• Articulating the service concept in professional service firms

      Beltagui, Ahmad; Sigurdsson, Kjartan; Candi, Marina; Riedel, Johann (Emerald, 2017-01-01)
      Purpose: This study proposes a solution to the challenges of Professional Service Firms (PSF), which are referred to as cat herding, opaque quality and lack of process standardization. These result from misalignment in the mental pictures that managers, employees and customers have of the service. The study demonstrates how the process of articulating a shared service concept reduces these challenges. Methodology: A narrative methodology is used to analyze the perspectives of old management, new management and employees during organizational change in a PSF–a website design company growing to offer full-service branding. Group narratives are constructed using longitudinal data gathered through interviews and fieldwork, in order to compare the misaligned mental pictures and show the benefits of articulating the service concept. Findings: Professional employees view growth and change as threats to their culture and practice, particularly when new management seeks to standardize processes. These threats are revealed to stem from misinterpretations caused by miscommunication of intentions and lack of participation in decision making. Articulating a shared service concept helps to align understanding and return the firm to equilibrium. Research Limitations: The narrative methodology helps unpack conflicting perspectives, but is open to claims of subjectivity and misrepresentation. To ensure fairness and trustworthiness, informants were invited to review and approve the narratives. Originality: The study contributes propositions related to the value of articulating a shared service.
    • The Language of Belonging

      Meinhof, Ulrike Hanna; Galasinski, Dariusz (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)
      Addressing one of the most significant aspects of social life in our time - that of cultural identities and identifications - the authors demonstrate ways in which the language we use in everyday life, in our conversations and narratives, constructs and confirms in a continuing, flexible and context-bound way our sense of who we are, where and to whom we belong - or wish to belong. They offer a theoretical reassessment of how we understand, study and analyse processes of multiple and sometimes self-contradictory identification as reflected through the language of belonging and not belonging. The theoretical case is exemplified by the discourses of three-generational families on the Polish-German borders. Prompted by photographs to talk about themselves and other social groups, they provide major insights into the complex identities constructed by and for such families as the result of the major political changes in Europe in the 20th century which threw their lives into turmoil and created different and changing socio-political environments for each generation. (Palgrave Macmillan)
    • Untold stories and the construction of identity in narratives of ethnic conflict on the Polish–German border

      Galasinski, Dariusz; Galasinska, Aleksandra (Walter de Gruyter, 2005)
      In this paper we are interested in the use of ‘untold stories’: parts of narratives which are implied rather than explicitly told by speakers. More specifically, we demonstrate how Polish informants from the towns of Gubin and Zgorzelec on the Polish–German border use untold stories as a means of situating themselves or other Poles in a position of advantage in conflictual situations between Poles and Germans. We demonstrate that our informants end the explicit parts of their narratives with markedly ambiguous utterances in order to imply a further part of the story with two interrelated goals: constructing the speakers (or other Poles) as direct ‘winners’ of the conflictual situation and positioning them as having the high moral ground in it. This, furthermore, had the global aim of positive self-presentation of their ethnic group (Poles) and negative presentation of the other ethnic group (Germans). Finally, we argue that the use of the untold stories is related to the particular social and political setting in which they occur, one in which our informants consistently positioned themselves as a ‘losing’, or ‘non-elite’ group being under political and economic ‘attack’ from their German neighbours. (Walter de Gruyter)