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Is postmodern organization theory sceptical?

Deena Weinstein (Department of Sociology, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, USA, and)
Michael A. Weinstein (Department of Political Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA)

Journal of Management History (Archive)

ISSN: 1355-252X

Article publication date: 1 December 1998

Abstract

The practitioners of postmodern organization theory have had to respond to the charge that postmodernism has a declivity toward skepticism. Their response to organizational skepticisim is to decenter dominant theories, paradigms and organizational forms, rather than to negate them. Decentering supplements discourse by augmenting its repertoire; the opposite of skepticism, which diminishes its object. The main ways in which postmodern organization theories try to overcome the specific sceptical position of paradigm incommensurability (the reduction of discourse about organizations and organizational discourse to a solipsism of private language games) are described and assessed in terms of three positions: John Hassard’s “multiple paradigm” approach on the level of methodology, Stewart Clegg’s “embedded rationalities” on the level of empirical conceptualization, and Kenneth Gergen’s “heteroglossia” on the level of discursive practice. Hassard and Clegg are engaged in the mapping function of postmodern organization theory, whereas Gergen is engaged in deconstraining organizations.

Keywords

Citation

Weinstein, D. and Weinstein, M.A. (1998), "Is postmodern organization theory sceptical?", Journal of Management History (Archive), Vol. 4 No. 4, pp. 350-362. https://doi.org/10.1108/13552529810233759

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited