All posts by Scott Lawley

SCOS Update June 2019


SCOS Conferences the social and intellectual (in that order???) even of the year!

SCOS 2019 in York is now closed for registration because all the places have been taken! This is great, as long as you have already booked. it should be a spookily good event!

If you haven’t managed to book then there’s some consolation – the dates for SCOS 2020 are 6-9 July in Copenhagen, so keep those dates free.

SCOS Board

Would you like to join the SCOS Board? It’s fun, it’s a great community of colleagues, and without the Board to organize and co-ordinate our activities SCOS wouldn’t exist. (That’s not to minimize everyone else’s contributions – without your papers and articles and ideas it wouldn’t exist either). We have two positions that will be vacant from July 2020: the position of Board Secretary and Website Officer. If you are interested in either of those and want to know more, do contact Ann-marie Greene (who is currently Board Secretary but is taking over the Chair role in July) ( or Scott Lawley (currently the Website officer but giving that up in order to take on a more direct role with Culture and Organization) ( Ann-marie will be contacting everyone with more details about how to nominate someone (yourself or other) and the voting procedures.


The long awaited SCOS book will be launched in York and all delegates will have a copy in their conference bag. There will be e-books available too, so the next newsletter should tell you how to access it, costs etc.

Very interesting event for anyone interested in arts based methodologies (but very, very short notice)

The Visual & Embodied Methodolgies network (VEM):

 at KCL is organising its first workshop on 3-4 June 2019,  at the Exchange (Bush House, London) on the use of visual, embodied and art-based methodologies in the study of violence, conflict and marginalisation in/from the Global South.

The VEM Workshop: 3-4 June 2019

This two-day workshop, organised by Negar Behzadi, with  Drs Jelke Boesten, Rachel Kerr, Pablo de Orellana, Henri Redwood, and Prof Cathy McIlwaine gathers around 20 scholars from within and outside of King’s College (in international development, geography, anthropology, philosophy, area studies, migration studies). We are delighted to have a series of great guest speakers who have accepted our invitation – including  Prof Sophie Harman (Keynote speaker and producer of the film Pili), Dr Lars Waldorf & Dr Sofie Narbed (on the use of dance-research), Dr Olivera Simic (on film in war contexts),  Dr Camilla Morelli (on animation with indigenous youth), Dr Choman Hardi (poetry): (see programme attached). The other presenters will be coming from various departments at King’s College London to share their experience with film making, collaboration with artists, photography, theatre, sculpture. Some of the artists who have participated in research-art collaborations will also lead these discussions.

The events will all take place at the Exchange, Bush House, and will  include:

•    Presentations by scholars and artists

•    Kenote by Prof Sophie Harman: 3 June, 11am

•    A poetry reading by Dr Chorman Hardi followed by a reception: 3 June, 6pm

•    A Contact Improvisation Workshop by Mark Rietema: 4 June, 10 am (all welcome)

•    Links: for the workshop, for the poetry reading (with the link to the eventbrite for the poetry reading)

Please register to attend both the workshop and the poetry reading:

•    by signing up on the eventbrite for the poetry reading

•    by writing an email to  to attend the workshop (please note that number of places are limited)

That all at the moment – hope to see you in York.

Christina Schwabenland

Membership secretary

SCOS Update February 2019

Jobs and books this month:

 First, a lovely sounding job – deadline 17/3/19.

 Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Organization Studies

Faculty of Business & Law, Department of Business & Management

University of the West of England

 Details of post available here.  

 This item was sent in by Peter Case, who has been a long time Scosser. I’m sure he’d be happy if anyone wants to contact him to ask more about the job. UWE has a lot of Scossy people working there !


Four new PhD scholarships at the Department of Management, Society and Communication, at Copenhagen Business School: deadline 1st April.

Also, don’t forget to send in an abstract by 15th March if you want to come to the 5th Workshop on Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion in Copenhagen on the 13th-14th May:

 And if you want to do some reading to prepare: the second edition of Heike Mensi-Klarbach and Annette Risberg’s textbook on Diversity in Organizations: Concepts and Practices has just been published:

 And then there’s the second edition of Monika Kostera’s book Organize Ourselves: Inspirations and ideas for self-organization and self management published by Mayfly books.

And then there’s Management Scholarship and Organisational Change: Representing Burns and Stalker by Miriam Green and published by Routledge.

SCOS Update December 2018


So… we have three really important news items this month:

The first is the annual diversity workshop at Copenhagen Business School that takes place on 13-14 May next year.

Keynote speakers are Professor Jo Brewis, Open University, UK; Professor Anders Neergaard, Linköping University, Sweden; and Professor Dorthe Staunæs, Aarhus University, Denmark.

Follow this link to read the call in full and sign up.

The second is to remind you all about the deadline for our ghostly SCOS conference in York this summer! Abstracts of no more than 500 words, in pdf-format, should be submitted as e­mail attachments by Friday 21 December 2018 to: You may also direct any queries to this address. The main organizers are Carolyn Hunter and Lynne Baxter, and the conference will be hosted by the York Management School, University of York, UK. Okay, it is nearly the 21st …. but hurry! You might be in with a chance even if they arrive a bit late…..

