Category Archives: News

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. 

SCOS Update November 2019

Special Issue Calls for Papers

Teaching what is not there: Engaging art in higher education on organizing and management

Guest Edited by Anke Strauß, Zeppelin University
Monika Kostera, the Jagiellonian University
Deadline: 26 November 2020 

Ghosts in the Organization

Guest Edited by Lynne Baxter and Carolyn Hunter, University of York, UK
Deadline: 1 February 2020

The Politics of Difference  

Guest Edited by:
Jasmin Mahadevan,  Pforzheim University, Germany
Henriett Primecz,  Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
Albert J. Mills,  Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada 
Deadline: 13 September 2021

SCOS Update October 2019

Dear All,

Message to all Scossers from Jo Brewis:

The competition for October 2020 entry on to the Leadership and Organizational Governance PhD studentship pathway (number 7) at the Open University Business School is now open. This is part of our Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership with Brunel and Oxford. The deadline for all the paperwork to arrive is 17:00 (UK time) 8th January 2020 and this needs to be sent to

The advert on OU jobs is here:

And here:

The OU application forms are here:

Although we are a distance learning university in the main, our PhD students are all campus-based. Our studentship application for October 2019 (the first time the pathway was eligible to submit) was successful as well J.

Jo’s the pathway lead for L&OG and very happy to field enquiries.

Other news: there are all sorts of calls out for lovely conferences! Have a look at the Gender, Work and Organization conference in Kent 24-26 June, deadline for submission of abstracts just one month away, 1st November. Do browse through the list of streams – some really tremendous ones. EGOS too, of course: 2-4 July in Hamburg:

And, of course, our own lovely SCOS conference in Copenhagen:

The SCOS Board is meeting next week in Krakow, where we are hoping SCOS 2021 might be held. More on that next month.


Christina Schwabenland

Membership secretary

SCOS Update September 2019

Dear All,

SCOS Newsletter September 2019

For the non-Antipodean Scossers, hope you all had some unserious fun over August and thought unserious thoughts and read unserious books on the beach!

Here’s a really interesting event coming up:

The deadline for submitting abstracts is 10 September so you do need to get on to it straight away. It’s in Lillehammer, in Norway at the end of November.

Humanistic Management Network Conference: Krakow 10-11 October 2019

I mentioned this in the last newsletter but there are still places for the Humanistic Management Network annual conference in Krakow on the 10th-11th October. Some SCOSsers are involved in organising / presenting – Monika Kostera is on the organising committee and The UK Chapter of the HMN will be facilitating n open space event for national chapters on the 11th October – and again, some nice overlap in membership between SCOS and HMN UK.  The SCOS Board will be having its autumn meeting in Krakow the day before the conference starts so there will be a nice SCOS presence there.  The conference is very cheap!

The theme is Solidarity and the Common Good. Here’s the line – do register!



Christina Schwabenland

Membership secretary

SCOS Update July 2019

Dear All,

SCOS 2019

First and foremost, SCOS York 2019 was one of the very best SCOSSs ever! A haunting experience for everyone who came. Thanks of course, to Lynne and Caroline for amazing organising – all sorts of little details thought through beforehand, fab events, fab food, fab pompoms! But also, of course, to everyone who came and gave papers and contributed in all sorts of ways. And thanks too, to Blue Scossy who came out of retirement and managed to haunt all sorts of places.

Humanistic Management Network Conference: Krakow 10-11 October 2019

Of course, we hope you are beginning to think about SCOS 2020 in Copenhagen; 6-9 July. More on that to come. But if you want to think about an event nearer to hand, the Humanistic Management Network is holding its annual conference this year in Krakow on the 10th-11th October. Some SCOSsers are involved in organising / presenting – Monika Kostera is on the organising committee and The UK Chapter of the HMN will be facilitating n open space event for national chapters on the 11th October – and again, some nice overlap in membership between SCOS and HMN UK.  The SCOS Board will be having its autumn meeting in Krakow the day before the conference starts so there will be a nice SCOS presence there.  The conference is very cheap – only 25 euros if you register before the end of July (not counting accommodation of course, but still cheap)!

