Article

Organization Theory as a Critical Science? Forms of Analysis and ‘New Organizational Forms’

Hugh Willmott

in The Oxford Handbook of Organization Theory

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199275250
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199275250.003.0004

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

 Organization Theory as a Critical Science? Forms of Analysis and ‘New Organizational Forms’

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This article presents and applies insights developed by Critical Theory to offer a heuristic framework for appreciating and accommodating the existence of competing conceptions of scientific knowledge. Specifically, this article commends the contribution of Habermas's theory of cognitive interests for the development of the understanding of management and organization. This theory is illustrated by reference to established areas of organizational analysis as well as to more recent research on ‘new organizational forms’. In this article, a plurality of methodologies within organization studies is identified and reviewed, using the literature on mainstream management theory and employee participation as well as ‘new organizational forms’ to illustrate the analysis. Finally, some affinities between elements of Habermas's thinking and poststructuralist analysis advanced by Foucault and by Laclau and Mouffe are signalled.

Keywords: critical theory; Habermas's theory; organizational analysis; management theory; poststructuralist analysis

Article.  10235 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Research Methods

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