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Organisation Theory as an Interpretive Science

Understanding Organisation as it Happens

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Sep 15, 2011
from 09:00 AM to 12:30 PM


The Pillar Room, Blackrock

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This section focuses on dynamic perspectives on organising, which have been inspired by work in the interpretive tradition. Organisation is seen as an ongoing accomplishment, as specific collective ways of seeing/being/thinking/acting that must be continually re-produced over time. A key feature of this perspective is its attempt to overcome the dualisms that are a key feature of many forms of contemporary organisation theory (e.g. dualisms between determinism/voluntarism, micro/macro, subjective/ objective, social/natural, and mind/body). The module will review the emergence of broad social constructionist perspectives on organisational life, with a view to understanding how they differ from and why they became popular to alternative, more conventional structural/deterministic approaches to the study of organisation. Weaknesses and shortcomings of these perspectives will be examined and, in particular, the twin dangers of voluntarism and determinism. We will consider approaches that attempt to steer a middle ground between these two extremes. Finally, we review some exciting contemporary developments in the area of ‘theories of social practice’, which are attempting to take issues of human embodiment, affectivity, and the role of non-human agency seriously.

Séamas Kelly is Lecturer at UCD School of Business, and former Director of the Centre for Innovation, Technology & Organisation (CITO). He holds a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from University College Cork, and a PhD in Management Studies/ Information Systems from the University of Cambridge. Séamas' primary research interests are in the area of ICT-enabled change processes (IS innovation), with a particular emphasis on the social/organisational aspects of information systems implementation and use. Key themes, here, include change management and its politics, the role of ICT in facilitating novel modes of organising, and the relationship between knowledge, technology and organisation.

Paul McGrath is a Lecturer at UCD School of Business. His primary research interests are the history in organisational studies, practice perspectives on organisational learning, organisational identity and public sector restructuring. Dr McGrath has published in the Journal of Management History, Organization, Culture and Organisation and Administration

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