This paper draws on literature in the fields of organizational studies, industrial relations, and industrial sociology to attempt to address 'new paradigm' managerial initiatives that espouse sentiments of unitarism in their discourse from a UK perspective. The specific focus of this theoretical investigation is the output of the proponents of the 'Learning Organization'. It is argued that in such organizations, employers attempt to control and induce behavioural change in employees through the use of reorganization and instrumental discourse. Managerial commentators and theorists have written much about what the implementing agents' expectations are of the outcomes of such organizational initiatives. Among these expectations is that the new initiative will bring about a radical change in attitudes in the workplace and that unitarism will prevail. However, an as yet underdeveloped area of study is what happens when the subjects (i.e. employees) receive the initiative, the potential for counter-ideology and resistance to the initiative, and the forms resistance may take. It is these latter two issues that this paper concentrates on. Ultimately, the paper seeks to present a conceptual investigation of pluralism within, and the nature and implications of resistance in, the Learning Organization. An allusion to Beaumarchais' `Figaro' is used to illustrate the arguments.
The purpose of this paper is to explore how the ideas and theatrical practices of Bertold Brecht may be applied in organizational contexts. A model is developed that builds on Brechtian conceptions of alienation and integrates organizational learning and role theories. Specifically, the model suggests that role distance may be reconceptualized as a reflective, dialectic process that builds on Brecht's ideas for alienating actors and audiences from the familiar to demonstrate the changing and changeable nature of behavior. This reflective process in turn may facilitate non-routine, role-related learning. Implications for organizational theory and practice are discussed.
The central aim of this study is to provide a critical analysis of oppositional practices in the workplace by exploring the role of worker subjectivity in shaping and articulating contemporary strategies of resistance. First, a theoretical analysis will be presented which seeks to challenge many of the dualistic assumptions that have underpinned traditional studies of resistance. It is argued that the re-entry of subjectivity into the analysis of resistance provides a means for escaping these dualisms and retrieving the analytical and empirical significance of oppositional practices. The argument suggests that although subjectivities are indeed effects of power, and that individuals are positioned in relation to dominant discourses - and therefore constituted as having certain interests - power is not fixed and thus cannot completely or permanently determine identity. This instability of power makes apparent certain fragilities within these dominant discourses and makes them liable to threats and seductions from subject positions within different or competing discourses, it is suggested that these fractures and competing subject positions afford small but important spaces for resistance. The second half of this essay presents a detailed case study of the Acme School. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and analysed to explore the subjective experiences of resistant members of Acme toward recent government reform initiatives. Two dominant strategies were identified: 'resistance through distance' and 'resistance through persistence' and it was demonstrated that an understanding of different subjectivities is vital to appreciating how these distinct strategies emerged.
Traditional structural-functional approaches to organizational change, as well as critics of those approaches, often offer overly structured and rationalised views of how change occurs. This paper attempts to build upon processual studies of change and critiques of overly hegemonic views of managerial control by seeking to capture the complex, emotive and fluid character of organisational 'changing'. In pursuit of this aim, the paper documents these characteristics of change through a personalised ethnography of a micro-incident -- a critical change meeting -- in an Australian steel making plant undergoing cultural change. In conclusion, it is argued that even the more sophisticated studies of the emergent process-like character of organisational change fail to fully capture the ambiguous, ironic, emotional, and uncertain character of events in the 'blender' of change.
This paper considers the methodological implications arising from competing narratives of an organizational change process in a large acute city teaching hospital. This qualitative case study was informed by a processual-contextual perspective, and relied on an interpretive, constructivist epistemology. Two forms of contradiction are revealed. First, differing accounts were offered of substantive dimensions of the change programme. Second, the impact of change on organizational effectiveness was indeterminate. This study suggests that the unitary, authentic narrative is illusory. Political motivations underpinning account-giving, and phenomenological variations in the lived experience of change, make competing narratives a naturally occurring phenomenon, not a methodological aberration. These findings have two main implications. First, case narrative validation through triangulation should be abandoned in favour of the pursuit of polyphony and ambiguity. Second, the researcher faces the choice of being either an arbiter of accuracy, or of holding the less comfortable, more challenging, but creatively constructive role of exposing organizational tensions, disputes and contradictions.
