Registering ‘the Ethical’ in Organization Theory Formation: Towards the Disclosure of an ‘Invisible Force’

Publisher:
SAGE Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Organization Studies, 2014, 35 (7), pp. 1013 - 1039
Issue Date:
2014-07
Metrics:
Full metadata record
Theory building is conditioned by three registers – the ontological (reality), the epistemological (knowledge) and the ethical (values). The significance of the first two is widely acknowledged. But the third register tends to be overlooked, especially where a positive/normative dichotomy is assumed. Post-positivist thinking problematizes this dichotomy but leaves the ethical register unthematized. The paper addresses this neglect and illustrates the role of the ethical register in processes of theory formation. Attentiveness to the ethical register is seen to invite radical reflection on a dominant, anthropocentric value-orientation, and thereby problematize the institutionalized estrangement of researchers from the ‘objects’ of their analysis and the abstraction of organizations from their embeddedness in the biosphere.
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