And the third is nanother reminder, this one for the amazing CMS conference.…

The 2019 Critical Management Studies (CMS) conference to be held in Milton Keynes (call for papers below) and organized in collaboration with VIDA, the critical management studies association for people who identify as anything other than cis-men.  A reminder that all of the calls for papers and workshop participants for CMS 2019 are available at:

If you have queries about individual streams or workshops, please contact the convenors.

General conference-related queries should be sent to

The deadline for all abstract submissions is 31st January 2019.

SCOS Update November 2018

Firstly, welcome to all the new members who came to Tokyo. Your names and email addresses re now on our mailing list, so unless you move and don’t tell us, (or unless you’d prefer not to be on the list, in which case do let me know….) you’ll be getting our regular-ish newsletter every month.

And on that note – apologies all; I’ve been very busy and hadn’t quite begun to think myself into the membership secretary role. I haven’t done a newsletter since September but it is now firmly in my consciousness (and diary).

So… we have three really important news items this month: the first is our 2019 conference – the theme is ‘ghosts’ and the venue is the very historical (and haunted) city of York. The call for papers is now out: see below. (I am reliably informed that the ghost of Scossy-past might also be there to haunt the conference….)

The second is the call for papers for the 2019 Critical Management Studies (CMS) conference to be held in Milton Keynes (call for papers below) and organized in collaboration with VIDA, the critical management studies association for people who identify as anything other than cis-men.  Both of these conferences re absolute musts – they are going to be really great events!

 And item three, last but not least, the SCOS board is really thrilled that Anne-marie Greene has agreed to be the next SCOS chair after Thomas steps down in July. This is really fantastic news!




Item 1: Call for papers: the 2019 SCOS conference

We warmly invite all Scossers to write an abstract for our annual conference. The theme is ‘Ghosts’ and the conference will be held in the centre of York, the most haunted city in the UK. The call for papers is below and we hope you find it thought-provoking.  In addition to the exchange of ideas during sessions we have some special events for you planned, such as ghost tours of the city and a final dinner at the National Railway Museum where you can form your own ghost train. We’d love to see you at York, kind regards, Lynne Baxter and Carolyn Hunter.’ 


York has made claims to be one of the most haunted cities in the UK and Europe, with a long history dating from medieval times and numerous ghost stories telling evocative tales of ancestors past and present. Ghost Research Foundation International (2002) labelled York the most haunted city in the world with 504 hauntings around the city. The city contains many historical locations with ghostly histories, including stories of Roman soldiers marching through the cellars of the Treasurers House and the story of Thomas Percy who staggers through the graves at Goodramgate searching for his decapitated head. We invite you to join us at SCOS 2019 in York to explore the ghostly side of organisational life.

The study of organizations by critical scholars is often driven by the feeling that more is occurring just out of sight, at the corner of our eye and veiled behind the surface. Are we being ghosted? These ghosts, of the past, present and future, make sudden and sometimes unwelcome appearances. They push us to look beyond the rational explanations of organizations to search for the emotive, affective and aesthetic sensory experiences. They play on the spiritual, although not simply in a religious sense, but also as a form of enchantment, wonder and imagination which persists in modern life (technology, bureaucracy and even commodities) despite the narrative of a disenchanted modernity (Bennett, 2001). Ghosts haunt us, frighten us and present us with those cracks where the abject seeps in, where the uncanny arises.

We ask scholars to consider their organizational ghosts: dark or light, fleeting or repetitive, veiled or signed. We invite scholars to explore the dark side of organizing: that which resides in the shadows, comes through the crack in the wall or a noise in the night. We also welcome accounts of those organizational ghosts which bring light: or open up other possibilities to us, through drawing on the past and showing the future. Ghosts may be ambivalent, such as the final spirit in the Christmas Carol. Others bring caution, like the ghost in Hamlet who heralds madness. Similarly some appear fully formed, embodied walking dead who can harm, psychological and physically; while others, like the the shapes in The Yellow Wallpaper (Gilman, 1892), are disembodied and take substance through our neurosis. 

SCOSSers have already encountered ghosts (see Pors, 2016; Beyes & Stayaert, 2013; De Cock et al, 2013; Muhr & Salem, 2013; MacAulay et al, 2010). Ghosts exist in organizational metaphors and symbolisms: we discuss ghosts in the machine in technology studies; in traces and impressions of corruption; of spirituality, superstition, intuition and gut feelings in decision making; and of invisibility and powerlessness when Othered (especially in relation to gender, sexuality and race among other identities).

