KMS Distinguished Lecture Series

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KMS Distinguished Lecture Series

Postby E. Riley » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:12 pm

Keele Management School Distinguished Lecture
Professor Philippe Lorino, ESSEC Business School, Paris
Friday 22nd February, 2-3pm
DW0.29/30, Darwin Building

Many streams of research in organisation and management have criticised the mainstream view of organisations as information-processing structures, controlled through rational representations which convey pseudo-scientific truth. In spite of their differences, these streams of research share some key principles: their processual and exploratory view of organising as ‘becoming’, their emphasis on the key role of action and meaning-making, their interest in the agential power of technological artefacts. Pragmatist thought emerged as an anti-idealist and anti-dualist intellectual revolution at the end of 19th century in the United States, in a period characterised by a fantastic technological and industrial outburst, massive migrations, war and violence, and the processual and ecological views of human societies promoted by darwinism.

Under rather similar historical conditions, social sciences are experiencing a pragmatist revival. Pragmatism develops a radical critique of all the dualisms that hinder organisation studies: thought versus action, reality versus representation, design versus utilisation, decision versus execution, to name a few. Key pragmatist concepts, such as inquiry, semiotic mediation, habit, abduction, trans-action, will be presented and illustrated through concrete examples, and their relevance for organisation and management studies will be discussed. Do we, or should we, experience a “pragmatist turn” in organisation and management studies?

Bio - Philippe Lorino is Emeritus Distinguished Professor at ESSEC Business School and an adviser to the French Nuclear Safety Authority (organizational factors of risk). He served as a senior civil servant in the French Government and as a director in the finance department of an international manufacturing company. He draws from pragmatist philosophy and dialogism theory to study organizations as organizing processes rather than organizational structures, and more precisely as ongoing exploratory and dialogical inquiries, trying to make meaning of situated activity. He conceptualizes technologies, instruments, and management tools as semiotic, meaning-making mediations of organizing processes rather than mirror representations of situations. He applies this approach to the management of safety in high risk industries and to the management of continuous improvement. He has published chapters, articles in international top-ranking journals and the book “Pragmatism and Organization Studies” (2018, Oxford University Press).
E. Riley
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