Abstract:Although common knowledge has long acknowledged the place of political behaviour in organizational life, few attempts to rigorously theorize a political model of organization appeared before the 1980s. Developed in significant part to offset the more technical, overly rational, top-down conceptions of organization and management, these emerging models offered interesting new ways to look at both intra- and interorganisational action. While the approach can shed light on political realities typically ignored or neglected by dominant mainstream theories, it has suffered from an uncritical pluralist theory of politics. To adequately elucidate the basic political issues, as critical organizational theorists have argued, the model requires a more complex theory of power. But also missing is an alternative postempiricist epistemology capable of systematically investigating the hidden sides of organizational power and politics that a critical theory seeks to explain. The analysis draws out and illustrates the need for more interpretively-oriented qualitative modes of understanding inherent to such a perspective, in particular narrative analysis. In the course of the discussion, the essay examines the implications of such.
Citation:Fischer, F. 2004. ‘Revisiting Organizational Politics: Toward a Postempirical Approach.’ Policy and Society 24 (4): 1-31.