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Article
Publication date: 7 March 2016

Giovanna Michelon, Silvia Pilonato, Federica Ricceri and Robin W Roberts

The purpose of this paper is threefold. First, it examines nuances that specific camouflaging perspectives provide to enhance traditional and widely adopted theories in…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is threefold. First, it examines nuances that specific camouflaging perspectives provide to enhance traditional and widely adopted theories in social and environmental accounting. Second, within research on camouflaging, the paper stimulates multidisciplinarity and cross-fertilization by presenting recent developments in organizational theory that hold promise for enhancing our understanding of camouflaging. Finally, it discusses how the research contributions published in this special issue help advance the notion of corporate camouflaging.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper makes use of an extensive literature review and discusses research implications related with the choice of theoretical framework.

Findings

The idea of camouflaging may provide narrower and more refined perspective(s) that can help researchers delve deeper into their topic of interest and thereby support potentially substantive contributions to the field.

Originality/value

The paper offers suggestions for future social and environmental accounting research that adopts the concepts of organized hypocrisy, organizational façades and functional stupidity into the study of organizations.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 25 July 2019

Howard Nothhaft and Hanna Stensson

The purpose of this paper is to explain the “evaluation deadlock” or “stasis” diagnosed by many authors. The explanation relies on a thought experiment.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explain the “evaluation deadlock” or “stasis” diagnosed by many authors. The explanation relies on a thought experiment.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is conceptual and builds on a thought experiment inspired by qualitative research such as interviews with communication consultants in Sweden. It makes use of principal–agent theory and Akerlof’s theory of lemon markets.

Findings

A plausible explanation for the evaluation stasis requires consideration of practitioners’ self-interest as businesspeople. The deadlock is explained by an anomaly in practitioner populations and passive or active but covert resistance. If the long-time neglect of measurement and evaluation has led to expectation inflation and overpromising, even well-performing actors might shy away from rigorous measurement and evaluation practices in their own mandates, since they fear being measured against promotional, not realistic standards. At the same time, on the level of industry discourse, these practitioners would still advocate for measurement and evaluation in principle, so as to avoid the suspicion of underperformance.

Research limitations/implications

The paper suggests an explanation for further empirical investigation. It does not attempt to demonstrate anything else than that the suggestion is plausible and that it warrants further investigation.

Practical implications

The scientific community engaged in the measurement and evaluation debate appears puzzled by the discrepancy between practitioners’ words and actions. The authors hope that the paper contributes to a more realistic and thus more constructive dialogue between practitioners and academics in the measurement and evaluation debate.

Originality/value

Inspired by Alvesson and Spicer’s concept of functional stupidity, the paper argues that attempts to explain the evaluation stasis have been marked by circumspection and narrowness. At present, explanations for the evaluation stasis tend to focus on lack of knowledge or inadequate systems or frameworks. The paper offers a more comprehensive explanation.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

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Article
Publication date: 4 April 2016

Jesper Falkheimer, Mats Heide, Charlotte Simonsson, Ansgar Zerfass and Piet Verhoeven

The purpose of this paper is to examine and analyze the prevailing form of rationality that governs the challenges, goals and roles of communication professionals. The…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine and analyze the prevailing form of rationality that governs the challenges, goals and roles of communication professionals. The authors will also explore alternative forms of rationality and discuss what these would imply.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on survey results from The European Communication Monitor (ECM) and qualitative interviews with communication managers in Sweden. First, the authors present the ECM data and the Swedish interview material, i.e. the authors depict the practitioners’ perceptions of what they understand as important work tasks and roles. The interviews focus on the actual practices of linking communication goals to business goals. Second, the results are challenged from a reflexive perspective, using theories from the paradox turn and questioning the “taken-for-granted thinking” in corporate communications.

Findings

The ECM data show that the main challenge in practice is “linking business strategy and communication.” The Swedish respondents stand out when it comes to “building and maintaining trust” since this is considered to be almost as important. The qualitative interview study strengthens the results in the ECM. The interviewees seem to do their work according to the traditional management agenda – i.e. they break down overall business goals and translate these to measurable communication goals. The results are reflected upon using paradox theory. Two paradoxes are discussed: between managerialism and professionalism, and strategic generalists and operational specialists.

Research limitations/implications

The study is based on survey data that have been collected through a convenience sample, and the interview study is a pilot study.

Practical implications

The paper focuses conflicts between normative practitioner ideals and reality, and helps practitioners to reflect upon mainstream thinking.

