PDW 01: Theorizing Desirable Futures
Call for Applications
Grace Augustine, Bayes
Business School, United Kingdom: “Distant future imaginaries”
Blagoy Blagoev, Technical University Dresden, Germany: “Experiencing alternative futures through gamiﬁcation”
Miriam Feuls, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark: “Beyond scenario analysis”
Santi Furnari, Bayes Business School, United Kingdom: “Counterfactual thinking”
Martin Kornberger, WU – Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria: “Thought experiments”
Majken Schultz, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark: “Future coordination of near and distant futures”
overall goal of this PDW – hosted by the EGOS Standing Working Group (SWG) 01 on Organization
and Time – is to help the ﬁeld identify and develop conceptual and methodological tools we need to theorize desirable
futures. This PDW aims to offer scholars across all levels an opportunity to explore those conceptual and methodological tools.
The aim of this PDW is to expand our ways of knowing that can co-create desirable futures and feed forward soci(et)al change. The future poses one peculiar problem: By deﬁnition, it is not here yet. Thus, the quest to contribute to the construction of a future social reality raises some fundamental questions: Do we actually need to wait until something exists before we can theorize it? Or can we, ex ante, theorize, say, a post-COVID-19 world or think through the consequences of a society radically shaped by artiﬁcial intelligence? To put it differently, the conundrum we face is the following: As an empirical social science, organizational scholarship deals with the social world as it exists and came to be; our methodological tools are based on data sourced from bservable events that have already occurred. Thus, how can we study, conceptualize, and theorize what is not (yet) observable and does not (yet) exist? Could we indeed build valid theories based on, for instance, acts of imagination? To do so, we want to explore the conceptual and methodological tools for imagining futures, such as distant imagination, counter-factual thinking, thought experiments, scenarios, real utopias, artists, anticipation, narratives, metaphors and others.
This PDW will open up the conversation about what a new future-oriented research agenda might look like, with the aim to develop new ways of theorizing desirable futures. Thus, we invite the EGOS community to jointly work on expanding and developing our ways of theorizing desirable futures, generating new research idea(l)s and fostering potential research and impact collaborations.
The PDW will be structured in three parts:
Part 1: Panel Discussion (90 mins.)
The PDW will start with a brief introduction to the background, aims and panelists of the event. We will then conduct a panel discussion, where our invited scholars will introduce one speciﬁc tool for imagination (5 mins. each) as input for further discussion.
Part 2: Roundtable Discussions (90 mins.)
In its second part, the PDW will be divided into roundtables, each chaired by one of our organizers and/or panellists and dedicated to the exploration of one speciﬁc tool for imagination. The aim of the roundtables is both “educational” and explorative, to (a) deepen theoretical knowledge about tools for imagination, and (b) explore and imagine ways of how this could be used methodologically to inspire research and theorizing desirable futures.
Participants will also discuss and receive feedback on their project ideas, and roundtable moderators will facilitate the discussion and ensure that participants will receive rich and diverse inspirations for their respective projects.
We will then come together in a 30-minute concluding session, where we invite roundtable participants to present the results of their discussion and share insights with participants from other roundtables.
11:00–11:45: Research idea presentation & discussion
Part 3: Panel summary (45 min.)
In the third part, we will come back together as a group and hear short summaries from each roundtable followed by concluding remarks.
Please submit – via the EGOS website – by April 30, 2022 a single document of application (.docx or .pdf ﬁle) that includes the following information:
A short summary (0.5–1 page) of a proposed or current project explaining the project and the relation to the PDW theme. Please include full details of name, afﬁliation, and email address.
- Indication of preference for the roundtables.
- Augustine, G., Soderstrom, S., Milner, D., & Weber, K. (2019): “Constructing a Distant Future: Imaginaries in Geoengineering.” Academy of Management Journal, 62 (6), 1930–1960.
- Gümüşay, A.A., & Reinecke, J. (2022): “Researching for Desirable Futures: From Real Utopias to Imagining Alternatives.” Journal of Management Studies, 59 (1), 236-242.
- Hernes, T., & Schultz, M. (2020): “Translating the Distant into the Present: How actors address distant past and future events through situated activity.” Organization Theory, 1 (1), first published online on February 13, 2020; https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2631787719900999
M., & Mantere, S. (2020): “Thought Experiments and Philosophy in Organizational Research.” Organization Theory,
1 (3), first published online on July 22, 2020;