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Complex Knowledge: Studies in Organizational Epistemology

Overview

In this book Haridimos Tsoukas, one of the most imaginative organization theorists of our time, examines the nature of knowledge in organizations, and how individuals and scholars approach the concept of knowledge.

Tsoukas firstly looks at organizational knowledge and its embeddedness in social contexts and forms of life. He shows that knowledge is not just a collection of free floating representations of the world to be used at will, but an ...

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Complex Knowledge: Studies in Organizational Epistemology

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Overview

In this book Haridimos Tsoukas, one of the most imaginative organization theorists of our time, examines the nature of knowledge in organizations, and how individuals and scholars approach the concept of knowledge.

Tsoukas firstly looks at organizational knowledge and its embeddedness in social contexts and forms of life. He shows that knowledge is not just a collection of free floating representations of the world to be used at will, but an activity constitutive of the world. On the one hand the organization as an institutionalized system does produce regularities that can can be captured via propositional forms of knowledge. On the other, the organization as practice, as a lifeworld, or as an open-ended system produce stories, values, and shared traditions which can only be captured by narrative forms of knowledge.

Secondly, Tsoukas looks at the issue of how individuals deal with the notion of complexity in organizations: Our inability to reduce the behaviour of complex organizations to their constituent parts. Drawing on concepts such as discourse, narrativity, and reflexivity, he adopts a hermeneutical approach to the issue.

Finally Tsoukas examines the concept of meta-knowledge, and how we know what we know. Arguing that the underlying representationalist epistemology of much of mainstream management causes many problems, he advocates adopting a more discursive approach. He describes what such an epistemology might be, and illustrates it with examples from organization studies and strategic management.

An ideal introduction to the thinking of a leading organizational theorist, this book will be essential reading for academics, researchers, and students of Knowledge Management, Organization Studies, Management Studies, Business Strategy, and Applied Epistemology.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199275588
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/15/2005
  • Pages: 426
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Haridimos Tsoukas is the George D. Mavros Research Professor of Organization and Management at ALBA in Greece, and Professor of Organization Theory and Behaviour at the University of Strathclyde Graduate School of Business, UK. Previous positions held include Lecturer at Warwick Business School (1990-5), and Associate Professor at the University of Cyprus.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : Professor Bleent, the Floon Beetle, and organizational epistemology 1
1 The tyranny of light : the temptations and the paradoxes of the information society 13
2 David and Goliath in the risk society : making sense of the conflict between Shell and Greenpeace in the North Sea 39
3 Forms of knowledge and forms of life in organized contexts 69
4 The firm as a distributed knowledge system : a constructionist approach 94
5 What is organizational knowledge? 117
6 Do we really understand tacit knowledge? 141
7 Understanding social reforms : a conceptual analysis 165
8 On organizational becoming : rethinking organizational change 181
9 Chaos, complexity, and organization theory 210
10 Complex thinking, complex practice : the case for a narrative approach to organizational complexity 230
11 What is organizational foresight and how can it be developed? 263
12 Noisy organizations : uncertainty, complexity, narrativity 280
13 Refining common sense : types of knowledge in management studies 299
14 The practice of theory : a knowledge-based view of theory development in organization studies 321
15 The conduct of strategy research : meta-theoretical issues 340
16 New times, fresh challenges : reflections on the past and the future of organization theory 378
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