Can sociological paradigms still inform organizational analysis? A paradigm model for post-paradigm times

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The Burrell and Morgan model for classifying organization theory is revisited through meta-theoretical analysis of the major intellectual movement to emerge in recent decades, post-structuralism and more broadly postmodernism. Proposing a retrospective paradigm for this movement, we suggest that its research can be characterized as ontologically relativist, epistemologically relationist and methodologically reflexive; this also represents research that can be termed deconstructionist in its view of human nature. When this paradigm is explored further, in terms of Burrell and Morgan s assumptions for the nature of society , two analytical domains emerge - normative post-structural and critical post-structural. Assessing the types of research developed within them, and focusing on actor-network theory in particular, we describe how post-structural and postmodern thinking can be classified within, rather than outside, or after, the Burrell and Morgan model. Consequently we demonstrate not only that organizational knowledge stands on meta-theoretical grounds, but also how recent intellectual developments rest on a qualitatively different set of meta-theoretical assumptions than established traditions of agency and structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1701 - 1728
Number of pages28
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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