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.
The authors present a framework for researching the causes of predatory behaviors by the managers (ie, knowingly supporting sweatshops) of multinational corporations. Nike is the focus of this paper.
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.
This paper looks at a theoretical framework recently developed by Paul Jackson (1997) that adopts the information systems metaphor as a means to understand the representational aspects of organisation. Jackson’s approach particularly highlights the role of information systems (IS) in the representation of space and time and the depolitizisation of organisational space and time. However, this paper suggests that the framework can be improved even further, especially through a fuller consideration of the works of Cooper (1992) on displacement, abbreviation and remote control, and Zuboff (1988) on the concept of ‘informate’. After the modified framework is presented, it is then illustrated by reference to an empirical piece of research undertaken within a major UK business (referred to as CallCentre). The research focuses on problems encountered within a call centre structure where information systems are being applied to automate many of the processes involved in servicing customers. One of the major issues emerging from the analysis is the value of creating representational space within which stakeholders can negotiate meanings. It is suggested that this activity will present a significant challenge to the dominant ideology of managerial control.
Located within movements for social justice and ecological restoration, Chatterji assesses public forest lands reform initiatives in Orissa, a state in eastern India. The use of research as liberatory practice within postcolonial contexts is addressed.
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.
Ainsworth presents a reflection on the process of doing critical discourse research using examples from a current project on the discursive construction of older worker identity. The study illustrated the potential of discourse analysis to enhance understanding of the processes and implications of public policy development.
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.
The relation between the development of theories of management and organization, on one hand, and the notion of time, on the other, is perhaps best characterised by the role taken by time researchers to develop and educate the research field of management and organization.
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.
Robert Cooper has developed a discourse of organizing, centered on relationality. It is a discourse grounded in third generation phenomenology and pointing to fourth generation phenomenology. Phenomenology in its first (Husserl) and second (Merleau-Ponty) generations developed the epoché (procedure of investigation) whereby research transcended the natural attitude and forged contact between the researched and the researcher. Progressively logocentric 're-presenting' was transcended in (third generation) phenomenology via empathy and intersubjective awareness. Phenomenological 'research' has become the creation of dialogic and empatic identity. Despite the potential richness of such research, the ethics of shared awareness and involvement continues to pose major problems of consequentiality. If research is based on empathy and relationship, how does the researcher do justice to relationality? Without a clear link between awareness and action, it is very difficult for phenomenology to develop as a dialogic form of organizational studies. Ontological insight into the pre-structures of the life-world, however philosophically fundamental, will not suffice. Phenomenological research understood as a complex adaptive system (CAS), is (potentially) an alternative that respects relationality and honors the ethics of empathy. But truly radical relationality - for instance, embodied in the (very) flesh of life --- (in fourth generation phenomenology), challenges the very possibility of organizational studies.
The aim of this paper is to point to the potential value of an approach to management based on the idea of the common good, as opposed to classical capitalism based on private ownership. Such an approach makes it possible to resist a pursuit of short term oriented gains and a maximization of narrowly defined profits, and, instead, to focus on humanistic values, as to adopt a long term perspective. The much cited notion of the “tragedy of the commons” was based on deficient material and argumentation, but, most of all, it completely disregards of the issue of management. Using a case study developed through a longitudinal action research project in a big service enterprise we call “Soplicex”, we present the strategic process grounded in learning, as well as the building of a strong structure centred on teams. The engagement of the employees was, originally, strongly oriented towards the idea of the common good. The consultants and researchers adopted this principle as the guiding rule in their work with the organization. Even though the process was interrupted by the takeover by a foreign investor, we show how the findings of the study remain relevant for alternative organizing and managing today and in the future. The conclusions of this paper reach further than just being reflections on a historical case study: a model of management is presented, concerned with the care and protection of the common good.
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 paper reflects upon the 'goodness' or 'ethics' of Critical Management/Critical Organisation Studies (COS) research practices. I argue that academic representations of others entail an ethical responsibility to the researched, a responsibility that COS is, as yet, insufficiently exploring. Reflecting upon my own research with those who have colluded in discrimination and Stanley and Wise's (1979) research on obscene telephone callers, I explore the nature and limits of responsibility when researching those who have acted reprehensibly. I end by arguing that COS "owe(s) some responsibility to 'the researched' of all kinds, whether we morally approve of them or not" (Stanley and Wise 1993:177).
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.
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.
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.
This article revisits and seeks to add to some of the author's earlier work to highlight, once again, the manner in which art is able to return our gaze and induce critical reflection. In line with Herbert Marcuse's notion of "The Great Refusal", it is suggested that art has the potential to help us 'see' anew that which is familiar, the everyday, the banal. Drawing upon the work of the surrealist art movement, the paper highlights the manner in which an "estrangement-effect" is created that gives us sufficient distance to reflexively consider the taken-for-granted. The techniques used by the surrealists are shown to have their parallels in the work of some who occupy a 'space' in the field of organisation studies. The author argues the case that the field of organisation studies needs to recognize and protect this space of refusal.
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).
This paper provides an extensive review and categorization of the work-family conflict literature, followed by a discussion of paradigmatic assumptions found within that literature and critical recommendations. The article describes the five most widely utilized theories in the work-family conflict literature: conflict theory, spillover theory, gender role theories, identity theory, and role theory. It concludes by recommending that future research focus on becoming more complex by moving from simple to complex explanations focusing less on hierarchy definitions and more on interactions, less on accounting for singular causality and more on multiple (sometime indeterminate) causalities, use less determinant and more indeterminate language, and adopt a morphogenic view of change.