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Article

Beneath the Radar? A Critical Realist Analysis of 'The Knowledge Economy' and 'Shareholder Value' as Competing Discourses

Citation
Thompson P & Harley B (2012) Beneath the Radar? A Critical Realist Analysis of 'The Knowledge Economy' and 'Shareholder Value' as Competing Discourses. Organization Studies, 33 (10), pp. 1363-1381. https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840612457614

Abstract
This paper seeks to apply a critical realist lens to the analysis of discourse. Our central argument is that the most fruitful way to make sense of discourse is to treat it as an empirical object of inquiry alongside extra-discursive phenomena. In making this argument, we consider two recent discourses, the ‘knowledge-based economy' (KBE) and ‘shareholder value' (SV) and demonstrate that, while the KBE discourse gained much more attention, SV discourse had much more significant material outcomes. We suggest that research on the potential causal powers of discourse should move away from an exclusive focus on the discursive and pay attention to actors and institutions and to extra-discursive conditions and constraints.

Keywords
critical realism; discourse analysis; financialization; knowledge economy; shareholder value

Journal
Organization Studies: Volume 33, Issue 10

StatusPublished
Author(s)Thompson, Paul; Harley, Bill
Publication date31/10/2012
PublisherSAGE
ISSN0170-8406
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