Vol. 20 - 3
Ideas are feelings first: epiphanies in everyday workplace creativity
Stewart Clegg, Ad van Iterson, Arne Carlsen.
Pages : 221-238
This paper contributes to the literature on workplace creativity by combining insights on epiphanies with theory on the embodied and relational nature of understanding. We explore and develop the concept of epiphany, defined as a sudden and transient manifestation of insight. Primarily, we are interested in the implications of the concept’s artistic and philosophical origins for organizational creativity. We start from a consideration of the importance of epiphany in the literary works of Joyce, who underlined the crucial aspect of the conjunction of different human senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching). Next, we draw up upon the theory of insights as embodied, experientially felt qualities, as described by Mark Johnson (2007) and predecessors in pragmatism. Using three sets of empirical snippets as aids to reasoning, we arrive at renewed understanding of epiphany as a phenomenon in creativity that is experientially multi-sensuous and collective rather than merely cognitive and individual. Epiphanies are typically manifest as a series of felt occurrences arising within collective practice, follow from a history of preparation, and do not solely involve breakthrough ideas but can also include feelings of doubt, movement, opening up or disconfirmation. Understanding epiphanies in this way extends research on organizational creativity as collective practice. The article suggests further attention be paid to the transient and noetic qualities of work on ideas in organizations, such as visual and material stimuli in sensorial preparations of creativity and the use of openness in marking felt insights.
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Organizational Behavior - Theory Development
What are management tools made of? The “listic” structure of managerial artifacts
Pages : 239-265
The literature on management tools has shown that they are composed of three interacting elements: a managerial philosophy, simplified view of organizational relationships, and technical substrate (Hatchuel & Weil, 1992). This article focuses on the latter, which is rarely taken as a specific research object, and explores the “artifactual” dimension of management tools. Using the work of the anthropologist Jack Goody (1977) on the evolution of oral societies toward written societies, this article shows that some management artifacts are based on a “listic” structure, which leads to: (1) a description of the structuring dynamics of these management artifacts, which evolves between rationalization and contextualization according to an ordering principle of the list; (2) a distinction between open tools and closed tools, two genres that call for different modes of design and implementation; (3) a renewal of critical research around three typical phenomena of the list—“gap-spotting,” “table-of-contentism,” and “don juanism”; and (4) two lines of research on the appropriation and design of management artifacts. | Download PDF (EN) | Télécharger PDF (FR)
Innovation & Technology - Theory Development
Does strategy formalization foster innovation? Evidence from a French sample of small to medium-sized enterprises
Marc Fréchet, Hervé Goy.
Pages : 266-286
Despite abundant research, the relationship between strategy formalization and innovation remains unclear. Some acknowledge a positive impact of strategy formalization on innovation while others consider it an impediment to novelty and creation. Going beyond the conflicting views over the influence of formalization, we combine open innovation and socio-material perspectives. This study aims to contribute to the debate by considering the possibility that formalization is a means of benefiting from openness with respect to innovation. Therefore, we predict that formalization might positively moderate the impact of openness on innovation. Relying on a unique sample of 555 SMEs, we investigate the effects of strategy formalization and openness—according to their various facets and interactions—on new product innovation. We find a positive influence of formalization (whether it is approached as a process or as a strategic tool) on product innovation. Our findings also support the idea that formalization increases the effectiveness of openness on innovation performance. Implications are discussed, and future research directions are outlined at the end. | Download PDF (EN)
Entrepreneurship - Innovation & Technology - Quantitative Methods - Strategy & Business Policy
The Laws of Globalization and Business Applications
Pages : 287-297
In The Laws of Globalization and Business Applications, Pankaj Ghemawat continues to defend his antithesis against the common image of the world as global. He does so by introducing the two regularities of international activity: the law of semiglobalization and the law of distance. Through a range of empirical methodologies, Ghemawat tests these two laws and finds that international business interactions rarely exceed 30%. Based on these results, Ghemawat challenges our assumptions that the world is globalized. He explains that international business interactions continue to be important but that the world is rather semiglobalized. The majority of business flows continue to occur locally, which indicates that different types of distance continue to restrain business activities. These findings should, according to Ghemawat, change both how researchers study international busi | Download PDF (EN)
I thought I only had to have an idea (l’homme qui marche)
Pages : 298-299
Creative non-fiction in journalism uses narrative means from fiction to highlight dramatic tensions of reality; it thus puts the subjectivity of authors at the heart of the writing process, in order to capture the unfolding experience and practice of ordinary people. The life of academics is punctuated by astonishing, ordinary, ceremonial, or dramatic scenes that sometimes take place in liminal spaces but may constitute a core social part of research practice. The Unplugged “Academic Non-Fiction” section is dedicated to sharing these moments.
