We explore a discourse structurational approach and employ a planetary system metaphor in order to examine complex business networks within contemporary globalizing, consumer cultures. This conceptual/commentary paper reviews discourse structuration and employs a celestial metaphor to comment on strategy including reference to consumption, business marketing and business network research. Each sphere in the metaphorical constellation is characterised by a complex duality of deep structures and surface activities co-determined and mutually constituted through the medium of modulated actors’ schemas, norms and other ‘technologies’ of their practical consciousness. Market consumption is a galaxy comprised of complex, inter-acting, multiple structurations where everything co-determines everything else through mutual gravitational influence. We argue that consumption is comparable to a black hole at the centre of the system dragging all matter into its centre, warping and distorting structures and processes until eventually destroying and assimilating them altogether. Implications and consequences are discussed in terms of the increasing hegemony of consumption and consequent commodification of other spheres with via a discourse structuration approach concentrating upon strategy and marketing.
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.
TAMARA: Journal of Critical Postmodern Organization Science is about free speech and the relationship between science, organization, critical theory, global power, and postmodern culture.
I am by nature a postmodern storyteller. So I will begin Tamara with a story about conversations.
An editorial notes people are witness to the metamorphosis of late capitalism, the interpenetration of post-industrialism with postmodern culture. The athletic apparel industry is a Tamara of stories.
Before delving into the issue of women in combat which this essay is about, I would like to first name my social location. I am a young, middle-class, heterosexual, Greek-Hispanic, educated female and disabled veteran. Having served six years in the Army National Guard, I acknowledge both the contributions I can offer and the limitations I have when engaging in this particular topic. With that said, I would like to offer the following to my reader: what I write is written with my voice and my particular experiences in mind. I use a combination of rational theory, emotions, rhetoric, my lived experiences, and a particular theological perspective to compose this essay. I do not claim to be objective, nor do I consider this a flaw on my part. I believe it is not possible for any author to be fully objective on any subject matter, no matter how much an author might claim to be. We all hold particular political interests informed by our culture and environment which subconsciously and consciously operate through our language and actions.
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).
Trends in organisation and in organisational activity, which have resulted in increasing dependence on the discretionary efforts, initiatives and judgements of employees, have left management with the problem of how to ensure that such discretion is exercised appropriately in the service of the organisation. The Human Resource Management approach, relying as it does on strategic integration and underpinned by a value-driven approach seemed to be an ideal mechanism, particularly when designed as encouragement to commitment via social identification and a shared sense of meaning.
If culture is the enacted manifestation of organisational identity, management aspiration is that the 'good' employee is one who will learn the cultural reality and enact it appropriately. Expectations of 'good' employees are that they will exhibit not only the appropriate competence, but will also possess the necessary commitment, via identification and emotional engagement, so that they can be trusted to regulate themselves, take decisions that are in the best interests of the organisation and even go that extra mile for the company and the customer. This paper gives attention to such expectations and explores their implications.
In the midst of the postmodern art tumult of the 1980's there emerged a group of artists whose artwork was outwardly focused and culturally critical in a broad Debordian sense. Focusing on the subjects of postmodern culture, critical postmodern artists depicted the "dark" side of the postmodern world from their multiple perspectives. They did this with well-crafted works that may communicate on a broader less "elitist" level. These artists are not neutral toward their subjects.
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 is a generalized discussion related to the nature and implications time, story and organizational culture play in corporate decision-making, CEO selection; treatment of long-term employees; the change process and the language used to present andpromote the corporation. The paperprovides a beginning point for revisiting how unrecognized (societal and individual) assumptions affect choice and decision-making. Practically, the paper also provides a starting point for organizations to self assess their external and internal approaches and whether they align superficially or whether the mission and vision are lived in mundane daily activities. The paper is based on qualitative, experiential and anecdotal evidence gathered by the author.
From 'the learning organization', through creating cultures of fun and play, to commissioning beautifully designed office spaces, many contemporary organizations are trying to tap into the aesthetic sensibilities of their employees by building an organizational 'experience' that is conducive to aesthetic expression in order to unleash the power of their collective, creative, artistic, unconscious. Drawing on psychoanalytical theory and primary, qualitative data, we offer a counter argument, highlighting the contested nature of the unconscious; therefore calling into question precisely what is being 'unleashed' during these processes of creativity. Additionally, we will postulate that the role of skill, ability and craft expertise is at least as important as aesthetic expression. Finally, adopting an object relations perspective, we will argue that the enactment of creative expression is frequently suffused with anxiety - either necessitating the existence of a facilitating environment which assists the individual or group to operate from the depressive position (often the location of creative, synergistic space).
This paper takes up the themes of organization as dreamscape, the psychodynamics of everyday organizational performance and organizational rituals and the enactment of death and desire in the context of a longitudinal case study of an academic institution. This case study focuses on the various ways in which the organization has developed and continues to develop neurotic and dysfunctional tendencies. It looks at the ways in which those tendencies are expressed in the culture and structure of the organization and the ways in which the various constituencies of the college are complicit in the enactment of the neurosis of its leadership, as reflected in various dependent and counterdependent dynamics and performances. Of specific interest in this paper are the changes in neurotic patterns over time and the ways in which these changes relate to the changes in leadership. Using Kets de Vries' concepts related to organizational neurosis, we will discuss how the college moved from a compulsive organization to a dramatic organization.
