Struggles over legitimacy in global organizational restructuring: A rhetorical perspective on legitimation strategies and dynamics in a shutdown case

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http://hdl.handle.net/10227/406
Title: Struggles over legitimacy in global organizational restructuring: A rhetorical perspective on legitimation strategies and dynamics in a shutdown case
Author: Erkama, Niina; Vaara, Eero
Publisher: Organizational Studies, forthcoming, 2009/2010
Date: 2009
Language: en
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10227/406
Abstract: Critical organization scholars have focused increasing attention on industrial and organizational restructurings such as shutdown decisions. However, we know little about the rhetorical strategies used to legitimate or resist plant closures in organizational negotiations. In this paper, we draw from New Rhetoric to analyze rhetorical struggles, strategies and dynamics in unfolding organizational negotiations. We focus on the shutdown of the bus body unit of the Swedish company Volvo in Finland. We distinguish five types of rhetorical legitimation strategies and dynamics. These include the three classical dynamics of logos (rational arguments), pathos (emotional moral arguments), and ethos (authority-based arguments), but also autopoiesis (autopoietic narratives), and cosmos (cosmological constructions). Our analysis adds to the previous studies explaining how organizational restructuring as a phenomenon is legitimated, how this legitimation has changed over time, and how contemporary industrial closures are legitimated in the media. This study also increases our theoretical understanding of the role of rhetoric in legitimation more generally.
Subject: shutdown
restructuring
legitimacy
legitimation
resistance
rhetoric


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