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A Documentary film, A Couple of Social Entrepreneurs, and the Re-Framing of Institutionalized Practices.
Andrew Gates

Ph.D. Student in Strategy at McGill University

1758 rue Beaudet, Ville Saint Laurent,

H4L 2K8 Canada        
telephone : 514 744 1769

e-mail : gatesa@vaniercollege.qc.ca

Documentary films are increasingly becoming high impact communication vehicles used by a variety of actors to effect institutional change. Films such as An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore and The Corporation by Roger Moore have achieved widespread, mainstream distribution and have resulted in considerable public debate. Despite the evident impact of these films on public opinion and on organizations, they have received relatively little attention by management scholars.

This paper is a case study that explores the impact of l’Erreur Boréale, a shock documentary that was critical of the forestry practices in Quebec. I show how the film’s authors, who prior to the release of the film were not associated with the organizational field, constructed a powerful text that engaged the key actors in this mature industry. First, in order to establish context, I provide a historical overview of forestry practices in Quebec. Next, using content and discourse analysis, and I provide an interpretation of how and why this text had the impact that it did. I argue that this text and the public discursive struggle that ensued changed the distribution of knowledge among actors. This has set the stage for, and in some cases, has precipitated institutional change. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of a distributive perspective of culture on organizational field dynamics and on institutional change.

 

All Submissions
8:00 AM-8:00 PM, Friday, June 15, 2007, Oral

The Ontario, Canada 2007 Meeting