Sub-theme 65: Marxist Organization Studies: Enlightening the Future – The Challenge for Organizations

Matt Vidal
Loughborough University London, United Kingdom
Kyle Bruce
Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Call for Papers

In 2019, we aim to build on the success of the eight previous EGOS Marxist studies sub-themes in bringing together people who share an interest in drawing on Marx's ideas to advance management and organization studies. The organizers of the EGOS 2019 Colloquium have called for papers on the theme “Enlightening the future” and Marxism, being one of more important children of the Enlightenment, has much to contribute to this theme. With its aspiration to bring human reason to bear on the organization of production – displacing the “anarchy” of the market and “despotism” of capital – Marxist work is particularly well placed to contribute to the examination of challenge to organizations posed by the Enlightenment and its current impasse.
We welcome all papers that engage Marxist theory and organizational analysis, both understood in the broadest possible terms. We particularly welcome that address the following:

  • How elites have attempted to reconcile Enlightenment norms with the brutal reality of everyday capitalism for millions of workers around the world in precarious and low-wage forms of employment

  • Why elites have retreated from Enlightenment norms, and the tensions occasioned by this retreat for the hegemony of these elites

  • How management and organization studies can address the lived experience of workers and managers struggling to make sense of a world in which Enlightenment norms are challenged by a reassertion of tribalism and Know-Nothingism

  • How Marxist organization studies can contribute to our understanding of financial crisis, inequality and economic stagnation, and help envision a more egalitarian and economically stable future

  • How progressive movements can reclaim the initiative and offer a more compelling account of the widespread suffering characteristic of late capitalism

We are not dogmatic in an attachment to any specific kind of Marxism. Indeed, all kinds are welcome and we also welcome non-Marxists those who wish to critique Marxist analysis. In previous years our sub-theme has enjoyed lively debate spanning a wide range of approaches. Some scholars have sought to integrate insights from organization studies into a Marxist framework, while others have examined how Marxist insights may fruitfully add analytical value to other research traditions.
We invite contributions that either (a) enrich our understanding of the empirical world of organizations based on Marxist theoretical foundations, or (b) enrich Marxist theory in a way that promises deeper understanding of that world.

Matt Vidal is Reader in Sociology and Political Economy at Loughborough University London, UK. His work has been published, among other, in ‘Critical Sociology’, ‘Human Relations’, ‘Industrial Relations’, ‘New Political Economy’, ‘Organization Studies’, ‘Socio-Economic Review’, and ‘Work, Employment & Society’. He is author (with David Kusnet) of “Organizing Prosperity” (EPI) and editor (with Marco Hauptmeier) of “Comparative Political Economy of Work” (Palgrave). Matt currently has two books under contract, both with Oxford University Press: “Management Divided: Contradictions of Labor Management in American Capitalism; and The Oxford Handbook of Karl Marx (with Paul Prew, Tomás Rotta & Tony Smith).
Kyle Bruce is an Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Management program in the Management Department, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. His research is in the broad areas of institutional theory in management/organisation studies and economics; business, labour, and management history; history of management and economic thought; and evolutionary economics and business strategy.