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Philosophy of Management

Volume 7, Issue 3, 2009

Green Shoots and Perennials

Stephen Sheard
Pages 43-59

Continental Philosophy and Organisational Studies
A Critique of Aspects of Postmodern thought in OS

In this paper I debate a range of unnoticed presuppositions which are used by a selection of influential thinkers in organisation studies to adapt a theory of the irreal to the social realm. I first examine a selection of ‘Postmodern’ authors and focus on the ‘Process Metaphysics’ theories (especially those influenced by Bergson) present in excerpts of contemporary OS ‘Postmodernism’. I argue that ‘Process-Metaphysics’ is the theoretical movement which underpins these aspects of Postmodernism in organisation studies. This is evinced in the writings of Chia, and Cooper which adopt a dualist view of language deployment and link this with both an anti-rationalist and anti-individualist perspective. I also examine this Postmodern thesis of Process Metaphysics in relation to its adoption of the device of the Identity Metaphor, which fastens its theories to the ‘real.’

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