Interpreting Policy Language and Managing Organisational Change: The Case of the Queensland Rugby Union
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This paper uses Derrida's postmodern theories of deconstruction and 'differance' to analyse organizational change in Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) during the 1990s. Specifically, it examines the ways in which internal policy and planning documents produced by QRU were formulated, and subsequently interpreted by the many volunteer officials at the local and community level. Derrida's constructs provided a framework within which to explain the potential for policy and planning documents to produce fragmented organizational outcomes. This approach to the interpretation of texts proved a valuable tool for exploring the paradoxes, biases, and contradictions in social and organizational behaviour. Data were collected through semistructured interviews with 17 individuals at differing functional levels within the QRU hierarchy. The interview data were supplemented by content analysis of policy and planning documents developed by the QRU. The results showed that policy and planning documents were not only interpreted differently at the different functional levels of the QRU, but when used to guide change, often met resistance that was not anticipated. The ambiguity of these documents therefore complicated the organizational change process because organizational sub-units frequently gave meanings to the text that were not intended by senior management.
European Sport Management Quarterly