Originality/value

Based on the empirical findings in the ECM, the interviews and the theoretical framework, the authors conclude that if the idea of The Communicative Organization is to be fruitfully realized, it is necessary to depart from a multi-dimensional rationality and question ideas that are taken for granted. The use of paradox theory and concepts such as functional stupidity is rather original in corporate communication research. Additional research could further explore paradoxes in order to spark dialogue, which may undermine one-dimensional thinking and functional stupidity.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

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Book part
Publication date: 30 December 2016

David M. Boje

Abstract

Details

Tribal Wisdom for Business Ethics
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-288-0

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Book part
Publication date: 10 December 2018

David M. Boje

We live in organizations addicted to problematic narratives. My purpose is to develop intelligent action understandings of how to care for organizations addicted to…

Abstract

We live in organizations addicted to problematic narratives. My purpose is to develop intelligent action understandings of how to care for organizations addicted to problematic elevator pitch narratives and one-sided stories by mapping quantum storytelling “Tamara-Land” forces ignored beneath and between them both (Boje, 1995). Tamara-land is the everyday activity of people in organizations chasing stories spatially distributed in different rooms, hallways, buildings that are temporally simultaneous, with materialities that are agential to the telling. For example, in this conference, the immersive theater into Tamara-Land is done in Steel Case open office spaces, as audience decides which actors to follow as they exit each scene. You cannot chase them all, and cannot be everywhere at once in this spacetimemattering. Quantum storytelling does not search for simple word or text messaging tag lines to explain open offices. Quantum storytelling uncovers deep behavior patterns of the spacetimemattering. “Quantum storytelling includes nondiscursive and behavioral aspects embodied in the storyteller’s life, in their living story behavioral-performative agentiality” (Boje, 1995, p. 114) and in nonhuman’s materialism featured in Karen Barad’s (2007) and Anete Strand’s material storytelling work. Quantum storytelling of Tamara-Land mapping at macro scale traces the interplay of people, planet, and profit (aka Triple Bottom Line, 3BL) but does not reduce it to imagined profitability metrics. I will critique 3BL for not proposing any method to measure people and planet first and by default reducing all dimensions to just bottom line profit measures. The consequence is that a runaway, maximizing fractal, known in socioeconomic work as the Taylor–Fayol–Weber rationality or “TFW virus” (Worley, Zardet, Bonnet, & Savall, 2015, pp. 23–24; Savall& Peron, 2015), attains functional structuralism (Alvesson & Spicer, 2012). In quantum storytelling fractal work, it’s “TFW fractal” profiteering that is destroying both planet and people, at an ever-accelerating rate (Boje & Henderson, 2014; Boje, 2015; Henderson & Boje, 2015). My contribution is to propose a different fractal pattern, the Mandelbrot fractal that actually sets limits on runaway fractal appetite. Both the 3BL and the VA techno-digital fractal narrative spiral more and more materials, energy, and people into the risk of an addictive TFW virus pattern, without limit.

Details

The Emerald Handbook of Quantum Storytelling Consulting
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-671-0

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Article
Publication date: 20 January 2022

Somayeh Ahmadzadeh, Ali Safari and Hadi Teimouri

Even the smartest organizations believe that “good enough is never good enough.” Highly intelligent people may be able to do important things individually; still, it is…

Abstract

Purpose

Even the smartest organizations believe that “good enough is never good enough.” Highly intelligent people may be able to do important things individually; still, it is their accumulated brainpower that allows them to do great things. Collective intelligence means when a group of people do things that seem intelligent. On the other hand, when intelligent people are gathered or hired in an organization, they tend toward collective stupidity and slow-wittedness. Therefore, the purpose of the present study is to develop a model of the factors affecting and affected by collective stupidity.

Design/methodology/approach

This study was conducted using a mixed-method approach and in two phases: qualitative and quantitative. First, in the qualitative phase and in order to achieve new findings, semi-structured interviews with experts from 12 knowledge-based companies were used to design a conceptual model and formulate the hypotheses. At the end of the qualitative phase, the conceptual model and relationships between variables were drawn. Then, in the quantitative phase, by running structural equation modeling, the antecedents and consequences of collective stupidity derived from the qualitative phase findings were analyzed and the research hypotheses were tested in 110 industrial knowledge-based companies.

Findings

The results of the qualitative phase revealed that individual, group and organizational factors were the antecedents of collective stupidity, with individual factors having three dimensions, collective ones including two dimensions and organizational ones focusing on the characteristics of managers/companies. It was also found that collective stupidity had individual consequences in three dimensions and organizational consequences in five dimensions; and one-sidedness, non-strategic thinking, organizational injustice and weakness in the management of key personnel were extracted as mediators. The results of the quantitative phase confirmed the research model and showed that individual factors and organizational consequences had the lowest (0.037) and highest (1.084) effect sizes on collective stupidity, respectively.