The theme is Solidarity and the Common Good. Here’s the line – do register!


CFP: Journal of Management, Spirituality and Religion

Monika Kostera is on the editorial board of JMSR and writes: ‘We would be absolutely thrilled and also sincerely honoured if as many SCOSsers as they please would consider us as the journal they would wish to submit their ghostly (and also others) articles to: 

Attached is a form for special issue proposals – please consider submitting one, a Ghostly issue would be perfect.’

New SCOS Chair

We have a new chair of the SCOS Board, Ann-marie Greene. Welcome Ann-marie, and grateful thanks to Thomas Lennerfors, who will still be involved in the Board through Culture and Organization. There have been a few other changes on the Board and the next newsletter will contain the full list of members and their responsibilities.


For non-antipodean SCOSsers I hope you will all be having time this summer for some serious play, with the balance more on ‘play’ than ‘serious’! Those amazingly creative ideas you all keep having won’t flourish without some proper RnR.


Christina Schwabenland

Membership secretary

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:

SCOS Update September 2018

Dear Scossers,

It was marvellous to see so many new and familiar faces in Tokyo on the theme of Wabi-Sabi! The focus on traditional Japanese aesthetics, philosophy and the tea ceremony was almost as invigorating as my first experience of matcha ice-cream! Following the many interesting papers presented at the conference, the organisers are looking forward to receiving submissions to the associated Culture and Organisation Special Issue. Scossy is also now en route to a more ambiguous and ghostly realm with next year’s conference organisers, who will host in York, UK in 2019. 

There are a few interesting items enclosed in this newsletter about forthcoming events, including details of the new SCOS Special Events Fund and requests for submissions to the SCOS book. We hope attendees appreciated the re-institution of the AGM at the conference, but for those who missed the news regarding board changes the details have been included below. Christina will be taking on the membership newsletters from now on, so please send any items or news to her for future circulation at


Item 1 CfP Culture & Organisation Special Issue on Wabi-Sabi

Item 2 SCOS Special Events Fund. Initial deadline for applications: 15th October 2018

Item 3 SCOS Book Call for submissions (short papers, reflections, poetry or alternatives!) deadline: 21st December 2018

Item 4 Summary of SCOS Board info from AGM

Item 5 Call for Sub-Theme proposals @ CMS 2019 at the Open University, UK. deadline: 1st Sept 2018

Item 6 The Open University Business School, UK, has several PhD studentships available for a February 2019 start, including one co-supervised by Jo Brewis and Cinzia Priola (Department of People and Organizations).

The link is here:

Item 7 Special Issue on Circular Economy in Culture and Organization (Deadline for submissions 15 November 2018)



Best Wishes

Laura & Christina . ?


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Item 1 CfP Culture & Organisation Special Issue on Wabi-Sabi


Call for Papers: Wabi-sabi (侘寂): Imperfection, incompleteness and impermanence in organizational life


Volume 26, issue 3, 2020


Following on from the highly successful combined SCOS/ACSCOS Conference held at Meiji University in Tokyo Japan from August 17-20 2018, we welcome submissions to a Special Issue of Culture and Organization on the subject of ‘Wabi-sabi (侘寂): Imperfection, incompleteness and impermanence in organizational life’.


Wabi-sabi is an approach to life based on accepting the transience and imperfection of the world. As a Japanese aesthetic derived from Buddhism, wabi-sabi embraces the wisdom that comes from perceiving beauty in impermanence and incompleteness. What might the flawed, faulty, and weathered have to do with formal organisations, obsessed as they seemingly are with continually striving for perfection? Could informal and emergent organisations represent the wabi-sabi ideal? Is perfection, as an antithesis of wabi-sabi, embedded in managerial efforts such as striving for continuous improvement, setting ‘stretch’ targets, managing the performance of ideal employees, promoting organizational cultures of excellence, and even the romanticized perfect bodies of employees?  (Hardy and Thomas, 2015) Is it then the case that the managerial aesthetic of organizations is the antinomy of wabi-sabi? (Taylor, 2013).


