Barbara Czarniawska is one of the most original of contemporary writers on organizations. Sceptical of scientific claims and explanations of the social world, she advocates an approach that draws on narrative, literary theory, cultural studies, and anthropology, rather than positivist social science, arguing that 'the social sciences are a system of institutionalized reflection, whereas business and public organizations represent institutionalized action'. Recognizing the spread and influence of management studies and management writing, Czarniawska poses the question of what written form this 'institutionalized reflection' might take. She reviews some key organizational texts to show how the art of persuasion (as opposed to the presentation of 'facts') can be deployed. In Writing Management, Barbara Czarniawska explores a number of the related issues and reflects on the growth and claims of management studies. She writes about the relationship between facts and metaphors, stories, and data, and how these may be represented in genres ranging from 'scientific' reports to belles lettres.
This provocative and engaging perspective on organizations and organization studies will be vital reading for anybody who is part of either.
`A stunningly original invitation for social scientists to rethink their craft and recraft their thinking. Czarniawska ponders the abstract catchwords of organization theory and rewords them into challenging new possibilities. Writing Management is vivid proof that the path to enlightenment lies in blurred genres. This is a book whose impact is subtle, deep, and tacit.'
Karl E. Weick, Rensis Likert Collegiate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Psychology at the University of Michigan
`Most theory and research on organizations is qualitative and interpretive, and case studies remain the dominant working style in the field. But canons of argumentation and presentation celebrate more quantitative styles - formal, causal, and scientific in the conventional sense. Barbara Czarniawska is a leader in the contemporary movement to bring the research and writing canons in close correspondence with how most work really goes on. Her vision is of
the narrative rather than the causal model, and of the narrative containing multiple perspectives at that. Her book will be used and valued by all those who want to study and teach about organizations in a broader, more qualitative, and more interpretive and postmodern vein.'
John W. Meyer, Professor of Sociology, Stanford University
1: Management and Organization
2: The Narrative in Organization Studies
3: Combining Narrative and Scientific Knowledge
4: Realism in the Novel and Social Sciences
5: On the Absence of Plot in Organization Studies
6: Organization Studies and Detective Stories
7: Polyphony in Organization Studies