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The Monstrous Organization

Torkild Thanem, Associate Professor in Organization Theory, Stockholm University School of Business, Sweden
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.
Extent: 160 pp
Hardback Price: $116.00 Web: $104.40
Publication Date: 2011
ISBN: 978 1 84542 178 6
Availability: In Stock
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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.

Torkild Thanem first interrogates how organizations and organization theory seek to kill monsters and how organizations exploit the monstrous for commercial purposes – from the alien monsters of the sci-fi entertainment industry to the monstrous branding of energy drinks and the organic-synthetic chimeras produced by biotech and agribusiness companies. He then argues for more diverse, more joyful and more responsible organizations through a positively monstrous theory, politics and ethics of organizational life.

Proposing a theory and ontology of organizations beyond poststructuralist constructionism and critical realism, The Monstrous Organization creatively addresses the history and theory of monsters in organizational life. It will appeal to scholars, doctoral students and master's students in management and organization studies, business ethics, diversity management, cultural studies, gender studies and sociology.
‘This book is an excellent choice for scholars, doctoral students and Master’s students in management and organization studies interested in issues of embodiment, diversity and inclusion, gender studies, or business ethics. . . those readers who are seeking a lively discussion and an example of how to approach the topic of difference “differently”, Thanem’s book is an excellent choice.’
– Katie Sullivan, Scandinavian Journal of Management

‘This path-breaking book offers fascinating insights into how the monstrous can form an extremely powerful term for conceptualising alternative ways of living, working and organizing. Above all, Torkild Thanem has made a quite brilliant contribution to our understanding of the role of ontology in interpreting organizational life. Required reading for students of organization.’
– John Hassard, The University of Manchester, UK

‘This book marks a major shift in the way we think and feel about organizations. Radically reconsidering what we see as organizationally normal and abnormal, Thanem shatters the borders of convention to enable the becoming of a new and monstrously radical politics of difference. With reflexivity, sensitivity and courage, this politically and theoretically charged work offers an affirmative alternative to habituated organizational violence and oppression. It does so in the form of a monstrous ethics of organizations. Essential reading for those interested in the best of the latest advances in organization studies.’
– Carl Rhodes, Swansea University, UK

‘A beautifully expressed, wonderfully crafted object, transcending the idea of “organization theory book”; this is a playfully serious and provocatively modest encounter with the monstrous we inhabit and the monsters we create with our work and everyday life. It made me laugh with embarrassment and cry with joy by prying open much that we, organizational scholars, often try to hide. Finally, our monstrosity was free to roam in the light of what we claim as knowledge! It felt very liberating.’
– Marta B. Calás, University of Massachusetts, US

‘Invited to experience becoming-monster as we get to exercise our norms as students of organizations, Thanem makes a case for the socio-corporeal ontology of organization. Disassembled by the generosity of the multitude, we are provided with an opportunity to learn to know our own particular heterogeneity, our styles of assembling ourselves to what we have become. Becoming is thereby learnt. Important lessons, both for analysts and practitioners of organizations.’
– Daniel Hjorth, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Contents: Preface 1. Introduction: The Monstrous Organization 2. Killing Monsters 3. Exploiting Monsters 4. Monstrous Bodies, Nature and Life 5. Monstructing Organizations and Organization Theory 6. Monstrous Politics and Ethics in Organizations 7. Epilogue: A Monstrous Future? References Index