On collective mind and conversational analysis: Response to Cooren

Robert D. Mcphee, Angela Trethewey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The authors note an important problem with Cooren’s (2004) argument that processes of representing, subordinating, and contributing, accomplished routinely in “mundane” conversations, constitute collective organizational mind as discussed by Hutchins (1995) and especially Weick and Roberts (1993). The authors show that everyday conversations can easily exhibit evidence of those three processes and yet amount to heedless, self-centered exchanges and that the lone or unvoiced activities of members can exhibit the essence of the kind of collective mind that generates high reliability organizations (HROs). Therefore, analysis of local conversations is inadequate to demonstrate the existence of collective mind and to explain the high reliability of HROs; such analysis needs supplement by evidence that the conversation contributes to a pattern of institutionalized system-level distributed heedfulness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-326
Number of pages16
JournalManagement Communication Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006


  • collective mind
  • organizational communication methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management


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