The idea for this Special Issue is to explore how the wabi-sabi aesthetic can offer a counterpoint to the forms of idealization that dominate so much of managerial and organisational thinking. This is an exploration of how ideas from an ancient Eastern tradition might fruitfully be brought to bear on organisational issues, challenges and problems (Lowe, et al. 2015). Wabi-sabi as a theme explores the imperfect idea of a dividing crack between ‘the East’ and ‘the West’ that we hope the Special Issue will illuminate with the sort of effervescent creativity and fluid thinking that characterises Culture and Organization.


We invite submissions that consider any of the possibilities through which principles of transience and imperfection are present in, or can be made relevant to, organisational life. Central to this is how organisations have long been understood as exemplars of containment that can wilfully defy recognition of the importance of transience, flux, and fluidity. Such standpoints negate or minimise the significance of difference and undecidability leading to deleterious effects on organisational life such as overdetermined measurement systems and quality regimes. Undoing the desire for rock-solid certainty might just prove to be essential for developing ethical openness to others (Levinas, 2007; Pullen and Rhodes, 2014). Is it then possible that wabi-sabi’s emphasis on transience and imperfection offers a path appreciating ethical relations and challenging oppressive organizational regimes that violate humanity? Or could it lead to worse outcomes?


This Special Issue is an opportunity for scholars to engage with Asian concepts and ideas in a creative and inclusive way that has traditionally epitomised the ethos of Culture and Organization and SCOS conferences, and to carry on from a previous edition of Culture and Organization on the theme of ‘East is East’ (Vol. 21, Issue 5, 2015).  More broadly we also welcome submissions on themes to do with impermanence, imperfection and incompleteness from other philosophical traditions, where these are relevant to organisational studies. Contributors may find inspiration from the following list of potential themes:


• The desire for perfection in organisations, careers, and lives

• Mindfulness, organising, managing, leadership, and followership

• Western philosophy’s engagement with Eastern philosophy through, for example, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Irigaray, as well as Eastern philosophy’s engagement with Western philosophy, for example Nishida, Watsuji, and Yuasa, and its implications for organisations

• The idealization of Japanese management practice in Western management theory, in for example kanban (lean just-in-time process), jidoka (stop everything!), babyoke (automated mistake proofing) and poka yoke (mistake proofing)

• Imperfection as a new organizational ideal

• Undecideability and the ethics of not-knowing in organisational life

• Living imperfect lives at work

• Imperfection as lack, critiques of patriarchal organisation

• Western preoccupations with completeness and totality as it relates to organizational studies

• An organisational aesthetics of im/perfection and transience

• Eastern and Western ideals of beauty and cultural perfection in organizational life, for instance, gendered robots at work

• Symbols of imperfection, imperfect bodies, and the monstrous as they relate to organisational ethics and experience

• The politics and ethics of organisational failure; ugly failures and beautiful failures

• Impermanence and organising

• Global transitions and transience of workers and careers

• Simplicity and/or quietness in organizations

• Enlightenment (satori) and leadership discourse

• Desolation and solitude or liberation from the material world and the rejection of organisations

• Inspiration for wabi-sabi expressed in the arts (music, flower arrangements, gardens, poetry, food ceremonies) and organisational issues


This list is intended to be indicative only. Innovative interpretations of the call are encouraged.  With its long tradition of interdisciplinary approaches, C&O invites papers that draw insights and approaches from across a range of social sciences and humanities.  In addition to scholars working in management and organization studies we welcome contributions from anthropology, sociology, philosophy, politics, art history, communication, film, gender and cultural studies. We welcome papers from any disciplinary, paradigmatic or methodological perspective as long as they directly address the theme of wabi-sabi and organizational life.  


The Special Issue editors are Janet Sayers (Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand), Masayasu Takahashi (Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan), Masato Yotsumoto (University of Nagasaki, Sasebo, Japan), Toshio Takagi (Showa Women’s University, Tokyo, Japan),  Thomas Taro Lennerfors (Uppsala University, Sweden), and Barbara Plester (University of Auckland, New Zealand).  


