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Performativity in place of responsibility?

Barbara Czarniawska (University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 18 October 2011



The purpose of this paper is to question the common conviction that responsibility is the major factor influencing performance.


The paper takes the form of a comparison of two recent cases of ecological catastrophes.


In emergency situations, locating parties able to perform gives better results than establishing responsibility for the accident.

Research limitations/implications

More similar cases should be examined systematically.

Practical implications

If the conclusions are accepted, the conventional mode of acting in emergencies may change.

Social implications

Hopefully, the paper may redirect attention from responsibility to performativity.


The paper opposes a commonly accepted belief and the corresponding mode of acting.



Czarniawska, B. (2011), "Performativity in place of responsibility?", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 24 No. 6, pp. 823-829.



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