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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Special issue on re-enchanting the organization
Article Type: Call for papers From: Journal of Organizational Change Management, Volume 21, Issue 5
Guest Editors: Cathy Bréda and Rodolphe Ocler
Rather than verbalizing realities or phenomena studied, knowledge simplification modes disfigure them, since complex thinking incorporates simplified reasoning as much as possible while rejecting its disfiguring, reductive, one-dimensional and glaring consequences when it acts as the reflection of the realistic element in reality(Morin, 2005)
According to Maffesoli (2007), enchantment is structured around three steps:
The quest for sensemaking.
The quest for happiness.
The quest for a heaven-like dimension, out of reality's time and space lines, that motivates the individual.
Disenchantment, by highlighting the place of people in their environment and the relationship they have with it, can become a preliminary step to a reflection on re-enchantment. In fact, it would probably be more appropriate to talk of reality, time and consciousness.
In his article ``Rationality and realism: what is at stake?'' (1993), John R. Searle states, ``The postmodernists are attempting to challenge certain traditional assumptions about the nature of truth, objectivity, rationality, reality and intellectual quality.'' According to Searle, this leads to questioning the very principle of reality in terms of whether ``reality exists independently of human representations.''
The various roles that individuals play add a layer of complexity: people are alternately citizens, consumers, parents or economic agents, among others. This fragmentation, or even hyperfragmentation, dissolves the meaning that has to be found. Such a query is made more difficult by the loss of reference points, values and relationships timewise that gains momentum and creates an ever-increasing lag between discourse and action, particularly in view of ethics.
Simultaneously, the twentieth century witnessed the revival of the culture of pessimism and the analysis of evil, intensified by the maelstrom of wars and the rise of the various ``isms'' (Cioran, 1992; Arendt, 1963). We can endorse Weber's formula (2005), according to which the world created its own disenchantment characterized by certain melancholy emanating from the relinquishment of magic and the loss of meaning in any action, due to the rise of capitalism. In other words, the world exists but has lost its ability to create magic. It is a hollow and empty shell devoid of charm.
In management science, research themes such as these are focusing on anticipating the violence arising from such desperation (Brodsky, 1976; Leymann, 1990) as well as on the perverse effects of manipulation or badly planned substitution for the charm of days gone-by.
Along the same lines as this political observation, Marcel Gauchet (2005) identified the disenchantment of the world as the end of a social matrix based on religion (that offered myths, rites, rhythms, cosmological references and, above all, the idea of reward in other times and settings that would match the extent of the sacrifices).
Facing such growing uncertainty, everyone seeks tirelessly to build a highly meaningful future. This personal odyssey, though hampered by the undefinability of the future, invariably culminates in a black hole, a fatal outcome for individual yet unrelated paths.
From those unconscious states stimulating fear, anguish, rage and anxiety can emerge a form of consciousness, a source of vital energy (Tolle, 2004). That expression subscribes to a certain degree to the writings of Illyia Prigogine (1997) in The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos and the New Laws of Nature, in which he explains that complex systems in a state of disequilibrium can self-organize by modifying their relations and creating new properties regulating their unstable states.
That is precisely what we wish to highlight: to what extent is the organization or person able to be re-enchanted?
In this special issue, we wish to establish a link between a micro-approach (the individual), a meso-approach (the organization) and a macro-approach (the world), those three elements being inextricably and constructively connected in a complex system.
More specifically, we are interested in the re-enchantment of the individual, the organization and the world in general, as well as in putting into perspective the layers and ramifications of these various levels. Therefore, we do not aim at studying there-enchantment in itself, but rather its impact on the various new forms of thinking and organization.
Call for papers
The scope of this call for papers is quite broad, and we remain open to various theoretical, methodological and empirical approaches. More than a fragmented vision in a given discipline, we will favour contributions based on a transversal and integrative approach combining various disciplines related to management science.
We particularly wish to encourage points of view on re-enchantment following these lines:
Components and process of re-enchantment in various forms of thinking and organizations.
Tools of re-enchantment.
Time and space.
Link between individuals and communities/organizations.
Shared beliefs and standards.
Limits of manipulation.
Myths, wisdom and rituals.
Sensemaking: listening and paying attention to individuals and organizations.
Organizations, dreams and nightmares.
About the Guest Editors
Cathy Bréda is head of the marketing and international business department at the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Chambéry, France. Her research focus is on experiential aspects of consumption and especially on the exploration of time and the transformation of consciousness applied to the consumption culture (loyalty, brand). Her PhD was on customer loyalty in the context of experiential consumption. She has taught at many conferences and published in a range of international journals on topics especially dealing with individual behaviour. She is currently Guest Editor for a book (with Rodolphe Ocler) on there-enchantment of the organizations to be published in the second semester of 2009.
Rodolphe Ocler is head of the strategy and entrepreneurship department at the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Chambéry, France. His major area of research interest is discourse analysis and post-modern approach to management. His PhD thesis was on proactive strategy. He has published in a range of international journals on topics including social responsibility, qualitative approach and discourse analysis. He is currently Guest Editor for a book on semantics and organization, to be published in the second semester of 2008 and for another (with Cathy Bréda) on the re-enchantment of the organizations.
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