Conferences and Conference Streams

Since its inception, ICRODSC members have presented at, as well as coordinated, a range of sub-streams and conferences held in different countries.

July, 2020

CALL FOR PAPERS - 14th International Conference on Organizational Discourse: Interstices, Intervals and Interrogations

8-10th July 2020, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

We are happy to announce the 14th International Conference on Discourse and Organization. “The Discourse Conference” has a long tradition of gatherings that inspire and deepen the discursive branch of organization studies, creating a platform for lively exchange between senior and junior scholars, and establishing relationships of enduring academic cooperation.

The 2020 conference theme is “Interstices, Intervals and Interrogations”. It invites us to focus on the in-betweens, enclaves and intersections – the times and spaces where we may find terse storytelling or extensive story-swapping, discursive struggles or silent scheming, serious joking or hilarious debate, affectionate shouting or underplayed mumbling, strategic bullshitting, fake news or hard-boiled facts. Furthermore, the concern with ‘inter’ in our title questions how linkages and liaisons are constructed across social, cultural, organizational, institutional or disciplinary, and empirical or academic divides.

Interstices calls for us to read between the lines of organizational life, by which we may explore the work and world in-between the formal and informal, the said and unsaid, the troubled and the troubling at the intersection of power and resistance. Following this, we can investigate how discourse “speaks” or comes to matter through the noises or silences, the done or undone of the in-between.

Intervals asks us to unpack competing, contradicting and interconnected discourses and the disciplining, struggling and dis/organizing practices of work and subjectivity. Further, we may attend to how discourse un/settles or re/invents the present, the past and the future – or the gaps between these.

Interrogations challenges us to explore mysteries and allows for criticality that creates new insights into organizational phenomena and their changing meanings and matters. Such investigations may develop concepts, methods or analyses that denote or interrupt the political forces that spread notions such as objectivity and Truth, or that unravel the multi-dimensional works, effects and complexities of such notions.

The conference theme offers a broad canvas of questions, debates and possibilities. Will the interstices give rise to new spaces of activism, work practices and scientific insight? Will the combination with interrogations produce heated discussion, intervals of doubt and reflection?

It is up to you, as prospective conference participants, to frame your work in ways that may inspire others and garner novel insights to further the bright tradition of ‘discourse and organization’. We invite contributions that will renew and rethink how to reflect, critique, destabilize or queer (our studies of) dominant organizational assumptions, orders, doings, as well as the mainstream organizational theorizing thereof.

Beyond this, and in keeping with past conferences, we also welcome contributions outside of the confines of the specified 2020 theme. We will organize the broader conference streams from the submitted papers. Currently, in addition to contributions exploring our central themes, we can imagine paper presentations that organize themselves within and around the following topics:

*Institutions, Entrepreneurship and Networks
*Futures, Foresight and Fiction
*Time, Space and Materiality
*Inclusion, Exclusion and Intersecting Concepts
*Sense-making, Stories and Narrative
*Crisis, Change and Transformation
*Knowledge, Affect, Power and Politics
*Diversity, Difference and Distinction-drawing
*Auto/Ethnography and Organizational Life
*Language, Culture and Ideology
*The Unsettled and Restless, the Between and Betwixt

We envisage that the conference will again provide an inspirational forum in which academics with various perspectives on organization and discourse, and from all walks and stages of academic life, engage in lively debate and constructive dialogue. A joint publication of the best papers presented is planned.

Conference Organizers

Ida Sabelis, Sierk Ybema, Cliff Oswick, Galit Ailon, and Mie Plotnikof

Conference Advisory Board

Nic Beech, David Grant, and Cynthia Hardy

Conference Administrator

Elles Bandringa, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam (VUA)

Guidelines for Submission - please see website for more information for 2021.

Prospective contributors interested in presenting a paper should submit an abstract of approximately 1,000 words by 12th January 2020. The abstract should be emailed to as an attachment (saved as a pdf or MSWord document).

Abstracts should include the title of the paper and contact details for all authors (i.e. names, affiliations, and email addresses).

Notification of acceptance will be given by the end of February 2020.

Further details of the conference will be posted on the conference website. The link to the conference website will appear online soon.

July, 2019

European Group on Organization Studies, Edinburgh, UK

Steve Maguire (University of Sydney) co-convened a sub-theme on ‘Enlightening the Future through Riskwork’ with Michael Power (London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom) and Julie Mayer (Paris-Dauphine University, France).

