors may vary, based on different style and approach may result in the interpretation and understanding of the text being difficult for learners. The discursive practices involve writing, talking, listening and understanding of the information, of which is delivered at lecturers, seminars and business conferences.
Fairclough (1992) has suggested three important issues for the evaluation of discursive practice. These are force - the effect of change that the text is being used to bring about; coherence - the way in understanding and interpretation is cleared to the users, and intertextuality – the way in which new information about production and interpretation are provided within the text base on changes). The author explains that, in view of force, a large number of strategic management texts that produce and introduces the notion of change in organisation behaviour and activities for it to be successful. The underlying concept for coherence is that it requires interpretative principles and assumptions to be viewed within its specific context and nature. The author argues that coherence is the most important part of discursive practice, for identifying the ideological substance in discourse, and this can be derived through the interpretation and understanding process by the user of the text.
Based on the principles of how strategic management is developed and introduced, and the context in which they are interpreted and understood by the user. It is very important to take a closer look at intertextuality which the wider picture of discursive practices. Intertextuality postulates the notion different text featuring the authors of other text on the topic. For example, a text that is written by co-author who are consultant and manager, including the views of an academic author, of which forms the basis of the overall view of business success from strategic management point of view. The notion here would be to assessed how for reliance and evidence would be given based on the academic views, of which are mainly theoretical base on research, in contrast to professionals’ views, of which their work are primarily based on practical, hands on experience and approach. Arguably factors that determine the level or prominence would be based on the authors’ original wider approach to the topic, or narrow approach the topic, of which seeks to established an individual name in the field. From a qualitative discursive practice approach prospective, one would favour the inclusive wider approach on the topic by the authors; where users can equally view the work of academic and professionals in shaping the discourse of strategic management aiding the success of businesses. However, in practice this may not be possible because of arguably different prejudicial views of each other thinks and views.
Discursive product is the third part of the dimension of discourse analyse according to Fairclough (1992) of which consisted of the product of discursive practices that refers to the text itself. Fairclough suggested that to understand in context the practices and structure of strategic management ideology, emphasis should be placed on the features used in communicating these meanings, thus one should examine the use of vocabulary, grammar, cohesion and structure of the text. Where strategic management is concern, the use of intellectual and professional vocabulary is essential, as with the use of persuasive rhetoric, can influence its users of the text.
Fairclough’s three dimensional analyses it can therefore be concluded that the use of discourses has significantly influence the strategic management’s contents of ideologies that is resulted in the success of business operation. Based on proven strategic management ideologies, academics and professionals (that is consultants and managers) have documented their research and experiences that has become common practices, within society that galvanise change in management structure to the ultimate success of the business. The discursive practice where the documentation of these ideas into text, has individualism and collectivism approach play roles in shaping the views of the role strategic management plays in business success. However, discourse of strategic management can bring failure to the business if communication in the text fails to make sense to the user, or the user is unable to full understand the text in its contextual settings would result in the discourse contributing to business failure.
1. Deetz S. (1992) Disciplinary Power in the Modern Corporation. In Alvesson M. & Willmott H. (Eds.), Critical Management Studies. (pp. 21-45), London
2. Sage.Fairclough N. (1992) Discourse and Social Change.
3. Polity.Shrivastava P. (1986) Cambridge, Is Strategic Management Ideological? In Journal of Management Volume 12(3), pp. 363-377.
Rational choice and democratic deliberation: a theory of discourse failure, Pincione, Guido, Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Elements of discourse understanding, Cambridge University Press, Joshi, Aravind K., 1929.