Modernism, Post Modernism and Organizational Analysis 2: The Contribution of Michel Foucault

  • Burrell G
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This paper, the second in a series on the relevance of the modernist-postmodernist debate to organizational analysis, looks at the work of the late Michel Foucault. Whilst his work is seen as producing a whole series of problems for those brought up in an Anglo-American tradition of intellectual endeavour, it is maintained that his work is suggestive of alternative ways of approaching problems and ordering material. A three fold periodization of his work is suggested beginning with the 'archeaological' period, then attention is paid to the 'genealogical' period and finally, though less fixed and discernible, his concern for ethics is noted. Ideas and concepts drawn from all but the very last of his writings are then utilized in ways which might allow for a significant reordering in the theory of organizations, particularly in the debate concerning organizational heterogeneity versus homogeneity, the importance of 'total institutions', organizational control of sexuality and the role of new technologies in organizational control systems.

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  • Gibson Burrell

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