All posts by Stephen Webley

Cancellation of SCOS 2022 in Kraków

It is with a very heavy heart that due to the war in Ukraine, the SCOS Board has made the decision to cancel SCOS 2022 at Jagiellonian University in Kraków in July. We know how disappointing this will be for all of us in the SCOS community who planned to come together this Summer, those of us who had developed paper abstracts, and especially for Grzegorz Mazurkiewicz and the Kraków organising team, who have been working so hard to get the conference off the ground in the most difficult of circumstances.

The proximity of Poland to Ukraine and the ongoing uncertainty in the region means that we cannot have confidence that the conference would be able to take place and that people would be able to attend. Kraków has become home to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees over the last two weeks alone, and the humanitarian crisis in the region is only likely to exacerbate over the next few weeks and months. We do not feel that we can now ethically justify the conference and the organisers need to turn all their energies to support family, students, colleagues, friends, and new Ukrainian visitors at this time. We hope that we will be able to return to the wonderful city of Kraków for a SCOS in the future.

We collectively share utter disbelief and horror as we watch events unfold in the region and we send our heartfelt solidarity to all our academic colleagues directly affected. While we cannot hold the conference, we all felt it was imperative that we hold an event to come together to support our colleagues and provide necessary academic discussion and debate about the war in Ukraine and its ramifications. Indeed, the planned conference theme of ‘Stranger’ seems only more relevant and necessary as a subject for intellectual discussion at this time.

We will therefore hold a shorter online event during the period July 4 to 6  when the conference would have taken place. Please continue to save these dates and do come along to the online event and engage in a sharing of hearts and minds in the way that only the SCOS community can do.  We are not sure yet whether there will be a call for abstracts but will let you know details of this event and any submission process as soon as possible.

Thank you,

Anne-marie Greene, Chair of the SCOS Board.  

SCOS News 2022!

SCOS Conference 2022 & other newsy things

Dear All
First, the really good news, the SCOS 2022 conference website is now up and running and will be accepting abstracts very soon!  Get cracking for Krakow! Join Scossy and his friends!

The theme is ‘stranger’ – and I’m guessing we can all relate to that in these strange times.

Two other important items, the first with a tight timetable:

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?

(; Maria Laura Toraldo (

hesitate to reach out to us: Tim Butcher (; Juliette Koning

The full call for papers can be found on the EGOS Vienna 2022 website:


Info about the Copenhagen conference special issue:

Yours in haste


SCOS Membership secretary

SCOS News December 2021

SCOS Newsletter

December 2021

Several. things to look forward to in the new year: The University of Bedfordshire is hosting a conference on 10 January from 10am-4:30pm (UK time), on-line. The theme is on Learning from research into the pandemic and implications for management curricula.Very timely! The guest speaker is Professor Alison Pullen, co-editor of Gender, Work and Organization who will be presenting at 11am. Her talk will be on the ways in which GWO responded to Covid, streamlining their reviewing procedures so that contributions could be published quickly. The resulting archive of Feminist Frontiers is a fascinating collection of chronicles of the many ways this experience. has affected us as researchers, writers, teachers. The conference is free but you need to register to get the link and programme.

Secondly,  the Revue Internationale de Psychosociologie et de Gestiondes Comportements Organisationnels (RIPCO) journal has a call for a special issue on:

Spaces and Organisation Behaviour: new organisations, new theorisations

This is a very Scossy-topic and looks really interesting. Here is the link to the call 

Submissions can be written either in English or in French. 

Thirdly, Stockholm University is recruiting:

Associate lectureship (Biträdande lektorat 1) (Swedish not required):

Associate lectureship 2 (Biträdande lektorat 2) (Swedish language required):

Culture and Organisation Special Issue

CFP – Differences in and Around Organisations – please see the link below for more info and submission guidelines

Differences in and around organizations

Differences fascinate us, and they frighten us. To remain competitive, companies need to be different, but they also imitate and thus ultimately resemble each other. The same with humans: we want to stand out, to be different – just not too different. Scholars increasingly pause to consider the concept of difference in their study of diverse practices. With this trend in mind, we invite you to explore difference in and around organizations and submit to the special issue. We encourage contributors that draw on the rich traditions of the social sciences, humanities, and arts, as these stand at the vanguard of difference as a concept to be used in the study of social reality (some prominent thinkers include Jacques Derrida, Niklas Luhmann, Gregory Bateson, Judith Butler or Sara Ahmed to mention some). We are seeking contributions investigating how difference practices unfold in and around organizations as well as contributions that explore how we can begin to think differently about processes of organizing.

