All posts by Scott Lawley

SCOS Update November 2021

Dear All

Three really interesting items this month:

 From Helena Liu: 

Call for Papers for a SI she’s editing with Alessandro Sancino, Anjuli Fahlberg, and Owain Smolović Jones, on “Re-Organizing for Public Value” for Organization  

On behalf of her colleagues Alessandro Sancino, Anjuli Fahlberg, and Owain Smolović Jones, here is their Call for Papers on “Re-Organizing for Public Value” in the journal Organization 

In case you’d like further information or would like to share some ideas, please feel free to get in touch with us at 

Deadline is 31st January 2022 and papers will be blind reviewed following the journal’s standard review process. 

From Harriet Shortt: 

Call for Papers EGOS 2022
Sub-theme 65: Visual studies and seeing the unnoticed in organizations 

This sub-theme aims to bring together researchers interested in deepening and broadening our understanding of the visual in organization studies. It asks how can we identify productive ways through which visual and discursive research can intersect, towards affording visual methods a more equitable standing in the field? We are extremely pleased to announce that Prof Emma Bell has agreed to deliver an opening address and that Prof Sam Warren and A/Prof Harriet Short will deliver a visual pattern analysis workshop in our sub-theme.  

Contributions are invited that either: outline current visual organizational research; or advance conceptual or methodological understanding of why and how to see the unnoticed and unspoken in organization. Please consider presenting you research visually, for example through visual storytelling, video essay, photographic installation, collage, illustration, or material artefacts.  

Possible questions that submissions might address include, but are not limited to:  

In which ways can visual approaches explore beauty, imperfection or ugliness in organizing?
What novel and unexpected insights can visual research create, and what new theorizing does it facilitate?  

What specific concepts, practices and processes are involved in a visual organizational project, including how research participants are engaged (e.g. in co-production) and how to communicate the outcomes of visual organizational research?
How can visual methods enable us to see through organizational logics and discourses, and which everyday organizational phenomena have so far gone unnoticed and how might they be illuminated?  

How might visual approaches further shift the gaze in the field to see organizational intersubjectivities in more pluralistic, non-binary, inclusive ways?
What aesthetics, embodiments and affects are experienced in (co-)production of visual research, and how can they be consciously articulated?  

How can visual approaches decolonize and/or empower disenfranchised groups in organizational research? In which ways can visual approaches be used to shine light on taken-for-granted discourses and expose problematic organizational histories (e.g. colonization, imperialism, oppression, exploitation, fraud, etc.)?  

In what ways can methodologies draw on visual materials, multimodal texts and other artifacts, and how might such approaches be used to make sense of, or give sense to organizational narratives?
How might alternative conceptual lenses inform and refocus our development of visual methods?  

Do not hesitate to reach out to us: Tim Butcher (; Juliette Koning  

(; Maria Laura Toraldo ( The full call for papers can be found on the EGOS Vienna 2022 website:

Deadline: 11 January 2022: 23:59:59 CET 

Mark Stein posted this on the SCOS facebook site – this meeting is not. free but looks. Really interesting. 

OPUS Scientific Meeting – Online via ZOOM 

OPUS is delighted to invite you to the second in our new series of Scientific Meetings in celebration of the Twentieth Anniversary of the journal of Organisational and Social Dynamics 

Lord of the Flies: A psychoanalytic view of the gang and its processes* 

Presenter: Professor Mark Stein 

Chair: Dame Ruth Silver 

During this Scientific Meeting, and drawing on William Golding’s classic novel ‘Lord of the Flies’, Mark will explore ganging phenomena. Mark argues that, following a trauma, ganging may develop in private, public and voluntary sector organizations, as well as in governments. He utilises psychoanalytic and especially Kleinian ideas to examine these themes. Worryingly, he argues, precisely because of the widespread trauma that will inevitably be left in their wake, phenomena such as climate change, famine, wars and pandemics could lead to the pervasive spread of ganging processes. 

