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Philosophy and the postmodern perspective on organization theories

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  1. Introduction
  2. From the Ancient Greeks to poststructuralists: the stable elements of philosophy constituting the postmodern perspective on organization theories
  3. From the Ancient Greeks to poststructuralists: the stable elements constituting the postmodern perspective on organization theories
  4. The influence of postmodern perspective on philosophy: postmodern perspective as a fully-fledged philosophy
  5. Conclusion

Postmodernism refers to a general term that encompasses diverse fields such as literature, art, philosophy, architecture, fiction, and so on? It is originally an architectural movement constructed in opposition to modernism. Whereas modernism corresponds to a perspective whose epistemology is positivism, a perspective that focuses on finding universal laws, methods and structures in the human organizations, that asserts that reality can be known objectively; postmodernism is both a perspective and its own epistemology, that focuses on the deconstructions of organizational texts, on destabilizing managerial ideologies and modernist modes of organizing or theorizing, on revealing marginalized, oppressed viewpoints, on encouraging reflexive and inclusive forms of theorizing and organizing. (Hatch, 2006, 14). Since it is really difficult to define and delimit postmodernism, and since it is mainly constructed in opposition to the modern perspective (the prefix ?'post'' means at the same time a continuity, a modification and a rupture that happens chronologically after), we will have to precise the meaning of the latter. (1)

What are the main characteristics of this postmodern perspective? Firstly, a criticism of the rationality overly defended by the modern perspective, which means an emphasis on sensibility and subjective interpretations. Secondly, a different way to reach truth: this perspective stands that we do not have access to reality and to a universal truth, on the contrary, truth is a matter of perspective or specific context, since reality is constantly shifting and fluid. Thirdly, an opposition to the dualism and a wish to go beyond simple opposition, by promoting pluralism and diversity. Lastly, a different approach to language: language is creating our mind, thus, is creating reality. In a nutshell, postmodernism is the view that reality cannot be known nor described objectively.

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