Recent theories of technology have argued that in order to take constructivism seriously we need to understand technologies as organizational texts, replacing the study of technological artefacts with an appreciation of the ways in which these ‘texts’ are read, or interpreted, in specific situations. Whilst such approaches offer an effective critique of determinism in explanations of technological change, they also raise some interesting questions around the nature of the human subject which have been given a less comprehensive treatment in the literature. This paper contributes to the development of a thoroughgoing antiessentialism in theories of technology and organization by considering Deleuze and Guattari’s radical constructionist critique of the subject. Placing the technocentric metaphor of ‘the machine’ at the heart of subjectivization, Deleuze and Guattari’s decentring of the human subject offers a fully symmetrical anti-essentialism, capable of accounting for the non-human forces at work in the constitution of human subjectivity.
A sense of loss of identity exists in modern Kronos capitalism with its constant need to devour its own reproductions in order to survive. Discovery of identity comes through deconstruction and techniques of mysticism which are seen as similar processes. Identity is defined in terms of awareness of multiple levels of being. Understanding of identity lies in the successive abandonment of all kinds of schema or conditioning processes which we summarize by the term organizational grammar.
In this paper I wish to make, or perhaps force a link between three very distinct sets of debates in organization studies. The first concerns the status of 'memory' in organizational terms, and how to best preserve shared knowledge, as defined by Walsh & Ungson (1991). The second deals with the repression and expression of emotion in organized settings, as exemplified in the classic work of Arlie Hochschild (2003). The third is a less well known methodological debate about the politics of 'giving voice' and 'remaining silent' (Morrison & Milliken, 2003). At first glance all three debates - concerning memory, emotion, voice - seem to share a common social psychological orientation. But exploring the character of this common thread is not primary what I want to set out to achieve. I wish instead to demonstrate that what is at stake in all three debates is how organization studies 'thinks with' and 'thinks against' its participants. I want to propose that what makes for the difference between these two strategies is taking seriously the temporal structuring of human action. To illustrate this claim I will work through an extended example - the use of public collective silence as a commemorative practice.
In this article, we outline our organizational change initiative, our “small experiment,” and our attempt to understand how organizational change is actually accomplished. It is our desire to first change our selves and how we perform gender and through this local initiative, to eventually change how our organization as a whole performs gender. In our effort to accomplish this goal, we began by attempting to understand the issue, our experience, and the performance of gender within our organization. Based upon these understandings and because of this understanding, we will identify initiatives that change our organization's performance of gender. Finally, in an attempt to understand the microprocesses of change, of how organizational change is accomplished - “its dynamic, unfolding, emergent qualities (in short its potential) (Tsoukas & Chia, 2002, 568),” we will document and attempt to understand our experience of change from within.
This paper is concerned with the theatre of organisational life. It gives particular attention to the work of the playwright Antonin Artaud and his relationship with the Roman Catholic Church. In every aspect of his life, Artaud was a man of extremes. His attempts to theatricalize his personal tortures and to find expression for them are excessively brutal and intensely physical. His relationship with the Catholic Church is likewise passionate and one of extremes. From daily communicant to heretic and blasphemer, back to communicant, then to repudiator, is a pattern of oscillation which runs throughout his life. His theatrical works reflect this tension. In later life, he comes to believe that he himself was crucified as a punishment for his disordered life. At times in his life he seems to crave the community of the Church and other times to despise the moral order the Church imposes on him. This paper attempts to look at Artaud's desire to examine experience in its raw state. The paper concludes by considering the way in which this oscillation is apparent in ambivalent attitudes to the organising power of the corporation and in the quasi Catholicism of organizational rituals and performances.
Spirituality and religion have gained increasing prominence in recent years. Several critical reviews of spirituality have pointed out ways in which spirituality can be misused by both employees and management. Yet, many of these critical authors are drawn toward a need for more spirituality in their own lives and work. This paper will review some ways in which spirituality can be misused or used as an addiction. We will then explore ways in which spirituality and spiritual practices can and have been used in a positive, healthy way in organizations.
This special number of Tamara presents papers on systems, (im-)possibilities and possibilities of listening, which is a very rich theme, needing exploration. The articles are less applied and more experimental. They reflect the interest in applied philosophy found in portions of organizational and management studies in Europe.
This article is about why organizations should take time to understand and care for employees and why they probably do not. The discussion is set against the backdrop of stories from 28 people separated from the job in August 2000 during a downsizing event at TREBCO (pseudonym), a manufacturing automotive firm based in a large midwestern U.S. city. A total of 1,100 white-collar workers were sent away at that time. The first author presents findings from a qualitative study she conducted in 2001 to explore these workers' experiences of the same downsizing event and their perceptions about whether or not TREBCO knew that its decision might adversely affect some lives. She ends her section by suggesting that because of the varied experiences that emerged from the study and because of the unique relevancy structures from which each emerged, TREBCO should have taken time to know these employees as persons and found alternative means of achieving corporate profitability ends. The second author then presents a counter-argument based on some of the organizational literature that questions why TREBCO should care, from an organization's perspective. He also presents a position from a labor point of view, which argues that the proposed action may actually be detrimental to those same employees. The purpose of this paper is not to resolve this perspectival dilemma; rather, it is to promote dialog toward possible transformation.
