It is a great privilege to have the occasion to offer a laudatio in order to honour Barbara Czarniawka's achievements right
here in the middle of her EGOs friends and in the city of Goteborg for which she feels so much attachments (and I am awfully
sorry not to be able to deliver this laudatio in person, thanks to my spokesperson for incarnating my voice).
In spite of the fact that Barbara is at the heart of EGOS, there is nobody less egotistic than her: she shares her insight,
advices, jokes, experience and pictures with everyone who cares to ask her. EGOS for her is obviously a very altruistic field
of research. The best proof is that she shared with me, who was completely ignorant of the field of organization science,
her passion for this domain to the point that I had to become Dean of research of my school in order to follow her
lead and understand what the hell an organisation is... So thanks Barbara, if I spend long hours in tedious and tense meetings,
managing people -and especially the worst people to manage, I mean academics it is largely thanks to you! And also
thanks to you that I hold a degree in economics (a honorary one, that is) from this university (Barbara is very generous also
in handling honorary degrees...).
But Barbara's generosity has many other much more important consequences: she has marvelous students that she has been able
to train in the most exacting feel for the details of the situation and of the way this situation is narrated a key
feature, as you all know, of her understanding of the organising action nets. I know that first hand since I had twice the
occasion to work with her students here in Goteborg and every time I got more and more interested in this open and loose field
of organization research.
But of course her main generosity goes to the organisations she studies, and this is very rare. Instead of using the critical
stand that was so dominant at the time of her formation or taking the management posture that was going to dominate the practitioners,
Barbara invented what could be called a form of critical generosity (and no doubt about that: critical, even acerbic, she
can be impossible to ignore the devastating Polish humour in her style...), but it is not a critique of institution
On the contrary, she has a refreshing passion for everything studied, from corporations to newsrooms, from labor shop floors
to city planning offices. It is hard to see what she would not find interesting to study: wherever there is an action net,
Barbara is as alert as a pack of hunting dogs, barking, sniffing, licking and running...