Critical Theory and Positive Organizational Scholarship

Arran Caza and Brigid Carroll

in The Oxford Handbook of Positive Organizational Scholarship

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199734610
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Critical Theory and Positive Organizational Scholarship

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  • Psychology
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Social Psychology



This chapter uses a critical theory perspective to consider previous work in positive organizational scholarship (POS). Questions raised by the critical management studies (CMS) concepts of performativity, denaturalization, and reflexivity highlight areas in which POS could benefit from a more critical approach. Specifically, this chapter calls on POS to be more explicit about its intended aims, to be careful of universalizing notions of positivity, and to consider the implications of some its seemingly innocent choices. Specific examples of how POS has done well and poorly in these areas are offered, as a first step toward an informative dialogue between POS and CMS. Such a dialogue is important, both for the likelihood of POS achieving its stated aim of creating beneficial change and for the continuing relevance of POS in the larger field of organizational studies.

Keywords: Critical management studies; performativity; reflexivity; denaturalization

Article.  10249 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Organizational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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