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 a world where sociologists routinely call ours a `knowledge society' and `Chief Knowledge Officers' (`CKOs') occupy top posts in universities, corporations and public sector agencies, it may come as a shock to learn that the pursuit of knowledge is becoming an endangered species of human endeavour. A sign of the times is that `knowledge management' — `KM' to its followers — sounds less like a contradiction in terms than a potentially lucrative career path. The very idea that knowledge is something that needs to be `managed' suggests that its growth should not be left in a wild state: at best it remains unused and at worst it wastes resources. Yet, this managerial mindset goes against the grain of the last 2500 years of Western thought, which has valorised the pursuit of knowledge `for its own sake', regardless of its costs and benefits. What has changed in the interim? Has it been for the better? And if not, what can be done about it?
The world changed in 1986 when Mad Cow Disease showed up in cattle and began to kill human beings too. The destructive consequences of Mad Cow Disease have little to do with natural
processes, and everything to do with social process, with how the meat and diary industries, driven by profit imperatives, have gained global hegemonic power. Mad Cow Disease provides a
crucial lens into the operations and effects of these destructive industries which precede and transcend this one phenomenon that has become a compelling force with which to reckon. It beckons us to a sane and healthy mode of agriculture, or points the way toward our collective doom.
Grimes argues that perspectives on change would benefit from a consideration of literature by and about black women that is little known within organization studies. The author develops categories based on the literature that draw on the goals and assumptions of black women scholars and activists, and considers the ways organizations and research methods could be reimagined.
Since the publication of Braverman's (1974) Labour and Monopoly Capital, the role that changes in aggregate worker skills play in the development of capitalist employment relations has been controversial amongst labour process theorists in particular and critical theorists of work more generally. Contra "orthodox" Labour Process Theory perspectives (cf. Thompson, 1990) this paper argues that skills do play an important role in understanding global capitalist development and that an account of that role is critical to the usefuless of critical theories of work. To make this argument, the intellectual history of this line of inquiry within labour process theory is outlined, starting with the initial post-Braverman interest in explicating his de-skilling thesis, to latter work that cast serious doubt on its validity, and the consequent loss of interest in skills as a major driver of capitalist development. Then the recent revival of interest in skills (cf. Adler, 2004; Littler & Innes, 2003) is analyzed in conjunction with Thompson and Newsome's (2004) agnostic perspective on the importance of skill change to argue that skill change remains a significant motive force, one critical to understanding global economic change. The implications drawn are that researchers should focus on (a) understanding interactions amongst multiple levels of skills dynamics and (b) studying the barriers to concertive action amongst workers.
In July 2005, the 4th International Critical Management Studies Conference was held at
Cambridge University and it contained a stream on space and time in organizations. In the
call for papers, the stream convenors -- the editors of this special issue -- made it clear,
that outstanding papers would be considered for publication in this journal and the
Journal of Organizational Change Management (see Carr & Hancock, 2006). The papers
in this volume represent what the editors' and reviewers' believe were outstanding
papers that raised significant issues for organization studies beyond a tight focus on the
management of change.
This text inquires in a poetic way the possibility of theatrical space by exploring the question "what space makes theatre possible?". The central argument is that threatre creates an intensive yet fragile space of possibility and the possible through creating affects. The text, written in between a prelude and an epilogue, approaches this space of desire and intensity indirectly by exploring the perspective of audience, actors and "angels" as they are seized by desire and awaiting the play in the wings. We argue through interweaving these three angles that every play presupposes a twilight zone, a connecting boundary which forms a transition into the magical where dream and desire can take over, where the virtual and the everyday can become connected and where new lines of flight might emerge. The aesthetic experience of theatre is characterised by participating in a clearing of openness where truth happens and where its practical implications might be heard. There is no change possible without engaging with the open-endedness when entering the wings of theatre.
This article is based on a chapter from “Thin Book on Organisational theatre” and discusses a variety of challenges and opportunities for bringing change to organisations through theatre, action research and consultancy. The suggestions span from the extremes of provoking radical change (throwing bombs) to sowing small seeds of change - with a variety of combinations and approaches in between. The article deliberately raises more questions for reflection than providing recommendations for action.
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).
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 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.
The evaluation of organizational change is a thorny issue. Firstly, accurate data depicting the organization's response to a change process are very difficult to collect, and the process can be corrupted by the Macnamara Fallacy. Secondly, the evaluative conclusions derived from the data are complex high-inference chains of reasoning based on implicit, taken-for-granted beliefs and values. Specifically, ontological and epistemological paradigms broadly determine the context for the conclusions of the evaluative inference, even though they are rarely made explicit. This paper presents two sets of ontological and epistemological paradigms; one set is modernist, and the other is postmodernist. It then applies them to organizational change data to demonstrate the divergent evaluations that can be constructed.
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.
This paper is a polemical critique of the current orthodoxy that the world is changing at an even faster rate, that organizations must adapt to this change in order to survive, and that change management techniques enable organizations to do this. There is no basis to evaluate the proposition that we face unprecedented rates of change, and change is not something to which organizations must respond, but is instead an outcome of organizational actions. Change management initiatives are largely failures, and the usual explanations for these failures are inadequate.
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.
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.
Emphasizes that change, rather than stability, is the norm in organizations. Impact of change on norms; Points raised regarding anchors; Explanation of the matrix of the control process of change; Two fundamental prescriptive aspects to acid management on Mars.