Intertextuality, rhetorical history and the uses of the past in organizational transition

Mairi Maclean, Charles Harvey, John A. A. Sillince, Benjamin D. Golant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper draws upon archival and oral history research on organizational transition at Procter & Gamble (1950-2009), during which P&G evolved from a multinational to global enterprise. Intertextuality, the ways in which texts appropriate prior works to produce new texts, illuminates the practical workings of rhetorical history, accentuating interpretive agency. The uses of the past at P&G involved an authorized historical account relating to socialization, invented tradition, and lessons from past experience, facilitating change within continuity. We show that in transforming from multinational to global enterprise, recognition of the value of history to strategy intensified, engendering rhetorically intense variations on time-honoured themes. Our main contribution to theory is to demonstrate how sensitivity to intertextuality casts light on the nature of organizational history as historically constructed through language, subject to the agency of skilful interpretive actors who engage in intertextual adaptation in pursuit of strategic change as purposes and contexts evolve.
LanguageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalOrganization Studies
Volume39
Early online date16 Jul 2018
DOIs
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jul 2018

Fingerprint

Industry
Intertextuality
Rhetoric
Multinationals
Interpretive
Continuity
Gambles
Language
Oral history
Socialization
Strategic change

Keywords

  • Historical organization studies, intertextuality, narrative, organizational history, rhetorical history, strategic change.

Cite this

Intertextuality, rhetorical history and the uses of the past in organizational transition. / Maclean, Mairi; Harvey, Charles; Sillince, John A. A.; Golant, Benjamin D.

In: Organization Studies, Vol. 39, 16.07.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Maclean, Mairi ; Harvey, Charles ; Sillince, John A. A. ; Golant, Benjamin D./ Intertextuality, rhetorical history and the uses of the past in organizational transition. In: Organization Studies. 2018 ; Vol. 39.
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