The following text attempts a minor usage of English, as the major language in management and organization studies. As Deleuze and Guattari have theorized in Kafka, towards a minor literature, a minor usage stutters and stammers the major, breaks with the operation of ‘order-words’, composes a music of words, a painting with words, a silence within words, it is connected to the wider social and political milieu and paves the way for a community to come.
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Management and Organization in the work of Michel Houellebecq
Boukje Cnossen, Erwin Dekker, Laurent Taskin.
Pages : 300-321
Research in management and organization may only gain by being inspired from arts, culture and humanities in order to rethink practices but also to nourish its own perspectives. Life in organizations is artificially separate from ordinary life: all of mundane objects are thus conducive to astonishment, inspiration, and even problematization. The unplugged subsection “voices” gives the opportunity to academics and non-academics to deliver an interpretation about an object from the cultural or artistic world. Interpreted objects are or not directly related to organizational life, resonate or not with the moment, but share some intriguing features. These interpretations suggest a patchwork of variations on the same object. | Download PDF (EN)
Vol. 20 - 2
Reconciling structure and agency in strategy-as-practice research: Towards a strong structuration theory approach
Tamim Elbasha, Alex Wright.
Pages : 107-128
An overwhelming focus of research on the micro agency of
strategic actors has led to the literature being characterized as
demonstrating a micro-myopia, resulting in a micro-isolationism. This
means we know little about how the micro interrelates with the macro in strategy work. We address this problem in our conceptual article which adopts a structurationist stance to explicate how strategy-as-practice (SaP) research could be enhanced and extended by paying equal attention to both agency and structure. Specifically, we advance strong structuration theory (SST), a promising development from Giddens’ seminal work on structuration theory, to show how strategic activity can be understood as an ongoing process of structuration unfolding over time. We argue for the use of both types of methodological bracketing (context and conduct analysis), advocating systematic attention to the interplay between macro-societal and micro-local levels of analysis. Our discussion concludes with guidance for researchers inviting them to undertake empirical fieldwork that overcomes SaP’s current micro-myopia, creating a more balanced corpus of work. | Download PDF (EN)
Strategy & Business Policy - Theory Development
Complex field-positions and non-imitation: Pioneers, strangers, and insulars in Australian fine-wine
Grégoire Croidieu, Charles-Clemens Rüling, Bilal-Ahmed Jathol.
Pages : 129-165
This paper studies how complex field-positions, characterized by combinations of structural and cultural mechanisms, are associated with the non-imitation of dominant field-level practices. Theoretically, the notion of complex field-position complements prior institutional research on field-positions and non-imitation, which focuses primarily on structural mechanisms. Our empirical study looks at 62 Australian fine-wines, using
qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) to identify combinations of structural and cultural mechanisms associated with the non-imitation of Penfolds Grange, a role model in the Australian fine-wine field. We find
three distinct complex field-positions—pioneers, strangers, and insulars—which occurred at different moments in the history of this field. We build on these findings to discuss the importance of complex field-positions as
sources of positional opportunities, and their role in the development and persistence of diversity in organizational fields. | Download PDF (EN)
Entrepreneurship - Qualitative Methods - Strategy & Business Policy
Is management research relevant ? A systematic analysis of the rigor-relevance debate in top-tier journals (1994–2013)
Guillaume Carton, Philippe Mouricou.
Pages : 166-203
Since the field of management science came into existence, many scholars have raised questions about the rigor of the knowledge produced by management research about and the relevance of this knowledge to practice. In this article, we question the causes of the continuation of the rigor-relevance debate within management science. To do this, we build on science and technology studies and on the analytical
framework of scientific controversies. By analyzing 253 articles published in 11 top tier journals between 1994 and 2003, we identify four typical positions on rigor and relevance in management research: gatekeepers’ orthodoxy, collaboration with practitioners, paradigmatic shift and refocusing on common good. Although contradictory, these positions coexist within the debate and are constantly being repeated. This debate,
which has developed within a specially adapted space in academic journals (the hybrid forum) contribute to the “scientification” of management sciences. We link these findings to the literature on scientific controversies and discuss their implications for the rigor-relevance debate. | Download PDF (EN) | Télécharger PDF (FR)
Literature Review - Qualitative Methods
Review of The Icarus Paradox by its Nostalgic Author
Pages : 204-207
The “unplugged” section seeks to experience new forms of book reviews. We regularly grant a wild card to a world-class scholar to review his/her own Classic. In “My own book review”, authors will tell us the story of what I was trying to do with sometimes some auto-ethnographic considerations. By recounting the building process of one seminal research with a contemporary lens, they may give some insights for the current craft of research and also share with us renunciations, doubts and joys in their intimate writing experience.
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Which is the place of affect within practice-based studies ?
