Shifting Frames from Policy Disagreement to Policy Adoption through Discourse: The Initial Phase of a Study from the Aviation Repair Station Industry

Damon Lercel


Organizational change involves moving an organization from its current state to a desired state – a discursive struggle that reframes the organization.  A change in regulatory policy often affects more than one organization and may involve an entire industry comprised of thousands of diverse organizations.  Stakeholder resistance is a leading cause of change failure. Similarly, industry stakeholders view regulatory change with a certain level of skepticism and naturally tend to resist – leading to policy gridlock.  Through a discursive struggle, regulators may find opportunities to change the conversation and shift the stakeholder’s interpretative frames from one of policy disagreement to policy adoption.  This paper discusses the methodology and initial findings of the first phase of a multi-phase discursive study that utilized action research to address a heavily debated regulatory change in the United States aviation industry, specifically, Safety Management Systems.  The results of this study suggest that the use of action research to create a body of discourse in regulatory policy initiatives may help regulators shift the conversation towards policy adoption. By applying action research principles, regulators may better identify strategies that change the conversation, which may lead to a change in the groups behavior or perspective – creating discourse that may lead to innovative policy solutions.

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Business and Management Research
ISSN 1927-6001 (Print)   ISSN 1927-601X (Online)

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