This paper contributes to the current debate on the societal relevance of social sciences in general and management studies in particular. Using a narrative framework, we critique what we view an oversimplified discussion of Modes 1 or 2 knowledge production and provide a more complex depiction of various professional academic identities, along with their relation to cer-tain institutional structures and discourses. We show how different narratives relate to – and produce – different forms of professional identities and societal relevance. Drawing on the work of Zygmunt Bauman, we explore three main narratives for defining and creating societal rele-vance in management studies, each with its specific scholarly identities and institutional prere quisites: a modernist narrative in which societal relevance is defined by powerful external stakeholders; an interpretive narrative tied to local concerns and interests; and a consumption oriented narrative in which demand and the will to pay for academic services regulate what is considered relevant. We conclude that societal relevance presents itself to the social sciences in various shapes and forms. This leads to a multiplicity of narratives informing a variety of complementary professional academic identities.
Faculty performance assessments increasingly use the h-index. Designed to account for publication quantity and effect, the h-index informs organizational discussions and internal narratives. However, its use in business schools is problematic for two reasons. First, tension exists between the positivist approach of management and the reflexive approach of critical management studies. Second, the use of the h-index is hegemonic, privileging one group and construct over another. Given the power asymmetry between senior and junior faculty, discussions around one’s h-index could be unavoidable. Using Google Scholar, this study compared the h-index values of those in critical management studies with those in management. Examining these data descriptively revealed that the h-index of those in critical research were greater than those in management at the assistant, associate, and full professor levels. Incorporating these findings, even if skeptical of positivism, is constructive for the advancement and continuation of critical business research.
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..
The growing popularity of women's sports has helped steer fitness companies such as Nike to carefully craft advertising messages aimed at women. The current study assessed Nike's marketing campaign in Glamour, a popular consumer magazine aimed at women aged 18-34, using a rhetorical analysis known as the critical feminist approach. This approach was utilized as a means of discovering how the construction of gender was created in this Nike advertising campaign, how this construction represents a dominating ideology of patriarchy, and how this oppressiveness can be recast into a picture that is more positive toward women. A total of five Nike advertisements were discovered by the investigators in the 1999 issues of Glamour, and each was analyzed according to image and content. Results indicate that although this advertising campaign appears to represent positive images of women connected to their experiences, patriarchal values still exist within this campaign. Narrative storytelling offers a further explanation for understanding these advertisements in that Nike uses the strategic narrative of epic genre to appeal to women and to enhance the image of Nike as being supportive toward women.
This is a reply to an essay that John Krizanc sent to me. Krizanc (1989) is also the author of the Tamara play. I have applied Tamara to organizing (Boje, 1995). Here I want to look at some of the consequences of interactive organizing that is theorized as a postmodern narrative.
Producers and consumers meet in the narrative space we call 'organizing.' As Roland Barthes (1970) put it, “the goal of a literary work is to make the reader no longer a consumer but a producer of the text” (S/Z). In questioning the position of the narrative in relation to the producer and consumer of organizing, this essay challenges the role of consumer sovereignty that makes consumers the sole authors of organizing.
This paper investigates the notion of corporate social responsibility. The focus is on analyzing, using different semantic tools, the perception that companies have of their social responsibility as well as the action plans that they initiate in this field. Based on four institutional communications produced by the companies, we establish various levels of reading thanks to narrative analysis and to metaphors, in particular of the fuzzy borders between the map and the territory or the undulation of the positioning of the writer. The reports on social responsibility were then identified like instruments of speech seeking to praise the actions of the companies, in the form of a type of communication which one could describe as propaganda. Beyond what is said, the article aims at identifying the sense given by the corporate world to social responsibility.
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 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.
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.
Introduces a series of articles on the awareness of time in modern organizations.
With the recent collapse of Enron and the need for sense-making, opinions of Sherron Watkins'status in the Enron spectacle abound. Competing narratives portray her as both heroic whistleblower and anti-hero of corporate greed. Was she a hero or not? Rather than add to this dialectic controversy, we first define the classical typology of a hero as originally set forth by Homer and later detailed by Joseph Campbell. We next analyze the texts of Watkins' quest chronology in order to elucidate the complex circumstances surrounding the creation of both narratives. The textual analysis then leads to a clarification of the anti-hero typology, followed by a new prototype, the quasi-hero, which possesses some classical hero attributes, yet is devoid of other essential qualities. Our contribution extends the current hero typology, thereby providing a necessary expanse of classification for understanding today's corporate spectacles.
