This text follows three themes found in the work of Hannah Arendt and Richard Sennett: God, City, and Wanderings*. These themes are relevant to organization, both as concepts in themselves, as well as, as metaphors (and therefore) opposed to theory.
Thinking about organization, two issues give rise to this text: one is the social role organization plays; the other is the an-organizational aspect that is always present in organization. The social role is clear: organization is society, (co-)surviving. The an-organizational aspect is visible as well: no organization without the pre-organizational, and perhaps mystical or mythical, inspiration and leadership.
Hannah Arendt and Richard Sennett deserve more attention than they receive within thinking on organization. Notably they would fit well in the thinking of the more critically inclined: both have an a-theoretical approach, not to understand the world so much as to come to action within it – coinciding for example with Critical Management Studies which takes issue with positivist thinking and the status of management.**
The three themes seem irrelevant to management of organization, but in the work of Arendt and Sennett they are closely related to organization - a very brief introduction to the themes of God, City and Wanderings:
For most thinkers God represents the absolute, primal cause, or the mystique – and is as such related to an experience, rules for living, or knowledge. For Arendt and Sennett God, however, represents the creative possibility of performing change in an always incomplete and uncertain World.
The City is the tangible form of organization, the disorder, the lumping together of human waste, filth, production. For Bergson, the City and God are two poles of a continuum. For Sennett the city is flesh and stone, if not bureaucracy. For Arendt it is persona, voice and democracy.
The homeless wanderer, vagabond, rambler, is the opposite of the City, of organization – making it a valuable concept to organization: an outsider, an aimless, useless, parasitical, and excessive individual, without whom organization would not exist.
The introduction that follows is based on a twofold thought: organization as social problem, and organization theory as misleading. This thought is developed in three plots: organization means waste, wisdom loses itself in data, and Eris beyond aporia and oblivion.
Crisis is described as the waste in production: waste/crisis is related to organization, there is no organization without waste, and, organization, waste and crisis are a problem of power.
The non-organizational is part of organization: there is no organiztion without the non-organizational, and, organization is based on fear as opposed to grief.
Main issues for philosophy are things like aporia and nihilism that result from rationality, but action and dialogue are non-rational.
* or Peregrination - from Latin peregrinus (“foreign”), from peregre (“abroad”), from per- + agri (“field, farm”). Cognate to English pilgrim and Italian pellegrino (“pilgrim”). Adjective peregrine (comparative more peregrine, superlative most peregrine) Wandering, travelling, migratory. The gypsies are perpetually peregrine people. not native to a region or country; foreign; alien / from Wikipedia.
**Critical Management Studies: premises, positions, problems at group.aomonline.org/cms/Resources/Requests/0-AFW_Nov27.doc