One ongoing theme in management theory focuses on mitigating the dehumanizing effects of organizational systems and related forms power over employees. Perhaps paradoxically, the alienating tendencies of neoliberalism resulted in various humanist and emancipatory theories intended to mitigate that alienation, which operate in a way that almost exclusively benefits the organization and subtly yet profoundly subjugates the worker. Critiques of contemporary management theory and practice, most notably by critical management studies and psychoanalytic theory, made important contributions in revealing many of the pernicious mechanisms and resulting effects of human relations approaches. However, in our assessment these critiques still struggle to respond to the emergent socioeconomic and political structures of neoliberalism. As an alternative, this article considers Deleuze and Guattari’s (1987) work on faciality in order to re-examine the form and function of those structures in a way that explains their perniciousness and suggests that there is a space within those structures for a more liberated form of subjectivity.
When asked to serve on the TAMARA Editorial Board, we were honored. To be able to work and theorize with colleagues in such diverse and important fields as organizational science, critical postmodernism, green theory and left economics was a rare treat. We come from the tradition of "critical pedagogy." For us, critical pedagogy stands at the nexus of critical/postmodern/poststructuralist theories, multicultural theories, cultural studies and struggles for social justice and a progressive politics within education. And truly, we expect to learn more from our TAMARA colleagues and submitters than they will from us. And to then be asked to react to the important research presented in "Think Global, Act Local," by de Cieri, Wolfram Cox & Fenwick, was even more of an honor; for these researchers truly "push the envelope" of organizational science-specifically, by examining "critical participation" within the context of "strategic international human resource management" (SIHRM). In this essay, we choose to react to de Cieri, Wolfram Cox & Fenwick by going "old school." For us, critical pedagogy began with el abuleito, intelectual, Compañero Paulo Freire. While he was Brazilian, and we are Chicano and European American, as left educationalists, we feel an enduring political, cultural and educational bond with Freire. Although he died in 1997, his connection to all educational progressives, and all who are interested in advancing struggles for social justice and dignity among all women and men, we must always remember the legacy and importance of his years of living his theory and theorizing his practice.
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.
Van Uden et al assert that the world is best described as being a complex system, and, through the use of the 'complexity' discourse, students of organizations--organizations being regarded as complex sub-systems of the whole--can benefit from the various complexity science research programs. They argue that complexity theory in this respect is reminiscent of postmodern organization theory.
From contingency theory, resource-dependency theory, evolutionary theory, and institutional theory, it is learned that organizations respond to their external environment. In a postmodern, fluid, and continuously changing capitalism, there are few stable, fixed, and determined positions that can be taken by an organization.
Many journalists describe the Zapatistas' use of media events to influence international public opinion in favour of their organization and its aim to achieve indigenous land reform as the “first postmodern revolution” (Carrigan 2001, 417). These journalists are not simply using a catch phrase, the Zapatista rebellion can be understood to be a postmodern movement in three different ways of examining the social theory: 1) as a polemic against another theory, 2) as a mode of discourse, 3) and as a guide to action (Simmons 2004). The Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) stands as a postmodern polemic against modernism, and globalization. It has asserted itself as an alternative and opposing political force to the Mexican government. The postmodern mode of discourse can explain how the EZLN uses language and new technologies, over guns, to communicate their group's objectives to the repressive Mexican state authorities and to the world at large. However, postmodernism can be a poor guide to action due to its aversion to ideology. The Zapatista rebellion as postmodern revolution is an ongoing struggle and may never achieve its full objectives.
The question of how organizations are produced has been an ongoing theoretical puzzle within organization studies. In order to explain this question an increasing number of organization theorists have turned to the structuration theory of Anthony Giddens. Indeed it has been widely used to examine a whole range of organization phenomena such as structure (Ranson, Hinings & Greenwood, 1980), control (Clegg, 1981), discourse (Heracleous & Barrett, 2001), technology (Orlikowski, 1992), and institutions (Barley & Tolbert, 1997). In this paper we would like to call into question this increasingly popular approach. In particular we would like to explore some of the limits of structuration theory. We would like to argue that social reproduction of organization involves the reproduction of space and time. By doing so, we would like to put issues of time and space right at the centre of debates about structuration and social reproduction
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 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.
