The ideas in this paper were initially explored at the Organisational Theatre summit, co- ordinated by learning Lab., Denmark at Lisegaarden near Copenhagen in March 2005. Working in collaboration with a group of actors and theatre practitioners; approaches to the phenomenon of rehearsal were discussed and a short play was devised and performed to communicate our findings to the rest of the conference. This paper arose from further reflection on those discussions and includes a transcript of the short play devised: The paper offers some reflections on the phenomenon of 'rehearsing' as practiced in theatre. It also represents our view on the usefulness of rehearsal as a model for the development of new products especially services and the possible value of this concept in the context of organizations, especially the management of professional service firms.
Robert Cooper has developed a discourse of organizing, centered on relationality. It is a discourse grounded in third generation phenomenology and pointing to fourth generation phenomenology. Phenomenology in its first (Husserl) and second (Merleau-Ponty) generations developed the epoché (procedure of investigation) whereby research transcended the natural attitude and forged contact between the researched and the researcher. Progressively logocentric 're-presenting' was transcended in (third generation) phenomenology via empathy and intersubjective awareness. Phenomenological 'research' has become the creation of dialogic and empatic identity. Despite the potential richness of such research, the ethics of shared awareness and involvement continues to pose major problems of consequentiality. If research is based on empathy and relationship, how does the researcher do justice to relationality? Without a clear link between awareness and action, it is very difficult for phenomenology to develop as a dialogic form of organizational studies. Ontological insight into the pre-structures of the life-world, however philosophically fundamental, will not suffice. Phenomenological research understood as a complex adaptive system (CAS), is (potentially) an alternative that respects relationality and honors the ethics of empathy. But truly radical relationality - for instance, embodied in the (very) flesh of life --- (in fourth generation phenomenology), challenges the very possibility of organizational studies.
Stories as sensemaking opportunities both support and are supported by interpersonal relationships. Deconstructing the traditional views of stories as necessarily constrained to a linear form with transparent and fixed beginning, middle, and end, we extend the metaphor of free stories to include the emergent and improvisational freedom to both express ourselves and to respect one another.
This paper investigates the notion of corporate social responsibility. The focus is on analyzing, using different semantic tools, the perception that companies have of their social responsibility as well as the action plans that they initiate in this field. Based on four institutional communications produced by the companies, we establish various levels of reading thanks to narrative analysis and to metaphors, in particular of the fuzzy borders between the map and the territory or the undulation of the positioning of the writer. The reports on social responsibility were then identified like instruments of speech seeking to praise the actions of the companies, in the form of a type of communication which one could describe as propaganda. Beyond what is said, the article aims at identifying the sense given by the corporate world to social responsibility.
Two influential perspectives in organizational studies that focus on different aspects of enabling, constraining, and forming organizational action are the notion of sensemaking and the influence of material objects on organizational functioning. This paper explores the coupling of these two perspectives, which often are seen as opposite. Based on evidence from two case studies, we argue that these perspectives, taken together, unlock a deeper understanding of the processes that unfold in organizations and call attention to the materiality of sensemaking as important to understanding organizations.
John Krizanc is the author of the Tamara Play, after which the journal is named. The interview explore the relationship between aesthetic and ethics, how the artist makes comprimises to get a project like Tamara to appeal to an audience more interested in entertainment spectacle than socioeconomic or political commentary.
A critique of interactive fiction, argues that instead of providing a window onto the human condition hyperfiction merely provides a mirror of readers desires.
This is a reply to an essay that John Krizanc sent to me. Krizanc (1989) is also the author of the Tamara play. I have applied Tamara to organizing (Boje, 1995). Here I want to look at some of the consequences of interactive organizing that is theorized as a postmodern narrative.
Producers and consumers meet in the narrative space we call 'organizing.' As Roland Barthes (1970) put it, “the goal of a literary work is to make the reader no longer a consumer but a producer of the text” (S/Z). In questioning the position of the narrative in relation to the producer and consumer of organizing, this essay challenges the role of consumer sovereignty that makes consumers the sole authors of organizing.
This article is based on a chapter from “Thin Book on Organisational theatre” and discusses a variety of challenges and opportunities for bringing change to organisations through theatre, action research and consultancy. The suggestions span from the extremes of provoking radical change (throwing bombs) to sowing small seeds of change - with a variety of combinations and approaches in between. The article deliberately raises more questions for reflection than providing recommendations for action.
This text inquires in a poetic way the possibility of theatrical space by exploring the question "what space makes theatre possible?". The central argument is that threatre creates an intensive yet fragile space of possibility and the possible through creating affects. The text, written in between a prelude and an epilogue, approaches this space of desire and intensity indirectly by exploring the perspective of audience, actors and "angels" as they are seized by desire and awaiting the play in the wings. We argue through interweaving these three angles that every play presupposes a twilight zone, a connecting boundary which forms a transition into the magical where dream and desire can take over, where the virtual and the everyday can become connected and where new lines of flight might emerge. The aesthetic experience of theatre is characterised by participating in a clearing of openness where truth happens and where its practical implications might be heard. There is no change possible without engaging with the open-endedness when entering the wings of theatre.
The paper is an exploration of the usefulness of postmodern theory to today’s manager. In particular, the paper asks whether it can be applied in practice. Decentring the self through a two-voice device aids in this analysis but leads to another dilemma. Where does the questioning end? The paper ends with a challenge about authenticity.
In this essay, it is argued that postmodernism has acquired an organisational theory, and it is accepted that the tools of postmodernism can be translated into the workplace. It has been proposed that postmodern tools are merely a means of oppression, following a lineage as old as organisations themselves. It has been negative and doom-laden in tone, with management potentially wielding the power of the resource metaphor over the subjected employees.