Mark’s paper received the 2020 Gavin MacFadyen Memorial Essay Prize from a field of 60 essays. The prize honours the memory of Gavin MacFadyen, who was Professor of Investigative Journalism at Goldsmiths, University of London. The Macfadyen Prize committee described the paper as ‘a great achievement’, ‘erudite’ and ‘particularly relevant’ in the current political climate. 

Mark Stein PhD is Professor Emeritus of Leadership and Management at the University of Leicester, and a coach and organisational consultant. He is also an Associate Lecturer on the Tavistock Clinic’s Professional Doctorate in Organisation and Consultation. He has held posts at Imperial College London, London School of Economics, Brunel University and the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, and been a Visiting Scholar and Adjunct Professor at INSEAD, Fontainebleau. 

As well as the Gavin Macfadyen Memorial Essay Prize, Mark has received the European Academy of Management’s iLab prize for innovative scholarship; an Emerald Citation of Excellence; the ‘Group & Organization Management’ best paper prize; and the Richard Normann Prize, of which he is the only recipient. 

• published in Organisational and Social Dynamics, 21(1), 11-27, and also in ‘A deeper cut: Further explorations of the unconscious in social and political life’ (2021; Morgan, David, Ed.; Bicester: Phoenix).

SCOS Update October 2021

Dear All,

Message to all Scossers

Two lovely events coming up!

Firstly: AMOS: After Method In Organization Studies Conference

After the due postponement last year, we are very pleased to announce that we have re-opened the call for abstracts for the 4th AMOS-After Method in Organization Studies Conference 2022. 

It will take place at Mälardalen University (Sweden), on 16-17 June 2022

The general theme of this AMOS Conference is “The epistemology of practice”. Please find the program and further information under this link:

The conference will be preceded by a PhD workshop (15 June 2022). All information concerning this specific workshop can be found here:

Key dates:

2021, October 4: Conference announcement 

2021, October 30:                            Conference abstract submission – Deadline 

Proposal for the PhD workshop – Deadline

2021, within December 4:            Notification of acceptance of conference abstract and proposal for PhD workshop 

And secondly: PhD seminar



PhD seminar, in English, online, free of charge, 29 November-1 December 2021

In a forthcoming book, Monika Kostera (2022) describes the imaginoscope, a device for observing and experiencing objects and events taking place with diverse uses of the imagination. This seminar will build on the idea of co-constructing human researching and will examine available possibilities for identifying imaginative and inspired potentials of organizing and organizational life.

The scientific approach we shall use to systematically achieve this aim is phenomenal complexity theory (Letiche, 2000), a perspective on social science that prioritizes human experience and consciousness. Concerned with understanding complex relationships more than with uncovering causes and effects, it sees societies, organizations and communities, foremost as the shared experience of the Other. Phenomenology puts an emphasis on the “lifeworld”. Research rooted in this perspective reveals and describes how people make sense of the world. Unlike much of modernist social science, phenomenal complexity theory does not disregard human consciousness — the great embarrassment for functionalist theories. On the contrary, it seeks to both understand human being and to tap into it, to understand the world.

Ethnography is a research stance and methodological approach particularly well suited to the purpose of such an approach. The word “ethnography” comes from the Greek ethnos, which signifies “a people” and graphy, which means “writing” – ethnography means writing about people (Kostera and Harding, 2021). The methods favored by ethnographers aim at seeing, experiencing, and understanding human interactions and relationships. The researcher then needs to make sense of the collected material, by connecting cues derived from the field to frames and stories that serve as connecting devices (Weick, 1995). Every situation has many possible meanings which can crystallize in interpretation.

While the more conventional approaches privilege looking for patterns, structures, and emerging categories, this is not the only possible choice. A more radically phenomenological stance calls for researchers to focus on understanding over explanation (Feyerabend, 1975). This seminar will aim at supporting and nurturing this latter direction, not necessarily intended to replace more traditional theorizing, but as an interesting, and insightful enhancement. We will guide the students in what the poet John Keats calls ‘negative capability’, positioned as an approach to ethnographic reflection and interpretation. It is a way of abstaining from the drive to explain what we do not understand. Instead, we can remain attentive and focused. This way it is possible to gain new insights, by way of refusing to immediately recognize and know.