The sub-theme attracted papers related to two major themes:

Risk as a mode of reasoning to enlighten the future

  • Does statistical reasoning make sense for single investments or singular undertakings? Is it rational to “expect” a probabilistically weighted average of the value of possible discrete outcomes when only one will become realized? Why or why not?
  • Does risk management reasoning conform to calculative rationality? Should it?
  • Is risk management the appropriate frame for engaging with all forms of incertitude such as ambiguity, uncertainty, ignorance, probabilistic effects, and emergent systemic effects? Why or why not?
  • Do organizations adequately reflect upon and problematize their risk management practices?
  • Under what conditions can taken-for-granted risk management practices become themselves a risk object for organizations?
  • Why are some risks urgently addressed and others denied? What tactics are used to push organizations and institutions to address risks, or on the contrary, to dissimulate them?
  • Do organizations over- or under-invest in risk management? When managing risks, do organizations over- or under-invest in anticipation at the expense of organizational and system resilience?
  • What is the relationship of risk to opportunity?

Risk as a frame of inquiry to enrich organization studies

  • Do risk management practices mask or reproduce power relations? How does risk shape the distribution of organizational resources, such as attention or information?
  • What do the risk management practices of an organization tell us about its understanding of responsibility and accountability – to whom or what does the organization act like it is accountable?
  • How might research on risk inform stakeholder theory or corporate social responsibility? How might stakeholder theory and the literature on corporate social responsibility inform research on risk?
  • How might research on risk inform research on organizations and the natural environment? How might the literature on organizations and the natural environment inform research on risk?
  • How might research on risk inform theories of sense-making? How might theories of sense-making inform research on risk?
  • How might research on risk inform theories of financialization? How might theories of financialization inform research on risk?
  • How might research on risk inform institutional theory? How might institutional theory inform research on risk?

July, 2018

13th International Conference on Organizational Discourse

The biennial conference was held at Cass Business School, City University of London.  Over 40 papers were presented from researchers reflecting on where the study of organizational discourse stands to today in the context of recent political and social changes. The papers tacked the three conference themes of ‘deception, demonization and dissection’ from a rich variety of perspectives on organizational discourse. The theme of ‘deception’ called for analyses of the ever-expanding litany of authoritarian narratives which have been deployed to legitimise social and political changes in recent times and which are stripping away the norms, values and practices of social democracy. The theme of ‘demonisation’ has emerged as another core feature of ‘where we are now’. For example, Trump’s ‘wall’ is to be built to separate all varieties of the ‘Other.’ Anyone who is somehow ‘foreign’ compared to whomever has been imagined as the ‘normal’ citizen has started to come under scrutiny and discrimination, if not outright attack. This theme thus calls for work exploring the discursive construction of these Others and how they are now projected as different and undesirable. The third theme of ‘dissection’ explored ‘where we are going’. It targets analyses of how authoritarian narratives are being discursively translated into social action and social practices and how they are being socially contested.

July, 2017

European Group on Organization Studies, Copenhagen, Denmark

Steve Maguire (McGill University) co-convened a sub-theme on ‘Risk, Value and Virtue in the Audit Society’ with Michael Power (London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom) and Roger Friedland (University of California at Santa Barbara, USA).

The sub-theme attracted papers related to four major themes:

  • Organizations, risk society and audit. How is the ‘organized irresponsibility’ of the ‘risk society’ manifested in the pathologies of an audit explosion and expansion of regulation? How are contemporary organizations compelled to manage risk according to regulations and governance structures which produce illusions of control? Are oversight and monitoring a substitute for action? What risks are organizations not managing when they are preoccupied with reputation and compliance?
  • Organizational routines in the audit society. What are the mechanisms, infrastructures and routines through which the audit society reproduces itself at the organizational level? How are practices of risk management both resistant to, and colonized by, requirements for the production of evidence for audit purposes? In what sense is auditability a ‘logic’ or cultural value which varies across organizational fields and national contexts?
  • Values and virtues at risk in the audit society. What values does the audit society promote and what values are placed at risk? What are the effects on organizational actors of the increasing transparency and exteriorization of performance in indicators? How is it possible to do the ‘right thing’ and be loyal in organizational environments which require traces, registers and audit trails? Are ‘good’ organizational motives distorted by demands for evidence?
  • (Re-)constructing the moral audit. What are the emerging or suppressed forms of counter-practice in the audit society? Do social media forms, such as Trip Adviser, radically democratize audit processes and thereby pose new kinds of risk for organizations? Can they be a medium of ‘moral audit’ through which the disapproval of the public can be made directly visible, as in the case of protests against the ‘legal’ tax arrangements of large prominent companies and individuals? Or do initiatives aimed at promoting ethics and corporate responsibility inevitably comes to be formalized and governed by the very logic of auditability which they seek to escape?

