On the discursive construction of success/failure in narratives of post-merger integration

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Organization Studies, 2002, 23(2), 213-250

Title: On the discursive construction of success/failure in narratives of post-merger integration
Author: Vaara, Eero
Publisher: Sage Publications
Date: 2010-12-22
Language: en
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840602232003
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10227/766
Abstract: This article concentrates on the discursive constmction of success and failure in narratives of post-merger integration. Drawing on extensive interview material from eight Finnish-Swedish mergers and acquisitions, the empirical analysis leads to distinguishing four types of discourse — 'rationalistic', 'cultural', 'role-bound' and 'individualistic' — that narrators employ in recounting their experiences. In particular, the empirical material illustrates how the discursive frameworks enable specific (di.scursive) strategies and moves for (re)framing the success/failure, justification/legitimization of one's own actions, and (re)constniction of responsibility when dealing with socio-psychological pressures associated with success/failtire. The analysis also suggests that, as a result of making use of these discursive strategies and moves, success stories are likely to lead to overly optimistic or, in the case of failure stories, overly pessimistic views on the management's ability to control these change processes. Tliese findings imply that we should take the discursive elements that both constrain our descriptions and explanations seriously, and provide opportunities for more or less intentional (re)interpretations of postmerger integration or other organizational change processes.
Subject: narrative

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