On cognition and action in organisational life: management and the situated body in-the-world

Costea, B and Introna, L (2004) On cognition and action in organisational life: management and the situated body in-the-world. Working Paper. The Department of Organisation, Work and Technology, Lancaster University.

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This paper is an attempt to question one of the most fundamental assumptions in management theory: thought as an activity separate from ongoing action in the world. The practical manifestation of this assumption in organisational life is vast; examples vary from the exotic such as strategic planning 'think tanks' and expert systems to the mundane such as policy and procedure documents and minutes of meetings. The paper argues, using the work of existential phenomenologists such as Bergson, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Henry and others, that thought is nothing other than my always already embodied and situated doing and talking in the world. It argues that thought can not be disembodied and then re-embodied in the way assumed by, for example, the strategic management literature. The modest aim of the paper is to generate reasonable doubt about that which we have taken as self-evident in everyday life and in management discourse and practice: namely, that we-and likewise organisations-think before, while or after we act as a separate and distinct activity from action itself.

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11 Jul 2011 21:08
Last Modified:
12 Sep 2023 04:16