Saying What You Mean and Meaning What You Say: Relating Cognition and Voice in Business

Andrew Atherton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    This paper examines the dynamics of thought-language interactions within the organisational context of business. Based on an assessment of the cognition-voice debate within the cognitive sciences and related areas of philosophical enquiry, the paper proposes that thought and language are distinct systems. This notion of modularity is developed into a framework within which the two systems interact and, in doing so, influence and shape each other. These interactions form multiple thought and voiced drafts, reflecting the ‘multiple drafts’ model developed by Daniel Dennett to examine the phenomenon of consciousness. The drafting and re-drafting of thought and language are analysed via critical consideration of two transcripts of interviews with owner-managers. The overall theoretical approach suggests that the dynamics of voice-cognition drafting offer insights into: the development of expert cognitive frameworks; patterns in group development — in particular the emergence of shared values and concepts within the business; and processes of experiential learning within organizations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)55-66
    Number of pages12
    JournalPhilosophy of Management
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2003


    • Management Volume
    • Organisational Context
    • Personal Capability
    • Probation Officer
    • Small Business

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business and International Management
    • Management of Technology and Innovation
    • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
    • Strategy and Management
    • History and Philosophy of Science


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