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Notes From The Field: Organizations, Process, and Identity

May 25, 2014

From our Public Relations Department:

Hi Folks,

I mentioned some time ago that I wanted to move toward a more “Working Out Loud” format. My thinking is that this would serve three important functions:
1) It might ensure more regular postings and overall continuity with the whole writing process;
2) It would help to keep people coming back regularly and, hopefully, attract new people interested in this same, somewhat far-from-mainstream approach to leadershop and organizational processes;
and all this in turn would, rather selfishly,
3) Help keep me engaged and enthused about the actual writing and research process.

In fact, this last function recently motivated me to start posting daily progress reports on my Facebook page. Surprisingly, the response from the community was quick and, frankly, it really blew me away, especially those from outside my academic/leadership life. Clearly, the hunger for a new, more relational/process-centered approach to organizations and leadership is potent!

Remembering my earlier intent, it only seemed natural to move the party over to this house. Actually, as long as I can handle it time-wise, I’ll probably post both places and see how it evolve.

So, to get things started, here’s  the posting I put up last night on yesterday’s work.

As you’ll see, gone for now is any artwork or live links to the articles and authors referenced. For now, that keeps the time demands of posting manageable. However, that said, if you see something and you want to know more, just leave a comment or shoot me an email.

Obviously, comments (uh, the constructive kind, specifically) are welcome and encouraged.

~d (from Public Relations)

From May 24, 2014:


So today/tonight was spent mostly reading. Getting into the depths of process thinking and my mind is a bit blown. It’ll take a couple days to settle in and figure out how to integrate this thinking into my main argument, but there is no getting around the fact that the implications of this kind of thinking–particularly for organizations–is not only significant but very needed in order to better understand the implications of constant change.

For example, just consider what Nayak and Chia (2011) have to say about the relationship between flux/process and our individual identities:

…according to process philosophical thought, not only are
organizations to be construed [as contingent, emergent, creative, and
complex] but even individuals themselves must similarly be understood
as relatively stabilized effects of social relations and event clusterings
instead of autonomous entities in their own right; socio-cultural practices
and relationships precede individuality. (p. 283)

This means that rather than saying my identity is just reliant on or influenced by those around me, it’s more accurate to say that my identity is actually constituted by my interactions with these individuals. If we just follow the organizational implications of this line of thinking, the interpersonal dynamics–especially when chaos and disruption are pervasive–are overwhelming.

For me anyway, the thought of cultivating empirical data on the real-world experience of people going through this is really tantalizing. I can’t wait to start interviewing and finding out more about what’s really going on. One thing for sure, it ain’t even on the same planet as what the mainstream business books are trying to assert!


Tonight’s Sonic Fuel
 From Mixcloud ~ HC – Best of Modern Classical 2010 Part 2

HC – Best of Modern Classical 2010 Part 2 by Headphone Commute on Mixcloud

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