What would have happened if the strategy concepts were not based on Clausewitz but on Sun Tzu for example? To answer this question, we recommend using metaphors with a certain number of precautions, which have to be respected. The key concepts of Ki, Kokyu and Ma-ai serve to better define the notions of energy, flow of energy and distance/time/space relationships. Each of these has its practical application in the management of an organization, enabling us to conclude by proposing a new vision of the company and its links with its environment.
These articles are about the currencies of sensemaking. Currency has a double meaning. First it means value in interpersonal or interorganizational exchange. For example, stories are the primary sensemaking currency in exchanges. Secondly, currency means currents, as in flows that pull swimmers, boats and debris where the current takes it.
Financial reporting of organizational performance is facilitated primarily through financial statements and the related supplemental disclosures found in the annual report or Form 10-K. Standardized financial statements, such as the income statement, balance sheet and statement of cash flows, are mostly uniform in format and thus provide for inter-firm comparisons of various financial metrics. This “boilerplate” format provides for simple “net income” or “current assets” comparisons between firms given the uniformity of the content contained within each financial statement; however, there are supplemental disclosures contained within these reports that should provide additional information to illuminate and thereby enhance the financial statement content.
In San Antonio in March 2004 David Boje, President-Elect of the International Assembly of Business Disciplines (IABD), was asked to resign by the IABD President. David responded that he would not resign since he is quitting and moving the Organizational Theory (OT) Track to a new organization the Standing Conference for Management and Organization Inquiry (Sc’MOI).
Recently scholars have begun to explore the influence of materiality on organizations. For example, Gagliardi (1996) notes that the physical setting cultivates human senses and Gieryn (2002) asserts that buildings are a stabilizing influence in social life and are objects of (re)interpretation, with meanings or stories flexibly interpreting the walls and floors they describe. As a counterpoint to the materiality of organizations represented by places and spaces, the materiality of worker identity is noted in embodiment. While organizational studies address a plethora of individual constructs (e.g., motivation, self-efficacy, personality) the embodied identity of workers is a topic largely absent from the field. As individuals manufacture identities in organizational life, what role does the materiality of the body play? The embodied-self influences cognition and emotion (Varella, Thompson, and Rosch, 1991). This paper explores the influence of embodiment on individual identities, actions, decisions and experiences. Examples from a case study highlight issues of embodied selves at work, illuminating the significance of embodiment in workers' processes of manufacturing identities.
The debate on the organization modes has begun by discussing the nature of markets and hierarchies. Adding further perspectives to somewhat outdated economic views of organization, it was then made clear that network forms of organizations should be considered as a third type of coordination mode. As a result of this work, it is now commonly accepted that the dichotomous view of economic organization should be overcome. Thus, the debate moved away from critiquing the tyranny of markets and hierarchies. Many scholars concentrated on discussing the supremacy among organization modes. They focused on the prevalence and functionality as well as constraint and disfunctionality.
Organizational evolution is presented in lieu of the concept of change, revolution, revitalization, etc. in that one can assert that organizations can only evolve, they cannot develop a new structure and paradigm from nonexistent precursors, elements, structures, etc. One year is action science based with the executives diving off of logs into the arms of their vice presidents, the next is playing games and doing puzzles to determine the company's cognitive centre, more recently its not been about expressing feelings and defenses, or understanding perception, but about being appreciated. In short, all of these evangelically based approaches which view an organization through a single lens fail
This special number of Tamara presents paper on transdisciplinarity and organizational change, deriving sense from a mix of approaches. The articles go from experimental pieces to case study. It is worth noticing that for the first time this edition is bilingual.
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.
Sexual harassment is a widespread organizational phenomenon and an evolving legal issue. There is a growing literature on sexual harassment, but a dearth of research on claims that have been pursued in the courts, especially outside the US context. The paper explores the organizational and legal context in which parties to claims are operating and presents a preliminary analysis of the population of sexual harassment cases heard by Employment Tribunals and Employment Appeals Tribunals 1995-2005. Core findings relate to the imbalance of power between parties to claims; an over-representation of claims from women in paraprofessional occupations; a notable proportion of owners or proprietors involved in cases, pointing to problems in small businesses; the predominant nature of claims clearly reflecting sexual harassment as an operation of power; and a range of outcomes relating to initial complaints of SH and to subsequent litigation. Policy and further research implications of these preliminary findings are discussed.
Ideas can influence the reproduction of social orders in our work lives, and ideas can alter activities to create new social orders. A key concern of my research is whether individuals can engage new ideas to create organization social structures that promote the basic ideals of democracy. To address this concern, I examined the social structures of labor-managed firms, which, through their ownership by those who are workers in the firm, are believed to embody the ideals of organization democracy. In previous research I developed a general framework of organization democracy from a narrative analysis of the ethnographic and case study literature on labor-managed firms. I propose that there is a fundamental contradiction in the practices of organization democracy among labormanaged firms in that some members believe that humans are essentially egoistic in nature, while some members believe that humans are essentially cooperative in nature. My contribution is that an unproven belief regarding human nature, or what one might call faith, will drive the preferred types of social structures utilized to create organization democracy within a labor-managed firm.