The Poetics of Process: Theorizing the Ineffable in Organization Studies

Karl E. Weick

in Process, Sensemaking, and Organizing

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199594566
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595721 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives on Process Organization

The Poetics of Process: Theorizing the Ineffable in Organization Studies

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This chapter argues here for the poetics of process—the imaginative process of creating forms out of “airy nothing”. Managerial work, it further notes, is akin to the work of a poet. Process thinking helps us pay attention to concrete details and the constitution of things. Through gerund forms of thinking we recover some of the process that generates nouns and gives us apparent stability. Nouns and verbs are best seen as co-evolving. Scholars who practice process theorizing accept reluctantly the ineffability underlying the stabilization of differences and reaffirm their commitment to draw attention to indications of nouns being unwound and set in motion as verbs, as well as verbs being wound into slower motion as nouns. The naming and the winding are the work of process theorizing just as they are the work of everyday life as organizing.

Keywords: process; sensemaking; organizing; imagination; poetics

Chapter.  3753 words. 

Subjects: Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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