Dark Organizational Theory

Brown, Steven D. and Reavey, Paula (2017). Dark Organizational Theory. Journal of Cultural Economy, 10(3) pp. 280–295.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17530350.2017.1298533

Abstract

Institutions and organizations are defined by competing sociomaterial logics. Divergence between the ‘visible’ and the ‘hidden’ side of organization invites a critical work of ‘unveiling’. But such critique does not enable understanding of how coherency is accomplished between different modes of reason. This is performed in emergent third spaces, where parasitic relations are enacted. During moments of ‘crisis’ or ‘breach’, contradictions are both acknowledged and given concrescence. Management comes into being in the anticipation of its breaking. Four accounts of this process are offered – a discussion of a remark from Michel Serres’s The Parasite, a description of China Miélville’s novel The City and The City, stories from fieldwork in medium-secure forensic psychiatric units, and set of conceptual propositions. Together they perform a descriptive practice called ‘dark organization theory’ which analyses the functional aspects of divergence and breaking in management and organizational practices.

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