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.
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.
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.
v rge-scale change at the institutional level is built on four major foundations: change theory, institutional theory, organizational culture and leadership, and contextual discourse and rhetorical persuasion. Thomas Paine's writings, a provocative stimulus for the new United States of America during its revolutionary crisis, employed all four of these in creating the nation's new “story.” In this case, the institution is the pre-Revolutionary concept of governance and the change, driven by multiple forces, is the breaking away of the 13 colonies from England. Paine's powerful pamphlet, “Common Sense”, as well as his other writings, reflected his rhetorical expertise and served as a cognitive foundation upon which the fledgling nation could build its new script and create new processes of institutional governance. As any good storyteller does, Paine engaged his readers in a conversation that allowed them to construct an organizational reality that articulated their collective identity. He was the change agent whose interventions helped with the birth of a new nation. One Paine biographer (Kaye, 2005) argues that Paine's “rhetorical patterns” helped to create the “vision of America as a nation gifted with a special mission” and are still quoted by Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians alike without apology (Ferguson, 2000).
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.
Organisational purpose is an important topic. It comes up regularly in leadership and management conversations. We pay attention to a tendency to consider purpose as something static, abstract and reified. Despite a natural desire to simplify, and referencing Peirce, Stacey and others, we show the complex shifting of meaning. It is relational, emerging within, and between, people. Context, the passing of time and local interpretations are important themes in considering the utility of what we might call purpose. Here we use a reflective autoethnographic approach to illustrate our ideas, arguing against the separation of subjectivity and objectivity, and for a process-oriented way of thinking of purpose in leadership and management
The topic of managerialism has in recent years received significant attention in the critical management studies field. However, this paper proposes that there are largely unrecognized conceptual disagreements hampering progress in understanding the nature of managerialist influence at work and in society in general, and in developing political strategies to combat the negative effects of managerialist ideology in those domains. The 'expansive' view presents managerialism as a sweeping hegemonic force that dominates society, whereas the 'focused' view argues for a much more limited scope of influence and focuses on a more empirical view of managerialism's effects. The purpose of this paper is to argue for the existence of these two points of view, to describe their differences, and also common ground between them that can constitute the basis for productive engagement between them that might lead to a critical perspective on managerialism that will help further CMS's emancipatory mission.
This paper explores the politics of interpretation from the perspective of hermeneutic theory. It presents a reading of Kafka’s novel The Castle focused on critique of the business of interpretation, where suspicion unfolds in distorted, possibly fraudulent, sense making between protagonist, narrator and reader. The protagonist’s mission is neither heroic nor a call to resistance to bureaucratic absurdity, but instead, the result of hubris, hoax, or even a slip of the pen, and it becomes impossible to unpick the perils of bureaucracy from the perils of interpretation, or to distinguish between error and insight. In mining discrepancies between justification, effort and reward of interpretation, Kafka punctures the mythology of understanding, rupturing the near-sacrosanct hermeneutic connection between interpretation and meaning. His work undermines both objective and subjective understandings, leaving us distrustful of both expert and experiential perspectives. In a post-truth era with its ‘alternative facts’, The Castle feels startlingly fresh and relevant.
In this conceptual paper, we analyze how social acceleration as a key phenomenon of modern societies affects the relationship between organizations and places. We identify two dimensions of how organizations relate to places: (a) embeddedness (the degree of material integration in a place) and (b) attachment (the psychic closeness, identification, or affective bonds with a place). Building on Rosa’s (2003; 2013) seminal work on social acceleration, we further propose three processes (the time-space distanciation effect, the situational identity effect, and the managerial myopia effect) through which temporal changes in modern societies can lead to a loosening of ties between organizations and places. As the attachment to a place may also represent a precondition for organizations to develop a ‘field of care,’ the framework presented in this paper can help us develop a better understanding of the factors that influence whether organizations can develop a ‘sense of place’ that fosters responsible social and environmental performance that enhances the well-being of places and communities, respectively.
The aim of this paper is to point to the potential value of an approach to management based on the idea of the common good, as opposed to classical capitalism based on private ownership. Such an approach makes it possible to resist a pursuit of short term oriented gains and a maximization of narrowly defined profits, and, instead, to focus on humanistic values, as to adopt a long term perspective. The much cited notion of the “tragedy of the commons” was based on deficient material and argumentation, but, most of all, it completely disregards of the issue of management. Using a case study developed through a longitudinal action research project in a big service enterprise we call “Soplicex”, we present the strategic process grounded in learning, as well as the building of a strong structure centred on teams. The engagement of the employees was, originally, strongly oriented towards the idea of the common good. The consultants and researchers adopted this principle as the guiding rule in their work with the organization. Even though the process was interrupted by the takeover by a foreign investor, we show how the findings of the study remain relevant for alternative organizing and managing today and in the future. The conclusions of this paper reach further than just being reflections on a historical case study: a model of management is presented, concerned with the care and protection of the common good.
The ethical consumer occupies a significant position in the current capitalist system as the market-based answer to a whole range of negative externalities. Unfortunately, she has been proven to behave out of sync with her ethical values and thus has been taken apart by scholars as a mere myth. Yet, businesses and politicians continue to believe in her abilities. This, we argue, is not caused by them being blind to her failures but because the category of the ethical consumer represents an ideal solution in the neoliberal discourse that embraces the holy trinity of an unregulated market, personal emancipation and the freedom of choice. Unfortunately, the ethical consumer has turned out to be a poorly suited solution to the negative externalities as ecological and social critiques continue to emerge. In response, a neocommunitarian discourse seems to gain strength, replacing the neoliberal version of the market as a bifurcation point between customers and suppliers instead bringing together businesses and consumers in a new type of network formation overcoming the bifurcation between consumers and producers.
