Organizational Discourse, Strategy and Change

The Organizational Discourse, Strategy and Change (ODSC) Group comprises a cluster of researchers at the University of Sydney Business School. The Group is associated with the International Centre for Research in Organizational Discourse, Strategy and Change (ICRODSC).

ICRODSC links international researchers who share an interest in developing and applying discourse methods to the study of organizations. It brings together researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds, provides a critical mass in research expertise, facilitates cross-disciplinary research, provides a banner for new research initiatives, provides contacts and support for doctoral students, and provides resources for workshops, studies, and other activities.

ICRODSC was launched in 2001 by four institutions - the University of Melbourne, the University of Sydney, King's College at the University of London, and McGill University. Since then, it has grown to include 15 institutional partners.

The group of researchers at the University of Sydney Business School share an interest with colleagues located at these other institutions in developing and applying discourse methods to the study of organizations.

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Recent Research Projects

The Silent Killer: Advancing Knowledge on Silence and its Impact on Errors and Safety (2016-2019)

ODSC Investigators: Dr Helena Nguyen; Dr Anya Johnson

This project will investigate how silence emerges in teams, what sustains it, and how it affects error and safety outcomes. Employees often choose to remain silent about important issues at work, which can have devastating consequences. Although silence is a complex individual phenomenon, there is little knowledge of silence as a collective phenomenon, or how it spreads and becomes the norm in teams and organisations. This project will investigate silence using multilevel, longitudinal designs and by testing novel interventions. This research is expected to affect how teams work and communicate effectively to reduce dangerous forms of silence and improve safety.

Compassion at the heart of well-being: An inter- disciplinary study of well-being in a healthcare setting (2016-2018)

ODSC Investigators: Dr Anya Johnson; Dr Helena Nguyen

This project uses multiple disciplinary perspectives to explore: a) the nature of compassion and well-being, and the ways they are related; b) the acceptability and effectiveness of interventions to enhance compassion and well-being; and c) the effects of these interventions on both the individual and those around them. The core of the project is a randomised control trial with nurses, for whom compassion and well-being are vital to the provision of quality care, but who often work in settings which produce high stress, emotional overload, overwork, and ‘compassion fatigue’. The RCT compares two compassion-based interventions and a control condition using a research design which incorporates qualitative and quantitative outcome measures in participants as well as staff and patients with whom they interact. The study employs a number of objective measures such as psychophysiological markers of stress and resilience, social network analysis, and ethnographic observations. Our project aims to contribute to the best-practice design of interventions to enhance compassion and well-being.

Australia's role in Global Financial and Production Networks (2016-2018)

ODSC Investigators: Dr Eric Knight

The project intends to address a major deficit of knowledge about the ways financial centres develop and compete among a network of international centres. Australia’s long-term economic future is closely tied to providing financial services throughout Asia. Yet very little attention has been given to analysing the structures and networks that enable internationalisation, in particular the performance of Sydney and Melbourne as competitive financial centres within a network of financial centres in East and South-East Asia. Using specialist industry databases and intensive case study methods, this project plans to examine the processes underpinning the growth of this network, map scenarios for the next two decades, and advise on policy implications arising from the 2013–14 Financial System Inquiry.

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Recent Events and Workshops

Managing Complexity Workshop

17 June 2016

Dave Snowden – Cognitive Edge

The ODSC in partnership with the National Disability Service (NDS) co-hosted a workshop on managing complexity with Dave Snowden from Cognitive Edge. The workshop introduced members of both the ODSC and the NDS to concepts such as Snowden’s Cyefin Framework for navigating complexity in social systems. The workshop also provided ODSC members to explore the complex world of disability service providers.

'People try to put us down: Young professionals’ identification processes and sensemaking of aged and generational archetypes

25 May 2016

Dr Steven Hitchcock

Scholarship and the popular press alike assert that, within the workplace and the world, there are distinct generational groups who are hallmarked by fundamental differences. Generational scholarship, undergirded by the priori assumption that generational differences must be managed, has become a well traversed field despite very little empirical evidence to substantiate the claims made about the attitudes, values, and beliefs of these purported generational cohorts. All the while, the over-simplified stereotypes are perpetuated and employed in making fundamental decisions about the lives and work of the old and the young. In this seminar Steven Hitchcock explored how young professionals in Sydney, Australia made sense of aged and generational archetypes in their day to day work.

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