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The polyphony of values and the value of polyphony

La polyphonie des valueurs et la valeur de la polyphonie
[journal article]

Christensen, Lars Thøger; Morsing, Mette; Thyssen, Ole

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-459053

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Abstract While human communication is inherently symbolic and thus potentially vague, ambiguous and polyphonic, there is a growing emphasis on certainty, accuracy and consistency in everything contemporary organizations say and do. Organizational messages about corporate values, in particular, are expected to accurately and unambiguously depict the organizational sender “behind” the words. Current communication principles, in other words, seek to reduce or eliminate the polyphonic potential of symbolic communication. In this paper we challenge this trend, arguing that the polyphony of corporate values is valuable because it facilitates change by inviting alternative interpretations and stimulating participation and critique. Lack of accuracy in organizational messages – including inconsistencies between what organizations say and what they do – may be an important driver of organizational and social change, because such differences have potential to raise expectations and apply pressure on organizational actors to improve their practices.
Keywords symbol; communication requirements; communication; enterprise; value; value-orientation; organizational culture; organizational change; social change
Classification Basic Research, General Concepts and History of the Science of Communication
Free Keywords Polyphony; aspirations
Document language English
Publication Year 2015
Page/Pages p. 9-25
Journal ESSACHESS - Journal for Communication Studies, 8 (2015) 1
Issue topic Symbolic Communication
ISSN 1775-352X
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-NonCommercial