Henry, Chapter 4

Henry, Chapter 4:


  • Implied authors: A persona of the writer which embodies cultural norms and values (74)
  • Suspension of personal values in service of the organization may be required
  • Vague discourse is sometimes most effective
  • Self-documentation needs to be developed
  • Editing as cultural renewal or reproduction
  • The organization employs writers; writers may employ the organizational culture


  • Writers as “discursive functionaries” (74)
  • Status within the organization as an important part of self-identity as a writer

–> the functionary status is unrewarding (76)

–> discrepancy between status and purview undercuts projects

–>the notion of “flexibility” leads to a tenuous status


  • Roles may emerge (from “daughter” to “idea generator” to “translator”), but social roles can influence professional roles negatively (77)
  • Writers should try to elaborate their own roles
  • The “talking handbook” is an archaic role
  • Better: “idea generator” who sparks discussion (78)
  • The roles of teams are certain to diversify
  • Writers are links to the exterior

Document Processes

  • Document routing and repetitive publication processes can lead to reluctance towards accepting new concepts (81)
  • Writers may encounter disparities between information they receive and information necessary to be efficient
  • Because of hierarchies, writers may be subject to disciplining
  • Collective authorship: writers mesh individuality with collective representation
  • Frequently shifting subjectivities as team members
  • Workplace subjectivities are not only shaped by local culture, but also by links to outside cultures (e.g. collaboration)

Subcultural Dynamics

  • A writer’s subjectivity encounters other subjectivities shaped by organizational positioning (84)
  • Writers will encounter ways of knowing grounded in other kinds of discourse communities and discursive practices
  • Writers may encounter dynamics from below, beside or above them in the hierarchy

Cultural Stabilization and Change

  • Writers can be both agents of stabilization and agents of change (86)
  • Writers are likely to be strongly socialized into a culture’s norms and values
  • Writers’ subjectivities shift with organizational changes

Organizational Goals

  • Writers are unlikely to realize personal goals if they are opposed to larger organizational goals (88)
  • In some context, organizational goals and organizational authorship are nearly synonymous

New Unities

  • Resituate “role” with respect to ongoing social constructions of realities à discourse, events (88)
  • Monitor own writing practices in relation to the local culture’s norms and values (89)
  • Perceive subcultural dynamics
  • Assume greater say in organizational goals



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