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..
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.’
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.
Campus Bitch and White Trash are the kind of appellations that can draw one into the dark heart of a world where words wound, images enrage, and speech is haunted by hate. One need look only as far as the latest outbreak of violence in the workplace or on the schoolyard to find examples of how name-calling and bullying can erupt in rage.
The issue of injurious speech and our vulnerability to words is a critical management issue. In her book Excitable Speech, a politics of the performative, Judith Butler raises the questions: What establishes the performative character of injurious labels? And what makes the force of an utterance injurious?
Our vulnerability to words is a consequence of our being constituted by them. As linguistic beings we have to use words to form reason. We cannot create meaning without structuring our thoughts and feelings with words. According to Althusser, ideology hails or interpolates or concretizes individuals as subjects according to the functioning of the category of the subject (1971, 162). Thus we are called upon by our names. Being called a name is one of the examples Althusser uses to explain "interpolation." When an ideology hails us, it alters who we are, and, so the argument goes, we recognize who or what we have become.
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.
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).
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.
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 purpose of this article is to deconstrct guru Tom Peters for his religion of management, and its mass worship. In the work presented, my intention was to confront myself with own assumptions, attitudes and perceived values. In my opinion every individual is following a vision of reaching a certain level of wisdom. There are numerous Gurus that our modern world is promoting and because of their status their ideas might have a huge influence on us.
In this paper, the authors explain and display their process for becoming more critically reflexive scholars (Cunliffe, 2003). This is accomplished through creating a community of critically reflexive scholars. Within this community of inquiry (Eriksen, 2001), participants attempt to go beyond a simple awareness of their ontological and epistemological assumptions and to reflex upon their individual uniqueness as a human being who is engaged in scholarship. In other words, each participant jointly attempts to understand his or her self as a scholar. Specifically, in this article, the authors critically reflex upon their selves within the context of their roles as feminist scholars. The process of inquiry consists of ongoing four stages: giving an account of one's self with respect to a particular area of scholarship, reading everyone else's account, and responding to reading each others account, and finally sharing these responses with one another. Through this process, the authors not only became more critically reflexive scholars but were also personally transformed and obtained a deeper understanding of feminism.
This paper discusses the broad strokes of liberal theory, feminism and universal rights. It covers opposing conservative arguments in which we review individual and social psychodynamics that we believe form the foundation for the tension between Liberalism and feminism and perhaps, more widely, Liberalism and Conservatism. It is within these discussions that we offer practical application of these posits in the form of our summary of precedent setting legal cases originating in Las Vegas and reported from Las Vegas. The cases are all united by the fact that they not only relate to Nevada, but that all, in one form or another, concern the matter of sexual difference. In our view they are also united in the manner in which they represent a perceived tension that arises in Liberalism as it is espoused in the United States and how it seeks to eradicate sexual difference under the law. We strive to unravel issues of identity as they pertain to the synthesis of Liberalism, feminism and the psychodynamic vantage.
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.
This article engages in the analysis of the 9/11 Commission Report. In the wake of the attacks, the government of the USA examined and adjusted its defense strategies and foreign policies. Less time has been spent reflecting on the root causes of terrorism and how and why the United States came to be hated by some individuals and groups so much that they would kill thousands of innocent people and what alternatives to the Bush administration's policies exit such that the United States (and other economically-developed states) can do to overcome this danger.
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.
Organizations can be seen as discursive places where language practices (developing, telling and restoring stories) flourish. Individuals usually develop their identity in this space, being influenced (choosing alignment or choosing counter-identity) by meta-stories told at the organizational level through brand identity or corporate identity. This article aims at identifying the link between the micro type (individual) and macro type of identity (brand and corporate identity). In particular, our work focuses on the impact and the risk of storytelling when developing theses links.
Through a nuanced braiding of Weick’s (1995) sensemaking epistemology and Sartre’s (1957) phenomenological ontology, we propose an approach to organizational analysis which we label existential sensemaking. We first explore the potential to fuse Weick’s sensemaking and Sartre’s ontology and then examine the case of a Peruvian mountaineering expedition to explore the potential of the existential sensemaking heuristic in understanding the importance of individual decision making in the process of identity work. We conclude that this perspective has profound implications for understanding ethical behaviour in organizing processes as well as within identity construction.
Drawing upon the genre of ethnographic fiction, this paper explores the challenges that occur when third- and fourth-tier colleges and universities seek accreditation from AACSB. Deans and change leaders normally see the process of achieving accreditation in terms of bureaucratic and behavioral change. This paper argues that more focus must be placed on understanding how the demands of accreditation challenge faculty members’ self-image. Therefore, achieving accreditation requires individuals to have a change in their self-identity so that behavioral change can follow.
This article is based on a framework for assessing and working with mental models and utilizing the exploration of ‘dominant’ worldviews to increase individual and organizational competency to identify, assess and shift worldviews to foster social change. The author describes her methodology and results during the data collection, data analysis, data feedback, and intervention phases of a consultation with a client. She reviews literature on white privilege, mental models, power, and cultural competency. The author reflects on implications of the engagement for the client, herself and the discourse on the role of OD as a catalyst for social change.