Seminar on Performativity
What do Organization Scholars Do with Performativity?
Insights from a Systematic Citation Context
John Austin introduced the formulation ‘performative utterance’ in his 1962 book How to do things with words. The concept of performativity has since then been used in a variety of disciplines and is increasingly mobilized either as a noon (performativity), an adjective (performative) or a verb (to perform) to describe a variety of processes and phenomena and to build theories of organizations. The purpose of this paper is to clarify inductively the variety of conceptualizations of performativity that organizational scholars mobilize by analyzing the uses of the terms related to performativity in a corpus of 293 papers published in organization and management journals. To explore the ‘performativity of performativity’ in organization theory, we build on insights from the sociology of organizational knowledge, prior analysis of performativity and the citation context analysis method. Our findings reveal the increased reliance on the performativity vocabulary in organizational analysis over the last 30 years and its cognitive institutionalization in European journals. Focusing on 104 papers that actually use performativity related terms, we identified 12 distinct approaches to performativity. These approaches refer to different foundational authors and disciplinary backgrounds, are used in distinct domains of organizational theory, and reflect divergent epistemological orientations. We build on these findings to discuss the genealogy of performativity and cluster organizational approaches to performativity into 5 families that correspond to distinct classes of social mechanisms.
Professor Jean-Pascal Gond
Jean-Pascal Gond is Professor of Corporate Social Responsibility at Cass Business School, City University London. His research mobilizes organization theory and economic sociology to investigate corporate social responsibility (CSR). Key research programs currently in progress on CSR include the roles of standards and metrics in the institutionalization of CSR in the financial marketplace and in corporations, the influence of CSR on employees, and the variations of CSR across varieties of capitalism. His research in economic sociology is concerned with the influence of theory on managerial practice, the governance of self-regulation, and the interplay of society’s commodification and markets’ socialization. Jeanemail@example.com
Associate Professor Laure Cabantous
Laure is Associate Professor in Management at Cass Business School. Previously, she worked at Warwick Business School, ESCP Europe, Nottingham University Business School, and the Centre for Decision Research at Leeds University Business School. Laure's research agenda is organized around three core topics. First, Laure has an interest in the performative power of theories - that is their ability to shape the world and business practices. Second, Laure is passionate about decision-making. She studies decision-making processes both at the organizational and the individual levels. She focuses on cases where decision-makers experience knightian uncertainty. Third, Laure has a specific interest for the reinsurance and the insurance industries. Laure.firstname.lastname@example.org
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