This discussion piece sets the tone for this new journal in its narrative presentation form. It will run over two issues and is open to include feedback from readers. In debating the case for TAMARA to represent either a) a postmodern science approach to organisational analysis or b) a postmodern aesthetic appreciation, the two participants reflect on the relevance of critical theory to their life and work. Hence rather than the intellectual exchange taking place in a disembodied form, they situate their intellectual history via issues of social location and lived experience. They reflect on the integral connection between theory and practice with the objective of furthering their commitment to effecting social change. The first short article takes the form of initially introducing the authors and then moves to a discussion of the role of critical pedagogy. The detailed references to teaching content are broached in order to demonstrate the efficacy of critical analysis for pedagogical purposes; not to focus on the relative achievement of the individual lecturers involved. The second longer article entails a debate of central relevance to the Journal, addressing: what type of orientation a critical postmodern analysis of organisational politics might take? The discussion begins with a dialogue between the two protagonists on the pros and cons of adopting a scientific approach. The focus then switches to situating the plurality of postmodernism; analysing the `affirmative' versus `sceptical' opposition. The contribution of the `White French Pomo Boys' is interrogated in relation to the late modernist thesis. Finally, Boje proposes an eclectic integration between modernist and postmodernist influences in the name of `narrative ethics'. Bissett responds, outlining the dilemmas of employing unreconstructed narratives. She deconstructs the notion of the aesthetic as a modernist cultural category, in order to propose a postmodern `political poetic' alternative..
In this paper, the authors explain and display their process for becoming more critically reflexive scholars (Cunliffe, 2003). This is accomplished through creating a community of critically reflexive scholars. Within this community of inquiry (Eriksen, 2001), participants attempt to go beyond a simple awareness of their ontological and epistemological assumptions and to reflex upon their individual uniqueness as a human being who is engaged in scholarship. In other words, each participant jointly attempts to understand his or her self as a scholar. Specifically, in this article, the authors critically reflex upon their selves within the context of their roles as feminist scholars. The process of inquiry consists of ongoing four stages: giving an account of one's self with respect to a particular area of scholarship, reading everyone else's account, and responding to reading each others account, and finally sharing these responses with one another. Through this process, the authors not only became more critically reflexive scholars but were also personally transformed and obtained a deeper understanding of feminism.
In recent years, feminist scholars have made substantial inroads toward a better understanding of the intricacies and complexities of organizing. Through the metatheoretical lens of a “feminist communicology of organization,” gender is seen as a dynamic principle of organizing, and organizations are seen as fundamentally gendered. By looking at both the macro- and micro-level activities of gendered organizing, we obtain a much richer, organic understanding of the processes inherent in creating and sustaining organizations. Such an approach helps us to understand one of the newest forms of organization-the virtual one-that exists both discursively and materially only in the virtual world. To better understand how organizing is accomplished in the virtual world, we have chosen to focus on the postings to a “renegade” web site called “Teamster.net.” This site was established by and for members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters but is not sanctioned by The Teamsters. Through content analysis, we studied the ongoing discussions concerning if, and how, this site should be moderated, and by whom. We found that these chat room dialogues exhibit the key characteristics of multiple discourses occurring simultaneously. Contributors are both social actors and the objects of multiple discourses that seek to normalize and control these actors, often occurring in disjunctive and contradictory ways. While contributors acknowledge the need for both social equality and respect, their mechanisms for dealing with these contradictions are most often unconscious; in psychoanalytic terms, compromise formations. Thus we offer this deeper understanding of virtual organizations through the metatheoretical lens of feminist communicology and the theoretical lens of compromise formations.
This article focuses on the role of organizational storytelling and identity formation of a Danish filmmaking company, Zentropa Entertainment Productions Company (a.k.a. Zentropa). Identity formation, as storytelling, is taking place in a context of multiple voices, polyphony, and is performed in dialogue. The article explores how identities are co-produced through the interaction between the organization and external actors by their story interaction. The study illustrates how the identity of a filmmaking company emerges from identity stories and how they are co-produced with the media. We argue that the rebellious ‘Maverick’ identity of Zentropa has emerged through its interaction with the media through “counter stories.” Finally, the study shows the difficulties that Zentropa encountered trying to maintain its rebellious ‘Maverick’ identity.
This article discusses how the emerging trend of using literary arts and dialogue, along with reflective and creative writing, referred to by the author as transformative narratives, can be used to help unpack and re-script assumptions, attitudes, values, and biases of leaders as they operate in systems of privilege. When leaders read, write, and dialogue about their own and others’ cultural and social group identities, they increase self-awareness and improve interaction with others. These skills prove effective in building emotional intelligence that is linked to competencies of high performing leaders who create strong financial performance in their organizations. Specific applications are provided throughout the article.
