The Monstrous Organization

The Monstrous Organization

Torkild Thanem

Drawing on contemporary debates in organization theory, this book explores the monsters that populate organizations, what organizations do to these monsters, and how this challenges us to re-construct organization theory.

Chapter 7: Epilogue: A Monstrous Future?

Torkild Thanem

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies


Although monsters are often cast opposite to organizations, throughout this book I have been trying to show that the relationship between monsters and organizations is deeply ambiguous. Sure, monsters disrupt boundaries of biological, moral and social organization, yet organizations continue to kill and exploit monsters. But rather than maintaining the binary opposition between monsters and organizations, this throws doubt on who the real monsters are. Beyond this moral valuation, I have argued that organizations – and people in and around organizations – are not reducible to bounded entities with homogeneous identities, but that they are monstrous because their social and material reality is monstrous. We rarely appreciate this monstrosity, because we tend to view monsters as unpredictable strangers that threaten the order and stability of organizations, and because we tend to believe that monsters lack the sense of order that is accomplished through linguistic and discursive representations. However, organizational reality is monstrous, not because it is a negativity that lacks anything – whether the ability to be represented through discursive constructions or the ability to be organized in any other way. Despite at least a partial obsession with order and boundaries, organizations are monstrous because they are assembled by heterogeneous components that connect, disconnect and reconnect in multiple ways and with varying intensity. Indeed, the structures and boundaries, the roles and routines and the policies and discourses of organizations are transgressed and exceeded by the human and non-human components that incorporate them. In other words, this organizational reality is more diverse than the...

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