The question giving shape to this paper is: Can the workplace in today's corporate world ever be constructed, legitimately, as a psychological place? This paper will argue that it is the responsibility of the individual to engage their imaginative processes and learn the art of soul making. The corporation may encourage its members to be creative and imaginative but mostly its activities will militate against these activities. Reference will be made to a research project for a major production site (BP Oil Australia) that evaluated an espoused psychological goal (improved production and improved creativity) as its outcome. The author conducted the evaluation of this leadership development initiative that shed light on the vexed question that is the focus of this paper. The findings of the research indicate that corporate life has evolved into a totally above-world enterprise where transparency of decision making, policy planning, and implementation is the sought-after ideal. This very conscious and heroic-ego world roots out any semblance of under-world (unconscious) forces.
Organisational systems communicate and create themselves through decisions and therefore consist of nothing but premises for decision making (Luhmann 1993, Seidl & Becker 2006). Organisations are founded on principles of exclusion: Everybody is excluded from organisational communication except those who are members of the organisation i.e. who are included in the decision-making (Luhmann 1982, 1994, 2003, Andersen 2003b). Membership limitation, without subscribing to a rigid definition of membership, is therefore central to the autopoiesis of organisation.
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.
Michael Moore is one of the most disputed authors and filmmakers in the United States. The purpose with this article is to try to shed some new insights and understandings of Moore’s political views as they are represented in his book “Dude, Where’s My Country?” and film “Fahrenheit 911”. By applying insights from international relations theory, we are trying to get a better understanding of Moore’s political views by putting his views within the framework of “soft power”. According to the soft power concept, the US’ mightiest power resource as of today is not its hard power (such as military and economic strength), but its soft power such as the attractiveness of its culture, political ideals, and policies. By applying the soft power concept, the article explains how Michael Moore is advocating a new foreign policy of the United States. This is a United States, which safeguards an international system made up by norms, institutions and a collective international order. Furthermore, the article underlines that Michael Moore’s popularity cannot be explained by rising anti-Americanism on a global scale, but quite the opposite. Instead, Michael Moore’s films and books could be regarded as a symptom of US soft power where he represents what people around the world regards as the attractiveness of the United States.
Discrimination in the work place based on gender has been the subject of various studies; however, these studied have not discussed the possibility of the existence of superimposed psychographic characteristics, which could weaken or strengthen this practice of discrimination. The research presented here, enlightened by the ontological premise of post-modern criticism, seeks to verify whether the discrimination of the female gender in the work place is an isolated social phenomenon or if it is intertwined with other types of discrimination. To this end, a field study took place from March, 2006 to July, 2008, in public and private companies. Thirty-three women and thirty-seven men of various ages, ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientations were interviewed. The reports were transcribed and underwent discourse analysis. The field study revealed that: (a) women are, in fact, submitted to discriminatory practices in the work place, such practices which are not rarely hidden under a mask of humor and informality; (b) in spite of their macho attitudes and comments, the men who commit them don’t perceive them as such; (c) Brazilian national culture prevails over organizational cultures; (d) gender cannot be treated as a fixed category since questions of esthetics, ethnic backgrounds, social class and sexual orientation accentuate the discrimination, and, finally; (e) contrary to what happens with blacks, ugly people, and homosexuals, towards whom discrimination is lighter when they occupy a more favorable social position or hierarchy, the same does not happen with women.
This reflection adopts a critical approach to critique the Excellence Literature‘ in management, taking a Nietzschean perspective on nihilism Nihilism is often seen as a negative state, and the work of White (1990) suggests that there are different forms of nihilism which we argue have consequences for the nature of management. Two case studies and an illustration of issues encountered in the authors‘ direct experience serve to illustrate these forms.We are also concerned in our roles as management educators‘ as to the implications for our classroom practice, where we seek to engage in what has been described as critical management development‘. Thus, the paper concludes by questioning why approaches such as the Excellence‘ literature are still so prominent in MBA programmes.
Authentic leadership appears as the solution to plenty of painful contemporary problems. Bad economy, bad organizational performance, bad culture would all become subject to change for the better if leaders behave more authentically, according to the line of discussion. However, the debate seems to stand on poor feet, since some core assumptions don’t stand a closer viability check. This paper highlights two core problems in the foundations of the authenticity debate such as the belief in a stable core self and the trust in a homogenous organization. The paper demonstrates not only the fragmented and narrative constitution of self and organization, we show furthermore to which hidden problem the authenticity debate refers; to which the sheer existence of the debate is already a solution. It is complexity avoidance that the authenticity debate provides. It helps to re-install the myth of the influential leader in a situation, in which the opposite has become apparent.
The intention of this article is not to offer a counterargument for interdisciplinarity or to argue that a cultural reading of finance does not necessarily amount to doing bad economics. Rather, I want to offer a performance of “bad economics”, informed by the belief that culture and economy have “always already” been fused. From this perspective, thinking about economy outside the context of a conjunctural analysis of cultural knowledge and practices—including popular culture—is not an option and, therefore, collapsing into a reductive “us versus them” default position is ruled out from the outset. In other words, this article brings cultural studies to questions of economics in life and death issues as a means of addressing the present moment and the changing ways in which we now talk about economies. Throughout this essay, therefore, I will argue from the assumption that culture and economy are as inseparable from one another as the sides of a sheet of paper.