Participants will develop the skills and awareness needed to engage in an Ethnography of Looking. Art theorist and artist John Berger has explained that seeing is more than just taking in something by the sense of sight; ‘seeing’ establishes our place in the world. We see and we are aware that we can be seen. Looking at images and more generally, at all objects, can bring the observer into a conversation with the observed and with other observers. The ethnographic method called ‘non-participant observation’ is about active looking and focusing on the immediate moment as intensely as possible, wherein “seeing comes before words,” which is a good example of negative capability used as a research methodology, whereby all things can be seen afresh, without their names, and then, narrated anew, not necessarily in the same way as usually and not necessarily with the use of the everyday categories.

The three-day online workshop will consist of lectures interspersed with discussion sessions and exercises, aimed at showcasing and problematizing phenomenological ways of undertaking research, making sense of the field, and writing up the research experience in ways which privilege complexity, relationality, and engagement.

TO REGISTER & TAKE PART: You need to send a message to jean-luc.moriceau@imt-, CC:, indicating your doctoral school, academic discipline, and proficiency in English language (poor/average/good). An attestation of participation will be delivered to Phd students participating to the three days.


Feyerabend, Paul (1975) Against Method. London: New Left Books.
Kostera, Monika (2022) An Imaginoscope for Organizers. Washington: Zer0 Books/ John Hunt,

Letiche, Hugo (2000) Phenomenal Complexity Theory as informed by Bergson. Journal of

Organizational Change Management, 13(6): 545-557.
Kostera, Monika and Nancy Harding (eds, 2021) Organizational Ethnography. Cheltenham:

Edward Elgar


Monika Kostera is Professor Ordinaria of Organizational Sociology at University of Warsaw (PL) and Professor at IMT-BS. Her research interests include organizational imagination, disalienated work and organizational ethnography. ! Jerzy Kociatkiewicz is Professor of HRM at IMT-BS. His research focus is on the experience of work and questions of organizational aesthetics.

SCOS Update September 2021

Dear All,

SCOS Newsletter September 2021

A couple of really interesting news items this month. Firstly, from Harriet Shortt and Michal Izak: 

Special Issue for Culture and Organization: ‘Flexible lives: spatial, temporal, and behavioural boundaries in a fluid world of work and home’ has a deadline extension! The deadline is now 31.01.2022, so those of you interested in submitting a paper will have a bit more time ( – we would love to hear from you! 

We will also be convening a stream at the upcoming Critical Management Studies conference devoted specifically to the topic of this call for papers – Flexible lives: spatial, temporal, and behavioural boundaries in a fluid world of work and home (stream 4): . It will be an open call, so you can still submit a paper to the Special Issue by January 2022 deadline even without participating in a conference, but we would like to treat this stream as a way to help develop papers towards the submission.  The conference will take place (technically speaking) in New Delhi, India, but for practical reasons it will be an online only event. Date: 16-18 December 2021. Deadline for submissions of 1000 word abstracts: 1.07.2021. If you would like to participate, please submit to or We will encourage developing all accepted abstracts into full papers by the end of November 2021, so that they can be shared internally within the stream (if the authors agree) and discussed during the conference.

And secondly, from Beatriz Acevedo: 

I am delighted to invite you to the Thinking Through Drawing (TTD) Symposium 2021, this time on the topic of Unlocking.  TTD is a group of international academics, practitioners, activists, artists and educators passionate about the power of drawing for education and meaningful transformations.  

This year the TTD symposium will happen during the week of 18th to 23rd of October/2021. Monday to Friday we will have a combination of synchronous and asynchronous events, ranging from Yoga drawing, dream drawing (my own gig), and live workshops across the planet. The idea is that you can do them at your own time and for Saturday (23/10/2021) we will have live events and show and tell conversations about the week.    

Please Book your Place here.   If you need a bursary or discount please let us know,  

You can have a sneak peek to the events and workshops in our webpage (check it regularly as we are still uploading promo videos of the different events).–publications.html 

All sound amazing! 


