Real-world outcomes: Or how to make discourse-based research findings useful to practitioners through reflection and dialogue

Inger Askehave, Lise-Lotte Holmgreen

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    When working with discourse-based research in professional settings, one question invariably arises: How do we, as researchers, ensure that our findings are taken up by the professionals with whom analyses are carried out, leading to change in their social practices? The answer is that quite often, we do not. Studies (e.g. Erickson and Schultz 1982; Roberts and Sarangi 2003) suggest that when doing applied-linguistics or discourse studies, many academic researchers stop short of addressing the practical relevance of their results and instead “believe in a talking-down model of feeding back research findings to subjects” (Roberts and Sarangi 2003, 340) although, arguably, making results applicable to a real-world context ought to be an essential goal of researcher-practitioner studies.
    This issue forms the background of the article, in which it will be discussed how the dissemination of research findings may take place to ensure the creation of real-world outcomes for practitioners. The discussion will be centered around the interview study of the discursive constructions of culture in a Danish cross-border company and the possible implications of this for organizational collaboration. Thus, the aim of the article is twofold: First, it is to describe our method for presenting/discussing our findings to the practitioners in an attempt to make the findings practically relevant to them, and second, to document the reflexive processes which take place as we discuss the findings of our analyses during one specific meeting. An important element of the latter is to assess whether the discussion of our results gives rise to respondents’ reflection, resistance, acceptance, rejection, or indifference, and whether this leads to changes in respondents’ views on culture and organizational collaboration. This way, we hope to demonstrate that the practical applicability of our findings becomes one of shedding light on potential problems and providing advice (which may be considered an important aim of discourse-based research) instead of making specific recommendations on issues of practice beyond our immediate knowledge.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCulture and Identity in Organisations : A Discourse Perspective
    EditorsLise-Lotte Holmgreen
    Number of pages27
    Place of PublicationAalborg
    PublisherAalborg Universitetsforlag
    Publication date17 Dec 2012
    ISBN (Print)9788771120431
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2012

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