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..
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.
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.
Security work is increasingly privatized under neoliberal governance, a trend that is not without controversy over legitimacy and ethics. Public interaction with and understanding of private security contractors is in part mediated by popular cultural representations. In particular, parodies of these organizations are significant for their ability to tell audiences what organizations and members are not. This paper examines representations of security work by looking at Paul Blart: Mall Cop as a parody that creates relief from official hierarchies of security using Bakhtinian carnival, by lowering security discourses to the level of the grotesque, non-professional body. However, parodies may also encourage public acceptance of privatization by showing private security workers to be more creative and efficient. Parodies of security work can serve as temporary relief from daily need to comply with security regimes, while also aligning privatized security work with discourses of professionalism and authority.
This paper reflects upon the 'goodness' or 'ethics' of Critical Management/Critical Organisation Studies (COS) research practices. I argue that academic representations of others entail an ethical responsibility to the researched, a responsibility that COS is, as yet, insufficiently exploring. Reflecting upon my own research with those who have colluded in discrimination and Stanley and Wise's (1979) research on obscene telephone callers, I explore the nature and limits of responsibility when researching those who have acted reprehensibly. I end by arguing that COS "owe(s) some responsibility to 'the researched' of all kinds, whether we morally approve of them or not" (Stanley and Wise 1993:177).
It is customary to promiscuously interconnect the well-established methodological conception of sociological reflexivity to multi-level metatheoretical analyses, representational tactics and strategies, self-conscious knowledge-production processes and, in general, epistemological questions and answers. However, Western reflexive thinking about culture, rationality, and scientific knowledge often tends to (somehow) reproduce the self-assured “one epistemological size fits all” standpoint of Eurocentrism, to arrogantly exclude alternative post-colonial theorizations and to implicitly ignore the irreducibility of the “ethical dimension”. The “reinvention” of this crucial dimension, within contemporary sociology and critical organizational research, entails the substantial incorporation of the “weak” performative circular reasoning as well as a new reflexive ethos and aesthetic of scientific modesty. The issue here is indeed the fruitful pluralist maximization of both ethical and cognitive possibilities. In this respect, the innovative “it could be otherwise” clause of radical intellectual inquiry remains central to our inter-disciplinary world- and self-accounts.
Modern popularist teaching presents ethics as situational and relativistic. Rather than using this current approach a more classical and reactionary methodology that calls for the reevaluation of some of the elder philosophies that regarded right and wrong in the context of absolutism is required. Confusion between the concepts of beliefs, values, morals, laws, and ethics has increased to the point where many people today consider these related ideas as synonymous. It is essential to discuss these related concepts outside of any single religious or ethnically based belief system. To do otherwise would inject individualistic religious or ethnic beliefs and values into the discussion, thereby negating the universality of the argument. Both modern and traditional approaches to ethics have attempted either to manage the effects of unethical behavior after it occurs, or to give specific guidance and examples in order to prevent future similar occurrences. Unfortunately, both of these popular approaches are reactive at best. The optimal strategy is to take a proactive approach that can discern the root causes of unethical behavior so that this knowledge could be used as a preventative countermeasure to the everincreasing amounts of unethical behavior. Axiology, the study of ethics, is not a new field; but many modern authors and ethicists have avoided and continue to avoid the issue of ethical absolutism. Contrary to much modern thought, there is no reason to avoid the discussion of absolutism, as the concept of universal and immutable ethics can be reconciled fully with other contemporary schools of thought such as physical sciences, social sciences, and rationalism.
This paper aims to analyse the implications of negotiating ethnographic research access following research ethical codes and remain coherent with Critical Management Studies (CMS) principles. Through this reflective account, we seek to address the field of Organisation Studies (OS), where ethnographic research access has attracted little theoretical scholarly attention, and also to contribute to the renewed focus on ethical research practice within CMS literature. In addition, we also aim to contribute to broader debates about qualitative research practices by highlighting the ethical implications of establishing formal research access and to analyse the dilemmas that arise from the conflict between prescriptive ethical codes and researcher’s own conscience when carrying out field research. Rather than calling for a new, revised code of ethics, we appeal for a more open and honest debate about the pragmatic realities of critical, organisational ethnographic research.