Submission and informal enquiries


Please ensure that all submissions to the special issue are made via the ScholarOne Culture and Organization site at You will have to sign up for an account before you are able to submit a manuscript. Please ensure when you do submit that you select the relevant special issue (Volume 26, Issue 3) to direct your submission appropriately. If you experience any problems, please contact the editors of this issue.


Style and other instructions on manuscript preparation can be found at the journal’s website: Manuscript length should not exceed 8000 words, including appendices and supporting materials. Please also be aware that any images used in your submission must be your own, or where they are not, you must already have permission to reproduce them in an academic journal. You should make this explicit in the submitted manuscript.


Manuscripts must be submitted by February 1st 2019.


Prospective authors are invited to discuss manuscript ideas for the special issue with the guest editors before the deadline for submissions.  They can be reached via e-mail at




Hardy, C. and Thomas, R. 2015. “Discourse in a Material World.” Journal of Management Studies 52: 680-696.


Levinas, E. 2007. “Sociality and Money.” Business Ethics: A European Review 16 (3): 203-207.


Lowe, S., Kainzbauer, A., Tapachai, N. & K.-S Hwang. 2015. “Ambicultural Blending Between Eastern and Western Paradigms: Fresh Perspectives for International Management Research.” Culture and Organization  21 (4): 304-320.


Taylor, S. 2013. “The Impoverished Aesthetic of Modern Management: Beauty and Ethics in Organisations.” Aesthetics and Business Ethics, Issues in Business Ethics Series Vl, 41: 23-35.


Pullen, A., & C. Rhodes. 2014. “Corporeal Ethics and the Politics of Resistance in Organizations.” Organization 21 (6): 782-796.




Item 2 SCOS Special Events Fund. Initial deadline for applications: 15th October 2018


The SCOS philosophy is ‘serious fun’. Serious, because we are dedicated to the development of unusual and groundbreaking ideas in the analysis of organized life. Fun, because our members provide a continual source of enthusiasm, support and inspiration for each other. For SCOS, the social side of our activities is an essential – indeed indistinguishable – element of our intellectual and practical endeavors.


To encourage the development of often marginalized perspectives on organized life, and the ethico-political promises of such perspectives, the SCOS Board is delighted to offer funding for ‘special events’.  The Special Events Fund will be offered every year although the total amount disbursed will depend on the surplus available. Events should challenge and blur the boundaries of conventional thinking in keeping with the SCOS ethos of ‘serious fun’.


Information for Proposers


SCOS wishes to support creative and/or innovative activities that reflect the SCOS ethos and which would struggle to be supported elsewhere. We do not wish to limit your imagination as to what forms activities should take; they could range from a workshop to the collaborative production of a film or artwork. As an example, when the Fund operated previously, it paid for a one-day workshop in Bristol where the participants made dolls in response to Hélène Cixous’s Laugh of the Medusa. Our criteria for a successful proposal are therefore:

·      The extent to which the event echoes the SCOS intellectual ethos: a critical and reflexive interest in the interlinked issues of organizational symbolism, culture and change, articulated in the broadest possible sense and informed by our commitment to unusual, inter- and trans-disciplinary understandings of organization and management explored where appropriate via innovative, qualitative research methodologies.

·      We are more likely to fund events which conventional sources (eg UK ESRC or the EU) would not fund – simply put, the more original, innovative and downright out there your event is, the better!

·      Applications should speak to the ways in which the event will be inclusive, collegial and supportive, especially of younger researchers and those from locations less well represented in our existing network.

·      Relatedly, we will assess the extent to which the funds required will be used to maximize attendance/participation, so as to potentially enlarge SCOS membership. As such it is advised that applications are specific about how the funding will do so.

·      Events which are already well supported by institutional or other sources of funding, or where other sources of funding have seemingly not been exhausted, will in all likelihood not receive SCOS special events funding.

·      We will NOT fund academic time, but practitioner time could be supported if appropriate.

·      Applications will be compared to each other and the most deserving according to these criteria will attract funds.


Application Process


•   SCOS members are invited to apply for awards in the range of £500 to £2,000 for each event.