However we want to extend these debates to the way in which organizations, in their processes, practices, materiality and temporality, are haunted by ghostly matters (Gordon, 1997) and are part of the organization of the ghostly. Haunting provide the instances where repressed violence emerge, those “singular yet repetitive instances where home becomes unfamiliar, where your bearings on the world lose direction, where the over-and-done-with comes alive, when what’s in your blind spot comes into view” (Gordon, 1997, xvi). Haunting represents the repetitive emergence of ghosts, potentially even forming rhythms of the organization (Lefebvre, 2004). Their reappearance may tie them to a particular space or location, forming associations through their ghostly traces. As such it would be appropriate to consider the methodological implications of ghostly matters, tracing the imprints of ghosts on organizational processes, practice and people.There is of course a significant industry focused on selling ghosts and the consumption of ghostly experiences: the pseudoscience of ghost hunting, ghost tours, and haunted houses, through to commercial blockbusters like Ghostbusters and Harry Potter. Holidays such as All Hallows eve or Halloween (US), the Mexican Day of the Dead (Mexico), the Hungry Ghost Festival (China and some parts of Asia) and Guy Fawks (UK) offer opportunities, or even the obligation, for consumers to play with their identities in adopting personas, while consuming from the vast industry of sweets and food, costumes, decorations and party items. This also includes the industry of publishing, with ghost writers working with industry leaders for their next best seller, or in academia where playing the game may include publications with ghost co-authors.

SCOS 2019 will be in York, a ghostly city. York represents how spaces, places, buildings and organizations’ may become associated with ghosts and haunted by stories and persons long since passed. Ghostliness is tied to ambiance and atmosphere, “a surrounding influence which does not quite generate its own form” (Ahmed, 2010:40) but where we still ‘pick up’ feelings. Ghosts permeate our collective memory of buildings and locations as places and spaces become known as haunted. These memories can shape and undermine us, much as the deceased Rebecca undermined the second Mrs. de Winter through her ‘presence’ (de Maurier, 1938). Ghosts impact on us, although they are also shaped by the context in which we remember them in. These apparitions bring together our material understanding of the world with the imaginary. How can we speak with these ghosts, hauntings and ghostly spaces, as researchers how do we engage with them?

This call encourages research which seeks out these ghosts, to engage, converse and if needed challenge them. Contributors may find inspiration in the following themes:

  • Ghosts, apparitions, superstition, poltergeist, spirit, souls
  • Dark side of organizations, corruption, parasitic
  • Unintended consequences, shadows and imprints
  • Clairvoyance, intuition, dreams, imagination, reality.
  • Ghost writers, ghost academics
  • Selling and commercialization of ghosts
  • Fairy tales, storytelling, morality lessons, folklore, mythology in organizational life
  • Dead, appearance of living, human and animal, necromancy
  • Corporeality, disgust, invisible bodies, disembodied experiences
  • Haunted locations and cities – organizational spaces and places; Haunted houses
  • Ghosting as a verb of organizing: To glide, hover. Alternatively: to be spooked, haunted; a ‘ghost’ trace or impression
  • Ghosting in social relationships
  • Appearing and disappearing
  • Ghosts in the machine – technology, artificial intelligence
  • Memories: shadows of the past, possibilities of the future


Open stream and workshops

SCOS 2019 will also have an open stream, allowing for the presentation of papers of more general interest to the SCOS community. In addition we are open to 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.

 Submission of abstracts

Abstracts of no more than 500 words, in pdf-format, should be submitted as e­mail attachments by Friday 21 December 2018 to: You may also direct any queries to this address. The main organizers are Carolyn Hunter and Lynne Baxter, and the conference will be hosted by the York Management School, University of York, UK.


Ahmed, S. (2010) The Promise of Happiness. Duke University Press: London

Bennett, J. (2003) The Enchantment of Modern Life. Princeton University Press: Princeton.

Beyes, T. and Steyaert, C. (2013) Strangely Familiar: The Uncanny and Unsiting Organizational Analysis, Organization Studies. 34:10, 1445 – 1465.

Cock, C., O’Doherty, D. & Rehn, A. (2013) Specters, ruins and chimeras: Management & Organizational History’s encounter with Benjamin, Management & Organizational History, 8:1, 1-9.

Gilman, S. (1892) The Yellow Wallpaper. The New England Magazine.

Gordon, A.F. (1997) Ghostly matters: Haunting and the sociological imagination.  Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Lefebvre, H. (2004) Rhythmanalysis: Space, time and everyday life. London: Bloomsbury

de Maurier, D. (1938) Rebecca. Virago Press: London.

MacAulay, K., Yue, A. & Thurlow, A. (2010) Ghosts in the Hallways: Unseen Actors and Organizational Change, Journal of Change Management, 10:4, 335-346

Muhr, S. & Salem, A. (2013) Specters of colonialism – illusionary equality and the forgetting of history in a Swedish organization, Management & Organizational History, 8:1, 62-76.

Pors. J. (2016) ‘It Sends a Cold Shiver down my Spine’: Ghostly Interruptions to Strategy Implementation, Organization Studies.  37:11, 1641–1659


 Item 2: CMS conference 2019: Call for papers:

The website for the CMS 2019 conference at the OU has now been updated with details of the streams. Where abstracts are requested, these need to be sent to stream convenors (all of whom specify a contact email address in their calls) by 31st January 2019.

The website is here: