XVIII WOA – 2017 – Pisa


Project Info

Project Description

The issues concerning the relationship between being or appearing, addressed over time by science, philosophy, and literature, also crosses the reflections of organization scholars. The theme of this workshop aims to bring to attention questions about how organizations deal with challenges in the competitive market by engaging in an illusory instead of a real organizing process. Despite such topic finds its roots in more than a theoretical perspective and at different times, it continues to be a fertile ground for study and appears in search of possible answers, while new challenges are revealed on the horizon.

Scholars are encouraged at reflecting on the real meaning of design choices and change processes. Indeed, organizational changes may be the result of a deep research of new equilibrium conditions, which may require to reshape the values of the organization, knowledge management, processes, structures, and their underlying logics. On the contrary, organizational
changes can be reduced to a skillful job of “lifting”, involving the most apparent and most striking manifestations of the organization and its behaviors, often following fashion approaches, with a strong impact on legitimacy.

So, if on one hand, results may be far from those desired and expected, on the other hand “pseudo-changes” emerge as favored solutions. In a context in which the adoption of institutionalized models and practices seems to be necessary,
though not sufficient, for success in the competitive arena, there is no doubt that the distance between “real” and “apparent” may take on significant size.

Moreover, the split between reality and appearance is accentuated by information and communication technologies that replace a virtual world to the real one. We believe that reflecting on the above mentioned themes can help us understand the true nature of dynamics and transformations of organizations, to recognize continuities and discontinuities in the organizational
logics, as well as to assess the long-term impact of organizational decisions.

The workshop aims at discussing conceptual, empirical and methodological papers and ideas that align with the theme Organizing between reality and appearance, addressing issues from different perspectives: organization,
people and processes.