In organizational theories inspired by process ontologies of Spinoza, Bergson, or Deleuze, an organization only seems to be the effect of ontological forces and therefore exist only retroacti vely and derivatively. Simply put, process ontologies tend to overemphasize the virtual, active ontological forces of becoming in organizations. These assumptions cause the negative and reactive understanding of organizational processes: organizations oppress, restrict, adjust, and regulate becoming. In this perspective, organizations are defective, inadequate, and politically reactionary. They are the negative antitype of the positive, productive, and creative ontological forces. In this article, I situate the problem of organizations and becoming using the concept of “virtualization.” For Deleuze, actualization is the expression of the virtual, resulting in the actual state of affairs, but once the state of affairs is actualized, there is a modulation or reciprocal folding, which affects the virtual; I suggest calling this “virtualization.” Thus, each actualiza tion in the social dimension – each founding of an organization – modulates the ontological conditions of future organizational events. This means that Deleuze provides not only a theory of organizational becoming but also a theory of virtualization – or the modulation of becoming – of organizations. The concept of virtualization is illustrated by drawing on organizational case studies, which have implications for the understanding of virtualization. Virtualization is a process of patterning, a (de)potentialization, but also a de- and reterritorialization. Primarily understood as virtualization, organization is a meta-stable process.
Academic ‘labour’ within the Higher Education landscape is changing as universities are increasingly managed as business organisations. In the contemporary neoliberal academic context, departments and individuals are required to develop forms of accountability based on quantitative metrics regarding performance, budgets, human resource management and income generation. Drawing from Foucauldian theories of power, this article explores the contentious implementation of workload allocation models in the UK Higher Education sector not only as an illustration of a superimposed managerial tool of control but also as an instrument of resistance. This article suggests that in order to counteract the systematic failure of neoliberal academia at the individual and collective level, these performance management tools can be used as forms of empowerment and resistance. Further, it is recommended that these instruments are designed in a collaborative way to ensure fair and transparent allocations of tasks and responsibilities, and to avoid unmanageable workloads.
Organizational socialization research has been criticized for being too focused on socialization as an adaptation process. Furthermore, critics contend that socialization approaches tend to be micro-biased; they lose sight of broader societal implications. This study tackles both critiques by combining an identity-based understanding of socialization with the communicative con cept of the polyphonic organization. It is not only individuals who engage in multiple identity work; business organizations also do so when exposed to contextual voices at the macro-level of society. Qualitative interviews and focus groups with corporate communication professionals, alumni, and students reveal that there are multiple voices shaping organizational socialization. However, one societal reference has proved to be hegemonic, namely the instrumental reasoning of the economic system: newcomers are expected to adapt to the ‘real world’ of ‘budgets.’
In this article, I contend that the multicultural view of diversity found in management diver sity literature and diversity training programs diminishes our understanding of diversity. It reduces diversity to differences and assumes that the goal should be including, bridging, accommodating, and managing these supposed differences. Diversity is psychologized, depoli ticized, and biopoliticized. It becomes merely a means to an end. The end being superior organi zational outcomes in terms of utility and functionality. I contend that an ecological perspective makes for a more constructive and expansive view of human diversity. I discuss the contours of this emergent perspective and the many ways in which it expands our understanding of human diversity. Ultimately, I contend looking at diversity from an ecological perspective makes for a richer understanding of the relationship between diversity and the human experience.
The digital revolution is impacting enormously on the way we create and undertake business. To keep pace and navigate the complexities of this incessant evolving state requires entrepreneurial thinking capable of moving us from the old to the new. An often-overlooked aspect of this transition or change process is the space that lies between the old and the new, a betwixt and between state, fuelled by opportunity, but clouded in uncertainty and ambiguity. In this article, we stress the significance of this between space and discuss the importance of liminal thinking as pivotal in navigating the passage from old to new. We do this by drawing on the concepts of liminal space and liminal thinking, illustrating how these concepts can be deployed to reconstruct reality in such a way that stimulates the crucial cognitive recalibrations needed to cross the passage from old to new. To know that this ‘betwixt and between’ space exists, to recognise the qualities of this space and, most importantly, to manage it, is invaluable in entrepreneurs’ dynamic, rapidly changing world.
The following are antenarratives related by female U.S. Coast Guard cadets (now officers in the Coast Guard) as part of a gender and leadership directed study taught by Dr. Matthew Eriksen. Also, there are antenarratives by Captain Robert Ayer and Dr. Matthew Eriksen concerning their response to The Conference on Women at the Academy in which the female cadets participated. As well as education, the purpose of the directed study was to fundamentally change the participants: their self-understanding, gender discourse and gender performance. In addition, the directed study was conceived as a medium through which to change the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's and Coast Guard's gender performance and ideology to improve the day-to-day experience of female cadets and officers. The approach taken in the directed study is outlined in the article “Conceptualizing and Engaging in Organizational Change as an Embodied Experience within a Practical Reflexivity Community of Practice: Gender Performance at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy” (Eriksen, Van Echo, Harmel Kane, Curran, Gustafson & Shults, 2007) in Tamara: 4(1).
This study envisions that both organizations and careers can be perceived as texts and examines the intertextuality of organizations and careers as organizations and individuals construct and reconstruct change through narrative. The study, exploratory in nature, investigates individual/career texts in the context of change and proposes an intertextual lens through which to juxtapose these texts with organizational texts.
This paper dreams forward the mythical patriarchal imagery of management stories. Eleusinian and alchemical memes return to guide an ironic Manichean Feminist deconstruction of patriarchal ego consciousness that forms the ossification whereby management texts recreate the symbolism of a heroic immortality. The role of the feminine on this stage is all-too-predictably ambiguous.