The complex distribution and negotiation of authority in real time is a key issue for today's organizations. The authors investigate how the negotiations that sustain authority at work actually unfold by analyzing the ways of talking and acting through which organizational members establish their authority. They argue that authority is achieved through presentification—that is, by making sources of authority present in interaction. On the basis of an empirical analysis of a naturally occurring interaction between a medical coordinator for Médecins Sans Frontières and technicians of a hospital supported by her organization, the authors identify key communicative practices involved in achieving authority and discuss their implications for scholars' understanding of what being in authority at work means.
What is the role of contradiction in organizational rhetoric? This article argues that existing research tends to focus on contradiction at an institutional level and then develop a distinct but complementary perspective that views contradictory rhetoric at an interactional level and as a practical concern, especially when routine is disrupted and repair tactics are required. Drawing on data from a study of a quality improvement initiative in the United Kingdom, the authors examine the contradictions that were constructed when a 'change champion' attempted to deal with resistance to change. They conclude by depicting how contradiction can emerge when actors reflexively shift their identifications to portray themselves and their actions in a contextually appropriate manner.