Ontology in organization and management studies: a critical realist perspective

Fleetwood, Steve (2005) Ontology in organization and management studies: a critical realist perspective. Working Paper. The Department of Organisation, Work and Technology, Lancaster University.

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Organization Studies has recently been captured by a cultural, linguistic, poststructural or postmodern turn, the impetus for which has come from the ontological turn from a (naïve) realist ontology to a socially constructed ontology. Much of the current ontological discussion is, however, characterised by ambiguity which makes it difficult to get to the bottom of ontological claims and, of course, to locate the source of any ontological errors. This paper uses a critical realist perspective to highlight the ambiguity and error encouraged by postmodernism’s commitment to a socially constructed ontology. Critical realism’s ontology is offered as a more fruitful alternative. Labour process theory, specifically agency and structure to demonstrate (i) critical realism is not damaged by many common postmodern criticisms of agency and structure and (ii) once interpreted through the prism of critical realism, there is no need to abandon this powerful analytical device.

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11 Jul 2011 21:10
Last Modified:
22 Sep 2023 01:16