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Tamara: Journal for Critical Organization Inquiry

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Year 2020 
Volume 18 
Issue 1

Virtualization as a mode of organizing: Ontology, becoming, and modulation

Christian Peters
Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

2020 18 (1) Tamara: Journal for Critical Organization Inquiry

Abstract

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.

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APA style

Virtualization as a mode of organizing: Ontology, becoming, and modulation. (2020). Virtualization as a mode of organizing: Ontology, becoming, and modulation. Tamara: Journal For Critical Organization Inquiry, 18(1), 70-87. (Original work published 2020)

MLA style

“Virtualization As A Mode Of Organizing: Ontology, Becoming, And Modulation”. 2020. Tamara: Journal For Critical Organization Inquiry, vol. 18, no. 1, 2020, pp. 70-87.

Chicago style

“Virtualization As A Mode Of Organizing: Ontology, Becoming, And Modulation”. Tamara: Journal For Critical Organization Inquiry, Tamara: Journal for Critical Organization Inquiry, 18, no. 1 (2020): 70-87.