Our perception of difference affects our understandings of organizations and organizational processes. When we organize our world by putting things and people in boxes, categorizing them, we typically use identity as labels. Instead of identity, one could consider difference as the primary category of reality and begin to think about difference in itself (Deleuze 1994). Structuralism insists that language is constituted by difference, that words are not endowed with an inherent meaning, but gain their significance by virtue of being distinguished from other terms. Poststructuralism has further argued that difference is not naturally given but produced and performed in what Derrida calls the “play of difference” (1982: 5). Similarly, system theory builds on the assumption that any system is produced through the difference between system and environment, a distinction that the system itself constantly produces and maintains. To understand a system, one should not start by identifying stable entities, but rather “begin with difference” (Luhmann 2006: 38; see also Cooper 1986).

According to feminist and postcolonial scholars, difference markers like race or gender are constructed performatively. Bodies are never neutral but gendered and racialized through historically and culturally produced categories of difference (Ahmed, 1998, 2007, Butler 1990, 1993; Braidotti, 2011; Essed 1996). A focus on how distinctions and identities are constituted and maintained serves to connect differences with ethics and politics. Arguing that certain groups tend to be favored over other Rhodes and Wray-Bliss (2012) call for an ethics of difference that value diversity. Kersten and Abbott suggest that we learn to tolerate difference, with the challenge being to “reconstruct our sense of community into one that can truly incorporate difference” (2011: 333). This relates to organization studies because the norms for what is acceptable and unacceptable in the academic organization studies discourse are built on ethical and political presuppositions. Drawing on such reflections, we can begin to appreciate practices that allows us to ‘write differently’ (Gilmore, Harding, Hellin and Pullen, 2019) and to find alternative forms of articulation that subvert dominant norms.

A failure to acknowledge the differences that animate the world can also have environmental consequences. According to Bateson (1972), Western epistemology functions based on isolating things from their environment. For example, the Darwinian theory of natural selection, Bateson (1972) maintains, is concerned with understanding the survival of organisms. However, such a perspective can lead one to become preoccupied with the survival of oneself or one’s organization, and thus to forget the survival of the environment on which one’s own existence is based. This engenders a ‘man versus nature’ mentality instead of an appreciation for humankind’s interconnection with nature. A growing field of organizational environmentalism has argued that the current climate and social challenges we face should encourage us to ‘make sense of the world differently’ (Wright, Nyberg, DeCock and Whiteman, 2013: 654).

Possible themes include but are not restricted to:

  • Diversity in organizations
  • Different practices in organizations and alternative organizations
  • Difference as a basis for ethics, subjectivity, and self-formation
  • Organizational environmentalism and the relation between organizations and nature
  • Resisting difference in organizations
  • Doing justice to difference in organizations
  • Spaces of difference in organizations
  • Writing differently and alternative forms of academic articulation
  • Liminal spaces, social limbos and being in-between organizations
  • Bodies marked with difference
  • Hyphenated and hybrid identities
  • Borders and boundaries of/by difference

SCOS/C&O Joint statement of protest and solidarity with colleagues at University of Leicester

In our capacity as the Board of the Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism (SCOS), and the Editorial Team of our in-house journal, Culture and Organization (C&O), we issue this statement of protest and solidarity in support of our colleagues in political economy and critical management studies at the University of Leicester, who have been threatened with redundancy during a public health pandemic. 

We would like to express our dismay at the recent announcement by the School of Business at the University of Leicester that it will divest all research activities in the areas of critical management studies and political economy and make faculty working in these areas redundant. The decision to erase this field of expertise is particularly concerning given the leading role that the School of Business at Leicester has played in the establishment of critical management studies and the reputation and quality of the faculty associated with it. SCOS and C&O have always had a very close connection to the University of Leicester, with a number of journal editors, conference organisers and Board members all coming from the School of Business/Management. This decision significantly damages the reputation of the University as a research-intensive institution.  

SCOS proudly supports the vital importance of pluralist critical research and scholarship in the social sciences, particularly at this moment of crisis. Political economy and critical management studies are a vital part of a rich academic eco-system where inclusion not divestment should be the watchword. Rather than being diluted, pluralist critical scholarship in our universities should be supported and extended.  

SCOS is a global network of academics and practitioners, who hail from a hugely diverse range of disciplines and professional backgrounds. We were formed in 1981, and hold an annual international conference and have hundreds of members worldwide. Our central interest is in the interlinked issues of organizational symbolism, culture and change, articulated in the broadest possible sense and informed by our commitment to interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary understandings of organization and management. SCOS is known for its inclusivity, providing a space where scholars from any background and discipline can come together, and importantly SCOS has always been particularly welcoming of non-academic participants including consultants and practitioners from a variety of profit and non-profit sectors. 

This ethos is reflected in our official journal, Culture and Organization, launched in 1995. C&O exemplifies the SCOS tradition of a critical approach to qualitative research that crosses traditional disciplinary and functional boundaries as well as providing reflection on the forms this work takes, the methods it adopts and the voices it represents. C&O has been proud to one of a number of high quality journals which have published leading research in the critical management studies field from scholars based at Leicester. 

The SCOS Board. 

Culture and Organization Editorial Team.