Decolonializing discourse: Critical reflections on organizational discourse analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Organizational discourse has emerged as a large research field and references to discourse are numerous. As with all dominating approaches problematizations of assumptions are important. This article, partly a follow up of the authors' frequently cited 2000 Human Relations article, provides a critical and perhaps provocative overview of some of the more recent work and tendencies within the field. It is argued that discourse continues to be used in vague and all-embracing ways, where the constitutive effects of discourse are taken for granted rather than problematized and explored. The article identifies three particular problems prevalent in the current organizational discourse literature: reductionism, overpacking, and colonization and suggests three analytical strategies to overcome these problems: counter-balancing concepts - aiming to avoid seeing 'everything' as discourse - relativizing muscularity - being more open about discourse's constitutive effects - and disconnecting discourse and Discourse through much more disciplined use of discourse vocabulary.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration
  • Economics and Business


  • discourse, language, methodology, organizational culture, power, subjectivity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1121-1146
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch