Welcome to SCOS 2009!

Welcome to the 27th SCOS conference “The Bridge” hosted by Copenhagen Business School (CBS) in collaboration with De Montfort University and London South Bank University.  

The theme for the conference is The Bridge, in a metaphorical and literal sense. We have invited scholars from different disciplines to write about organizations in different forms and focus under inspiration from the theme the Bridge.  The response was overwhelming and we now plan for a wonderful conference. 

In the spirit of the theme the conference will take place in two cities and two different countries joined by a bridge, Copenhagen and Malmö. For two days the conference will be situated at CBS and for one day it will be at Malmö University College.  And of course we will take the bridge to get from one place to another. 

Two keynote speakers are invited, who both are old friends of SCOS. Professor Per-Olof Berg  (Stockholm University) also one of the founders of SCOS and Professor Heather Höpfl (University of Essex) is a former Chair of SCOS and editor of our journal.  

It is now possible to register for the conference (Registration) and to book hotels. The conference organizers have pre-booked rooms at three hotels in different price ranges which can be booked through the registration form. Make sure you register and book your hotel soon as there is a first come first served policy for the hotel rooms. 

We plan for many social occasions with good food and drinks during the conference. The grand finale will be the gala dinner at the Carlsberg brewery with beer ad libitum served… Probably, the best gala dinner … 

The gala dinner starts with a tour at the Carlsberg Visiting centre including a visit to the museum for those who wish to. There after we will meet in the Bar Jacobsen for drinks and dinner. 

We will keep the conference web-page updated continuously so please check the website now and then for new information. 



The symbol of the bridge has a long and complex genealogy in European social theory and serves as a powerful metaphor in organization studies. Georg Simmel’s essay ‘Bridge and Door’ is at least one obvious reference here, with its observation that “the human being is the connecting creature who must always separate and can not connect without separating”. This makes the bridge almost ubiquitous in social relations – either in terms of its presence or absence. Simmel goes on to conclude that we must “first conceive intellectually of the merely indifferent existence of the two river banks as something separated in order to connect them by means of a bridge". These themes of connection and separation also take us further back, to Hegel’s Platonic discussion of the human condition as predicated on discontinuity, on a lack of otherness, an absence of connection and a fundamental separation from each other. Consciousness, for Hegel, means identifying as one self (oneself) and not an other (another). A similar trajectory of course can be found in the many variants of psychoanalysis and their emphasis on both connection with and separation from those around us as crucial aspects of early psychological development. 

The physical structure of the bridge also functions as a potent historical and cultural icon. Think for example of Livy’s account of Horatius’ defence of the pontis sublicius at the gateway to Rome; or the painting of the Forth Road Bridge, which in British culture is a more modern metaphor for an unending task than the myth of Sisyphus; or the destruction and subsequent rebuilding of the Old Bridge at Mostar, for which the city is named. Relatedly, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, London Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge, inter alia, all operate as visual proxies in popular culture and a variety of commercial media for their respective cities. And bridges inspire – paintings by Canaletto, Monet, Pissarro, Turner and Van Gogh, songs by Simon and Garfunkel, Bobbie Gentry and the Kinks, Christo’s wrapping of the Pont Neuf, a myriad of creative writing and film … and this call for papers. At our two-centre 27th SCOS conference, during which we will travel across the 17 kilometre long Øresundsbron connecting Denmark and Sweden, we invite you to consider the bridge in the context of organization studies. 

Organizations themselves – of whatever sort - are of course based on connectivity and separation, on the inter and the intra, and their diametric opposites. And organizational scholars, both ‘mainstream’ and ‘critical’, have reflected on a wide variety of issues which pertain to these themes. Thus there are well developed and longstanding literatures on culture, conflict, teamwork, competition, identity, diversity, inter-organizational partnerships (of whatever kind) and so on. For SCOS 27 we therefore encourage innovative and novel perspectives on such topics which do simply not rehearse established wisdom. Bridging is, moreover, absolutely central to the SCOS ethos of encouraging interdisciplinarity in an international environment. So we are, as ever, interested in papers about any aspect of organizations and organizing which connect together different knowledges and realities, different disciplines, different geographies, different cultures, academe and practice, ‘mainstream’ and ‘critical’ and so on. But the number of associations attached to bridges and bridging are limitless – thus the potential themes below are limited only by your (and our) imaginations:

(Inter)disciplinarity in organization studies

Critique and collaboration in organization studies

Construction and deconstruction in/ of organization studies

Global organizations as sources of international connection and separation: WTO, World Bank, IMF, United Nations 

Bridging as boundary maintenance, bridging as blurring, in and between organizations

The bridge in finance: capital, impermanency and the interim

The bridge in higher education: fast tracking and ‘year zero’ programmes

The bridge in music: a contrasting section of melody or words prefacing the repetition of the chorus

Links and hyperlinks in organizational cyberspace 

The allegorical bridge: as masculine icon, as feminine icon, as spiritual icon, as icon of modernity

Organizing relocation: managing and experiencing expat careers 

The bridge as temporal connection between present and future: strategy, vision and mission

Organizational arrivals and departures: hiring, induction, firing, ‘outplacement’, redundancy, turnover, retirement

Organizational connections and separations: sameness, difference/ diversity, identity, culture, teamwork, etcetera

Mending intra-organizational bridges: conflict, its resolution and/ or persistence

Inter-organizational bridges: joint ventures, strategic alliances, mergers and acquisitions, public-private partnerships

As always, alternative interpretations of the theme are both invited and encouraged. SCOS 2009 will also have an open stream, allowing for the presentation of papers of more general interest to the SCOS community.  In addition we welcome suggestions for workshops or similar events in line with the proposed theme.  Outlines of workshops should be the same length as a paper abstract and should give an indication of the resources needed, the number of participants, the time required, the approach to be taken and the session’s objectives. Please identify ‘open stream’ or ‘workshop’ on your abstract as appropriate.

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Venue: The conference will be hosted primarily by Copenhagen Business School with assistance from the Department of Urban Studies, Malmö Högskola. In keeping with the bridge theme, we will bridge two different countries. Train tickets will be provided for travel between the two venues, as will some time.  

Accommodation: There will be a choice of hotels, to suit all budgets. 

Organization: The main organizers are Annette Risberg (Copenhagen Business School, Denmark), Peter Elsmore (London South Bank University, UK), and David Crowther (De Montfort University, UK).  

Support is provided by Copenhagen Business School and various other sponsors.

Abstracts: Abstracts of no more than 500 words, in Word format, should be submitted as e-mail attachments by Friday December 6th 2008 to: scos2009@gmail.com  You may also direct any queries to this address.