Who’s Afraid of Organization? Concepts, Process and Identity Thinking

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This article argues that we should not abandon the noun ‘organization’ in favour of the verb ‘organizing’ in order to capture processes of change, flow and movement, but instead explore how such processes reveal themselves when the concept of organization diverges from the objects it is supposed to encapsulate. Here I make use of Adorno’s critique of identity thinking in order to show how the experience of organizational phenomena remains trapped within a contradiction: concepts are needed to describe objects even though concepts can never fully exhaust the objects they describe. However, I maintain that it is precisely this discrepancy between concepts and objects that provides us the opportunity to experience the elusive state of organizations and their processual nature. Consequently, this article shows how organizational phenomena are always more complex, temporal and dynamic than what the concept of organization permits us to grasp.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophy of Management
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)303-319
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Published online: 26. October 2017


  • Process theory
  • Verb-noun
  • Identity thinking
  • Concepts
  • Negative dialectics
  • Organization

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