Writing Organization Atmospherically

Lydia Jørgensen

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearch


    Following the call for abstracts for SCOS2020 on ‘Difference’, this paper wants to address ways to articulate organization differently. By engaging with the notion of organizational atmosphere, understanding atmosphere as our everyday embodied, aesthetic, affective and spatial experiences, an organizational phenomena is presented that eludes a dualist paradigm. Taking an atmospheric approach to organizations thereby pays attention to how organization materializes through bodies, architecture and movement contributing to a larger interest in social and cultural theory on the return to the senses (see Reckwitz), and reflect discussions in organizational aesthetics where learning about organization attends to an aesthetic and embodied sensibility (see Strati). The aim of the paper is to contribute to the methodological perspective on investigating organizational atmosphere, whereby engaging with the senses and embodiment in the knowledge production in social sciences and organizational studies. The case of organizational atmospheres, defined as a fluid, relational ontology, stresses a need to develop different ways of accounting for relational, non-representational and affective phenomena, that cannot sufficiently be grasped within a dualist framework and traditional styles of writing. Hereby reflecting the points made in e.g. the special issue of Management Learning on Writing Differently challenging the traditional academic norms of writing as a way to bring about alternative conversations and knowledge on organization. Accordingly, the main argument in this paper is the relevance of developing ways of writing organization differently that may unfold the sensory experience and thereby present an alternate approach to organization. Yet, the paper wants to extend the focus of writing organization differently by particularly addressing the use of visualizations and images when using organizational atmospheres as a reference point. Amongst others acknowledging e.g. the Routledge Companion to Visual Organization invitation for researchers to take images seriously in the study of organization, since they provide a multisensory impact that can create new knowledge beyond the linguistic realm. Based on previous field work on organizational atmosphere in two organizations, the paper methodologically aims to experiment with writing organization as a visual assemblage, whereby constituting a different way of articulating organizational insights. Considering images as providing the potential of a multisensory knowing, the paper wants to experimentally investigate and approach organizational atmosphere by drawing on inspiration from the Situationist Internationals’ work with ‘detournement’ and image experimentation. The detournement technique is not so much seen as a subversive appropriation of existing images, but rather as performative ‘turning’ of dominant visual norms of representation as well as a way to unfold affective-sensory ways of knowledge creation that resonate the relationality and ambiguity of a phenomena like organizational atmosphere. As such the visual assemblage is an attempt to engage with the development of a sensory literacy and enacting alternate social realities through writing organization atmospherically.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2021
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2021
    EventThe 38th Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism: SCOS 2021: Difference - Copenhagen Business School, København, Denmark
    Duration: 6 Jul 20219 Jul 2021
    Conference number: 38


    ConferenceThe 38th Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism
    LocationCopenhagen Business School
    OtherThe conference 2020 was cancelled due to virus precautions. The 2021 conference was held in Copenhagen. Standing Conference on Organisational Symbolism at Copenhagen Business School, 6-9 July 2020.

    Cite this