To envisage and to visualize – we are told – is the ultimate goal of organizational action. Having the ability to see the future in one mind’s eye is the cornerstone of true (visionary) leadership. For to see into the future is to anticipate, be ready for and above all to attempt control of that which is unknown, unknowable and cannot be seen. Thus, all management disciplines are fundamentally concerned with vision. But to see is also to be seen. Who has the power to see and who is too weak to shield themselves from gaze(s)? Gaze is political – especially so in a mass mediated society where image is coming to stand for experience itself. Organizational images both reproduce and disrupt established orders of seeing. What is more, these ocular technologies of order are not new but have a long history in organization studies that is often belied by neo-philic tendencies to emphasize ‘The Visual’ as a leitmotif of only our relatively recent past and present.

Vision also sees through things. It is transparency – seeing things as they ‘really are’. We say that those with vision can ‘see’ things that other less gifted individuals cannot. What does this mean for organizations? How do organizations seek to see? How do they hope that others will see them?  The artifacts that construct the corporation in others’ eyes are techniques of transparency: “Look! you can see through us! we are clear! we are accountable.!” In certain cultural contexts, to see is to believe, thus, if organizations make visible processes, products, ideas, ideals, thus, public may believe in their existence or in their good intentions.  In this complex game, visions can be also used to obscure or to hide… as Foucault said: visibility is (also) a trap. If you are looking at something you cannot be looking at/for something else at the same time – thus vision is also illusion – perhaps even trickery. In this process, organizations may determine what can be seen or what/who is not seen, thus issues related to diversity, equality, identity and differences might be included here.







We welcome your abstracts (of no more than 500 words) and proposals for other forms of presentation at the conference by JANUARY 11/2010