Author: Chris Mowles
As a way of adding to the discussion started by Ralph in the last post I want to offer some observations, additions, and questions to the idea of the thought collective and thought styles. I would like to reflect more on the stable instability of thought collectives and the way that they are at risk from transformation from within and from without. I want to suggest that they may be powerful and enduring, but they are never rigid being subject to their own ruptures. Although thought collectives undoubtedly try to exclude patterns of thinking which do not conform to a particular orthodoxy, and can sometimes do so with some violence as we will explore below, this orthodoxy often has its own indeterminacies and internal contradictions, and challenges to it are likely to occur regularly and in every day ways both from ‘within’ and from ‘without’. Together the gesture of critique and orthodox response incorporate each other and produce a movement through which other ways of theorising are made possible.
I want to expand further on how the processes of domination and resistance are mediated by power relations and will draw on some of Foucault’s thinking to inquire into the social relations of ‘truth telling’. That is to say, as well as considering the way that orthodoxies dynamically maintain themselves by excluding and denying, it is also important to think about how resistance is mounted, and by whom. Having done this I will question whether the discussion pattern that Ralph points to between systems theorists and their critics could ever thought to be ‘stuck’, although it may feel that way from a synchronic perspective, what I referred to in a previous post as the perspective of the swimmer. Read the rest of this entry »
This is to give you advance notice that next year’s Complexity and Management Conference will be on the second weekend in June, 2013, Friday 7th – Sunday 9th at Roffey Park Management Centre near Horsham in Surrey, UK.
In the last three years we have hosted Prof Mats Alvesson, Dr Ian Burkitt and Porfessor Hugh Willmott. We are currently in conversation with potential speakers and will let you know whom we have secured in the near future.
As usual the conference will be informal and will involve some input from speakers as well as lots of opportunities for lively discussion in groups based on participants’ own experiences of organising with others.
In the last post I began to outline some of the similarities and differences between complex responsive processes and critical management studies (CMS) following Hugh Willmott’s keynote at the CMC conference. I have chosen to engage with Alvesson and Willmott’s book Making Sense of Management, while at the same time as recognising that CMS is a broad church and that this book is a primer in CMS. Nevertheless, in this post I will continue the discussion.
Complex responsive processes shares with CMS a critique of the individualising tendencies of modernity and argues instead for a radically social view of human beings and their activities. However, I think this is different from what Alvesson and Willmott term ‘radical humanism’ as an alternative. From our perspective we would side with both Mead and Elias in arguing that human beings are social through and through: there is no society without individuals and no individuals without society. Following Mead, mind, self and society all arise in social processes involving other social selves and our increasing abilities to take the attitudes of others to ourselves. This is not to deny any individuality but to emphasise how individuality is only possible in relation to other socialised individuals: i.e. society makes individuality possible. Read the rest of this entry »
At this year’s conference Hugh Willmott, Research Professor of Organization Studies at Cardiff University, gave a key note on the financialized organisation during which he made a strong argument for the rehabilitation of political economy as a focus of research in organization studies. Additionally, he began engaging with complex responsive processes noting similarities and differences with critical management studies (CMS).
In this post and the next I will try to continue this discussion, noting points of overlap and contrast as a way of exploring the difference that makes a difference. One of the difficulties of doing this is that CMS is a broad and diverse church which contains a spectrum of opionion. So the basis of the exploration will be the latest edition of Hugh’s book co-written with Mats Alvesson, Making Sense of Management: a Critical Introduction. This post develops the input I gave at the June conference. Read the rest of this entry »
There are still a few places available for the CMC conference entitled Complexity and ethics: practical judgement in everyday politics where the guest speaker is the distinguished critical management scholar Professor Hugh Willmott.
There will be a variety of fora to have lively discussions about ethics as well as opportunities to explore the similarities and differences between complex responsive processes and critical management studies.
To book please access the payment page here.
Professor Hugh Willmott, who will be the key note speaker for this year’s CMC Conference 8-10th June 2012 was mentioned here in the Guardian yesterday.
Book soon to hear him speak in person.
Taking the perspective of the airman and the swimmer – reflections on the ethics of organisational change
In order better to understand the unique flow of social life, Norbert Elias argues, we must adopt the perspective of both the airman and the swimmer. Unlike many objects in nature which are relatively unchanging, society is riven by tensions, disruptions and explosions. ‘Decline alternates with rise, war with peace, crisis with booms’. These disruptions are driven by the interweaving activities of highly social, interdependent people like ourselves competing and co-operating to get things done. Elias argues that it is only from perspective of the airman that we are able to gain some detachment, a relatively undistorted view of the order of the long course of historical changes and the way we are forming and are formed by them. These long-term historical trends are extremely hard to resist even by very powerful coalitions of people or groups. However, there is nothing inevitable about our actions and reactions to the processes in which we find ourselves participating. But only by adopting the perspective of the swimmer, who is obliged to take action in the moment itself, is it possible to see how varied are the different pressures that are brought to bear on the particular circumstances in which find ourselves acting, in order that we might create opportunities to bring about outcomes of a different kind. Read the rest of this entry »
An invitation – to discuss the impact of the DMan on your practice and leadership
Douglas Board and I are two graduates of the DMan programme, graduating with our doctorates in 2010. Since then new avenues have opened up for us both. One joint piece of work is a book commission from Palgrave Macmillan: it is likely to be called The Social Development of Knowledge and Leadership.
At this year’s CMC conference we are looking invite you to a conversation around the following: for those people who have experienced the DMan programme (current, past and even prospective) how has the deeply reflexive process changed and how does it continue to change your leadership? Linked to this we are also interested to explore how your developing leadership has affected those whom you work and interact with. And, what does this say about our knowledge of organisations and what we all do together in the process of organising?
It would be great to share narratives or ideas on this, even before the CMC conference is underway. Please feel free to post your thoughts here and to get others involved, or to drop me a note directly, particularly if you would like to hear more of our ‘project’.
This is just a reminder to those of you who are considering attending the CMC conference, 8-10th June 2012, that the early bird discount finishes on Friday 21st April, i.e. in just over two weeks’ time.
The theme of the conference is Complexity and ethics: practical judgement in everyday politics and the guest speaker is the distinguished critical management scholar Professor Hugh Willmott.
UH has now set up a payment page here:
As usual there will be lots of opportunities for discussions throughout the weekend.
The June 2012 Complexity and Management Conference entitled: Complexity and ethics: practical judgement in everyday politics now has a payment page here.
The leaflet for the conference, which includes a programme and a form for those wishing to pay by cheque can be downloaded here: CMC June 2012 Conferencev2.