talking about organizations – a guest post by pedro monteiro
Pedro Monteiro is a PhD student in management at the University of Warwick. This guest post describes the Talking About Organizations podcast.
In a world where MBAs are among the most popular postgraduate degrees, (http://fortune.com/2014/05/31/mba-popular-masters-degree/) and management paperbacks populate airport shelves, one would expect management and organization theorists to be (at least) as popular as ancient philosophers or pivotal politicians. To be fair, names like James March and Hebert Simon or the stories of the Hawthorne Studies (http://www.economist.com/node/12510632) do enjoy a fair share of success but the origins and nature of ideas such as project planning or pay-for-performance are less known, despite being ubiquitous to modern (work) life.
The situation is a bit different among academics, probably because scholars and graduate students spend a fair amount of time learning and/or teaching in touch with the foundational aspects of our discipline. Anyone who has attended or taught a class on organizational behavior is likely to be familiar with the name of Taylor and his so-called ‘one best way’. But to what extent are we really knowledgeable of the foundations of our field? Do we really know about the core concepts in their original form? How much of it comes to us as second- and even third-hand re-elaborations of readings? With regard to this, in a recent blog post (http://www.talkingaboutorganizations.com/blog-1/chrisgreyclassics), Chris Grey noted that organization studies has become out of touch with its classical roots.
We too shared this feeling that there is something missing — a sentiment that gave birth to a podcast where we discuss the foundational writings of management and organization studies. It is intended not as a lecture or a tutorial, but as four people talking through their ideas inspired by a text, with a view for its contemporary relevance and connection with other works. Our aim is to create an accessible and (hopefully) entertaining medium offering a fresh perspective on familiar ideas to our peers and a window into management thought and organization theory to everyone else.
The experience of turning this ambition into a podcast has been at the same time overwhelming, terrifying and extremely rewarding. We are well aware that classics are well-entrenched into the fabric of our discipline (http://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-oxford-handbook-of-sociology-and-organization-studies-9780199535231), so talking about Taylor or Maslow from a deliberately blank slate may attract criticism quite easily. Yet, we realized that a conversation in these terms enables us to explore an author’s own voice in a more authentic way. We have been learning a lot and having much fun in the process — so it definitely will not stop here!
Luckily, our listeners appear to be enjoying our conversations too. In its first month, ‘Talking About Organizations’ (http://www.talkingaboutorganizations.com) received valuable feedback from senior scholars — such as Karl Weick, Chris Grey, Davide Nicolini, Paul Carlile and many others (http://www.talkingaboutorganizations.com/testimonials) — and reached numbers of listeners well beyond our initial expectations. Of course this only encourages us to continue with the project.
Our aims for the future are to reach out to a broader audience both within academia and beyond, as we keep talking about key texts and ideas in management and organization studies. In order to achieve this, we are keen to increase participation by hearing from you – our listeners, your feedback and your suggestions.
Dmitrijs Kravcenko | Pedro Monteiro | Miranda Lewis | Ralph Soule | Johan Byttner