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 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.
In this conceptual paper, we analyze how social acceleration as a key phenomenon of modern societies affects the relationship between organizations and places. We identify two dimensions of how organizations relate to places: (a) embeddedness (the degree of material integration in a place) and (b) attachment (the psychic closeness, identification, or affective bonds with a place). Building on Rosa’s (2003; 2013) seminal work on social acceleration, we further propose three processes (the time-space distanciation effect, the situational identity effect, and the managerial myopia effect) through which temporal changes in modern societies can lead to a loosening of ties between organizations and places. As the attachment to a place may also represent a precondition for organizations to develop a ‘field of care,’ the framework presented in this paper can help us develop a better understanding of the factors that influence whether organizations can develop a ‘sense of place’ that fosters responsible social and environmental performance that enhances the well-being of places and communities, respectively.
This paper draws on literature in the fields of organizational studies, industrial relations, and industrial sociology to attempt to address 'new paradigm' managerial initiatives that espouse sentiments of unitarism in their discourse from a UK perspective. The specific focus of this theoretical investigation is the output of the proponents of the 'Learning Organization'. It is argued that in such organizations, employers attempt to control and induce behavioural change in employees through the use of reorganization and instrumental discourse. Managerial commentators and theorists have written much about what the implementing agents' expectations are of the outcomes of such organizational initiatives. Among these expectations is that the new initiative will bring about a radical change in attitudes in the workplace and that unitarism will prevail. However, an as yet underdeveloped area of study is what happens when the subjects (i.e. employees) receive the initiative, the potential for counter-ideology and resistance to the initiative, and the forms resistance may take. It is these latter two issues that this paper concentrates on. Ultimately, the paper seeks to present a conceptual investigation of pluralism within, and the nature and implications of resistance in, the Learning Organization. An allusion to Beaumarchais' `Figaro' is used to illustrate the arguments.
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.
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.
This article emerged from a personal need to reconcile the duality of my experience as a person working to raise awareness of equity issues, with that of being a female academic of mixed ethnicity. I discuss the formation of my subject as a developing sociologist, my attraction to the pre-reflexive identities of class, gender and ethnicity, and my struggle with the ambiguous nature of cultural cohesion. I move on to discuss how through conscious ways of knowing it is possible to reflexively act in ways that support substantive change. I argue outsiders-within, i.e. people like myself who grapple with such dual experiences, need not become “hot commodities in social institutions that want the illusion of difference without the difficult effort needed to change power relations” (Collins, 1999:88). Rather, I believe outsiders-within can knowingly achieve small but important substantive changes that lead to future systemic change.
A consultant and lead client discuss the rationale and process for an organization-wide diversity initiative in a national political organization. Approaches and models used to address systemic organization change for racial inclusion in a social justice framework are reviewed. Discussion of initial results, including emerging cultural change and ancillary benefits of the initiative follow. The authors conclude with challenges and expectations for expanding the change into programmatic work and for sustainability.
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.
Many transnational scholars agree that the nation-state is not disappearing because of globalization, but rather is being reorganized, in part, to reflect the interests of a global marketplace. Postmodern perspectives on borders have been critiqued for ignoring, if not obscuring, this point. The idea is that postmodernism’s emphasis on hybridity makes the notion of boundaries defunct and leads to the conclusion that the nation-state is irrelevant as a unit of analysis. This is problematic for those who now see any discussion of power and violence regarding the border as impossible to formulate. This paper aims to assuage some deep concerns regarding a postmodern analysis of globalization, the nation-state, and the border. In addition, the shortcomings of both critics and recent “reformers” of hybridity are examined, along with the far reaching value of using a postmodern approach in U.S.-Mexico border studies. Finally, the implications of postmodernism with regards to social change in this era of lobalization are discussed.
This article examines whether organization development and diversity consulting have the capacity to foster and sustain systemic change for social justice in organizations in the United States. In a number of her speeches and essays, Audre Lorde made the powerful statement that “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” My premise is that systemic racism and oppression in organizations (the “master’s house) was built with and continues to be maintained by the ideologies of materialism and white supremacy. My conclusion is that to achieve sustained systemic change for social justice we need to replace these ideologies and return to pre-existing belief systems of spirituality and interdependence so as to bring about true justice and equity.
In this essay, the author discusses the importance of self-work for diversity and social justice practitioners. In fact, she asserts that it is not only important for practitioners to increase their self-awareness; it is paramount to the success of the initiatives they are leading within any client system. As many organizations are still gripped by their fear of diversity efforts, the call for practitioners to embark on this in-depth exploration is loud and clear. Given the changed landscape from overt discrimination to covert forms of discrimination, this call to action includes being well versed in personal values, biases, assumptions, privileges and pain. The author articulates her point of view regarding these challenges as a scholar practitioner, in an attempt to renew diversity consultant’s commitment to their own personal development.
What does consulting and teaching look like from the sociopolitical spaces of privilege, ambivalence and oppression? Giving voice to visible social identities is explored through narrative exploration of teacher and student voices. Who can raise these issues and who cannot? Pedagogically, how can and should we as trainers address these issues? We discuss consulting and teaching about privilege and oppression across race, ethnicity and gender in psychology programs at urban universities in eastern and western United States. The three issues explored include: a) teaching about privilege and oppression from a visibly privileged social identity; b) acknowledging the ambiguities of privilege and oppression of minorities and immigrants from a sociopolitical space of ambivalence; and c) mentoring and modeling on issues of privilege and oppression from a visibly oppressed social identity. Consulting from this postmodernist perspective is different and more effective when members of all level of the organizations embrace readiness, patience and commitment toward organizational change. This approach is more aligned with the current shifts towards globalization and diversification occurring within organizations today.