Research limitations/implications

The study of the phenomenon in a particular context and the difficulty of generalizing the findings to other situations, the small size of the study population due to the disproportionate number of experts to the total staff in the qualitative phase, and the limited participation of experts due to the negative nature of the issue in the quantitative phase. Taking advantage of the diversity of experts' mental abilities through equipping the organization with tools for recognizing collective stupidity, improving collective decision-making, enhancing the efficiency of think tanks and organizational prosperity in the age of knowledge economy, preventing damage to the body of knowledge of the company and reducing social loafing can be the main operational implications of this study.

Originality/value

Using a mixed-method approach for analyzing the antecedents and consequences of collective stupidity in this study and examining such a phenomenon in a knowledge-based organizational context and its implementation in a developing country can be among the innovations of the present research. By following a few studies conducted in this field in addition to the organizational pathology of the phenomenon using a fundamental method, this study obtained deep results on how to make the maximum use of experts’ capacities. This was to the extent that in all of the three sections, i.e. the antecedents and consequences of collective stupidity, a new factor emerged.

Details

Management Decision, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 28 June 2019

Joost (Johannes) Platje, Markus Will and Ynte K. Van Dam

Management education trainers are increasingly called upon to train students to devise interventions for sustainable development in business settings. Due to the dominant…

Abstract

Purpose

Management education trainers are increasingly called upon to train students to devise interventions for sustainable development in business settings. Due to the dominant reductionist paradigm, these interventions may lead to unwanted side effects. Teaching students about unacknowledged feedback loops in complex systems should prevent them from choosing “the most obvious” intervention without considering unwanted side effects.The current study aims to report the effects of teaching a systems perspective, applied to transport systems, on students’ opinions and expressed paradigms. The following questions are addressed: Do students adhere to the techno-centric paradigm, believing technology, innovation and growth can solve all types of threats for sustainable development, while neglecting low probability, high impact events? Are paradigms held by students coherent? Can teaching lead to a change in opinions and paradigms held by students?

Design/methodology/approach

Measures for several systems concepts (i.e. functional stupidity, paradigms and fragility) are taken across a wide sample of university students. Posttests of some key items are taken for a subsample that followed a sustainability and systems perspective in a course on transport economics.

Findings

A large share of students think that technology can solve different types of problems in sustainable development (a kind of weak sustainability), but their paradigms tend to be a mix of conflicting opinions. Though student opinions on topics that were explicitly treated in the course have changed, neither a wider paradigm shift nor significantly more coherent paradigms can be confirmed.

Originality/value

The results show that even though students can be taught about the unwanted side effects and limitations on specific techno-fix interventions, this does not automatically translate into a critical mind-set toward techno-fixing in general.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 20 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 9 April 2018

Jianhua Xiao, Liu Cao and Lufang Zhang

The purpose of this paper is to compare the contribution of organizational intelligence quotient (OIQ) and organizational emotional quotient (OEQ) for intelligent organizations.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to compare the contribution of organizational intelligence quotient (OIQ) and organizational emotional quotient (OEQ) for intelligent organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper develops a framework of OIQ and OEQ, based on the structure of intellectual capital (intellectual capital). Then, a specific questionnaire is designed and sent to ten national research institutes in China. Data from nine of them are analyzed as case study samples.

Findings

Data show that intelligent organizations are related with high OIQ as well as high OEQ. In the case of average-intelligent organizations, even if around high-IQ employees, “collective stupidity” caused by the failure of synergy of structural capital is the major gap to be a smart organization, just like a football team grouped by brilliant players always loses due to the dearth of coordination. OEQ, or the synergy between structural capital and human capital, is the critical point to avoid collective stupidity for organizations with intelligent employees.

Research limitations/implications

Research results are based on case study in a particular country. Measurement tools for OIQ and OEQ are in bound of the IC concept.

Practical implications

The paper helps organizations to find out the critical problems causing collective stupidity in a changing environment.

Originality/value

Analogic to human beings’ intelligence, this paper develops a frame of OIQ and OEQ, and compares their contribution to intelligent organization building in a changing environment.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 31 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Rewriting Leadership with Narrative Intelligence: How Leaders Can Thrive in Complex, Confusing and Contradictory Times
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-776-4

Abstract

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

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