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Mandatory Fields
Sullivan, P, McCarthy, J;
Organization Studies
Managing The Polyphonic Sounds of Organizational Truths
Optional Fields
This paper argues that polyphony is built on the transaction between voices and experiential truths, where voice and experience constitute each other. From this perspective voice is associated with the plural, transformational character of moment-to-moment experience. This view differs from the prevalent appropriation of polyphony where voice expresses a relatively stable identity (e. g. Hazen 1993) such that many voices (polyphony) may be reduced to many identities. The experiential understanding of polyphony is examined through close inspection of Bakhtin's contextualization of polyphony in carnival, a reading of his work that is largely missing from the organizational literature. This reading is further developed in the context of talk about teamwork in a large healthcare organization. Analysis of this talk reveals three different types of discursive truths that create different kinds of identities and different kinds of possibilities for organizational change: the public, teleological truths of epic discourse; the intimate truths of confession and irony; and the contested truths of the argument and what Bakhtin (1984) calls the microdialogue (or inner conversations with ourselves)..
DOI 10.1177/0170840608088702
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