Social theorists speculate about large-scale social questions, asking of any phenomenon, how is it possible? This book addresses how various social theories contribute key insights into the nature of organizations and management.
The cast of characters to be found in this book have had a transcendental impact, including on the practices of the management and organization disciplines. For students, however, engaging with social theory in a conversation that is much broader and potentially richer than those that may have been previously encountered is not at first easy. The question is where to begin: this book provides answers.
Drawing on research from international contributors, this valuable textbook is an essential resource for students and introduces key social theories and theorists making them accessible to a management audience. The chapters include objectives and end-of-chapter reflective questions, as well as a glossary for readers grappling with new terms.
Table of Contents
List of contributors. 1. Management, organizations and contemporary social theory Stewart Clegg and Miguel Pina e Cunha. 2. Harold Garfinkel and ethnomethodology Andrea Whittle and Frank Mueller. 3. Actor-Network Theory: Michel Callon, Bruno Latour, John Law Damian O’Doherty. 4. Anthony Giddens and structuration theory Ira Chatterjee, Jagat Kunwar and Frank den Hond. 5. Morphogenesis and reflexivity: Margaret Archer, critical realism and organizational analysis Alistair Mutch. 6. Pierre Bourdieu and Elites: making the hidden visible Mairi Maclean and Charles Harvey. 7. Theodore Schatzki’s practice theory and its implications for organization studies Georg Loscher, Violetta Splitter and David Seidl. 8. Mary Douglas and institutions Dean Pierides and Graham Sewell. 9. Norbert Elias and organizational analysis: towards process-figurational theory Robert van Krieken. 10. Niklas Luhmann and organizations as social systems Xavier Deroy. 11. Organizing Michel Foucault: power, knowledge and governmentality Alan McKinlay and Eric Pezet. 12. The Frankfurt School and critical theory Edward Granter. 13. Judith Butler and performativity Kate Kenny. 14. Manuel Castells and informationalism Sandro Mendonça, Cátia Miriam Costa and Tiago Lima Quintanilha. 15. Liquefying modernity: Zygmunt Bauman as organization theorist Stewart Clegg and Miguel Pina e Cunha. 16. Management, organizations and contemporary social theory: an index of possibilities Miguel Pina e Cunha and Stewart Clegg. Index.
Stewart Clegg is Distinguished Professor in Management at UTS Business School and a Visiting Professor at Nova School of Business and Economics, Lisbon, Portugal. The central focus of his theoretical work has always been on power relations, enabling him to write on many diverse and ubiquitous topics – as power relations are everywhere. He is the co-author of two widely used textbooks and a prolific contributor to leading journals in the fields of organization studies, political power and management.
Miguel Pina e Cunha is the Fundação Amélia de Mello Professor of Leadership and a member of the Leadership for Impact Center at Nova School of Business and Economics, Lisbon, Portugal. His research deals with the surprising (paradox, improvisation, serendipity, zemblanity, vicious circles) and the extreme (positive organizing, genocide). He recently co-authored Positive Organizational Behavior (Routledge, 2019).
“This collection of essays will change the way theory of Organizations is done for the next generation because each chapter questions traditional ways of knowing and being.”
David Boje, Regents Professor, University of New Mexico
“Stewart Clegg, Miguel Cunha and their contributors have woven a thick and rich tapestry of the main social theories that have shaped ineluctably our ideas of organizing and managing. Their tapestry highlights the wide diversity of approaches that converge on organization but it also reveals some of the blind spots and misconceptions that they surface about each other. It further demonstrates how the study of organization and management has itself become an arena where different theoretical fads and fashions compete for the limelight. This original anthology will be an indispensable resource for every serious scholar of organization and management for years to come and a decisive marker of the state of organization theory in our time.”
Yiannis Gabriel, Professor Emeritus University of Bath, Visiting Professor Lund University
“What do we know about organizing and managing in the 21st century? Actually, quite a lot: there are many theories and theorists that help to understand the developments taking place in these complex and confusing times. Stewart Clegg and Miguel Cunha have mobilized an excellent group of scholars who present, correctly and accessibly, the main social science theories that explain what is happening in contemporary organizations, among contemporary organizations, and outside of these. This edited volume will be a necessary lecture for students at all levels of university education but should be of interest to practitioners as well.”
Barbara Czarniawska, Professor of Management Studies, University of Gothenburg
“Stewart Clegg and Miguel Cunha have put together a book that is both intriguing and challenging. It is intriguing in the way in which it very deliberately links the study of management and organizations back to wider concerns of social theory. And it is challenging as it pushes forward debates about the role of organization theory in times of rapid change. It is as necessary a read for students of management and organizations who are beginning their studies as it is for those of us who are long in the tooth and need to be refreshed in our thinking.”
C.R. (Bob) Hinings, Professor Emeritus, Department of Strategic Management and Organization, Alberta School of Business, University of Alberta
“This book makes a fantastic job of reviewing key approaches on contemporary social theory as a crucial resource to think about management and organization in world that surprise us as never before. Chapters are well written and offer rich insights to make sense of the world of management and organization.”
Rafael Alcadipani, Professor, Fundação Getúlio Vargas Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo
“Management, Organizations and Contemporary Social Theory is an excellent collection of scholarly essays that provides the big picture about social theories and management. It is an invaluable resource for scholars looking to frame their questions in broader social theory and lays out an ambitious and critical research agenda for organizational theorists. A must read for doctoral students.”
