To text or context? Endotextual, exotextual, and multi-textual approaches to narrative and discursive organizational studies

Daved Barry, Brigid Carroll, Hans Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Organizational researchers doing narrative and discursive research have three choices in how they approach a text: an 'endotextual' approach where the researcher works within a text, an 'exotextual' approach where the researcher works outward from a text to its context(s), or a combined exo/endotextual approach which embeds a textual analysis within contextual inquiry. Although all three methods are now widely used in mainstream organizational research, the merits of combining, sequencing, or separating them have never been systematically considered. After reviewing the advantages and limitations of each perspective, we discuss an experiment in which endo and exo methods were applied to a skit co-written by management and a communications company specializing in organizational theater. The finding that using one approach creates multiple, subtle blind spots towards the other, and even more significantly affects a researcher's capacity to effectively adopt a combined method, is used to construct an alternative 'diatextual' framework. This is used to frame a discussion of how multi-method textual studies of organizations might be conducted in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1091-1110
Number of pages20
JournalOrganization Studies
Volume27
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006

Keywords

  • Discourse
  • Narrative
  • Organizational theater
  • Research methods
  • Textual methods

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