Battle in the Boardroom: A Discursive Perspective

Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 39, No. 1, pp. 23-49, 2002

27 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2011

See all articles by Wilson Ng

Wilson Ng

University of Roehampton

Christian De Cock

University of Essex

Date Written: January 1, 2002


This article examines the centrality of discourse in achieving managerially relevant outcomes, with a focus on the in-situ performance context of corporate storytellers. The Ricoeurian concept of speech act, capturing both the intentionality of organizational discourse and the social context of its production and reception, implicitly guided our research effort. The article has at its core a story of how senior organizational officers exploited the volatile circumstances of a public takeover in Singapore. By looking at the social construction of narratives in their many fragments we come to see how a key protagonist carves out a powerful position. The efficacy of his performances can be seen to be dependent upon the effective use of poetic tropes and the receptiveness of listeners to particular Chinese archetypal relationship-driven themes. In crafting our story we use multiple texts which were produced in and around two case organizations. As such we offer a carefully constructed collage, a mixture of production and reproduction, sticking closely to forms of communication that key organizational actors used to plan, enact and interpret their actions and those of others. Whilst our story offers insights to readers with an interest in organizational discourse, corporate governance and Asian management practices, we refrain from imposing an authoritarian interpretation that insists on identifying with the intentions of the authors.

Suggested Citation

Ng, Wilson and De Cock, Christian, Battle in the Boardroom: A Discursive Perspective (January 1, 2002). Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 39, No. 1, pp. 23-49, 2002, Available at SSRN:

Wilson Ng (Contact Author)

University of Roehampton ( email )

Queen's Building
Roehampton Lane
London, SW15 5LS
United Kingdom
07557098046 (Phone)

Christian De Cock

University of Essex ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom


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