PDW 06: Pragmatist Inspirations for Researching On-the-Move: Knowing by Becoming

Katie Beavan
New York University, USA
Line Revsbæk
Aalborg University, Denmark
Barbara Simpson
University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom

Call for Applications


The purpose of this Pre-Colloquium Development Workshop (PDW) is to foster an appreciation for the potential of Pragmatism as a practical philosophy of process amongst Postgraduate researchers, early career scholars and MOS academics curious about how to research worlds on-the-move.


Simpson & den Hond (2022) argue that Pragmatism is highly relevant to organizational inquiries that seek to move and evolve with changing situations, offering as it does, a thoroughly articulated philosophical system that takes seriously the processuality of living. It also provides an ethical basis to guide the ways we can flourish together (Brinkmann, 2017) as we re-build our organizations and communities to be more resilient in the face of uncertain futures. The particular aspects of Pragmatism that we will focus on are firstly, its ontological commitment to the dynamic and emergent continuities of worlds on-the-move; secondly, recognition that all knowledge is contingent and fallible; and thirdly, human agency is always directed towards the making of futures-to-come.
During the workshop we will explore the potential for Pragmatist philosophy to inform ’post’ methods that are more-than-representational as they engage with the performative and precarious dynamics of lived experience. Such methods recognize that as researchers, we are far from being thoroughly pre-planned and objectively detached. In fact we are integral to evolving situations, meaning that we too are becoming in the process of researching. As we attune to the movements, flows and turning points of our research situations we develop a readiness to meet the unexpected through our creative practising. Becoming consciously part of worlds on-the-move requires us to notice differently (Simpson & Revsbæk, 2022) using all our senses, and informed by both arts-based ways of reading, writing and knowing, and by science.


This PDW will be an immersive learning experience where our bodies become the primary instruments of our inquiries. We will set this experience in the context of Pragmatism’s key ideas, exemplify these through the work of members of our Pragmatism in Organization Studies community, and use group exercises to develop awareness of our senses, to attune to movements in conversation, and to experiment with writing fluid field notes. We will also ask that participants undertake some specified pre-readings before they join the workshop.


Please submit – via the EGOS website – by April 30, 2023 a single document of application (.docx or .pdf file) that includes:

  • A short letter of application containing full details of name, affiliation, and email;

  • What interests you about this workshop (<250 words);

  • A description of your own empirical researching (<250 words);

  • Your reflections on the methodological challenges you face (<250 words).

We will accept a maximum of 30 participants.


  • Brinkmann, S. (2017): “Humanism after posthumanism: Or qualitative psychology after the ‘posts’.” Qualitative Research in Psychology, 14 (2), 109–130.
  • Simpson, B., & den Hond, F. (2022): “The contemporary resonances of Classical Pragmatism for studying organization and organizing.” Organization Studies, 43 (1), 127–146.
  • Simpson, B., & Revsbæk, L. (eds.) (2022): Doing Process Research in Organizations: Noticing Differently. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Katie Beavan is Adjunct Professor of Human Capital Management at NYU School of Professional Studies, USA. She is a practitioner-scholar with over 30 years of HR experience and deep expertise in executive leadership development and organization development.
Line Revsbæk is an Associate Professor at Aalborg University (AAU), Denmark. Her research is in organizational learning, organizational socialization, newcomer innovation and qualitative research methodology, and she has lead action research projects in employee induction, professional learning community building, and reflexive writing inquiries in organizational contexts. Line works from Pragmatism (especially G. H. Mead) and process theory perspectives to develop process research methodology, published in ‘Qualitative Inquiry’ and ‘Qualitative Studies’.
Barbara Simpson is Professor of Leadership and Organizational Dynamics in the Department of Work, Employment and Organisation at Strathclyde Business School in Glasgow, United Kingdom. Her thinking about process is deeply informed by the American Pragmatists who emphasize the intertwining of agency and temporality in practice. Her published work appears in journals including ‘Organization Studies’, ‘Human Relations’, ‘Organization’, and ‘Journal of Management Inquiry’.