This is a narrative account of an effort to create a sustainability center at Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts. In addition to describing the genesis and intent of the project, the author considers some past efforts that did not succeed along with one that almost materialized. She is cautiously optimistic about this one in part because the external conditions are more favorable in that there is more interest in grass roots organizing for social, economic, and environmental change. Another reason to hope for success lies in the interest that the Commonwealth has in promoting sustainability at the college as well as the support of the new president and the championship of an associate provost. Beyond describing events leading up to the authority to plan for the opening of a center, the author reflects on the action as well as the approaches to change she and her colleagues have taken, She also engages in some meta analysis, presenting the methodologies that she employs.
The aim of this article is to propose a narrative (syntagmatic) theory of how a meeting between spirituality and organizing can occur. The theory is composed of fictive stories collected by me from various authors. It takes the form of another story, a kind of meta-story, authored by me. I look upon spirituality as awareness, and I associate it with smooth space in Deleuze and Guattari’s (1996) terminology. Organizing is to me an ongoing process, both based on and enabling communication, and I link it to more striated space. Authors were asked to think about a meeting between those spaces represented by minimal symbols and compose a story. I have organized the narratives according to their main plot and storyline into stories of clash, enclosure, merger, and experience. In the first the spaces conflict; in the second, one turns of to be part of the other; in the third they unite in another space; and in the last they co-construct a novel understanding. I then discuss the plots, the outcomes of the plots, and how the plots work to produce the outcome. Finally, I explore the symbolism of the encounter between spirituality and organizing, looking for possibilities of greater understanding and inspiration.
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.
I am researching the five versions of the Manet series on the Execution. Believe it or not, the paintings (and a lithograph I am still searching for) are the subject of heated debate in visualization, historical narrative, and painting research. My contribution is to argue that Manet's visual aesthetics is coming into vogue, and a two traditional aesthetics (empire and traditional monarchy) are declining, being revised, and the official aesthetic is resisting with acts of censorship because of Manet's critique of empire. There are competing aesthetics theorists, such as Bataille (1955), Larsen (1990), and Wilson-Bareau (1992) who argue different ways of viewing the aesthetics of Manet's 4th painted version of “The Execution of Maximilian” (see Version 4).
This article focuses on the role of organizational storytelling and identity formation of a Danish filmmaking company, Zentropa Entertainment Productions Company (a.k.a. Zentropa). Identity formation, as storytelling, is taking place in a context of multiple voices, polyphony, and is performed in dialogue. The article explores how identities are co-produced through the interaction between the organization and external actors by their story interaction. The study illustrates how the identity of a filmmaking company emerges from identity stories and how they are co-produced with the media. We argue that the rebellious ‘Maverick’ identity of Zentropa has emerged through its interaction with the media through “counter stories.” Finally, the study shows the difficulties that Zentropa encountered trying to maintain its rebellious ‘Maverick’ identity.
A recent debate in identity studies is about gender of health care professions arguing that the feminization of health care professions will diminish diversity as well as status in the field. The paper argues that even in health care professions of many females, such as within public rehabilitation, there is still diversity in the creation of professional identity. This paper argues that the fundamental part the identity of rehabilitation professionals is not formed by educational values, gender and knowledge, but is created in the everyday work with patients and other professionals. Drawing on narrative interviews with rehabilitation professionals, the paper illustrates how rehabilitation professionals construct their identities and what kind of identity work is emerging. The findings illustrate hybrid identities and tensions in the attempts of becoming identities in the interaction with patients and colleagues.
This article discusses how the emerging trend of using literary arts and dialogue, along with reflective and creative writing, referred to by the author as transformative narratives, can be used to help unpack and re-script assumptions, attitudes, values, and biases of leaders as they operate in systems of privilege. When leaders read, write, and dialogue about their own and others’ cultural and social group identities, they increase self-awareness and improve interaction with others. These skills prove effective in building emotional intelligence that is linked to competencies of high performing leaders who create strong financial performance in their organizations. Specific applications are provided throughout the article.