- List of Contributors
- Introduction: The Need for Meta-theoretical Reflection in Organization Theory
- Organization Theory as a Positive Science
- Organization Theory as an Interpretive Science
- Organization Theory as a Critical Science? Forms of Analysis and ‘New Organizational Forms’
- Organization Theory as a Postmodern Science
- The Origins of Organization Theory
- The Historical and Epistemological Foundations of Organization Theory: Fusing Sociological Theory with Engineering Discourse
- Feminist Theory and Organization Theory: A Dialogue on New Bases
- The Styles and the Stylists of Organization Theory
- Pluralism, Scientific Progress, and the Structure of Organization Theory
- The Agency/Structure Dilemma in Organization Theory: Open Doors and Brick Walls
- Modes of Explanation in Organization Theory
- Micro and Macro Perspectives in Organization Theory: A Tale of Incommensurability
- Economic versus Sociological Approaches to Organization Theory
- Meta-theoretical Controversies in Studying Organizational Culture
- Actionable Knowledge
- Theory and Practice in the Real World
- Organization Theory and Ethics: Varieties and Dynamics of Constrained Optimization
- Character and Virtue in an Era of Turbulent Capitalism
- The Future of Organization Theory: Prospects and Limitations
- Managing Organization Futures in a Changing World of Power/Knowledge
- The Future of Organization Studies: Beyond the Selection–Adaptation Debate
- At Home from Mars to Somalia: Recounting Organization Studies
- New Times, Fresh Challenges: Reflections on the Past and the Future of Organization Theory
Abstract and Keywords
This article seeks to offer a comprehensive and critical exposition of the postmodern imperative and its implications both for the understanding of organization as a theoretical object and its consequences for organization theory as an academic discipline. The central argument made here is that postmodernism must not be understood as a cynical or nihilistic tendency in contemporary thought but as a subtle and complex attempt at reworking the metaphysical bases of modern knowledge. This article begins by examining the roots of Western metaphysics and the manner in which it has shaped modern scientific thought. It then identifies the key axioms and imperatives associated with the modernist impulse. Thus, the study of dominant modes of thought, processes of individuation and identity creation, strategies of objectification and institutionalization, the development of codes of behaviour, social mannerisms, rules of law, and disciplines of knowledge form a part of this extended field of inquiry.
Robert Chia is Professor of International Management at the Graduate Business School, University of St Andrews. He holds a PhD in Organisation Studies and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Prior to entering academia he worked in a senior management position for a large multinational corporation based in Singapore. He is the author/editor of several books and international journal articles ranging from topics such as process philosophy, the postmodern critique of representation, strategic foresight and leadership, entrepreneurship, management education, East-West mentalities, and the nature of performative action. He has consulted extensively with well-known international organisations and institutions such as the International Federation of Red Cross (Geneva), British Airways. BNFL. British Aerospace, Ciba-Geigy and Cathay Pacific Airlines and remains deeply committed to executive education.
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