Barbara Czarniawska, renowned theorist and author, illustrates how organization theory has changed over the past decade, shifting focus from structures to processes, from organizations to organizing. In this book, she offers a processual view of organizing as it has emerged, and develops a theory based on multiple field studies and recent theoretical insights. The author argues that the constructionist perspective, inherent in much of current social science reasoning, helped organization theorists to realize that everything flows, even if change itself can become stable.Referring to a variety of field studies conducted in several countries and cultures, she demonstrates that the global economy and its ally, information technology, have paved the way for organizing across corporate and national borders. Mergers and acquisitions are now mundane events, and markets have become more virtual than ever, even as ideas travel across the world, and are translated into local practices. Provocative in its questioning of established truths in the field of organizational studies, this book will challenge and stimulate organizational theoreticians and organizational practitioners.
It will also prove lively reading for academics from a range of backgrounds, including sociology, business administration, and the political sciences.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'This statement by a, if not the, leading organization scholar of our time provides a provocative, insightful synthesis of 40 years of Czarniawska's work with that of other organization scholars, as well as philosophers, feminists, and intellectuals of other stripes. Czarniawska calls for studying the practices of organizing rather than framing organizations as fixed entities and for studying how they are produced - or performed - rather than how they ideally work. If followed, her advice will improve organization studies and help us educate students about the many paradoxes that characterize organizational life.'- Patricia Yancey Martin, Florida State University, US'Barbara Czarniawska's signature style has always been one of stunning insights, linked together provocatively, with pragmatic and theoretical implications. This book takes the insights, links, and pragmatics to an even more profound level with the argument that managers spend their time enacting and being bound by action nets. The resulting theory of organizing is remarkable for the language it provides, the examples that ground the language, and the way in which the discussion ties together Czarniawska's previous work. Process views of organizations have always been a hard sell. Not this time. With the help of this book we can finally appreciate just how impermanent an organization can be and how lasting organizing is.'- Karl E. Weick, University of Michigan, US'Barbara Czarniawska rightly has the reputation of being one of the most original commentators on modern organizational life - and this book will only add to that. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of contemporary studies of organizing, she offers a multitude of insightful and often provocative thoughts and observations on the organizational condition. Ponder on it, argue with it but also admire the ways in which she gets to the issues of real significance.'- Anthony Hopwood, Former Dean, Said Business School, Oxford, UK'Barbara Czarniawska pulls together a wide range of her creative studies. Her focus - set against traditional structural theories of organizations - is on the actual activities and interpretations of activities of people living in and managing organizations. And reflexively, on the interpretive process of those who study organizations. The book will be of special interest to those looking at organizations as networks of actions, events, and especially interpretations.'- John W. Meyer, Stanford University, US