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.
This paper explores the concept of transdisciplinarity, seeing it more as a useful framework than as a distinctly different research approach. As such it can help professionals from a full range of fields and people from all walks of life work together across the boundaries that normally separate them. The boundaries between the sciences and other fields are of the most concern. Because off this, transdisciplinarity is often equated to Mode 2 Science; i.e., science that engages with humans to solve problems together out in the world. A major concern here is with the strength of prevailing beliefs about the value of expertise and the importance of the specialized division of labor. These are viewed as important tools in the struggle to control one's own work. Of equal concern is the opposite danger that the topic will reify and become just one more academic discipline. Personal examples as well as an analysis of the literature on industrial sociology, the sociology of occupations and professions as well as that on transdisciplinarity itself are presented in this exploration.
This paper contends that knowledge-making is a political act. In reflecting on the nature of personal narrative and its uses for refugee research, three insights emerge: first, just as the personal is political, so too, the political is personal; next, any storytelling is political in its attention to audience, and is inflected by the discourses available at the time; and finally, researchers must understand that if storying is to grapple with the richness and complexity of lived experience, it will probably be chaotic and messy, as well as clear and straightforward. Researchers wanting to investigate the sociology of refugee experiences might be well advised to ensure that the stories they gather from research participants are not too neat, too straightforward, too much reduced to bare essentials in their telling, lest the chance to allow the stories to become personally and politically resonant be lost. Further, researchers who are conscious of the political resonance of narrative are advised to ensure that they draw attention to the narrative element embedded in their research reports and papers by finding ways to communicate the narratives directly to the commissioning policy makers and politicians through verbal and pictorial seminar presentations, as well as through the reports themselves. These insights have implications for research processes (the gathering and analysis of data) and for the presentation and writing up of research documents.
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.
Markets are considered economic phenomena, which is said to be true even if markets are considered social structures, cultural fields, or simply politics, at the same time. Against this background, the present paper argues for a polyphonic market concept. Unlike the popular economy-biased notion of markets, such a concept allows for the analysis of markets in eras and areas where functional differentiation did or does not exist or play a major role. Furthermore, it turns the idea of the ultimately economic nature of markets from an axiom to a research question. In doing so, it breaks ground for research in major trends in functional differentiation and in the preferences for particular function systems featured by concrete groups, milieus or organizations.
From the beginning of sociological reasoning about organizations, the loss of identity of individuals in the iron cage of an organization has been a prominent image. From the grandfathers of sociology through contemporary researchers, the identity of the person and the identity of the organization have been seen as antipodes that put the identity of the individual at risk. In this paper, we used systems theory to reconsider the relationship between identity and organization. We argued that both the individual and the organization must balance various expectations that occur in real time. Using empirical data, we demonstrated how multi-identities are constructed, referring to specific societal presents and their restrictions. We argued that conflicting identity constructions of individuals in organizations must not be interpreted as symptoms of alienation or oppression. For example, talking about conflicting requirements of organizational practice may affirm the professionalism of an employee. Moreover, the display of different identity constructions of organizations (e.g., in reports and resolutions) does not point to programmatic inconsistencies or indecisiveness, but to the organization’s need to deal with the expectations of a modern society that does not allow its organizations to follow only one purpose.
Defining the phenomenon of leadership is a procedure causing difficulties, so they are stereotypically analysed in the biographical context (the key role is then played by the leader) or through the prism of historicism (a leader as an element in the historical processes). Less and less involvement of the social groups and units into political activities and deideologisation of life popularise the thesis about the crisis of the political leadership as the aspect of power, form of influence, personification of the idea of governance. It can be assumed that the existence of the phenomenon of political leadership is a phenomenon bordering on politics, sociology and psychology, showing clear analogies with the religious leadership, that is the institutional one.
Theories of leadership undergo modernisation, changes included the theory of outstanding individuals and behaviours, situational theories, cultural concepts of leadership, models of charismatic leadership, transformational, phenomena replacing the leadership. From many forms of leadership, the political leadership has potentially the largest possibility to modify the behaviour of other people.Political leadership, and in particular state leadership, is a significant value belonging to the socio-political sphere. Being a leader today is a special value on the market of politics, but it is also a great responsibility.