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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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Rediscovering Becoming: Insights from an Oriental Perspective on Process Organization Studies

Rediscovering Becoming: Insights from an Oriental Perspective on Process Organization Studies

(p.112) 7 Rediscovering Becoming: Insights from an Oriental Perspective on Process Organization Studies
Process, Sensemaking, and Organizing

Robert Chia (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Process is an ambivalent term. Its use in organizational research and theorizing is widespread. Yet, there are important subtle differences in how the term is understood. Process may be construed either as an epiphenomenon of substantial organizational entities or as a primary condition of reality from which the phenomenon of organization spontaneously emerges. Each perspective gives rise to a different theoretical focus and agenda for the field of organization studies. In this chapter, I explore new avenues for understanding process and organization. I show that the idea of ultimate reality as formless, undifferentiated, and ceaselessly changing has been a basic intuition of the ancient Oriental world since time immemorial; one that remains widespread and influential in shaping contemporary Eastern mentalities and dispositions. I further show how this Oriental metaphysical attitude towards process, flux, and self‐transformation enables us to better appreciate the phenomenon of social organization as essentially the cumulative effect of a stabilizing, simple‐locating, and identity‐creating human impulse. From a process organization perspective then, organization studies ought to be more concerned with analyzing the dominant organizational mentalities involved in structuring social reality than with the analysis of “organizations.”

Keywords:   research, process, organization studies, Oriental world, self-transformation, process organization, social reality

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