The discursive construction of participation: Assigning and justifying responsibility in management meetings

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This article explores the discursive mechanisms by which managers include and exclude others from the broader strategizing process in the context of management meetings. Based on a longitudinal, inductive case study at a Scandinavian university, this article shows how managers construct participation by (1) assigning responsibility for project tasks to different actors and in different ways, and by (2) justifying responsibility assignments. As managers use different sets of discursive practices, the justifications remain straightforward or evolve over time, thereby creating different patterns of participation. This study contributes to the literature on the construction of participation by showing how managers use discursive mechanisms to enable alternative means to top-down strategizing, and demonstrating how participation is linked to the interpretation of issues in conversation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalStrategic Organization
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Sep 2020


  • discursive practices
  • employees
  • middle managers
  • participation
  • pluralistic organizations
  • strategy

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