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Business and Management.
Strategy workshops are frequently used by Executive management teams to discuss and formulate strategy but are under-researched and under-reported in the academic literature. This study uses Discourse Analysis to discover participant roles and dialogic patterns in an Executive management team’s strategy workshop, together with their effect on the workshop’s operation and outcome. The study shows how the workshop participants adopt different roles through their language and content. It then identifies a dialogic pattern in the workshop discourse, with the emphasis on achieving shared understanding rather than winning the debate. The workshop facilitator’s role is shown to bring discussion as a counter balance to the group’s dialogue, focusing the evolving dialogic discourse on actionable outcomes. The study goes on to show how these two discourse features combine to enable a comprehensive exploration of a strategic topic in a limited time frame and to build a consensus based strategy to be followed. The group’s use of metaphor and the construction of organisation and individual identities were also examined. They were shown to have limited impact on the developing roles, dialogic discourse or workshop’s outcome. Overall, the analysis shows how the combination of roles and dialogue surface implicit meaning from the group’s discourse and enable a significant shift in the groups thinking, charting the way for a fresh perspective on an acknowledged long-standing, strategic problem.
Duffy, M. (2011). Dialogue and Roles in a Strategy Workshop: Discovering Patterns through Discourse Analysis. Masters dissertation. Technological University Dublin. doi:10.21427/D76G7J