Chapter 16: There is hope in organizing: Dialogic imagination against linearity
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“The imagination is not a state: it is the human existence itself,” said visionary and poet William Blake more than 200 years ago. Imagination brings together existing elements into something new, yet inexistent and unthought of. It is a kind of creativity or, rather, the non-external space where creativity can take place. It involves both the mind and the feelings, body and soul, reflection and dream. Poetics is one of the modes by which imagination becomes structured and can be expressed. Organization theorist Heather Höpfl believed in the power of poetics in resisting the linearity and violence of control. Poetics is an organizing movement that subverts and undermines attempts at totalizing control. By the rejection of linearity and obsessive ordering, poetic imagination helps reclaim the desire for movement, transportation and creativity. The Greek etymology of the word metaphor suggests that adopting metaphorical thinking may help with finding new direction. In this chapter the authors adopt a poetic, rather than linear, approach to writing about organizing and organizations, and explore the power of poetry and metaphorical thinking about organizations and organizing using ideas from philosophy, their ethnographic research, organizational literature and poetry. They believe it can bring hope by helping to find new directions where systems and discourses seem to run dry or come to an end.

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