Monday, 16 November 2009

Using literature to understand organisations and selling experience

The two most important things I learnt on my course in Rome were: that poetry may contribute more to understanding organisations than scientific description can and that organisations have emotional lives - they can be depressed, harrassing, passive, aggressive, well-balanced, manic, joyful, laid back etc.
Over the weekend I've been reading a fascinating essay in The Expressive Organisation by Barbara Czarniawska "Identity lost or identity found? Celebration and Lamentation over the Postmodern view of identity in social science and fiction". It really encourages people who are thinking about organisations to use new models, expecially those from literature and the social sciences.
She ends by supporting the ironic view of understanding organisations (or perhaps life?). Irony as an interpretational tool for understanding organisaitons is actually even more liberating than poetry for me!

I stand by the ironists and shall draw support from Anthony Giddens who says 'in general, whether in personal life or in broader social milieu, processes of reappropriation and empowerment intertwine with expropriation and loss.' It is not up to us to make the final count, but to depict and interpret the phenomena of the postmodern era. In order to be able to do that, we have to abandon time-honoured frames of reference and look for new ones, not out of disrespect, but out of curiosity, to better catch up with the times.
She also cites the work in the book picutred here, saying that today it is all about selling experience and memory - fascinating ...The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage