Organizing is Both a Verb and a Noun: Weick Meets Whitehead

Tore Bakken, Tor Hernes

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Weick’s work on organizing and sensemaking has contributed significantly towards efforts in organization theory to explore organization as process. His discussion of the relationship between verbs and nouns in particular has served to highlight central dynamic features of processes. Weick’s conception of the verb-noun relationship is one of tension between levels of analysis. We propose, drawing upon the work of Alfred North Whitehead, to draw attention to the formation of nouns and how verbs shape nouns and vice versa. We argue that Weick’s work may be extended by looking more closely at the selection of verbs and nouns, i.e. by looking at how selection may be made on the basis of their relationality, thus allowing for their mutual transformation. We illustrate our point using the imagery provided by the ‘pseudopod’.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)1599-1616
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

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