Organizational Brilliance: On Blinding Visions in Organizations

Sverre Spoelstra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Purpose: Seeing, one might say, is everything between black blindness and white blindness: between not seeing because of the absence of light and not seeing because of the blinding quality of light; between seeing nothing and "seeing" only that which produces vision (usually the sun or God). Within organizational literature, organizations have often been linked to black blindness. The purpose of this paper is to explore the idea of organizations as places of white blindness. Design/methodology/approach: This paper finds its inspiration in Saramago's novel Blindness but it does not offer an analysis or interpretation of the novel.It seeks an understanding of contemporary organizational phenomena by freely drawing upon some of Saramago's literary achievements. Findings: Black blindness, e.g. the absence of vision through an extreme division of labour, is an important phenomenon in organizations but white blindness is getting more prevalent. Three causes of white blindness are identified and briefly discussed: the brilliant leader, the brilliant product and the brilliant employee. Originality/value: The paper contributes to the literature on vision in and outside of organizations and crosses boundaries between a variety of disciplines, most notably leadership studies, consumer behaviour, Human Resource Management, philosophy and theology.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Organizational Change Management
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)373-385
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Blindness
  • Leadership
  • Literature
  • Organizational structures
  • Visual perception

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