APROS/EGOS, Sydney, Australia, December 2015

Hi folks,

Just wanted to remind you that the deadline for submissions for the CCO sub-theme at the forthcoming APROS/EGOS joint conference is May 1st. We require a 3000-4000 short paper.

The APROS website, apros.org contains all details regarding the conference. Our CCO track is sub-theme 03 Bringing space back in to the communicative constitution of organization and disorganization. Convening will be François Cooren, Paul Spee and myself.

If anyone would like to talk through an idea, please get in touch.

Best wishes,


APROS/EGOS 2015 sub-theme call for papers


2015 APROS/EGOS joint conference, Sydney, Australia, December 9–11, 2015

Call for Papers

Sub-theme 03 – Bringing space back in to the communicative constitution of organization and disorganization

This sub-theme will explore space/place from a communication as constitutive of organization (CCO) and disorganization perspective.

We call for papers that investigate how space is communicatively produced and that shed light on how space(s) matter(s) in organization and disorganization. Addressing these issues will contribute lively debate and intellectual stimulation, furthering knowledge of how communication constitutes space and trajectories, impacting and shaping organization. The sub-theme’s objective is to speak to multiple academic interests in all areas of management and organization theory.

The aim of the sub-theme is to bring space back into our study of how organization, organizing and the organized are communicatively constituted. We invite papers, both empirical and conceptual, that explore the inter-relationships of space and communication. We welcome diverse ontological positions, and mainstream and non-traditional epistemological methodologies.

We seek papers that offer interesting ideas that hold the potential to develop our knowledge and understanding of communication and space. As this is an emerging area of study, we recognize the range of possible topics and the scope of positions to adopt is broad.

For further conference details and an extended call, including suggested topic areas, see


Questions regarding this call can be sent to any of the stream conveners: Alex Wright François Cooren or Paul Spee

alex.wright@open.ac.uk    f.cooren@umontreal.ca    p.spee@business.uq.edu.au

Submit 600 words abstracts to Paul Spee p.spee@business.uq.edu.au by Friday May 1st 2015. Decisions announced, Friday June 12th 2015.
Full papers uploaded by Monday October 12th 2015.



Just published online by Organization journal

Just published online by Organization journal: Organizational routines as embodied performatives: A communication as constitutive of organization perspective


Inquiring into how routines unfold increases our understanding of organization. This article critiques current positionings of organizational routines as practices and offers an alternative framing based on routines as communicatively constituted performatives. Two central arguments are advanced. First, present constructions of routines as comprising structurationist interpretations of Latour’s ostensive and performative are challenged and an alternative is advanced that draws from an Austinian understanding of performative as constitutive of organization. Second, bodies are brought into routines research as they are conceptualized as embodied accomplishments, extending existing research that typically neglects the body. An alternative definition of organizational routines is offered that constructs them as citational patterns of embodied conversation and textual dialectics that performatively co-orient toward an object.

Full text versions are available via the following url, or you can simply email me and I will forward you a copy.


Any comments/thought/feedback gratefully accepted.



A date for your 2015 diaries

We’ve recently had confirmation that our proposal for a CCO track at the 2015 APROS/EGOS conference has been accepted!

Drawing on the overall theme of the conference, the track will be “Bringing space back in to the communicative constitution of organization and disorganization” and will be convened by François Cooren, Paul Spee, Katharina Hohmann and myself.

Now the good news, the conference will be held at University of Technology (UTS) Business School, Sydney, Australia, December 9-11th, 2015.  For all of us in the northern hemisphere currently ‘enjoying’ our December weather, I am assured that December in Sydney is a much more pleasurable experience.

I’ll post a full track call in the New Year that will have details of submission deadlines, etc.  I’m informed that the APROS website will have details of the conference early in 2014.

Seasons greetings to all and best wishes for 2014,




Is anyone interested in putting in a submission to convene a CCO-related track at the APROS/EGOS conference scheduled for December 2015?  Details about the track call can be found on the EGOS website.

The broad theme is Space, and I think there are a number of potential avenues where CCO and space could be usefully integrated: how space is communicatively constructed; space as text; virtual spaces; conversationally constituted space; space and place; organizing space, plus others.

I convened a track at the last APROS conference in February of this year, so have some experience in how this conference operates.

If you are interested drop me an email or seek me out at EGOS next month and we can have a chat about it.


Can CCO and power be separated?

Can CCO be separated from power?  What I mean by this is for communication to be constitutive must it always be power-infused?  Can CCO be accomplished without any power have been exercised?

I suppose it depends on how power is conceptualised.  Broadly speaking, power can be understood in one of two ways.  As ‘power over’ and as ‘power to’.  ‘Power over’ refers to power as commodity, as possession and manifests in descriptions that locate power as ‘belonging’ to certain roles and individuals – CEOs are commonly seen as having power.  ‘Power over’ power is often associated with acts that get people to do what they otherwise would not want to do – so it tends to have negative connotations.  This is by far the most common conceptualization of power, but it is one that has been challenged.

