Critical Practices in Organizations

M. MESSNER, M. Kornberger, S. Clegg

Journal of Management Inquiry

juin 2008, vol. 17, n°2, pp.68-82

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

This article deals with the phenomenon of criticism in organizations. Existing organizational literature, where it has addressed criticism, mostly tends to see it as an extraordinary phenomenon. By contrast, in this article, the authors argue that criticism may also originate from strongly embedded and more ordinary practices. Thus, there is a theoretical need for considering those critical practices that are structurally and/or formally institutionalized within the organization. They reflect the organizational status quo and promote a reproduction of existing structures of power/knowledge. Drawing on ideas from practice theory, institutional theory, and Foucault's analytics of power/knowledge regimes, the authors introduce a typology that distinguishes forms of criticism according to the degree to which they are coupled with particular organizational practices, their rationalities, and corresponding power relations. They then focus on those forms of criticism that are strongly linked to organizational practices and illustrate the ambiguous effects of such an "organization of criticism."