Novel Thought: Towards a Literary Study of Organization

Timon Beyes*, Jana Costas, Günther Ortmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Novels espouse an epistemological freedom that is beyond even experimental forms of scholarly research and writing. Precisely this freedom makes novels so conducive to thought. Their enduring presence in organization studies demonstrates literary fiction’s power of conveying how things are, might be, or can be thought of; of inventing new ways of seeing; of enabling different vocabularies as well as staging and transmitting specific affects. In this paper, we trace the mutual ‘contamination’ between the novel and organization studies as well as discuss different modes of engaging prose fiction, drawing on Rancière’s ethical, representative and aesthetic regimes of art. With a special nod to Kafka’s novels and stories and also McCarthy’s Satin Island, we outline the contours of a literary study of organization and introduce the special themed section on ‘The Novel and Organization Studies’.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1787-1803
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Published online: 14. October 2019


  • Fiction
  • Kafka
  • literature
  • McCarthy
  • Organization theory
  • Organization
  • Rancière
  • The novel

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