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.
Written through the lens of the practitioner-scholar, this paper integrates first-hand experience with theory to explore the tension between positive scholarship and the Metamorphosis Model proposed by Boje (2005) in the context of the emerging workplace practice of systematically applying story/telling. In particular it examines the importance of shadow stories, potent stories from the liminal spaces of the organization, and their implication for organizational practitioners who are latching on to the emerging trend to formally or systematically integrate story/telling into their practice. It draws on the practical experience blended with the qualitative research of the author on the systematic use of stories in for-profit organizations. It does not problematize systematic, performer storytelling as a strategic process, but for the purposes of this paper accepts it as a popular contemporary trend. A preliminary set of reflective questions for practitioners who have chosen to participate in systematic storytelling are included with the intent of challenging practitioners to widen the angle of their listening lens and deepen their practice through an understanding and inclusion of liminal stories.
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).
In this article we argue that, to date, the knowledge management literature has insufficiently addressed the construct of power. The power literature is reviewed using three categories: power-asentity, power-as-strategy and power-is-knowledge. We find that much of the knowledge management literature, while not directly addressing power, aspires to the dictum "knowledge is power", which corresponds to the power-as-entity approach. Drawing on the work of Foucault we go on to show that, while the power-as-entity approach is important, it is not sufficient. Foucault's work demonstrates how our understanding of knowledge management can be enriched by adopting a power-as-strategy approach. Further, the work of post-Foucauldian power theorists, especially Flyvbjerg (1998), shows that while knowledge is power, "power is also knowledge"— and thus the nature and context of power shapes organizational knowledge. We argue that Foucault's inseparability of knowledge and power provides a foundation from which it can be shown that the inversion of the "knowledge is power" dictum to "power is knowledge" has significant implications for the theory and practice of knowledge management.
This conversation explores some of the connections between Deleuzian philosophy, organization theory and work by DeLanda and Protevi, and it springs out of questions initially posed by Torkild Thanem to DeLanda and Protevi as well as questions posed by Protevi to DeLanda. Working through these connections is not completely free of tension. Deleuzian philosophy is a fairly recent arrivant in organization theory. Moreover, both DeLanda and Protevi are outsiders to organization theory, and they both – in their own distinctive ways – critically rethink and reconstruct Deleuzian philosophy.
On a theoretical level, complexity theory offers an emergence-based insight into organizing. The unicity of events, the undetermined nature of creative change, and the multifarious nature of circumstances are all honored. But how can (successful or unsuccessful) self-organizing be studied? If organizing really can be self-organizing, how could a researcher perceive it? Either the observer is entirely outside of the change process and is unmoved or unaltered by it -- i.e. only able to see the change from its exterior; or the observer changes with the change process and is part and parcel of it. If one is inside the change, how can one observe it; and if one is outside, how could one experience it? If self-organization really can occur, how could self-organization organize organization without betraying emergence and becoming just another form of control? To examine these issues a case is presented and then interpreted with use of a perspective inspired by (some aspects of) Luhmann, and via Luhmann, Serres (Luhmann, 1997, 2003; Serres, 1982).
In San Antonio in March 2004 David Boje, President-Elect of the International Assembly of Business Disciplines (IABD), was asked to resign by the IABD President. David responded that he would not resign since he is quitting and moving the Organizational Theory (OT) Track to a new organization the Standing Conference for Management and Organization Inquiry (Sc’MOI).
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.
This paper argues for an interpretive approach to theorizing as more than merely the assertion of truth-claims but in addition, as a social process that narrates the ordering and simplification of reality effects. Mary Douglas’ (1975) notion of the pangolin as a reflexive mediating concept able to “speak” to both macro and micro social theories is recommended. Ressentiment as just such a pangolin-like concept is proposed and its usefulness is explored in an organizational case study, made up of three vignettes, of doing business in a South African township. The role for ressentiment in an interpretive theory of power is considered.