•   The Board will consider applications twice per year at the April and November Board meetings. The deadline for the April meeting is the 15th of Marchand the deadline for the November meeting is the 15th of October.

•   Successful applicants should hold the event and spend the funds awarded within 12 months of notification of the award.

•   If an application is turned down, the applicant(s) can revise their bid and resubmit for a following deadline. We wish to encourage this as a development opportunity.



The application details required are as follows:

·      Organizers of event (names and contact details, institutional affiliation/s).

·      Host institution and/ or location of event (if different).

·      Date/s of event.

·      Description of event including number of participants, theme, whether it is intended for a specific audience (eg doctoral students, early-career researchers etc.).

·      Amount sought and reasons for seeking SCOS funding (ie, what will the money be used for?).

·      Details of any other funding that has already been secured and/ or applied for, or details of why funding from other sources is not available.

·      Explicit indication as to how the funding sought will benefit SCOS in terms of encouraging attendance from doctoral students, early career researchers and those from locations less well represented in our existing network, so as potentially to enlarge our membership in future.

·      An indication of how the event relates to the intellectual activities of SCOS.

·      Applications should be no more than 500 words long. The Board will only consider one application per event.


Please email applications to Thomas Lennerfors, Chair of SCOS at Any queries can also be sent to this address. Applicants will be informed of the results within two weeks of each meeting, unless further details are required by the Board in order to reach a final decision. Successful applicants are required to use SCOS branding, which will be supplied, and prepare a report/account to be used in SCOS media promotion.


We look forward very much to receiving your applications.


Warmest wishes,





Item 3 Call for member Contributions to the SCOS book


After several years of SCOSsy soul-searching, Thomas and the rest of the board have collected a range of submissions and materials on the past(s), present(s), and future(s) of SCOS. These curated materials will form the basis of a book to be launched at the York conference. While many notable (even infamous?) scossers such as Antonio Strati, Silvia Gherardi, Jo Brewis, Alf Rehn, Peter Case, Monika Kostera, et al. have contributed, we would love to receive further submissions from members. Why not explore your embodied experiences to tell us about SCOS possibilities, your memories of the history of ACSCOS, or imagination about the future of JSCOS? 

Open for a range of contributions, reflective pieces, normative ideas, manifestos, art, poetry, photos, theoretical musings, we would love to hear from you. Submissions need not be onerous or lengthy SCOS-crocodiles, usually a written contribution is about 2-5 A4 pages. In our most delightful dreams we hope for anything on topics as diverse as:

•   The meaning of SCOSsy knowledge

•   Imaginings of a SCOS community

•   Visions of a Dragon

•   The Invisible life/lives of scholarship

•   Research passions

•   Intellectual misfits and scholarly homes

•   Academic Arts

•   Fun, flippancy and functionalism

•   Potential and limitations of metaphorical studies

To discuss an idea, contact Thomas on or Laura on The deadline for contributions is 21st December 2018.



Item 4  Summary of SCOS Board info from AGM


At the conference in Tokyo we presented a brief summary of the roles of the board positions and who was in them, as well as some up to date information about what different people are doing. The list of board members can be found on the website here:

The constitution is linked on the same page and this outlines the roles to some degree. The board generally meet three times a year (once at the conference) and aim to facilitate the running of SCOS, keeping members informed, and promoting conference organising. 

SCOS acquires money from a levy included in conference fees/donations and spends money on the journal subscriptions for members and bursaries for student conference attendance plus refreshments for board meetings and small gifts for conference organisers. At present a surplus is funding the special events fund. The website has been re-vamped recently and Scott along with the new social media officers Bob and Caroline would love to feature news and articles from members so don’t hesitate to get in touch with any content you would be happy to share!




Item 5

The 11th International Critical Management Conference



The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, UK

27th – 29th June 2019




The Department for People and Organisations at the Open University Business School, in collaboration with VIDA, the Critical Management Studies Association, will host the International CMS conference in 2019 around the theme of ‘Precarious Presents, Open Futures’. This theme invites theoretical and empirical analysis of what it means for societies and organizations to be ‘open’ in the 21st century, what currently constitutes radical political, economic, cultural, historical and ethical openness, and how this openness is under attack from renewed discourses of individualized privilege and closure as well as physical violence.


