Purpose, Venue, and Organization
The aim of the PHILOS Colloquium is to consolidate and further develop ongoing efforts to advance a philosophical approach to organization studies. The aim is not to contribute to philosophy itself, but to advance a more philosophically oriented organization studies that will pursue both critique and new conceptual advancements in the field.
We invite papers from researchers who, drawing from any philosophy, wish to critique and/or further develop current understandings about any organizational topic or type of theorizing in organization studies. The intention is for the Colloquium to be as broad as possible, not to favour any particular philosophical perspective or theme.
PHILOS is affiliated with the International Symposium on Process Organization Studies (PROS). It aims to be an annual event that will take place in the same week and at the same venue as PROS
2nd PHILOS Colloquium a note from Professors Philippe Lorino & Bente Elkjaer
Bente Elkjaer and I are enthusiastic about collaborating with Hari and Jorgen to organize the Second Colloquium on Philosophy and Organization Studies. As you can see, the invited theme is about pragmatist ideas and methods.
Why pragmatism today? How can pragmatist ideas inspire organization studies in contemporary troubled times? Human societies face existential and global challenges such as climate warming, biodiversity crisis, pandemics, rise of authoritarian regimes etc. The challenges are diverse, but they have common characteristics: they are complex, multidimensional, they continuously evolve in often unpredictable ways, and they involve each individual citizen’s habits, judgment and behavior as well as political action and reorientation of enterprises towards sustainable activities. Faced with such issues, it looks obvious that the well-known strategies adopted by industrial societies - more technology, more big projects, more specialized expertise, more authority, more control- have failed. Grand challenges are not yet, and will probably never be, treated with grand solutions. They call for ongoing disseminated exploration, experimentation, adaptation, innovation, somehow, they call for the transformation of the whole society into a community of researchers. And they require from us, scholars, to be explorers, but humble explorers, aware of the fallibility of our beliefs, assumptions, theories and philosophical bases of our theories. Now, it is remarkable that pragmatist ideas emerged about 150 years ago in the social, technological, and political context of the late nineteenth century, facing challenges comparable to those we face today, in light of the industrial and technological revolution of that time, massive migrations, a devastating Civil War that left the American society divided in many ways, experimentalist psychology and, in the wake of Darwin’s publication, the realization of the human beings’ continuity with the rest of nature and the fallacy of fixed categories with clear-cut boundaries. Pragmatism emerged then as an influential movement in philosophy, psychology, education and community transformation in the USA, with a strong agenda for inclusive and democratic societal change. The pragmatist starting point was the rejection of the ivory tower of academic philosophy and the reintegration of philosophical thought into the social turmoil of the time. This may be a first answer to my starting question: why pragmatism today? Thus, pragmatists tried to develop concepts and methods that were fallible, exploratory, pluralist, experience and action focused, as we suggest we should do now.
We’ll welcome the contributions of scholars interested in the use of pragmatist ideas in Organization Studies, in a pragmatic way: we do not primarily expect highly specialized expertise on pragmatism; we’ll welcome papers supportive or critical of pragmatist ideas, focused on pragmatism or combining pragmatism with other schools of thought, examining complementarities or contradictions, involving classical pragmatists or the many pragmatism-inspired contemporaneous thinkers, in a completely open and pluralist way. I’m sure it will be an intellectual feast! See you next year in conference rooms and on the beach, hopefully!