chapter  5
34 Pages

Reinterpreting Organizational Literature

The first part of this book developed two ideas. One is that communication occurs at an intersection of two resource/constraint dimensions. The first dimension recognizes the essentially situated character of communication in a world of practical, mundane involvement in lived experience, framed by circumstances of time, place, materiality, and personhood and requiring attention-“care,” Heidegger called it. People live in situations, and communication is thematically connected to them. Situations have to be dealt with and communication is one of the instrumentalities that actors call on to do so. The second dimension focuses on the principal medium of human communication, language. Language furnishes an impressive resource base for the making sense of-interpreting-experience by giving it a name and thus linking it with other places and other times. This is frame knowledge. But it also imposes formal constraints on the acting out of communicational performances. These constraints, we argued, can be traced to a deeply embedded semantics of narrative, in which the agents and objects of organizational life are not merely named, but provide scripts to be acted out. This is construction knowledge.