Pages : 208-220
The turn to affect needs to assume a stable discursive position on its importance in relation to the literature on practice, nevertheless the issue is not whether affect is important, but why and how. In fact, all agency unfolds with a certain degree of affect and almost all social practices affect their participants in various degrees. Ordinary affects are the varied capacities to affect and to be affected that give everyday life the quality of a continuum becoming. Their significance lies in the way they pick up the intensities that they build and in the thoughts and feelings they make possible, rather than in ‘meanings’ encapsulated in an order of representations. The question that the article addresses is therefore how to preserve and report on ordinary affects while studying working practices? Through two episodes from fieldwork (an unbearable sweet music and cruel optimism) I argue that paying attention to affects is an active process of atmosphere attunement to the various embodiments of the field - the embodied researcher and the embodied practitioners - with their attachments to the object of their practices. The turn to affect may enrich the turn to practice with a sensibility for a form of embodied, affective knowing that put into discussion how research is written.
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Vol. 20 - 1
Introduction To The Special Issue: The evolving debate about critical performativity
Isabelle Huault, Véronique Perret, André Spicer, Dan Kärreman.
Pages : 1-8
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Conditions for critical performativity in a polycontextural society
Pages : 9-27
This paper argues that practice, not science, decides the performativity of science. The argument is inspired by Austin’s question of what it is that gives language its performative force. What are the conditions which connect sentences to certain effects? Advancing this question from the level of sentences to a societal level, and taking inspiration from the failure of Marxist notions of the relation between theory and practice, the paper suggests thinking critical performativity under the conditions of differentiation. This idea is qualified by means of Niklas Luhmann and his theory of a functionally differentiated – or polycontextural - society. Functional differentiation and polycontexturality mean that systems cannot communicate with each other; there is no real transfer of scientific knowledge into practice. Unhappy performativity is the rule. Based on this insight the paper discusses elements of a critical research strategy – under polycontextural conditions - and four guidelines for a critical science are suggested. | Download PDF (EN)
How can performativity contribute to management and organization research ? Theoretical Perspectives and analytical framework
Pages : 28-69
The issue of performativity reverse the classical perspective in the social sciences, for they revolve less around describing a pre-existing reality than understanding how reality is produced by intentional interventions. Yet the link between intervention and performativity is by no means automatic. On the contrary, this approach encourages us to focus on the pragmatic conditions that allow this performation to be constructed.
In this sense, the aim of this article is threefold. First, it expands the field of performativity, which is structured around three dominant approaches (Austinian, Callonian and Butlerian), to encompass lesserknown
research on writing and calculation. Second, it proposes a comparison between theoretical perspectives of research on performativity, and two other research trends in social science and in organizations.
These, without using the term performativity, present strong similarities to it from a theoretical and methodological point of view: Foucauldian approaches and instrument-based approaches to organizations.
Based on the concepts thus introduced, this article then proposes an analysis framework for performation processes in organizations, articulated around three levels of analysis: i) the study, on an elementary level, of
speech acts, acts of calculation, and acts of writing organized around instrumented activities; ii) their insertion within the management dispositifs that give them meaning and contribute to defining their boundaries; and iii)
the putting into perspective of these dispositifs in historical transformations in forms of governmentality. This analytical framework is applied in the case of the car project referred to as L, an instance of collaborative
research in which a crisis situation characterized by the disalignment between the elementary acts studied and the management dispositif implemented by the company was examine. This case illustrates a more
general phenomenon in which management dispositifs produce negative effects on the skills dynamics in a company, and on individuals’ involvement in these collective projects. It also explains the infelicity of
certain performative acts. | Download PDF (EN) | Télécharger PDF (FR)
Art performance as research, friction and deed
Pages : 70-88
To extend and enrich the debate on critical performativity, this paper proposes that critical management studies should create a strategic link with organisational aesthetics through an alliance with critical artists doing interventions in organisations. These artists produce social change at the margin of organisations and our task as critical researchers is to give a voice to their artistic action in the field of management. Art performance is presented as a research method and a political action able to give critical performativity a new impulse. Two dance performances in a bank are described and analysed: while the first one is a failure the second produces confusion and embodied tension in the bank’s lounges. The aesthetic tactics used in this art performance are counter-performative: dancers introduce slowness and hesitation of bodies in a context of extreme closure and discipline. Art performance is described as a deed: its only value is that it could be done, which calls for more artistic action in corporate everyday life. | Download PDF (EN)
Critical Performativity and Embodied Performing as materio-socio-cultural Practices – Phenomenological Perspectives on performative Bodies at work
Pages : 89-106
One of the most elementary way in which members in organisations are involved in their performances are their embodied and expressed relations and interactions. The paper shows how phenomenology can help to render explicit these incorporated experiences and dimensions of performances in organizational life-worlds. Particularly, Merleau-Ponty`s phenomenology allows to understand the interlacing role of body-related, interrelations of performing processes in and through organising. These embodied dimensions of performance will be demonstrated by examples of performative bodies at work. By concluding some perspectives on embodied performing in organisation are offered. | Download PDF (EN)