Attempts to Bridge the Gaps : Opportunities and Challenges in the Communicative Constitution of Organizations

Sammanfattning: Globalization and technological advancements continue to challenge contemporary organizations’ aims to balance stability and change. As a response to this challenge, organizations often turn to empowerment and participatory processes. Current research emphasizes the need for enhanced communication in these processes. However, there is a lack of research studying how organizations practically enact this idea that these processes require more communication.This dissertation is aligned with the Montreal School’s CCO perspective and departs from communication theory seen as a dialogic of conversation and text, thus directing attention to coorientation and how organizational members coordinate in organizing processes. Based on this theoretical framework, the study aims to contribute to a better understanding – empirically as well as analytically – about the variety of texts that are a part of communicative initiatives aiming at enhancing communication, encouraging participation and empowerment processes.The empirical material is based on how two organizations explicitly emphasized communicative initiatives throughout each organization’s empowerment process attempts. One organization mainly used workshops to provide opportunities for communication, while the other organization incorporated an interactive video website for the same purpose.This dissertation acknowledges that managers and subordinates are not equally capable of discursively constructing the organization. However, enhanced communication through empowering processes has been shown to facilitate members’ abilities to contribute to the organizing process. Hence, the study combines two theoretical frameworks, the empowerment process model and the Montreal School’s CCO perspective, extending both and thereby accentuating the communication-power relationship.To further explore how conversations and text interact in the case organizations, the study enacts a tension-centered approach, arguing that tensions are produced, co- and reproduced and enacted through organizations’ wills to empower their members through communication. The findings indicate a recursive and reflexive relationship between the empowerment process, coorientation, tensions and participation. In practice, this means that organizational members who have the opportunity to engage in conversations about matters of concern while perceiving themselves as taking part in an empowerment process tend to more actively identify and co-produce tensions. Tensions increase participation and lead to new insights. As members realize the value of their input, this further enhances the empowerment process.