Christina: SCOS Membership Secretary 

SCOS Update June 2021

Dear All,

June 2021

SCOS 2021

Less than a month till our very own SCOS Conference, 5-6 July:

You can also find information about the conference on the SCOS Facebook page:

It should be a very wonderful conference (okay, maybe not quite as wonderful as meeting face-to-face, but as good as we can possibly make it and also FREE!). See you all there.

Two announcements from Harriet Shortt:

1.      Our Special Issue for Culture and Organization: ‘Flexible lives: spatial, temporal, and behavioural boundaries in a fluid world of work and home’ has a deadline extension! The deadline is now 31.01.2022, so those of you interested in submitting a paper will have a bit more time ( – we would love to hear from you! 

2.      We will also be convening a stream at the upcoming Critical Management Studies conference devoted specifically to the topic of this call for papers – Flexible lives: spatial, temporal, and behavioural boundaries in a fluid world of work and home (stream 4): . It will be an open call, so you can still submit a paper to the Special Issue by January 2022 deadline even without participating in a conference, but we would like to treat this stream as a way to help develop papers towards the submission.  The conference will take place (technically speaking) in New Delhi, India, but for practical reasons it will be an online only event. Date: 16-18 December 2021. Deadline for submissions of 1000 word abstracts: 1.07.2021. If you would like to participate, please submit to or We will encourage developing all accepted abstracts into full papers by the end of November 2021, so that they can be shared internally within the stream (if the authors agree) and discussed during the conference.

And a very interesting webinar I’m involved in organising:

Performing Management or Managing Performance in Higher Education

Centre for Leadership Innovation Webinar: 21 June 2pm-3:30pm (UK time)

Join Zoom Meeting:

The unintended outcomes of performance management systems: Gaming in British universities

Btissam Aboubichr

Performance management systems are pervasive in contemporary organisations but their specific impact on employees is unclear. This presentation examines the unintended outcomes of performance management systems in British universities. Drawing on data collected from 65 semi-structured interviews in 13 research intensive universities in the UK rated in the top quartile in the REF 2014, the presentation presents a typology of gaming and examines how the performance management practices implemented in universities can incentivise academics to engage in gaming.

Performance and practice in higher education: an ethnomethodological study
of everyday academic work.

Caroline Bolam

It is widely accepted that Higher Education (HE) has gone through significant changes within the last sixty years. The effects of such phenomena as managerialism, marketization and performativity are well documented in the literature (Deem et al 2007, Molesworth et al 2011, Hussey and Smith 2010, Bell et al 2009).  Often, such terms are introduced and accepted as truth without fully exploring what such phenomena really mean to the members of that community. This research uses ethnomethodology, a method of inquiry which concentrates on the members’ methods to understand how they make meaning of their work environment through their daily practices.  This research applies a documentary approach to lecturing, to see it as a document of accomplishment. It also draws on the method of conversation analysis (CA) and examines discussions with academic members of two post 1992 universities, which are seen to be the most affected by the neoliberal phenomena mentioned.  This is to understand how they accomplish their performance of being an academic. Evidence from this research shows that performativity (Lyotard 1984) causes misunderstandings of purpose, and marketized approaches have increased assymetries in student-academic interactions.


Btissam Aboubichr is a Lecturer in Human Resource Management at the School of Marketing and Management at Coventry University. Her research interests are in the area of organisational behaviour, human resource management, employee well-being and the management of higher education. She is particularly interested in the critical analysis of the way human resource management practices can act as a catalyst for unethical behaviour at work. Overall, the aim of her research is to promote ethical and responsible approaches to management and organisational practices. Btissam is an academic member of the CIPD and acts as a committee member for the CIPD Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes branch.

Caroline Bolam has worked at the University of Westminster since 2013 after starting lecturing in 2009.  Prior to doing academic work she gained considerable experience working in Human Resource Management in both the public and private sector, building up expertise in resourcing, employee relations and also learning and development. She is a full member of the CIPD (Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development). Caroline completed her PhD in 2019.  Her research interests are in studying the role of social interaction in the workplace, with a special interest in how this shapes educational settings.

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.

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 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: