Organization within Organization Studies: From Core Object to Unspecified, Awkward Relic

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


This paper explores how prevalent contemporary problematizations of organizations coincide with a widespread assessment that Organization Studies (OS) has run out of steam. This impasse, the paper argues, is largely due to the emergence of an organization-phobia that has come to seize several strands of theorizing. By attending to the wide-ranging and far-reaching history of this organization-phobia, the paper argues that OS has become increasingly incapable of speaking about its core object. I show how organizations went from being conceptualized as entities of major importance to becoming associated with all kinds of ills. Through this history, organizations as distinct entities have been rendered so problematic that they have gradually come to be removed from the center of OS. The costs of this have been rather significant. Besides undermining the grounds that gave OS intellectual credibility and legitimacy to begin with, the organization-phobia resulting from this history has been implicated in dismantling organizations, and in making OS progressively irrelevant to a wider public.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2014
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventXVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology 2014: Facing an Unequal World: Challenges for Global Sociology - Yokohama, Japan
Duration: 13 Jul 201419 Jul 2014
Conference number: 18


ConferenceXVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology 2014
Internet address

Cite this