Over the last twenty years or so the study of organizations has gone through a period of considerable change and instability. Both in terms of its substantive agenda and the theoretical perspectives through which it has been articulated and pursued, discontinuity and flux have been the order of the day. The recurring theme has been one of a fundamental transformation — some would say a veritable “paradigm shift” — in the theoretical forms through which the field is defined and structured as a coherent discipline. Intellectual change and discontinuity have been mirrored by the emergence of novel organizational structures and practices which seem to signify a sharp break with more orthodox arrangements based on the principles of rational bureaucracy. Indeed, the scale and intensity of intellectual fermentation and institutional innovation have prompted some commentators to suggest that organizational studies can no longer be regarded as a discipline or, less ambitiously, as a sub‐ discipline within the general field of social science. At the other end of the theoretical spectrum, there are some people fighting a rearguard action against the proliferation of alternative approaches and the corrosive influence which it has exerted on established orthodoxies and the order that they once provided.
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