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The 23rd EGOS Colloquium 2007  

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Postdoctoral pre-colloquium workshop

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Sub-theme 17:
Politics of rebellion. Complexity and hybridity of political behaviors in organizations



David Courpasson, EM Lyon Business School (France)

Françoise Dany, EM Lyon Business School (France)

Isabelle Huault, University Paris Dauphine (France)

Lucas Introna, Lancaster University (UK)

 Call for papers

Contemporary political approaches to RIO oscillate, to be short, between viewing the [organizational] polities as made of subjugated individuals (in a narrow critical version) or seeing empowered and entrepreneurial actors everywhere (in a narrow post-bureaucratic version). Put differently, as for instance Lukes recently reformulates it (2005), nobody has really achieved to conflate "power over" and power to" visions of organizational politics. However, as demonstrated a long time ago by classics, this coalescence between politics as forms of domination and forms of creation is the very basis of the social and institutional development of organizations. The latter need both compliance and rebellion in order to achieve and legitimize institutional change and engineering. Still, deeply rooted in a one-sided version of intra-organizational political connections, most studies are incapable to address simultaneously those two extremes of the large array of political behaviors. Similarly, political studies of organizations tend to maintain the opposition between patterns of resilience and patterns of instability, without trying to think how resilience and instability might be part of the same movement of political transformation.

This is a major flaw of organizational and political studies, especially in times where individual and collective political behaviors are increasingly mixing and combining apparently opposed forms and rationales: being both compliant and rebel, toeing the managerial line(s) and taking personal risks, developing strong identities and belonging to temporary performance-oriented sub-groups… Thinking contestation and rebellion as forms of organizational and institutional entrepreneurship is a promising way, among others, to think the hybridization of political behaviors.

In this sub-theme, we will shed light on empirical and theoretical contributions which demonstrate the renewed complexity of individual and collective political behaviors. The challenge is to rethink the "old" concept of resistance by suggesting that political approaches to organizations should further investigate how new endogenous social movements shape future political relationships within and between organizations.

In the spirit of the previous Egos colloquia, this sub-theme will provide a forum to trigger and keep up the dialogue between the great variety of sub-streams of political theory applied to the organizational realm. We strive to rebuild and rethink the long-lasting but sometimes fitfully addressed connections between political science and organization studies. We therefore invite papers for this sub-theme that:

  • explore empirically the inventiveness of individuals in "spawning" new forms of rebellion

  • explore theoretically how these new forms are questioning social movement and political theory in their capacity to grapple with the shaping of hybrid peculiar political configurations within organizations

  • conceptually advance new avenues for thinking these emergent phenomena and suggest new directions for [re]connecting political science and organization studies.

About the convenors

David Courpasson is Professor of Sociology at EM LYON Business School (France), and Associate Dean for Research. He has already convened a sub-theme at Egos, Lyon (2001) with Michael I. Reed on Bureaucracy and Enterprise, which resulted in a special issue of Organization (2004, 11/1). He has also convened a sub-theme at the Critical Management Studies Conference in Lancaster in 2002 on "Critical Perspectives on Entrepreneurship". He is co-editor of Organization Studies and member of the Editorial Review Board of Organization Science. His work on power, bureaucratic resilience and emergent forms of coercion has been published in major journals. He has recently published Soft Constraint. Liberal Organizations and Domination (Copenhagen Business School Press/Liber, 2006), and will publish Power in Organizations. The Institutionalization of Power and Practice. Sage. Foundations in Organization Science, 2006 (with Stewart Clegg and Nelson Phillips).

Françoise Dany is Professor of Human Resource Management at EM Lyon Business School (France). She is Director of the EM LYON Research Centre "Organizations, Careers and new Elites". In 2001, she co-convened the first sub-theme EGOS devoted to career studies. Some of the best papers were published in a special issue of the International Journal of Human Resource Management. Her research focuses mainly on Career Dynamics. But she has recently co-published a chapter on Critical Management Studies for the Encyclopédie des Ressources Humaines, and she has addressed the question of managers’ consent and rebellion in several forthcoming papers investigating changes in the employment relationship.

Isabelle Huault is Professor of Organization Theory at University Paris Dauphine (France). Her research focuses on institutional theory, networks, and French critical theory (such as the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu). She is the author/editor of several books and she has published essays in scholarly journals and books, regarding topics such as the social construction of financial markets, the social construction of Socially Responsible Investment in France, critical perspectives on social network analysis …
She is member of EGOS since the 19th Colloquium in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2003 and member of the Academy of Management. She has already convened a sub-theme on Critical Management Studies at AIMS, France. She is member of the Editorial Board of Society and Business Review and Finance, Contrôle, Stratégie.

Lucas D. Introna is Professor of Technology, Organization and Ethics at Lancaster University. Previously he lectured in Information Systems at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research interest is the social study of information technology and its consequences for society. In particular he is concerned with the ethics and politics of technology. He is co-editor Ethics and Information Technology and associate editor of Management Information Systems Quarterly. He is also a founding member of the International Society for Ethics and Information Technology (INSEIT) and an active member of IFIP WG 8.2, The Society for Philosophy in Contemporary World (SPCW), and a number of other academic and professional societies. He has published academic papers in journals and conference proceedings on a variety of topics such as: phenomenology, phenomenology of technology, information and power, privacy, surveillance and post-modern ethics.