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Tales from the organization: Stories about quality work
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4248-0634
2016 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Quality in education is a highly topical subject. In this paper, quality is understood as language in use: speech acts with a focus on the role of language in sensemaking. In a study of quality work in adult education, school leaders were asked how they work with quality. In the analysis of their narratives, three stories emerged: (1) The story of democratic participation, (2) The story of the administrative system, and (3) The story of the professional individual.

As the concept quality comprise all three stories, making sense of different aspects of quality work when managing education, quality is defined as an ‘elastic word’. An elastic word is seemingly distinct but carries different meanings within different contexts. This can become problematic if one idea is put forward as dominant in relation to the others (power) or if different interpretations are taken for granted (conflict). But the elasticity of the concept also has positive effects. Elastic words can give individuals (managers) in an organization a sense of direction, focus and a feeling of unity. Elastic words should thus be regarded as visions, shared images, rather than as rigorous action plans.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016.
Keyword [en]
stories, metaphors, quality, adult education, speech act, language in organizations
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-30776OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-30776DiVA: diva2:941240
Conference
11th Organization Studies Summer Workshop 2016, Spirituality, Symbolism, and Storytelling, May 19–21, 2016, Mykonos, Greece.
Available from: 2016-06-22 Created: 2016-06-22 Last updated: 2016-06-22

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Bjursell, Cecilia
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