Organizational discourse and the appraisal of occupational hazards: Interpretive repertoires, heedful interrelating, and identity at work

  • Scott C
  • Trethewey A
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Scholars and practitioners have often conceptualized hazards as external
to discursive processes, focusing instead on the role of strategic
communication in representing pre-organized vulnerabilities to
stakeholders rather than on the capacity of mundane discourse practices
to shape how hazards emerge. In this study of risk discourse in one high
reliability organization, a municipal fire department, we demonstrate
how hazard appraisals emerged as intersubjective products of
organizational discourse. Specifically, we explore how the interpretive
repertoires firefighters used to make sense of hazards were medium and
outcome of discursive identity formations. Firefighters employed
preferred identity terms to amplify identity-enhancing dangers and
attenuate vulnerabilities that were threatening to a preferred sense of

Author-supplied keywords

  • Heedful Interrelating
  • High Reliability Organizations
  • Occupational Safety
  • Ontological Security
  • Organizational Discourse

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  • Clifton Wilson Scott

  • Angela Trethewey

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