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Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited
Editor’s last stand
Each editorial is the editor’s stand: a personal note inserted into the drip feeding machinery of academic communications, which slowly fills our professional veins with neatly standardized messages, carefully designed arguments, toned down calculations, tactful comparisons and useful applications. Gone are the thought-provoking leaps of imagination, perhaps because we have not experienced any Great Leap Forward of our knowledge production in quite a few years. Nevertheless, there is some movement in all major specialized domains of culture, something is brewing, some changes are emerging, in all areas of culture, in all regions of society, in politics, religion, art, science and scholarship. One of the astonishing transformations of contemporary way of thinking, modernist, postmodernist and the like is the re-emergence of the back to classics, back to the core, back to the roots approach.
On June 10, 2017 a second parallel stream of artistic creations (mostly installations, performances and media) opened up in a sleepy German town of Kassel. Documenta 14 cannot be missed – a Parthenon made of plastic-wrapped books had been erected on the very same Friedrichplatz on which the German national socialists burned undesirable books after 1933. All books have one common feature – they had namely been banned at one time or another in some part of the world. The Bible rubs shoulders with Orwell, Marx with Machiavelli, and Musil with Beckett. A month earlier the first stream of Documenta 14 events had been initiated in Athens – no wonder, since this year’s Curator of the entire stream of events, Adam Szymczyk, has chosen a covering umbrella title for both – “Learning from Athens.” Hence exactly when the top leaders of the financial Europe gather to decide how to teach Greece another lesson in paying debts to the northwestern brothers from the European Union, the most critical artists, critics and curators reflect on what the rest of Europe had learned from Athens, what culture is and how to repay our debts to the Platos, the Aristotles, the pre-Socratic, post-Socratic and the actual Socrates. An important aside: the selection of artists has been a very radically different one from the choices made in all the previous 13 Documenta events. First, in spite of the fact that Szymczyk was running a prestigious art gallery in Basel, he refused to honor the best and the brightest and the most expensive artists whose rankings are decided in Basel and New York. Yes, we do get an occasional Bill Viola (a video piece paraphrasing Gericault’s “The Raft of Medusa”), but Greek artists are displayed en bloque in Kassel. Moreover, the voices of the illegal immigrants and refugees, mostly from Africa, are clearly discernible in the large post office in a poorer part of the city or in the display of concrete pipes for sewers arranged as if they were cozy homes of the homeless. The letters above the entrance to of the main venues of the event, “Museum Fredericianum,” had been re-arranged. They now proclaim “Beingsafeisscary.” Thus the Greek philosophy and art, the financial crisis of global capitalism and the waves of illegal immigrants come together in an ironic reflection of critical artists and artworld professionals. Can we claim the same significance for our domain of science and scholarship?
I think we could cautiously venture to say – yes, we try and yes, perhaps we can. The fifth issue of JOCM in 2017 opens with a paper by Andrei Dynich and Yanzhang Wang on the significance of novelty in a scientific text. In view of the fact that entire branches and schools of physics had been groomed in the art of quoting only the papers of the past two to three years in order to create an impression that progress is very rapid and all earlier papers become obsolete – this is a welcome reflection. David Boje, Heather Baca-Greif, Melissa Intindola and Steven Elias discuss the “episodic spiral model” trying to develop a new approach to the analysis of organizational processes. The first author is a founder of the present journal and a Vietnam veteran and his theoretical development certainly makes one wonder about the analogies to the critical and civic responsibilities assumed by the Documenta artists. Ali Bodla and Tang Ningyu go for the transformative HR practices in high-tech firms – when the dust settles in five to ten years, we shall probably know much more about the real feel of being an employee of Google, Amazon or Apple. Yue Wang and Karen Wang go further and ask if a comparison of a sophisticated strategy of organizational change, in their case a dynamic capability-based model to a simple ad hoc improvised problem solving really manifests such significant differences as most consultants would claim. On a more practical note, Fevzi Okumus, Anil Bilgihan, Ahmet Ozturk and Xinyuan (Roy) Zhao discuss the implementation of information technology projects in hotels.
In one of the first papers devoted to an analysis of a problem of empowering women in an Ethiopian city, Gidey Mezgebo, Tesga Ymesel and Girma Tegegne discuss the micro and small businesses from a gender perspective. The next paper takes us out of Africa and into China – Donghan Wang, Hai Guo and Lu Liu wonder how managerial guanxi and ties impact the choices of business innovation made by concerned managers entangled in these networks.
The issue closes with two papers – Hungarian and Dutch – on synchronizing project and change management roles (Katalin Pádár, Béla Pataki and Zoltán Sebestyén) and on understanding the organizational change resulting in alliancing (Bianca Keers, Paul Fenema and Henk Zijm). Business as usual? Hardly. Organizational processes are perceived as less “closed” than previously assumed (from the point of a controlling eye of the CEO), but also less “open” than previously hoped (from the point of the populist manifestos). Attention – serious theoretical and practical work ahead.