Sounds of silence: graduate trainees, hegemony and resistance

Andrew D. Brown, Christine Coupland

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This paper analyses how graduate trainees in one UK-based private sector retail organization talked about being silenced. The paper illustrates how the trainees’ constructions formed a set of discursive practices that were implicated in the constitution of the organization as a regime of power, and how they both accommodated and resisted these practices. Our case focuses on the trainees’ discursive construction of normative pressures to conform, compliant and non-compliant types of worker, and explicit acts of silencing, together with their reflexive interrogation of the nexus of discursive constraints on their opportunities to be heard. Drawing on the analytical resources associated with the ‘linguistic turn’ in organization studies, our research is an exploration of the importance of language as a medium of social control and power, and means of self-authorship. It is also an attempt to locate ‘silence’ in putatively polyphonic organizations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1049-1069
Number of pages21
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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