‘It Sends a Cold Shiver down My Spine’: Ghostly Interruptions to Strategy Implementation

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Abstrakt

This paper offers new theoretical and empirical understanding of interruptions to strategy implementation by drawing attention to their ghostly nature. The paper proposes a theoretical framework for thinking about the ghostly by combining Freud’s concept of the uncanny with theorizing in cultural geography on collapses of linear time as well as with Avery Gordon’s sociological work on ghostly matters. Empirically, the paper examines the ghostly nature of strategy interruptions through a detailed analysis of conversations between middle managers at a strategy seminar in a Danish local government. I portray the uncanny moments where the familiar account of organizational purposes is not so self-evident anymore, but all of a sudden appears rather disturbing. I show how middle managers envision other, darker futures and express the feeling that something else, something different from before, must be done, although they cannot say exactly what. Going beyond previous accounts of strategy interruption, for example as deliberate resistance by middle managers, the paper contributes with new insight into the moments where the neat ordering of organizational realities performed by corporate strategies breaks down and middle managers come into contact with the broader social and political stakes of their work.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftOrganization Studies
Vol/bind37
Udgave nummer11
Sider (fra-til)1641-1659
Antal sider19
ISSN0170-8406
DOI
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2016

Emneord

  • Avery Gordon
  • Ghostly moments
  • Local government
  • Middle management
  • Organizational time
  • Spectral turn
  • Strategy
  • The Uncanny

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