Relational Perspectives in Organizational Studies

Relational Perspectives in Organizational Studies

A Research Companion

Edited by Olympia Kyriakidou and Mustafa F. Özbilgin

The contributors to this highly innovative and authoritative research companion, leading experts in their field, apply relational analyses to different areas of organization studies and provide a comprehensive review of the relational perspectives. The book features empirical, theoretical, philosophical and methodological contributions from a wide spectrum of disciplinary perspectives on relationality in and around organizations.

Chapter 14: Discourses of Relations and Relational Processes

Dian Marie Hosking

Subjects: business and management, diversity and management, organisation studies

Extract

Dian Marie Hosking Introduction This is a story of relations and relating. There is no wolf, no Little Red Riding Hood; there are no bears, nor little piggies. It is not a heroic tale of how one particular discourse proves its superiority by vanquishing other discourses; it is not a tale told from behind the wings, the modernist author’s pen, or the realist painter’s brush. This story, like all stories, is told from a particular point of view or standpoint – one that I shall try to make explicit – one that I shall call ‘critical relational constructionism’ (CRC). From this standpoint I shall provide a schematic overview of different discourses of relations by discussing three ‘intelligibility nuclei’ (Gergen, 1995) in terms of their interrelated ‘lines of distinction’ (Deetz, 2000). I shall call these discourses (1) ‘this and that thinking’; (2) constructivism; and (3) critical relational constructionism. In each case I shall focus on how relations and/or relating are understood – given the wider network of distinctions. Illustrations from the literatures of organization studies and, in particular, Fred Fiedler’s theory of leadership effectiveness, will be outlined – not to position a particular study or approach to say what it is, but rather to illustrate abstract conceptions. The third discourse, critical relational constructionism, will receive the most detailed exploration. CRC presents a radically different discourse of relations – one that opens up new possibilities for relational theorizing, inquiry, change work and other kinds of practice. This and that thinking Objects with characteristics The...

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