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Postmodern Organizations

Stephen Linstead


Postmodern organizations are organizations that have broken with the traditional principles of organization as defined by modernist theory dominated by rationalism; they are also characterized by having developed new and original forms and practices in response to the changing environmental conditions of postmodern society. Such organizations can be identified both by the extent to which they are not epistemologically modern and by the extent to which they adopt and create new and different patterns of operation and regulation. Nevertheless, the continued persistence of modern methods of organizing is not to be doubted. Postmodern organizations, then, may themselves be hybrids of modern and postmodern modes of organizing, and coexist in mixed populations that include organizations that still run on predominantly modern lines. Furthermore, just as there was a variety of versions of modernism, there are different responses to the challenges of postmodernity, which display radicalism on both the right and the left. Boje and Dennehey (1999) follow Pauline Rosenau in distinguishing between skeptical and affirmative versions loosely based on Nietzsche's passive and active nihilisms, and there is also a fertile and heterogeneous middle ground. This said, we can attempt a broad and cautious typology of the familiar features of each, as shown in table 1 . The break between modernism ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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