Organizational necrophilia…

…a strong term indeed used by Professor Chris Grey in a recent blog post.

« Almost everything that happens every day in every country in the world is bound up with organizations. It is exciting, important and vibrant. But the academic study of organizations is not just dead but deadening. Organization studies might very well be called organizational necrophilia. »

If you are remotely interested in research you should read the shortish post by the author of A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book About Studying Organizations

The delicious irony is, of course, that academic journals specialised in Organizational Studies – i.e. organizations of one type supposed to be enlightening organizations of another type – are bogged down by self defeating processes that are supposed to enhance the quality of the service they provide.

I came across Chris’ writing as part of my recently started « detective work » into the field of OS & OD, to find the 5 or 6 things that really matter buried under tons of rubbish. This is the early part of a joint Politecnico di Milano and ESIEE Paris project which (broadly speaking) is looking at how organizations organise themselves. The hard work is being done by Ilaria Zucconi, who has recently started doing her final year Engineering Management research here in Paris.

A community of remarkably generous, incicisive and committed, « guardian angels » has sprung up to help with this endeavour. They have given much time in the last couple of weeks.  Thank you Christelle, Laure, Nathalie, Sophie, Sylvie, Daniel, Denis, Eric, Henri, Henry, Jean, Jean-Paul, John, Raphaël and, last but certainly not least, Yannick!

I think I dropped the (Jürgen Hauschildt) book I was reading back in 1991 when I came accross J.R. Galbraith’s (1982) words…so much did they make sense!

« An organisation that is designed to do something well for the millionth time is not good at doing something for the first time.  Therefore organizations that want to innovate…need two organizations, an operating organization and an innovating organization. »

So that’s one author who has interesting things to say on the subject.  How could the actor « academic journals studying organizations » take heed of that advice I wonder?

There will be more news later on our Milano-Paris project as the story unfolds…


A propos markowskikrys

I run an advanced Masters programme on project management and innovation at ESIEE
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