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Process, Sensemaking, and Organizing$
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Tor Hernes and Sally Maitlis

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199594566

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199594566.001.0001

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Co‐Constitution, Causality, and Confluence: Organizing in a World without Entities

Co‐Constitution, Causality, and Confluence: Organizing in a World without Entities

(p.55) 4 Co‐Constitution, Causality, and Confluence: Organizing in a World without Entities
Process, Sensemaking, and Organizing

Kenneth J. Gergen

Oxford University Press

The shift in focus from entities to process in organizational theory is both theoretically challenging and rich in potential. In this chapter I first consider two major challenges to the traditional science of organizations, including a shift from research devoted to establishing empirically based covering laws to a science invested in generating futures through participatory practices. I then consider a theoretical orientation to process, one that illuminates the collaborative or co‐active constitution of what we take to be entities, and the ongoing process required to sustain a world of independent events or actions. Finally, with this emphasis on co‐active process in place, I take up the possibility of understanding organizational activity in terms of confluence theory. The latter emphasizes wholistic collations of co‐constituting “entities” that are in motion across time. Such an orientation to understanding invites the scholar to engage in future building activities that are sensitized to the protean potentials for organizational re‐constitution.

Keywords:   relational theory, confluence, process theory, co‐action

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