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A Discourse Analysis on Strategic Management


Discourse analysis refers to the analysis of language that goes beyond the sentence constructed in an article. This kind of analysis is different from the various types of analysis that are typical of modern linguistics and are majorly concerned with the study of grammar (Coulthard, 2014). Discourse analysis is also different from the study of the smaller bits of language such as meaning (semantics), sound (phonetics) or order of words (syntax). Discourse analysis therefore entails the study of larger portions of language as they flow in a particular study (Fairhurst & Uhl-Bien, 2012). The current paper presents the discourse analysis presented for the information written by Finlay (2000) on strategic management. The paper provides a detailed meaning of the term discourse analysis followed with the identification of the various discourses observed in the text. A discussion on alternative discourses and their probable effects on the understanding of the texts in the event that they are adopted are also presented.

Discourse and Discourse Analysis: Meaning and definition

A number of scholars have presented different meaning and definition to the term discourse and discourse analysis. According to Fairclough (2013) discourse is a set of utterances that constitutes a speech the perspective of verbal communication. Recent development have however seen the term discourse gain additional meaning in the context of written communication, thus discourse is both spoken and written (Gee, 2015). A discourse and text have been used synonymously; however, Coulthard (2014) has indicated that the two terms are different and that there is a distinction between a discourse and a text. A text is used to fulfill the function of conveying some meaning. On the other hand, a part from just presenting the meaning, a discourse has certain social functions since it is seen as a transaction between the speaker and the listener.

Discourse analysis refers to the study of signifiers and words, including the study of the structure and form of the words, as well as the interpretation and meaning of the discursive phrases. Discourse analysis is the process through which the reader’s mind work on the linguistic features of the information presented to grasp the intended meaning of the writer. Therefore, through discourse analysis, the reader is able grasp and understands the information communicated by the writer.

Identified Discourses

The language used

Formal language is used by Finlay throughout the text to convey the information to the readers. The author uses more complex and jargon language such as “The golden adage “stick to your knitting’ become an epitaph”, “aggravating necessity”. It is not a guarantee that all the potential readers of the information presented by the author are highly educated and conversant with the sophisticated language use. To some readers, the jargons used may be complex and bare them from gaining knowledge and understanding of the information being communicated. The author has also used complex sentences throughout the text making it further complex to be understood by individuals without an advanced level of vocabulary. Making an assumption that the readers will have knowledge for any technical language is not a justification for the use of the complex and jargon language. The author needed to have considered the use of alternative words that can be understood by a wide range of audience and not just highly-learned individuals who are capable of understanding the technical terms used.

Chapter Content

In his writing on the influence and importance of stakeholders in strategic management, Finlay has only banked on the information presented by other scholars. His emphases are on the information presented by Campbell and Argenti in relation to the topic. The author has focused on analyzing the information presented by the two scholars on the influence of the stakeholders in strategic management and the role that different kinds of the stakeholders have in strategic management. The information presented is basically a comparison and a critique of the information presented by the two scholars. It is vital that Finlay identifies his stance in this topic. As Coulthard (2014) indicates, the current text is his own writing hence the readers needs to know his perception on the influence that the different kinds of stakeholders have on strategic management. Otherwise, the information provided is considered as directly borrowed from the writings of the other two scholars.

The introduction section in any chapter is important to guide the reader through the subsequent section. As Bloor & Bloor (2013) indicates, a proper introductory section will avail information on the contents of the chapter and the flow of the information to be presented. This chapter by Finlay (2000) has no introductory section as such the reader has no idea of whatever is to be communicated in the chapter. The author assumes that the reader will guess the possible content of the chapter after the provision of the chapter title. As much as the title is given as “strategic management” the author needs to have included the introduction section to guide the reader on the contents of the chapter and how they are to be presented since not all readers are conversant with the term strategic management.

The chapter subheadings are also used to allow for easy navigation through the texts. The readers are able to know the chapter contents and what the author is communicating by just looking at the subheadings. In the texts provided, the author has provided subheadings that reflect the subthemes to be discussed under the topic strategic management. However, the flow of the themes does not provide an easy opportunity for the reader to navigate through the chapter content. Instead of starting with the meaning and the formal definition of the term strategic management, the author has started with the process of strategic management followed with its contents. The assumption made in this case, is that the readers are aware of the meaning of strategic management. It is also worth noting that the authors do not discuss entirely the information related to the subthemes provided. For instance, he gives a subheading as “intended and emergent strategy” but offers additional information that do not fall under that subtheme. It is important that there is a proper flow of the subheadings in a way that the author begins with the simplest themes in strategic management to more complex themes. Moreover, the discussion under each theme needs to be limited to the theme provided to avoid any confusion. The subheadings must be provided in a way that they support easy navigation and understanding of the text presented.

The Diagrams

The diagrams used by Finlay (2000) in his graphical presentation of the different types of stakeholders and strategy lack references and/or original source. In this case, it is difficult to tell whether the information presented graphically is the author’s own view or the views of other scholar, as such the readers are left to guess the source. It is also observed that there is no key or any simple explanation on the contents of the diagram. For instance, the types of stakeholders are indicated as primary and secondary without further emphasis on their meaning. Finlay readers are expected to have prior knowledge on what the secondary and the primary stakeholders mean. This assumption is inaccurate since majority of the readers are likely to be conversant with the classification of active and passive stakeholders. They are likely to be confused on this classification adopted by Finlay if he fails to provide further meaning within the diagram. The diagram also needs to be more colorful to make them visible and attractive to the readers. As Fairhurst & Uhl-Bien (2012) indicates, the graphical representation is basically a summary of the information presented in word. A more visual diagram with detailed information is likely to attract more readers enabling them to acquire more information and knowledge without necessarily going through the entire document. 

Alternative Discourses

The author needs to consider the use of simple but formal English language. The use of jargons and more complex vocabularies may bar some readers from understanding the information being conveyed, as such the use of simple language will ensure that a wide range of readers understand the information as communicated by the author.

The chapter subheadings need also to be presented in a way that the reader is able to gain stepwise information on the concept of strategic meaning. The subheadings need to begin with simple information such as definition and meaning to more complex information on strategic management. As such the reader is able to understand the meaning of the term strategic management at the beginning and attain comprehensive information at the end of the chapter.

Making the book more colorful will also attract more readers. The author need to include more colors in the diagrams presented in the book. In addition, there is need to include captions that will contains a description of the processes as graphical presented in the diagrams. In addition, the caption will include the source of the diagram presented in form of a reference. Making the diagrams more colorful will not just attract the readers but will also enable them have an easy time in understanding the diagram contents. The alternative discourses identified above will therefore ensure that the work of Finlay is understood more by a wide range of readers.

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