In the Realm of Organization: Essays for Robert Cooper

In the Realm of Organization: Essays for Robert Cooper

In the Realm of Organization: Essays for Robert Cooper

In the Realm of Organization: Essays for Robert Cooper

Synopsis

This book breaks new ground, departing from an emphasis on 'organisations' as social objects and moving towards a position of analysis which situates itself in the wider context of the late modernity. The contributors of this book acknowledge the impact of Robert Cooper on their own work and develop further his insistence that organisational analysis must be understood in terms of the rationalization of society as a whole.

Excerpt

Robert C.H. Chia

The work of Robert Cooper on systemness, information, representation and the logic of organization has substantially influenced and animated debates on the implications of modernism and postmodernism for the analysis and understanding of organizational society, and for the future direction of organization studies. This collection of essays has been brought together as a tribute to the potency and fertility of his ideas and their continuing influence on contemporary organization and institutional studies. It, therefore, represents significant acknowledgement and confirmation of the impact that Cooper’s thinking has had on the field of organizational analysis and which is reflected more specifically in the work of the various contributors to this volume who are themselves established figures in the field. the essays have been written in response to the scholarly attempts of a social thinker who persistently reminds us that the contemporary obsession with the study of organizations must be understood in broader terms as part of the inexorable rationalization and organization of society.

Cooper is essentially a social theorist with wide interests in social science and philosophy, all of which he brings to the study of organizational and institutional developments in the contemporary social world. His work is distinctive for the range of intellectual resources he draws on as well as for its analytical complexity and imagination. He is, therefore, better seen as a social theorist of modern organizing and institutionalization rather than as an academic specialist who focuses on the study of organizations. This is a deliberate strategy on his part since he recognizes that academic specialisms are themselves institutional (and institutionalized) forms that create and preserve their own professionalized objects of knowledge. the field of organizational studies is no exception to this general rule inasmuch as it defines itself precisely through the definition of organizations as its object of study. For Cooper, this means that the academic field of organization theory assumes the institutionalized form of the objects it studies. To overcome this, it is necessary to question and problematize the established discursive strategies and conventions, which Cooper has attempted to do more generally by de-objectifying organization into a diffused and generic process as opposed to a specific structure. This is more evident in his various recent essays, especially those which deal with representation and ‘cyborganization’.

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