Sub-theme 40: Organizational Transformation: Power, Resistance and Identity

Darren McCabe
Keele Management School, UK
David Knights
Bristol Business School, UWE, UK, and School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Björn Remneland-Wikhamn
School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Call for Papers

The shock waves of the global financial crisis are still reverberating throughout the economic system. They herald a situation of crisis for many and, in the light of such conditions, organizations may consider that transformational rather than incremental change is necessary. A call for radical change is not new because management gurus have been preaching organizational transformation for several decades but, in the light of the economic recession and public debt burden at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, perhaps the context is now ripe for such change.

In this sub-theme we encourage authors to join us in exploring the different forms of organizational transformation (OT) that are currently subscribed to across a variety of sectors. New programmes of culture change, teamwork, quality, BPR, knowledge management, IS integration and leadership may be emerging or older ones may be revamped. Organizations could be adopting a fusion of these ideas that seek to transform structures, cultures, processes, technologies and products/services. Alternatively, completely 'new' concepts and ideas may be on the horizon or underway.

We are particularly interested in papers that explore different facets of OT. On the one hand, papers might examine how programmes of OT seek to regulate and discipline managers and employees. We are interested in how they serve to intensify existing forms of control or find new ways in which to control the lives of others and how such controls are played out. This might involve attending to the creation of new disciplinary regimes that repress and produce new kinds of subjects; new systems and structures of work organization; the language employed during their introduction, implementation and operation; the strategic thinking and rationale behind them; an interrogation of the ideas underpinning them as influenced by consultants, academics, gurus or management.

On the other hand, we invite scholars to consider the experiences of those [managers, supervisors, office and shop floor employees] who are subject to programmes of OT. In particular, how employees find ways of turning OT to their own advantage. This might include various ways of making out, fiddling, sabotage or more general forms of resistance. Papers might wish to consider both the disciplinary impact of OT and how employees escape them, turn, manipulate and use the discourse of OT against management. This could include patterns of collective opposition whereby unions seek to hold management to account or individual spaces for escape and misbehaviour.

We invite submissions from different theoretical traditions including scholars with an interest in Sociology, Labour Process Theory, Industrial Relations, Human Resource Management, Organization Studies and Post-Structuralism. We are interested in both theoretical and empirical papers, particularly fine grained qualitative or ethnographic studies. We are looking forward to receiving submissions on topics such as:

  • Organizational Transformation in different sectors
  • Different forms of Organizational Transformation
  • The discourses employed during Organizational Transformation (official and unofficial)
  • The turning, twisting and subverting of official discourses
  • The disciplinary regimes initiated through Organizational Transformation
  • The squeezing out of spaces for escape through Organizational Transformation
  • The impact of Organizational Transformation on Employee and Managerial Identity/Subjectivity
  • The survivors of Organizational Transformation
  • Resistance to Organizational Transformation
  • The obstacles to Organizational Transformation
  • The inability of programmes of Organizational Transformation to break with the past and their reproduction of earlier conditions
  • The practices of Organizational Transformation – what it is that CEO's, Executives and managers do to enact change
  • The impact of Organizational Transformation on everyday working lives or how it impacts on what people do for the worse (intensification) or for the better (Quality of Working Life)
  • How employees subvert Organizational Transformation possibly through humour or alternative representations of it.
  • How employees cope (coping mechanisms) with Organizational Transformation
  • The politics of Organizational Transformation
  • The relationship between culture and Organizational Transformation
Darren McCabe 
David Knights 
Björn Remneland-Wikhamn