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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/4114

Title: ‘Doublethink’ : The prevalence and function of contradiction in acccounts of organizational life
Authors: El-Sawad, Amal
Arnold, John
Cohen, Laurie
Keywords: Career account
Contradiction
Doublethink
Organization
Qualitative
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: Sage / © The Tavistock Institute
Citation: EL-SAWAD, A., ARNOLD, J. and COHEN, L., 2004. ‘Doublethink’: The prevalence and function of contradiction in acccounts of organizational life. Human Relations, 57 (9), pp. 1179–1203
Abstract: Those engaged in conducting qualitative research frequently acknowledge the presence of contradiction in their data. However, within the organization studies literature little attention is paid to teasing out these contradictions and subjecting them to critical analysis. This article advances our knowledge of contradiction in accounts of organizational life. Drawing on new empirical evidence from a qualitative interview study of employees working in a large blue-chip corporation, we critically assess a number of instances of contradiction or ‘doublethink’ within this particular organizational setting. We challenge the assumption underpinning much of the existing literature that individuals are uncomfortable with contradiction and seek to resolve it whenever it arises. We argue that doublethink provides a means of containing contradiction such that it is neither acknowledged as contradiction nor experienced as uncomfortable. We consider the findings in relation to notions of role positions which reflect/constitute different ways of ordering an individual’s experience, the mobilization of an overarching idiom to ‘contain’ the contradiction, and the privileging of practice over reflexivity.
Sponsor: This article was published in the journal, Human Relations [© The Tavistock Institute] and the definitive version is available at: http://hum.sagepub.com
Version: Restricted access
DOI: 10.1177/0018726704047142
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/4114
ISBN: 1741-282X
ISSN: 0018-7267
Appears in Collections:Closed Access (Business School)

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