Bobby Banerjee, Professor, Cass Business School, City University of London
“This is a superb volume offering a much-needed update on influential ideas of great theoreticians which will provide an invaluable companion for students of management at all levels.”
Marianna Fotaki, Professor, Warwick Business School.
“Management, Organizations and Contemporary Social Theory is a timely and important book. Each chapter shows why social theories developed in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries are not just relevant to but can inspire the study of organizations. It is a must read for organizational scholars whether they have been practicing for years or whether they are currently in a doctoral program.”
Stephen Barley, Christian A. Felipe Professor of Technology Management at the College of Engineering at the University of California Santa Barbara.
“This edited collection will be very helpful for those of us looking to understand the key premises of different contemporary social theories and their potential application within Organisation and Management studies. The authors of the various chapters are all experts in their respective theoretical areas and provide informed and thoughtful commentary that I am sure will see the book widely used and cited, both by those new to the field and established scholars.”
Paula Jarzabkowski, Professor of Strategic Management, Cass Business School, City University of London
“Management, Organizations and Contemporary Social Theory offers a stimulating, provocative, and highly original contribution to the theoretical study of institutions. The contributors probe skilfully the ethical, philosophical and metaphysical foundations of the field. For those who wish to engage with social and organizational analysis in theoretical depth there is no better source than this extremely timely and insightful volume. It is required reading for students and scholars and destined to become a central reference for years to come.”
John Hassard, Professor of Organizational Analysis at Alliance Manchester Business School
“Social theory is too often ignored in Business and Organization Educational Systems. Stewart Clegg and Miguel Pina e Cunha’s edited book is a very valuable contribution that bridges texts that cover a large range of the main contemporary social theories. It is also an excellent invitation for students, researchers and practitioners to go further and read the rich oeuvres of the authors presented.”
Jean-François Chanlat, Emeritus Professor, Dauphine University, Paris
“This is an awesome book. It effectively summarizes and analyzes important but currently underutilized social theories. These perspectives can enrich organization studies significantly.”
Walter Nord, Professor, College of Business Administration, University of South Florida
“This is an eye-opening book for anyone who takes ideas seriously in management research. If organizations are the epitome of the modern world, we badly need to understand how modernity shapes, and is shaped by, them. This volume accomplishes it brilliantly. It is a long overdue and fascinating introduction to social theory for organizational scholars. Clegg and Cunha have put together an insightful and reader-friendly volume about some of the most influential social theorists of our times and the implications of their work for our understanding of organizations. Indirectly, the book shows how parochial organization studies risk becoming to the extent it is cut off from social theory, and, vice versa, how illuminating it can be by looking outward. We can only be grateful to the editors and authors of this volume for such an achievement.”
Haridimos Tsoukas, Professor, University of Cyprus and University of Warwick
“This text brings together an array of specialist contributors who provide hope to students and practitioners of management seeking release from the narrow confines of mainstream thinking. It offers inspiration from social theories relevant for addressing the escalating crises - 'grand challenges' - of our times.”
Hugh Willmott, Professor of Management and Organization Studies, Cass Business School, City University of London
"Management, Organizations and Contemporary Social Theory offers an enlightened antidote to prevailing critiques of theory in management scholarship. In a time when organizational theorists (who should know better) are questioning the value of theory, this remarkable volume reminds us of our intellectual roots in social theory and demonstrates how management scholarship now actively contributes to contemporary social theory. Editors Clegg and Pina e Cunha have assembled an array of leading management scholars who continue to push forward the frontiers of thought established by dominant social theorists of the twentieth century. This text is a must read for anyone interested in how organizations have permeated social life, for anyone interested in how business can contribute to humanity’s grand challenges, and anyone who doubts the value of theory in management."
Roy Suddaby, Winspear Chair of Management, University of Victoria and Chair in Organisation Theory, University of Liverpool
"The world is fraught by division and crisis. Amid the noise and confusion, scholars have a special responsibility to offer thoughtful analysis of the crisis. How did we get here? And, more importantly, where do we go from here? Mainstream management and organization theory has ossified and is probably not up to the job of engaging with the current crisis. Clegg and Cunha have curated a collection where well known organizational scholars outline the contributions from major sociological thinkers. This volume will be invaluable for organizational scholars who want to prepare for the future by reacquainting themselves with major insights from the past."
Chris Carter, Professor and REF Director, University of Edinburgh Business School
"Social Theory has been a significant source for the development of new perspectives in Organization and Management Studies over many decades. This wide-ranging collection indicates how and why it should continue to play such a role in the present. The volume aims both to show and to foster the connections between organization studies and contemporary social theory at a time when there are perhaps increasing institutional barriers to such an endeavour. Drawing together a group of international scholars, each of whom is committed to strengthening these links, the collection provides an important account of the critically productive interactions between social theory and organizational analysis that will prove of considerable benefit to those working in the field of Management and Organization Studies and beyond."
Paul du Gay, Professor, Department of Organization, Copenhagen Business School
"An important and ambitious resource to help scholars of organizational and management scholars to look beyond the specialisms of the field and to develop an understanding of the wider range of social theorists whose work informs and enriches our field – crucial for tackling the complex social questions that contemporary organizations face."
Cynthia Hardy, Laureate Professor of Management, University of Melbourne