In the past years we observed changes in the structures of knowledge production. The new mode of research expects intensive collaboration among multiple stakeholders in order to ensure the social relevance of knowledge. Such a development has led many theorists to question the epistemological status of findings, and the relevance of such studies, since this mode of research might transpire rather alarmingly to serve the interests of a small influential group. By discussing the two views, the paper sides with the argument that science has evolved into a closed, self-governed system; thus, any change in the governance of knowledge production puts at stake its status and role in society –which is to serve the ‘public good’. In the same line of argument, it seconds that the ethical construction of knowledge has to become the scientists’ main concern, who need to be conscious not only of positive, but also of negative implications of their findings. Finally, the paper concludes with a number of suggestions, which may contribute to the ethical construction of knowledge.
‘Moral perception’ has long been identified as a key pre-requisite for ethical behaviour (Dewey 1974; Aristotle, 1976; MacIntyre, 1985). In order to respond ethically to a given situation, one must first recognise its ethical component. However, the question of how moral perception is developed is more difficult to address. Perceiving ‘accurately’ is itself recognised as being fraught with difficulties, ranging from the impact of motivation, expectations, mental schemas as well as mood and physical comfort. This paper turns to the habits of visual artists and musicians who each in their own ways must cultivate the ability to ‘see the world afresh’ in order to produce art of quality, either through visual artefacts or fleeting performances. The paper highlights how practices of ‘staying with the senses’, ‘engaged detachment’ and ‘imaginative free play’ can enhance our capacity to recognise the moral component of everyday situations encountered and thus increase the possibility of responding to them in ethically astute ways.
This paper explores the aesthetics of ethics through an examination of Aotearoa/New Zealand’s Treaty of Waitangi. Through the metaphor of the carver, we demonstrate that instrumentality, ethics and aesthetics work together in a fluid state of play that provides the means to achieve the partnership relationships inherent in the Treaty. We claim that the theory of tensegrity allows for contestations surrounding meanings of the Treaty’s intent and opens a space for growth and development. This is illustrated by the March 2010 signing of a memorandum of understanding between Bay of Plenty iwi and Tasman Pulp and Paper which affords both parties with a means to work productively together for their mutual benefit. This contemporary illustration is compared with the construction and carvings of the Te Tiriti O Waitangi Whare Rūnanga which demonstrate in a tangible way how aesthetics and ethics work together to build community solidarity among people of diverse backgrounds.
Special Issue on Aesthetics and Ethics
This paper explores post-humanist assemblage and biomediation through ontological storytelling and antenarrative. It considers material agency via biomediation, examining the use of material devices to prolong and enhance human and animal life. The first ontological story presented is that of a woman and her biomediated dog (titanium knees), running in an urban setting with various material actants in assemblage supporting human health and psychological wellbeing. The second considers the use and efficacy of biomediation to prolong the lives of humans afflicted with renal disease and cancer. The work offers an experiential lens for contemplation of biomediation, assemblage, posthumanism and ethics. Its contribution is an authentic, contextual exploration of Heidegger’s (1962) Dasein and a related antenarrative fore-having of metanoia-derived strength. These illustrations support discussion of how material (ontic) and ontological (Being-there) aspects are overlooked or actively suppressed by social constructionism.
The paper advances two propositions. First, that organization theory (OT) comprises a heterogeneous body of knowledge which, in effect, is a history of the (on-going) power struggles that produce it. And, second, that OT harbours different concepts of power and associated value-orientations through which it is possible to interpret the diversity and development of OT. These propositions give priority to the politics and ethics of knowledge production, and not differences of ontology, epistemology or levels of analysis. Its pluralist stance accommodates value-orientations which prompt and justify knowledge oriented towards `rationalization’, `explication’ and `emancipation’.
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.
This article explores Jacques Derrida’s notion of friendship and extends towards a quantum understanding of friendship derived from an ethics of mattering (Barad, 2007). It inscribes itself into an uncommon vocabulary in the organization and management literature. Yet we believe that the notion of friendship is a crucial dimension of organizations but none-theless is often not recognized here.