Modern popularist teaching presents ethics as situational and relativistic. Rather than using this current approach a more classical and reactionary methodology that calls for the reevaluation of some of the elder philosophies that regarded right and wrong in the context of absolutism is required. Confusion between the concepts of beliefs, values, morals, laws, and ethics has increased to the point where many people today consider these related ideas as synonymous. It is essential to discuss these related concepts outside of any single religious or ethnically based belief system. To do otherwise would inject individualistic religious or ethnic beliefs and values into the discussion, thereby negating the universality of the argument. Both modern and traditional approaches to ethics have attempted either to manage the effects of unethical behavior after it occurs, or to give specific guidance and examples in order to prevent future similar occurrences. Unfortunately, both of these popular approaches are reactive at best. The optimal strategy is to take a proactive approach that can discern the root causes of unethical behavior so that this knowledge could be used as a preventative countermeasure to the everincreasing amounts of unethical behavior. Axiology, the study of ethics, is not a new field; but many modern authors and ethicists have avoided and continue to avoid the issue of ethical absolutism. Contrary to much modern thought, there is no reason to avoid the discussion of absolutism, as the concept of universal and immutable ethics can be reconciled fully with other contemporary schools of thought such as physical sciences, social sciences, and rationalism.
This paper takes up the self-construction of the social roles of Polish IT professionals. We conducted an ethnographic study and observed that many of our interviewees defined their roles by negation and by invoking the internal and often hermetic aspects of their profession. Labeling this practice “holding up the shield,” we trace its archetypical roots. The recurrent use of this practice makes a change in agency in the process of constructing the role possible, to the benefit of the IT professionals.
In the past years we observed changes in the structures of knowledge production. The new mode of research expects intensive collaboration among multiple stakeholders in order to ensure the social relevance of knowledge. Such a development has led many theorists to question the epistemological status of findings, and the relevance of such studies, since this mode of research might transpire rather alarmingly to serve the interests of a small influential group. By discussing the two views, the paper sides with the argument that science has evolved into a closed, self-governed system; thus, any change in the governance of knowledge production puts at stake its status and role in society –which is to serve the ‘public good’. In the same line of argument, it seconds that the ethical construction of knowledge has to become the scientists’ main concern, who need to be conscious not only of positive, but also of negative implications of their findings. Finally, the paper concludes with a number of suggestions, which may contribute to the ethical construction of knowledge.
The interest in societal forms of entrepreneurship has increased in recent decades, emphasizing different kinds of prefixed such as ―social‖ ―ecological‖, ―sustainable‖, ―regional‖. In this article societal and social is at stake. Taking a point of departure in the prefix stories of entrepreneurship we read a wish to break with the grand narrative of entrepreneurship as well as attempts to feed into and draw legitimacy from the grand narrative. In this article we take a point of departure in an initiative taken in Sweden to introduce and finance a program labeled ―Societal entrepreneurship‖. The purpose is to create knowledge about, as well as conditions for, initiatives aiming at improving what is missing or does not work in public structures, and finding new and innovative solutions in order to create an economically, socially and ecologically sustainable society. Applying Burke‘s pentad it is illustrated that the grand narrative of entrepreneurship consists of the heroic entrepreneur (agent) who creates a kingdom (act) by way of establishing a company (agency) on the market in order to make a profit and contribute to growth (purpose). Applying the concept of Tamara, introduced by Boje, it is further illustrated how the grand narrative of entrepreneurship emphasizes capitalism, rationality and hierarchy in line with the epoch of industrialization, whilst the antenarrative of societal entrepreneurship gives priority to both premodern and postmodern discourses. The importance of community, of non-economic values, artisan craftsmanship is stressed, but also of how societal structures must be changed. The story of societal entrepreneurship thus de-centers human agency seeking to create instability as well as openings for enactment.
The paper explores two recent social movements that show signs of global resistance to the ideology of neoliberal polices and values; the Indignados uprisings that took place in Spain, Greece and Mexico, and the Occupy Wall Street protests that broke out across many parts of the United States. It argues that to understand contemporary social movement activity and protest politics, it is crucial to update social movment theories to include analyses of how the digital revolution has categorically changed the way that activists express grievances and share information, strategize and for on-the-street forms of contentious politics, and challenge the narratives put forth by authorities and the mainstream media when there are confrontations between peaceful protesters and the police force.
We are pleased to offer this special issue on community-engaged scholarship. As scholar-activists working for social justice alongside youth of color (Pat) and critical arts activists engaging with stigmatized communities (Ester), we began this project with the intent of gathering a collection of essays operating against the traditional colonizing methodologies that have been the hallmarks of social/science research for centuries (Smith, 1999). In organization studies, this tradition includes Kurt Lewin’s 20th century research studies that laid the groundwork for participatory approaches to system change, but which offered no critique or analysis of the broader societal structures of power that embed such change (Adelman, 1993). For this special issue, we called for essays that would attend to issues of power in the participative research process, and with a conscious aim toward decolonizing research that exposes and challenges inequalities in the production, outcomes, and sharing of research content. Also, our intent was to collect essays that would highlight the ways scholars are grappling with some of the “prickly” issues (to use the apt term provided by of one of the contributions to this special issue, Schaefer & Rivera) in community-engaged scholarship—issues that emerge at the intersection between the political and the theoretical and which are at the forefront of conversations both inside and outside the traditional boundaries of academe.