Pragmatic Apparatus – The Performative Power of Frictions and New Possibilities: Studying power, performativity and process with Follett’s pragmatism

Cited by Lee Sonogan

Stream 7 - Mary Parker Follett's 'relational process ontology'

Abstract by Piera Morlacchi

This article seeks to open up new possibilities for process organization studies to reimagine power and performativity by exploring the potential of Mary Parker Follett’s pragmatism as process philosophy. I revisit her body of work to show how she translated her process ontology into theoretical resources and practical insights that allow for new ways of understanding power and performativity together and explore them as mutually constituting processes of organizing. In particular, I mobilize Follett’s view of conflicts as emerging differences in the world and frictions as constructive conflicts with the potential to generate something new in order to introduce and conceptualize ‘performative power’, that is, the power emerging from relating and integrating differences in organizational situations that are experienced as frictions by people involved. Drawing on my ethnographic study of an entrepreneurship accelerator – a training programme for innovators and start-up projects – I discuss and illustrate empirically how performative power is generated from frictions that arise in ordinary lived experiences. This conceptualization of performative power is an attempt to develop a processual and performative understanding of power, and a useful lens to conduct process research. Making a connection between performative power and the experience of frictions provides a new way to see, talk and study power processually in contemporary organizations.

Publication: Organisational Studies (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

Pub Date: July 29, 2021 Doi: Plenty more sections and references in this research article

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