Fear of the Formal

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Over recent decades, ‘formal’ organisations have come in for severe criticism. Not only is formal organisation represented as ill suited to the realities of the contemporary organisational world, but as a key source from which organisational dysfunctions themselves emerge. For that reason informal and spontaneous modes of organising have emerged, or better re-emerged, as preferable substitutes, because they, in contrast to the formal, allegedly allow for creativity, inventiveness, flexibility, speed, and freedom. Thus, the province of the formal is significantly devalued. In this paper, we explore what we term this ‘fear of the formal’, outlining key elements of its genealogy and exploring its contemporary manifestation in relation to recent and ongoing reforms of organisational life in a range of contexts. At the same time, we seek to indicate the continuing constitutive significance of formality and formalisation for both the securing of organisational purposes and individual freedom.
Over recent decades, ‘formal’ organisations have come in for severe criticism. Not only is formal organisation represented as ill suited to the realities of the contemporary organisational world, but as a key source from which organisational dysfunctions themselves emerge. For that reason informal and spontaneous modes of organising have emerged, or better re-emerged, as preferable substitutes, because they, in contrast to the formal, allegedly allow for creativity, inventiveness, flexibility, speed, and freedom. Thus, the province of the formal is significantly devalued. In this paper, we explore what we term this ‘fear of the formal’, outlining key elements of its genealogy and exploring its contemporary manifestation in relation to recent and ongoing reforms of organisational life in a range of contexts. At the same time, we seek to indicate the continuing constitutive significance of formality and formalisation for both the securing of organisational purposes and individual freedom.
LanguageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology
Volume3
Issue number1
Pages6-40
ISSN2325-4823
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Organisational theory
  • Formal organisation
  • Informality
  • Critique
  • Formality
  • Freedom

Cite this

@article{d036b2e686dd4d5a94a43be9ea99159b,
title = "Fear of the Formal",
abstract = "Over recent decades, ‘formal’ organisations have come in for severe criticism. Not only is formal organisation represented as ill suited to the realities of the contemporary organisational world, but as a key source from which organisational dysfunctions themselves emerge. For that reason informal and spontaneous modes of organising have emerged, or better re-emerged, as preferable substitutes, because they, in contrast to the formal, allegedly allow for creativity, inventiveness, flexibility, speed, and freedom. Thus, the province of the formal is significantly devalued. In this paper, we explore what we term this ‘fear of the formal’, outlining key elements of its genealogy and exploring its contemporary manifestation in relation to recent and ongoing reforms of organisational life in a range of contexts. At the same time, we seek to indicate the continuing constitutive significance of formality and formalisation for both the securing of organisational purposes and individual freedom.",
keywords = "Organisational theory, Formal organisation, Informality, Critique, Formality, Freedom, Organisational theory , Formal organisation, Informality, Critique, Formality, Freedom",
author = "{du Gay}, Paul and Thomas Lopdrup-Hjorth",
year = "2016",
doi = "10.1080/23254823.2016.1160658",
language = "English",
volume = "3",
pages = "6--40",
journal = "European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology",
issn = "2325-4823",
publisher = "Taylor & Francis",
number = "1",

}

Fear of the Formal. / du Gay, Paul; Lopdrup-Hjorth, Thomas.

In: European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology , Vol. 3, No. 1, 2016, p. 6-40.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Fear of the Formal

AU - du Gay,Paul

AU - Lopdrup-Hjorth,Thomas

PY - 2016

Y1 - 2016

N2 - Over recent decades, ‘formal’ organisations have come in for severe criticism. Not only is formal organisation represented as ill suited to the realities of the contemporary organisational world, but as a key source from which organisational dysfunctions themselves emerge. For that reason informal and spontaneous modes of organising have emerged, or better re-emerged, as preferable substitutes, because they, in contrast to the formal, allegedly allow for creativity, inventiveness, flexibility, speed, and freedom. Thus, the province of the formal is significantly devalued. In this paper, we explore what we term this ‘fear of the formal’, outlining key elements of its genealogy and exploring its contemporary manifestation in relation to recent and ongoing reforms of organisational life in a range of contexts. At the same time, we seek to indicate the continuing constitutive significance of formality and formalisation for both the securing of organisational purposes and individual freedom.

AB - Over recent decades, ‘formal’ organisations have come in for severe criticism. Not only is formal organisation represented as ill suited to the realities of the contemporary organisational world, but as a key source from which organisational dysfunctions themselves emerge. For that reason informal and spontaneous modes of organising have emerged, or better re-emerged, as preferable substitutes, because they, in contrast to the formal, allegedly allow for creativity, inventiveness, flexibility, speed, and freedom. Thus, the province of the formal is significantly devalued. In this paper, we explore what we term this ‘fear of the formal’, outlining key elements of its genealogy and exploring its contemporary manifestation in relation to recent and ongoing reforms of organisational life in a range of contexts. At the same time, we seek to indicate the continuing constitutive significance of formality and formalisation for both the securing of organisational purposes and individual freedom.

KW - Organisational theory

KW - Formal organisation

KW - Informality

KW - Critique

KW - Formality

KW - Freedom

KW - Organisational theory

KW - Formal organisation

KW - Informality

KW - Critique

KW - Formality

KW - Freedom

UR - http://sfx-45cbs.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/45cbs?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&url_ctx_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&ctx_enc=info:ofi/enc:UTF-8&ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&rfr_id=info:sid/sfxit.com:azlist&sfx.ignore_date_threshold=1&rft.object_id=2560000000096212&rft.object_portfolio_id=&svc.holdings=yes&svc.fulltext=yes

U2 - 10.1080/23254823.2016.1160658

DO - 10.1080/23254823.2016.1160658

M3 - Journal article

VL - 3

SP - 6

EP - 40

JO - European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology

T2 - European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology

JF - European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology

SN - 2325-4823

IS - 1

ER -