Special session on social movements and organizations/organizational forms at ISA 2014

Our fellow colleague Christoph Haug (U of Gothenburg) is organizing a special theme session on “Organizing change – changing organization: Social movements and the innovation of organizational forms and cultures” at the ISA World Congress of Sociology 2014 in Yokohama, Japan. You will find the Call for Papers here. Please consider submitting an abstract by September 30, 2013!

4 Comments on “Special session on social movements and organizations/organizational forms at ISA 2014”

  1. JC Spender says:

    Stunning revelation of the Academy of Management Annual Meeting theme for next year – The Power of Words. What a breakthrough for us!


    Anyone one to join me in proposing a PDW on my rhetoric-based ‘theory of the managed firm (TMF)’?

    • Tim Kuhn says:


      Count me in–this sounds like a fantastic idea! And I’m sure there are many others who’d be interested as well …

      Tim Kuhn

    • Tim Kuhn says:

      JC–this is a fantastic idea! I’d be very interested in being part of this–I think challenging existing theories of the firm with communicative/rhetorical perspectives is crucial for the development of CCO thinking. And even beyond that, it’d provide a nice site to complicate the simplistic assumptions about communication built into the call. Count me in!

      • JC Spender says:

        Brilliant! I missed the Academy the last couple of years because I was writing my book on Business Strategy: Managing Uncertainty, Opportunity, and Enterprise. Here’s the link to the OUP website http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199686544.do#.UhdC7WTF2qV. There’s a longer version of the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBh30fRkffg.

        The general idea is that economic value (the creation of which is a great puzzle to economists) arises only from the human imagination’s confrontation with Knightian uncertainty.

        As such there is little one can say about it. There cannot be a ‘theory of entrepreneurship’. It is an art, and a mightily important one at that. To assert such a theory is to misunderstand one or other term – theory or entrepreneurship.

        As Jean-Baptiste Say argued, the point is to transform the entrepreneurial idea into a firm and so gain the leverage from the division of imaginative labor (judgment). Now we have a plurality of imaginations to be harnessed to the entrepreneurial idea. And this is where rhetoric comes in. Imaginations cannot be directed by instructions, rules, incentives, etc. As Coase reminded us logic, and such formal notions, cannot explain firms, why they exist or how they operate.

        My argument is that firms are rhetorical creations (parliaments) as others whose imaginations are necessary to deal with the Knightian uncertainties that the entrepreneur cannot deal with are brought into ‘alignment’. This requires ‘communication’ beyond ‘logos alone’.

        This ‘theory of the managed firm’ is a critique of the economists’ theories of the firm in which the manager in no more than a computer, thus trivial, and the OT theories that presume firms can be designed to add economic value – they cannot.

        In addition to outlining the theory I go into considerable detail about how our notions of rhetoric can illuminate what entrepreneurial managers must do to make all of this work as a practice. It leads to the notion that a firm (a business model) is an idiosyncratic natural language that (a) identifies the uncertainties to be engaged – and which not, and (b) becomes the tool/process the entrepreneur uses to harness others to her/his purpose.

        Inter alia, this shows why rhetoric should be restored to its classic central place in the education of leaders.

        While the theory of the managed firm (i.e. one brought into being by the entrepreneur’s imagination and rhetorical practice) might be one thread of our PDW others might critique, extend. or otherwise bounce off it.


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