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Phenomenology and organization theory

Philosophy and Organization Theory

ISBN: 978-0-85724-595-3, eISBN: 978-0-85724-596-0

ISSN: 0733-558X

Publication date: 7 February 2011


Phenomena are what we as researchers begin with, and to study phenomena is to appreciate how any determination of things and events always relates back to the context in which they appeared. Phenomenology is the study of such relations of appearance and the conditions of such relations. Appearance is an active rather than superficial condition, a constant bringing together of experiencing beings and experienced things (including sentient beings), in what the modern “father” of phenomenology Edmund Husserl called conditions of intentionality, and what his errant, one-time student Martin Heidegger called conditions of thrownness and projection. This chapter delves into the philosophical background of this mode of study, before opening up into consideration of, first, where phenomenology has been influential in organization studies, and, second, the potential of the approach. In so doing, we suggest much can be made of reorienting research in organization studies away from an entitative epistemology in which things are seen in increasingly causally linked, detailed isolation, and toward a relational epistemology in which what exists is understood in terms of its being experienced within everyday lives.



Holt, R. and Sandberg, J. (2011), "Phenomenology and organization theory", Tsoukas, H. and Chia, R. (Ed.) Philosophy and Organization Theory (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 32), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 215-249.



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