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To have or not to be: the possessive constitution of organization

Abstract : How does an organization act? Can it be considered an actor on its own or does it need organizational members who act on its behalf? We would like to suggest our own take on the issue by suggesting a genuinely communicative approach to the issue of organizational action. Using the narratology of AJ Greimas to make apparent in talk some of process philosophy's tenets, we show how organizations act by being attributed actions. The detailed study of meetings from a community organization serves as our empirical grounding. We suggest that through the imbrication of mandates and programs of action in a logic of appropriation/attribution, the organization can effectively act while always relying on others to do so. Far from 'just talk,' we contend that in doing so, participants reconfigure their organization and make it do things. There is no need to resort to an essentialist ontology of organization to state that it acts 'itself.' We therefore reconcile the two most common views of organizational action - that of an organization acting by itself and that of agents acting on its behalf.
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Contributor : Catherine Lucas Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Friday, December 16, 2011 - 3:42:03 PM
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Nicolas Bencherki, François Cooren. To have or not to be: the possessive constitution of organization. Human Relations, SAGE Publications, 2011, 64 (12), pp.1579-1607. ⟨10.1177/0018726711424227⟩. ⟨hal-00652927⟩



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