Sub-theme 10: (SWG) Becoming Good: How to Study the Emergence of Ethical Practice in Organizing
Call for Papers
Practice-based inquiries are increasingly prevalent in the organization studies domain, as evidenced for instance by growing
literatures in strategy-as-practice (Jarzabkowski, 2005), leadership-as-practice (Raelin, 2016), practice as knowing (Nicolini
et al., 2003), and entrepreneuring (Steyaert, 2007). Many of these studies draw, either explicitly or implicitly, on assumptions
taken from process philosophy, which is the underpinning orientation of the Standing Working Group sponsoring this sub-theme.
This year’s EGOS Colloquium offers an opportunity for participants in this sub-theme to focus on the as yet under-developed
implications of process thinking for ethical practice in organizations. By asking what it might mean to become good, this
sub-theme directs attention towards the ethical practices of goodness, and how goodness might emerge in day-to-day practice.
The notion of ‘good organization’ often evokes its opposition, ‘bad organization’, but this dualistic formulation is problematic
for process scholars, who seek to transcend dualistic thinking in order to better appreciate the fluidity of organizing as
it emerges in the flow of becoming. The challenge then, is to find ways of doing research that can adequately engage with
The lack of methodological sophistication in this area is already well recognized (Langley, Smallman, Tsoukas & Van de Ven, 2013; Sandberg et al., 2015; Hussenot & Missonier, 2016), but as yet, few solutions have been forthcoming. There is, therefore, an urgent need to re-examine the assumptions underpinning empirical inquiries that seek to bring about fresh insight into how to experience / describe / transcribe the becomingness of organizing. We need to explore our understandings of how emergence happens (Garud et al., 2015), how organizing is accomplished (Gherardi, 2012), how “good” management emerges (Gherardi & Murgia, 2014), how conversational travel offers an alternative optic of inquiry (Ramsay, 2016), how to engage with the temporal unfolding of experience (Hernes et al., 2013), and which voices, speaking in which ways, and with which others, create goodness and realness (Gergen, 1994). How can we, as researchers, develop methodological sensibilities that allow us to enter into the living contexts of our inquiries? And how can we become a community of inquiry concerned with doing empirical process research?
This sub-theme invites processual responses to the ethical dimensions of ‘goodness’ in organizations. Whilst we are interested in empirical accounts that draw attention to the unfolding processes of becoming good, we are also interested in the methodological practices that enable us to engage with such processes in moment-by-moment organizing. We invite contributors to embrace the methodological and empirical implications of a process-based approach to studying the emergence of organizational goodness by addressing questions such as, but not limited to:
- How to explore empirically the emergence of organizational practices that are changing the goodness of work and life?
- What methodological sensibilities allow us to follow the emergence and evolution of ethical practice?
- How is the notion of ‘becoming good’ constructed in particular categories of organizational practice, such as strategy, leadership, making, governance, operations, quality management, etc.?
- Where is power and agency in the creation of ‘goodness’; not only in the sense of certain practices, positions and people exerting power over, but also in the processes by which power with is expressed in certain ways of going on?
- Garud, R., Simpson, B., Langley, A., & Tsoukas, H. (eds.) (2015): The Emergence of Novelty in Organizations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Gergen, K. (1994): Realities and Relationships. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Gherardi, S. (2012): How to Conduct a Practice-based Study: Problems and methods. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
- Gherardi, S., & Murgia, A. (2014): “What makes a 'good' manager? Positioning gender and management in students’ narratives.” Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 33 (8), 690–707.
- Hernes, T., Simpson, B., & Söderlund, J. (2013): “Introduction: Managing and Temporality.” Scandinavian Journal of Management, 29, 1–6.
- Hussenot, A., & Missonier, S. (2016): “Encompassing Stability and Novelty in Organization Studies: an Events-Based Approach.” Organization Studies, 37 (4), 523–546.
- Jarzabkowski, P. (2005): Strategy as Practice: An Activity Based Approach. London: SAGE Publications.
- Langley, A., Smallman, C., Tsoukas, H., & Ven de Ven, A. (2013): ”Process Studies of Change in Organization and Management: Unveiling Temporality, Activity, and Flow.” Academy of Management Journal, 56 (1), 1–13.
- Nicolini, D., Gherardi, S., & Yanow, D. (2003): Knowing in Organizations. A Practice-Based Approach. New York: M.E. Sharpe.
- Raelin, J.A. (2016): Leadership-as-Practice. Theory and Application. New York: Routledge.
- Ramsay, C. (2016): “Conversational travel and the identification of leadership phenomena.” In: J.A. Raelin (ed.): Leadership-as-Practice: Theory and Application. New York: Routledge, 198–219.
- Sandberg, J., Loacker, B., & Alvesson, M. (2015): ”Conceptions of process in organization and management: The case of identity studies.” In: R. Garud, B. Simpson, A. Langley & H. Tsoukas (eds.): The Emergence of Novelty in Organizations. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 318–344.
- Steyaert, C. (2007): “Entrepreneuring as a conceptual attractor? A review of process
theories in 20 years of entrepreneurship studies.” Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 19 (6), pp. 453–477.