It was once claimed that the new millennium would mark the ‘end of history’, characterized by the permanent victory of the free market and liberal democracy anticipated by neo-liberalism. Yet these triumphant visions have been profoundly challenged by the global financial crisis and the growing populist demand for radical change across the ideological spectrum. Rising inequality and the growth of the precarious economy, marked by zero hour contracts and other unstable and insecure working arrangements, have meant that for many, modern working life is tainted by material insecurity and psychological anxiety. Faith in democracy is being abused by the spread of oligarchy and the troubling return of nativism, racism and nationalism. Our identities are threatened in a present where personal data are routinely harvested and exploited, as exemplified by many recent scandals. And all of these concerns are exacerbated by fear of a hi-tech, automated, dystopian future of mass unemployment. 


Still, these uncertainties may also prove to be the catalyst for creating new opportunities to profoundly reshape and reorganize our economies, politics and societies. Neoliberalist assumptions, once held sacred, are now threatened by new ideas, such as a universal basic income, while seemingly entrenched elites may be at risk. ‘Industry 4.0’ – a potentially unholy mix of the Internet of Things, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and cyber-physical systems, predicted to revolutionize manufacturing – is a very daunting possibility. However, it might be supplemented, dramatically transformed, even supplanted by ideas of ‘democracy 4.0’ and ‘development 4.0’. Perhaps we can reimagine contemporary management thinking and organizations so that they are as radically ‘empowering’ as they are ‘smart’, challenging dominant interwoven paradigms based on patriarchy, racism, ethnic discrimination, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and colonialism. 


For these reasons, it is more urgent than ever to ask: who is influencing these new histories and how do, and can, critical management academics participate in them? How can they be further democratized and owned by the many rather than the elite few, the 99% and not the 1%? In the western world, developments like the election of Donald Trump, Brexit, and Theresa May’s ‘confidence and supply’ agreement with the Irish Democratic Unionist Party reveal a distinct politics of closure and exclusion in regard to geographic borders, ‘facts’ and hard-won progress around expanding social inclusion. On the other hand, in the southern hemisphere the election of Jacinda Ardern, a committed feminist who is passionate about the eradication of child poverty and homelessness, calls for a questioning of taken for granted, western-centric approaches to politics as well as an amplification of New Zealand’s voice on the global stage.  


At stake, then, is a resurgent need to radically reconceive the meanings and practices associated with openness. It is also vital that we critically assess how and in what ways they might actually be(come) open, rather than simply giving the appearance of openness. Open source creation, collaboration and information are recalibrating the potential for personal and collective interactions and knowledge sharing across the globe. In short, then, how can participants in CMS contribute to transforming our precarious presents into possibilities for genuinely open futures?


For the 2019 conference, we therefore invite stream and workshop proposals from diverse disciplines as well as interdisciplinary proposals which critically unpack new concepts including – but not limited to – digital inclusion, decolonizing data management, trans-human management, alternative human-animal relations, opensource organizations, virtual progress, global solidarity and mobile organizing. These concepts (and many others) allow for an exploration of how technologies and emerging forms of organization can subvert established identities, and open the space for new and marginalized voices to shape our presents and futures. We are also interested in proposals, again from diverse disciplines within and without the field of management studies, that engage with the contemporary production and organization of knowledge – specifically its openness to alternative perspectives and traditionally marginalized voices – as well as how emerging techniques and technologies associated with ‘open information’ are reinforcing old or fostering new forms of ideological and social closure.  Proposals which engage with the broader sociopolitical, economic and technological changes outlined above and how CMS can respond to them in order to help shape more open societies are equally welcome. These would require reflection on our own role as researchers, educators and intellectual activists, as well as the (changing) role of universities in producing both closures and openness in the contemporary context. Just as importantly, we are committed to ‘opening up’ how a conference is organized and managed, creating collaborative spaces for constructive knowledge sharing between academics, activists, practitioners, artists and policy makers, inter alia. These could include activist-led ‘unstreams’ or ‘noworkshops’, performances, art sharing sessions and interactive installations involving virtual technology and mobile games.