‘Power to,’ by contrast, frames power as generative, as productive, it posits power as relational rather than as a commodity suggesting that power is something that is exercised in unfolding practice.  ‘Power to’ acts can be traced in all  organizing acts, it is claimed, and can be exercised by anyone in an organization.  This framing of power constructs it as something inherent in CCO.  Indeed, it suggests CCO would not be possible without power being exercised.  This implies it would fruitful for CCO researchers to investigate how power is exercised in CCO contexts, and yet, apart from the work of Timothy Kuhn, I’m not aware that CCO scholars have significantly engaged with power.  Why is this, I wonder?  Is it because CCO scholars have a ‘power over’ understanding of power?  Or, simply that it’s not deemed to be important to how CCO emerges?

Your comments and views on this are welcomed.


Does communication require authorization?

An area that I think remains to be explored in CCO research is the role of constitutive communication and authorization.  All communication has an author, even nonhuman communication must have had at some point a creator or an instigator (not necessarily a human one, though).  Some forms of communication have multiple authors, and in organizational worlds, communication can have corporate authorship.

Sometimes the author disappears and the signifying author is no longer felt to be necessary for the communication to be perceived as legitimate.  Foucault identifies commercial contract documents as communicative texts that no longer have or need a specific author for their communication to be accepted as authoritative.

Does authorization matter?  I think it does.  I think an area of fruitful research could be how authorization claims are made by the originating authors, and how the audience for communicative moves assigns authority.  Further, in research I’m currently working on I’ve found instances when authors deny their authorship.

I think authorization is significant for CCO research because it helps us understand how particular communication becomes accepted as legitimate and verisimilitudinous.  There are blurred boundaries between authorization and power, but though related they are different – in my next post I will discuss how power is exercised through constitutive communication.

We make authorization claims in many ways; as academics, we often attach our qualifications and our institutional affiliations to the communications we create when we think such additions increase the authority of what we say.  Managers too, author their communications and claim authorization through a variety of means; through the specific language used; the medium chosen to communicate; and, the style of communicative acts.  While we may all recognize authority claims in forceful verbal communication, equally possible is that strong words softly spoken can also constitute a claim to authority.

While authority is almost always claimed, it can also be assigned.  This occurs when audiences accept the symbolic authorization claims attached to communication and thereby actively engage in constituting communication as authoritative.  Assigning authorization acknowledges the role of the audience in authorizing.  Claims become accepted and authorization is assigned when audiences are convinced of the legitimacy of authorized communication.

Communication that is accepted as authoritative is more likely to be constitutive than that where authority is rejected.  Foucault’s message that some texts do not need an author is no doubt right, but what he doesn’t acknowledge is that those same texts, commercial contract documents in his example, must still claim and have assigned authorization and do so through their conformance to genre expectations.  A contract must look like a contract for it to be taken seriously.  If a contract text is presented as a blog, for example, it would not be worth the (figurative) paper it is written on.  CCO research needs to take issues around authorship, authority and authorization seriously, as through this we can deepen our understanding over why some communication is constitutive while some isn’t.

Dr. Alex Wright

CCO and Performativity

As this seems to be the time of the year when we begin thinking ahead to next summer’s conferences, I thought I would make a plea for a track I am co-convening at next year’s EGOS conference in Montreal. I do not wish to put our track on performativity forward as a rival to the CCO track that colleagues are involved with, indeed, I think that will be an excellent track and intend submitting a paper myself. I just want to make you aware that Sub-Theme 53: Organizing performativity: Bridging theory and practice within and across organizations may also be a home for research that delves deeper into how communication constitutes organization from a performativity perspective.

I think CCO and performativity have much in common, but I also think there are different emphases that would be fruitful to explore; like performativity’s concern with how formal theories and models influence and shape activity. Performativity’s original exposition was by the philosopher J. L. Austin, who’s primary concern was with how certain utterances create reality; such as, during the naming ceremony of a ship, when the utterance “I name this ship ___” is spoken alongside the smashing of a bottle on the ship’s hull. The ship is named through words spoken and an act undertaken. Incidently, in the UK the naming of a ship can only be carried out by a females – males are not allowed to name ships, I don’t know why this is, or if it is the same in other countries?

Austin distinguished the performative nature of language from those utterances that do not create but merely describe; such as the expression “it is raining” – a French colleague of mine believes that saying “it is raining” in the UK does indeed cause rain to fall, but I think that says more about the weather in UK than any serious challenge to the performativity thesis.

I feel there is a good debate to be had exploring the commanilities and differences between CCO and performativity that would benefit both communities. Anyhow, please feel free to contact me for an early discussion if you are interested in putting a paper to our track (Alex.Wright@open.ac.uk). And if not, I hope to meet as many of you as possible in the track that Dennis, Francois and Timothy will run.