Robert Cooper, who died in 2013, was the leading theorist of organization working in England over the past few decades. Describing himself as a ‘social philosopher,’ he was one of the first writers to introduce post-structuralist and post-modern thought into theories of organization but was always reluctant to reduce what he did to being part of ‘Management.’ Instead, he concentrated on thinking about organizations and organizing, working with ideas about entity and process views of organizations, and also the dualisms of organization/environment, organization/disorganization, and concentrating particularly on ideas of the boundary or seam which divides and conjoins. He wrote about, and was influenced by systems theory and post-structuralist philosophy, particularly Whitehead, Bateson, Deleuze, Derrida, Foucault and Simmel.
Cooper has already been the subject of much commentary but much of his work is not well known, and it deserves a wider readership. The purpose of this collection is to gather together a body of essays which are widely dispersed in journals and edited collections. This is a repository of pieces and extracts which stand the test of time, and scholars will benefit from a collection which pulls together some of his most influential work. The collection also contains two essays, one biographical and one intellectual, about Cooper and his work.
Table of Contents
1. Organizing a Life Gibson Burrell and Martin Parker 2. Robert Cooper: Beyond Organization Sverre Spoelstra 3. The Open Feld Robert Cooper 4. ‘The Other: A Model of Human Structuring’ Robert Cooper 5. Organization/Disorganization Robert Cooper 6. Information, Communication and Organization: A Post-structural Revision Robert Cooper 7. Modernism, Postmodernism and Organizational Analysis: An Introduction Robert Cooper and Gibson Burrell 8. The Visibility of Social Systems Robert Cooper 9. Formal Organization as Representation: Remote Control, Displacement and Abbreviation Robert Cooper 10. Organization: Distal and Proximal Views Robert Cooper and John Law 11. Cyborganization: Cinema as Nervous System Martin Parker and Robert Cooper 12. Primary and Secondary Thinking in Social Theory: The Case of Mass Society Robert Cooper 13. Making Present: Autopoiesis as Human Production Robert Cooper 14. The Generalized Social Body: Distance and Technology Robert Cooper 15. Main Features of my Approach… Robert Cooper 16. Complete List of Robert Cooper’s Work
Gibson Burrell is Professor of Organization Theory at the University of Leicester, UK.
Martin Parker is Professor of Organization and Culture at the University of Leicester School of Management, UK.
"This is a timely publication, which brings together the sophisticated writing of one of the most brilliant and original thinkers of organization to date. The collection establishes Cooper as a classic in organizational thought, whose work will no doubt stand the test of time." –Torkild Thanem, Stockholm University
"Bob Cooper is widely considered to have both revolutionized and deconstructed management and organization studies. His work was an inspiration to a generation of academics and will inspire many future generations. If you haven’t read Cooper before, you can start here with a collection that brings together all his essays in one volume. Reading them is likely to change your sense of what is possible in business and management studies offering a much needed antidote to the cynicism and/or irrelevance of so much of the output coming out of business schools around the world today." –Damian O’Doherty, University of Manchester