The ‘Polyphonic Organisation’ is an emerging root-metaphor for the multiple voices that constitute an organisation. In this article, we explore the narrative concept of the ‘chronotope’ as a feature of the ‘polyphonic organisation’. The ‘chronotope’, in a general sense, refers to the matrix of time-space-value in organisations. We argue that the chronotope is important because it introduces boundaries between voices within organisations and helps to explain the difficulties in getting to dialogue with voices in different spaces in the ‘Polyphonic Organisation’. More particularly, there are multiple kinds of chronotopes which lead to different kinds of time-spaces matrices within the polyphonic organisation. Our aim is to examine chronotope crossings within polyphonic organisations as part of the work of being heard. This is a theoretical argument drawing significantly from Bakhtin’s work on chronotope. To examine the argument in practice we draw on original fieldwork within the comedy industry. Here we found three kinds of chronotopes: 1) The comedy-offense boundary; 2) The commissioning landscape 3) Platform spaces. We also found that moving within and between these involved a variety of adventures in experience (such as hope and disappointment), which also have their own specific chronotopes. Overall, we argue that the polyphonic organisation is significantly enhanced as an organisational concept through a turn to the role of chronotope. This is because chronotope helpfully describes the barriers and porous boundaries between voices.
Contemporary organizations feature absence of boundaries and are increasingly defined by loose couplings, pluri-vocality and network configurations. What Foucault (1995) addressed as a former society of discipline is transformed and replaced into what Deleuze (1995) refines as a society of control that incorporates its subjects into new and ever changing lines of subjectification. This transformation of dispositifs (Deleuze, 1992; Foucault, 1980) and authoritative discourses (Bakhtin, 1982) that compose (and is composed of) a contemporary way of living induces in other words new types of embodied organizational knowledge and ways of organizing, which have consequences for how subject positions are (re)configured in everyday corporate lives. Such identity work is rarely studied in local discursive practices of today’s modern and emergent corporations. The aspiration in the present article is to scrutinize local practices in a dialogue based leadership development forum in university settings. This provides insights into the lived lives and identity work in Aalborg University representing a temporary, polyphonic and cross-disciplinary research project in a modern corporation. The project was an example of a loose-coupled and temporary arrangement/organization that invited a diverse group of participants to engage in the co-production of knowledge in/on leadership communicative practices. The participants were professional leaders from diverse organizations in the North of Jutland together with researchers and candidate students from the study programs of communication and philosophy at Aalborg University.
When doing any kind of ethnography we are always confronted with questions of power and domination. In this article the problem is dealt with through an analysis of the debate between Gadamer and Habermas. In the late 1960es and the early 1970es they exchanged a series of essays and articles where they discussed the status of power and domination in relation to understanding (hermeneutics) in particular and to the social sciences in general. I will use some of the arguments from this debate and confront them with the an ethnographic method called the conceptualising method (Henriksen et al, 2004), as I find that the role of power and domination discussed in this ancient debate also counts for the conceptualising method in particular and in any ethnography in general.
This auto-fictitious narrative is an existential and political exploration of scholarly identity transformation of a teacher educator in academia. Set within a parallel, metaphorical kingdom, identity is examined through the author’s actions, interactions and experiences with others in a fictional setting. Narratives, in storytelling formats, establish agency of self and provide “voice” to be freely expressed, most notably for those who experience marginalization where their thoughts and ideas have been mitigated within traditional institutional environments and dialogues. Expressed in a humorous, somewhat deliberately mischievous manner, the polyphonic self in this story reflects on relational power and academic identity within the university environment. This descriptive piece adds discussion to existing organizational research through presentation of a fictional piece for examining how one may self-construct identity within a hegemonic work setting.
This paper proposes an alternative approach towards ethical leadership. Recent research tells us that socioeconomic and cultural differences affect moral intuition, making it difficult to locate a guiding organizational principle. Nevertheless, in this paper I attempt to open an alternative path towards an ethics that might serve as a guide for leaders – especially leaders who are leading a highly professionalized workforce. Using the Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño and the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze as points of reference, I develop an ethical form of leadership that is based on a continuous ‘poetic’ dialogue between creation and affirmation. The nature of this dialogue requires a leadership approach that plays both a courageous and imaginative role in liberating its workforce. Last, I develop a frame which provides the constituent principles of leading in the direction of an ethical organization.