Organization Theory as a Postmodern Science

Robert Chia

in The Oxford Handbook of Organization Theory

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199275250
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

Organization Theory as a Postmodern Science

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  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour



This article seeks to offer a comprehensive and critical exposition of the postmodern imperative and its implications both for the understanding of organization as a theoretical object and its consequences for organization theory as an academic discipline. The central argument made here is that postmodernism must not be understood as a cynical or nihilistic tendency in contemporary thought but as a subtle and complex attempt at reworking the metaphysical bases of modern knowledge. This article begins by examining the roots of Western metaphysics and the manner in which it has shaped modern scientific thought. It then identifies the key axioms and imperatives associated with the modernist impulse. Thus, the study of dominant modes of thought, processes of individuation and identity creation, strategies of objectification and institutionalization, the development of codes of behaviour, social mannerisms, rules of law, and disciplines of knowledge form a part of this extended field of inquiry.

Keywords: postmodern imperative; organization theory; Western metaphysics; objectification; institutionalization

Article.  12042 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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