Coping with Excess

Coping with Excess

How Organizations, Communities and Individuals Manage Overflows

Edited by Barbara Czarniawska and Orvar Löfgren

What does a stockbroker in Istanbul navigating the rush of incoming trading figures have in common with a mother in Stockholm trying to organize a growing pile of baby clothes? They are both coping with excess or overflow. This book explores the ways in which institutions, corporations and individuals define and manage situations of ‘too much’ – too much information, too many choices, too many commodities or too many tasks.

Chapter 15: Afterword: overflows as boundary events between organizations and markets

Franck Cochoy

Subjects: business and management, critical management studies, organisation studies, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory


Considered as a dynamic and abstract variant of Star and Griesemer’s (1989) famous notion of ‘boundary objects’, any overflow could be called a ‘boundary event’. Whatever its form and content, the occurrence of an overflow connects, but also challenges, the external market-like flows and the internal organizational frames: It leads the flows to excess and chaos and urges the frames to bring it back to control and stability. As this book demonstrates, the overflows which actors must manage are incredibly pervasive and varied. They range from financial surplus (Czarniawska, Donatella and Solli) and stock trading moves (Tarim) to such everyday objects as baby ‘stuff’ (Brembeck) and adult ‘stuff’ (Czubaj; Ekström); from essentially material entities like biogas (Corvellec), office space (Raviola), music (Wenzer) and white noise (Willim) through such anthropological entities as human utopia (Pantzar), academic knowledge (Löfgren) and business archives (Fellman and Popp) to human beings in the form of patients (Norén) – and, of course, human feelings, moral concerns and emotions, which most of these authors have addressed in their own ways. This volume also presents an impressive array of techniques and strategies aimed at managing such overflows.

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