Proposals should include an outline of the proposed sub-theme (500-750 words), as well as a short description of the team of convenors, including their backgrounds and experience. Ideally, convenors for streams will be drawn from different continents and disciplines, and be gender-balanced. We would also like to encourage the inclusion of early-career academics and Doctoral students as part of convener teams. We expect most of the submissions to be linked with the overall conference theme, but other submissions are welcome as long as they are likely to appeal to the wider CMS community and beyond. We are keen to encourage proposals from the range of management studies disciplines (accounting and finance, human resource management, industrial relations, marketing and consumption, organization studies, international business, etc.) and related disciplines including – but not limited to – sociology, human geography, cultural studies, anthropology and psychology. Cross-/multi-/interdisciplinary proposals are very much encouraged.


Please note that we will apply the principle of progressive stacking in the event that we receive more proposals than we can accommodate for the conference. This approach means that convenor teams including members of non-dominant gender, racial, ethnic, sexual, age, ability and regional groupings will be given priority over other teams whose proposals are deemed to be of an equally high standard.


The deadline for submission of sub-theme proposals is 1st September 2018. Please send these to the local organizing committee at Convenors will be notified by 29th September 2018 of the outcome of their submissions. Any questions can be directed to the same email address.




Item 6

Open University PhD Studentships

For the academic year beginning 1 February 2019 we are inviting applications for a number of full-time funded PhD studentships.

The studentships are based at the Milton Keynes campus and students are normally expected to live within commuting distance of Milton Keynes. The studentships cover tuition fees, a generous research training support grant and a stipend (circa £14,533 per annum) for 36 months.

In order to be considered for a funded studentship your application should preferably be based on an advertised project. Examples of projects recently advertised are listed further below.

Applications must include the following:

·       a 1000 word proposal which indicates your knowledge of the literature, methods and likely approach to your project of interest

·       a covering letter indicating your suitability for the project

·       a completed application form

·       certificates with transcripts, if possible, confirming your professional qualifications relevant to your application

Applicants for the PhD programme should have minimum qualifications of an upper second class honours degree 2:1 (or an equivalent) and usually a specialist masters in a subject relevant to the intended study with a strong research element.

Applicants who speak English as a foreign language and/or are applying for a Tier 4 visa must have achieved SELTS (Secure English Language Test) from a UK Border Agency-approved provider at level B2 or above in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), in all four elements (reading, writing, listening, speaking).

We also welcome full-time and part-time self-funded applications in topics in business and management, dependent on supervision availability.

The deadline for applications is 5pm GMT on Monday 8th October 2018.

Interviews will form part of the selection process and will be held on 17th, 18th or 23rd October in person (or via web conference if required). PhD candidates are expected to give a 15 minute presentation about their proposal, followed by a question and answer session.

PhD project titles we are offering are listed below and you can find out more by clicking on the individual links:

Centre for Policing Research and Learning (CPRL)

·       CPRL 01 The Experiences of LGBTQ and Professionals Working in Criminal Justice Organisations

Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership (CVSL)

·       CVSL 02 The contribution of leadership in small and medium charities navigating change and transition

Department of Accounting and Finance (DAF)

·       DAF 03 A Comparison of Socially Responsible Investing and Sharia Complaint Funds

Department of People and Organisations (DPO)

·       DPO 04 The experiences of transpeople in the UK labour market

·       DPO 05 Grassroots spaces of recovery

·       DPO 06 tbc

Department of Strategy and Marketing (DSM)

·       DSM 07 Music and Consumer Response to Advertising

Department of Public Leadership and Social Enterprise (PuLSE)

·       PuLSE 11 Exploring enterprise, learning and growth from craft workshops to makerspaces

·       PuLSE 12 Promoting environmental sustainability in SMEs the role of intermediaries

·       PuLSE 13 Economic Citizenship and Governance in Brexit times

·       PuLSE 14 Understanding the relationship between identity and ethics in collaborative settings



