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..
In This room of Tamara, we seek conversations with our past and future. We talk to ghosts from to past, to Marx, Lyotard, Foucault, and Fieire. Others too. In this room you find essays and articles, that chase a story from one discipline to the next. We invite you to send your articles and essays. In future issues, in intend to include any interesting comments that reviewers care to share about our features.
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.
The TAMARA MANIFESTO defines how various knowledge areas intermingle in the dialogs of Tamara; in my editorial I explain how Tamara is the Mansion of Science with many rooms. Here I provide one founding story.
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.
Swigert retells the story of "The Wizard of Oz" in such a way that the reader is both protagonist and audience, and by doing so examines the nature of ambiguity. Dorothy's trip to Oz might be an apt metaphor for political action in the light of the events of Sep 11.
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.
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).
This article considers the storytelling metaphor of the quest to examine the challenges social entrepreneurs face when working in nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving the human condition. Similar to the hero on a quest, a social entrepreneur can face a point of deep despair and lose confidence in the organization's mission. From this place of deep despair, the powerful images from American Blues Music as presented by bluesman Willie King, offer a vision for hope, faith and love. Accordingly, the stories found in blues music can inspire a social entrepreneur on the quest for a more just society.
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.
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.
Editorial for Vol 4 issue 4
Tristram Shandy deconstructs the conventions of the emerging modern novel almost as fast as its conventions were minted on the page by other 18th century writers. In consequence, readers of this early novel could not just consume the words on the page as they might do with a history but they required instead an aesthetics of disposal to help them to manage the endless digressions, the blanks in text, and the ambulation in chronology of this most disorganised of novels. In this paper listening to ruptures and fissures in the text is likened to the work of employees today, who similarly have to manage the inter-plays of convention and invention within the disorganisation of the contemporary corporation.
This paper was originally written as part fulfilment of a Management BA degree at the University of Lincoln, United Kingdom, 2003. It is a mini-consultancy project, analysing the Lincoln Co-op using critical and postmodern tools and theories including Boje’s (2002, 2002a) framework of metatheatre, storytelling (Boje, 2001; Gabriel, 2000; Nymark, 2000) and the notion of reflexivity (Currie, 2003; Golding and Currie, 2000; Woolgar, 1991). It stems from undergraduate work and discussions with both academics and employees of the Lincoln Co-op at the University. It is based upon personal experiences, desk-based research and ethnographic type research within Lincoln Co-operative organisation.
Boje feminism is an alternative to Foucault feminism. One difference is Foucault feminism is discursability formation, whereas Boje feminism is storyability formation of the body, its discipline, and the power/knowledge relationship. A second difference is where as Foucault Feminism is about micropolitics of power/knowledge, Boje Feminism is far wider focus on macropolitics, even global sociopolitics of late modern capitalism. This parallel storytelling develops the differentiation between collective memory groups (gender, race, socioeconomic, class, etc) construct out of direct experience, and what Hirsch (1999) calls 'postmemory,' such as the trauma children of survivors of Holocaust live with. My feminism enters into investigation of trauma events women endure in sweatshops is possible for me, because of its resonance with my own trauma as a soldier in the Vietnam War. I explore here why this is so for me. This article is presented in left and right column, my column and her columns. After a bit of standard introduction. the columns are meant to intervibrate, to resonate, to interpenetrate, one another, as two voices, as many voices within me and her
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.
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.
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.