Apologies for cross postings. Please see the following Call for Papers.
Critical Management Studies Research Workshop
Montreal, Aug 4-5, 2010
Redemption: Possibilities for Salvation and Liberation in Organizations
Conveners: Angela Hope ([log in to unmask])
Peter Case ([log in to unmask])
Matthew Eriksen ([log in to unmask])
Scott Taylor ([log in to unmask])
Heather Hopfl ([log in to unmask])
The CMS Division of the AOM will conduct a research workshop immediately
prior to the 2010 Academy of Management meetings in Montreal in August 2010.
The workshop will begin mid-morning of Wednesday Aug 4 and run till the
evening of Thursday Aug 5. We are coordinating a stream called “Redemption”
in this workshop, and seek submissions from interested researchers.
What does or might redemption mean in a workplace context? Can individual
employees be redeemed? Or from a macro-perspective, can an organization
itself be redeemed? This stream explores the interface between critical
management studies and religious studies, theology, and/or spirituality.
The discourse on soteriology deals with the study of salvation/redemption
theory which is a universal theme within world religions and spiritual
practices. Max Weber (1922) contends the need for salvation is universal and
integral to human experience. How the notion of redemption manifests in
organizations is the focus of this stream. In other words what does the
workplace contribute to the redemptive experience? How does the
organizational member attain or experience redemption? Does a person
experience redemption through work relationships? Is it the toiling and
laboring of work itself that is salvific or something else?
Redemption, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, is typically understood to
signify a process of being expiated from something ‘lesser’ in order to
achieve a salvific status. Usually, the ‘lesser’ connotes something internal
to the self—a sinful state (Powell, 2008). However, this is only one
understanding of redemption. Other understandings denote redemption to
symbolize an experience of liberation from suffering or something external
to the self where the individual is not culpable necessarily. Yet other
meanings of redemption are synonymous with terms like ‘human flourishing’
and ‘transformation.’ How do these different meanings relate to work or any
other type of organization?
There are two ways to approach these general questions—one is from a
micro-level focusing on the individual and the second is from a macro-level
focusing on a collective group or the organization itself as the unit of
analysis. The notion that an organization itself can be redeemed is a topic
deserving further exploration. Many scandals have erupted in organizations
(e.g. Enron, Catholic Church) in which the organizational image and
reputation has been tarnished. Can these organizations be redeemed in the
aftermath of a scandal? And further what about those organizations who have
not necessarily committed ‘sins’?
In terms of the micro-approach, there are many possible pathways to
conceptualize how redemption and the organization intersect. In Christian
soteriology or salvation theory, Augustine writes extensively on how it is
the will of the individual that is the site of redemption. In order for one
to achieve salvation, the will must be oriented to the Good (Augustine &
Wand, 1963). Others like Thomas Aquinas contend the seat of redemption to
be situated in the intellect or through knowledge (Davies, 2006). Both
regard the body as that which can ‘get in the way’ of redemption; it must be
tempered in order for the will or intellect to orient itself towards what is
salvific, godly, divine. Further it is described as a static event rather
than a process, a point that process thinkers have noted. In work, home, or
volunteer organizations, the site from which redemptive experiences occur
may differ on the type of organization, labor, and cultural factors. Does
the body play a role in the redemptive experience or were Augustine and
Aquinas correct in their assumptions?
In light of the above, this stream attempts explore the following:
1. Change management, organizational change, and soteriological pursuits in
2. How the insights of postmodern theologies and liberation theologies –
process theology, black liberation, feminist/womanist, mujerista, and queer
theology - can inform and influence management and organizing focusing on
the theme of redemption
3. Storytelling and salvation, organizational narratives, histories, as
4. The organization itself as redeemed in the aftermath of trauma or
corruption. Can an organization influence turnover, absenteeism, and burnout
and how do these mundane positivist constructs relate to the theme of redemption
5. Evil, theodicy, and the quest for liberation from suffering—e.g sexism,
racism, heterosexism, and other forms of discrimination at work. Where is
redemption rooted from in this context? Is the mind, body, or the will the
seat of redemption in the organizational context?
The motivation for the workshop is simple: neither the PDW nor the main
program events at the AOM give us enough opportunity to engage in in-depth
discussion of papers in critical management studies. Therefore this workshop
will be organized as a series of parallel streams (working groups), with
each stream comprising of people who have contributed papers on a
well-defined topic (perhaps with some invited discussants), working together
over the course of the day-and-a-half, discussing the papers in depth. In
order to maximize discussion, authors will not present their own papers, but
rather participants will be asked to present and discuss each others'
papers. We will also arrange a couple of plenary sessions and some social
time where all the participants come together.
We are yet to finalize the cost of the workshop, but we hope to be able to
offer low-cost accommodation during the event, and dovetail it with the AOM
meetings, especially those events involving the CMS Division. We will
finalize the details quickly on the expenses of the workshop.
If you wish to be part of this stream, please submit a 250 word abstract to
[log in to unmask] and [log in to unmask] by January 15th, 2010.
Please note that submissions can be concurrently on review at the regular
AOM 2010 conference as well. The submission of an abstract constitutes a
good-faith agreement to submit a full paper for the stream by June 1, 2010
if the paper is accepted. The final paper should be less than 8000 words in
(Augustine & Wand, 1963; Case, 2008; Weber, 1993)
Augustine, & Wand, J. (1963). City of God. London,: Oxford University Press.
Davies, B. (2006). Aquinas's Summa theologiae : critical essays. Lanham,
Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Powell, S. M. (2008). Discovering our Christian faith : an introduction to
theology. Kansas City, Mo.: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City.
Weber, M. (1993). The sociology of religion. Boston: Beacon Press.