Item 7


Contested Realities of the Circular Economy


This special issue of Culture and Organization invites contributions that question the Circular Economy in innovative ways. This special issue aims at bringing together critical, interpretive and theory-driven papers that go beyond the often repeated, but largely a-historical, a-practical, and a-theoretical, claims that the Circular Economy will help organizations solve 21st century problems. There is, for example, a rich history of economic and social practices (think of the frugality of survival practices during various wars) that could be seen as precursors of the Circular Economy, and one might ask: If such practices have been around for some time, why have they not been able to address the questions the Circular Economy aims to answer? Likewise, the Circular Economy has a lot to say about materials and their flows, but very little about humans and the social dimension of circular activities.

We welcome contributions that address the organisational and social aspects of the Circular Economy, including questions of power, process, and labour; its cultural aspects, including symbolic, political, and historical dimensions; its theoretical aspects, including how the Circular Economy relates to organizational theories of sustainability, change, and materiality; and its ethical aspects, including questions of justice, Otherness, and responsibility. Here is an indicative, arbitrary and in no way exhaustive list of possible topics:

•   Ethnographies of organizational transitions to the Circular Economy, including specific aspects of such transitions, such as product design, restorative and regenerative strategies, and the development of circular business models.

•   People at work in the Circular Economy: organizational, local, regional, and global approaches.

•   The Circular Economy and innovation, for example recycling techniques, technologies, information technology and social media.

•   Organizing materials in a circular economy, from mines to landfills (and the atmosphere) via storehouses and homes.

•   Scales of circularity: micro-, meso- or macro-loops?

•   The Circular Economy and systemic transformations of consumption.

•   Circular-economic governance: soft, strict, or otherwise (e.g., nudge), exploring, in particular, the role of incentives and legislation.

•   The Circular Economy and master-metaphors: from utopias to dystopias, from socialism to sustainable development, and from the myth of the eternal return to the Anthropocene.

•   The management of externalities in the Circular Economy.

•   The Circular Economy experience of countries at war, for example Nazi Germany, but also of countries under embargo, for example Cuba.

•   Regional differences in the Circular Economy, for example between the “Global North” and the “Global South”; circular economy and de-globalization.

•   Examining the discursive development of the Circular Economy, focusing on the roles of key organizations and institutions, such as the Ellen McArthur Foundation, McKinsey, the European Union and the World Economic Forum.

•   Deconstructing the Circular Economy discourse, for example, how the European Union connects the Circular Economy to safety as much as environmental sustainability.

•   The Circular Economy as aesthetic, but also as play, derision, irony, and provocation.

•   How the contemporary circular economy fails.

•   The Circular Economy as paradign shift.

Qualitative papers that open new spaces of reflection and understanding of the Circular Economy in organizations are welcome, regardless of their theoretical sources of inspiration. Innovation in writing and composing style are also welcome. In addition to scholars working in management and organization studies we therefore welcome contributions from – inter alia ­- anthropology, sociology, philosophy, politics, art history, communication, film, gender and cultural studies.

Submission Instructions

Please ensure that all submissions to the special issue are made via the ScholarOne site. You will have to sign up for an account before you are able to submit a manuscript. Please ensure when you do submit that you select the relevant special issue (Volume 26, Issue 2) to direct your submission appropriately. If you experience any problems, please contact the editors of this issue.

Style and other instructions on manuscript preparation can be found at the journal’s website. Manuscript length should not exceed 8000 words, including appendices and supporting materials. Please also be aware that any images used in your submission must be your own, or where they are not, you must already have permission to reproduce them in an academic journal. You should make this explicit in the submitted manuscript.

Manuscripts must be submitted by November 15th 2018.

Prospective authors are invited to discuss manuscript ideas for the special issue with the guest editors before the deadline for submissions.

Editorial information

•   Guest Editor: Hervé Corvellec, Lund University

•   Guest Editor: Steffen Böhm, University of Exeter

•   Guest Editor: Alison Stowell, Lancaster University

•   Guest Editor: Francisco Valenzuela, Nottingham Trent University