July, 2016

The 12th International Conference on Organisational Discourse: Silence, Significance and White Space

Held in Amsterdam, this conference explored and reflected on what might be considered the dark side of the moon or blank spots on the map, the unspoken or unknown, the unintelligible or inaccesible, the seemingly insignificant and all-too-mundane, and the new and exceptional realities of everyday organisational life.

In this way, while the extraordinary and 'infra-ordinary' invite people to explore and chart new landscapes or see familiar landscapes with new eyes, in discourse studies, it is the white space that remains unsaid, cannot be put into words or is implied in unspoken expactations, tacit assumptions and hidden meanings - offering significant heuristic potential.

Papers presented at this conference explored:

  • the dark sides of apparent transparencies,
  • what remains unsaid or unheard,
  • how silence may signify the exercise of or resistance to power,
  • semiotics outside or beyond talk and text, such as bodily gestures, looks, dress and artefactss
  • absent or not told stories, and
  • the silences and subtexts in people's talk and texts.

July, 2015

The 31st European Group for Organisational Studies (EGOS) Colloquium: Sub-theme on Identity Work through the Ages: Unexamined Lives?

Professors Leanne Cutcher (University of Sydney), Cynthia Hardy (University of Melbourne) and Cara Reed (University of Cardiff) co-convened a sub-theme on age at the 2015 EGOS colloquium in Athens, Greece.

With age largely under-explored by researchers in organisation studies and studies of individual age notably absent from leading management journals, the sub-theme attracted 17 papers from researchers in eight countries exploring the complexity and diversity in meanings of age from a critical standpoint.

The papers reflected on:

  • age and examined its implications for identity work,
  • inspired dialogue about what age means,
  • moved beyond demarcations of old and young age and other reified categories of age, and
  • linked individual age-related identity work to organisations and organising.

July, 2014

The 11th International Conference on Organisational Discourse: Terra Firma, Terra Nova, Terra Incognita

The International Conference on Organisational Discourse was held for the first time in Cardiff, Wales from July 9-1. Hosted by the Cardiff Business School, University of Cardiff, and celebrating the 20 years since the first conference was held at the University of London's King's College, participants had the opportunity to reflect on how the study of discourse in organisations has changed and to consider emergent and novel approaches in organisational discourse analysis.

The initial conference was held in 1994 on the theme of 'Metaphors', and attracted academics from Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Ireland, Finland, Israel, Sweden, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Scotland who presented more than 40 papers. Since then, the conference has been held in London and Amsterdam, with the introduction of Escher prints and more discourse-oriented titles over time.

With the conference's title honouring British polar explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his ill-fated expedition to be the first to reach the South Pole, more   than 70 papers presented by academics from countries including Wales, Scotland, Ireland, England Norway, Finland, Sweden, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Israel, Japan Australia, New Zealand, USA, and Canada were presented at this conference.

Academics Dennis Mumby (University of North Carolina) and Cynthia Hardy (University of Melbourne) were keynote speakers, while David Grant (formerly University of Sydney), Tom Keenoy (Cardiff University) and Cliff Oswick (Cass Business School), the three academics most closely connected with the development of the conference series, spoke at the close of the event.

Between them, the three academics have not only safeguarded the continuation and development of the conference series, but also been responsible for related publications, including a highly cited book on Metaphors and Organizing (1996) and Special Issues of Human Relations (2), International Journal of Sociology & Social Policy, Time & Society, Organization Management Journal, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, and Organization(2).

July, 2012

The 10th International Conference on Organisational Discourse: Processes, Practices and Performance

The 10th conference was held at the Free University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with the substantive theme being Processes, Practices and Performance.

Papers presented at the conference used discourse analytical approaches to:

  • address recent calls to develop our understanding of the discursive aspects of organising or organisation as an emergent process,
  • illustrate how such processes sustain, disrupt or transform institutionalised power asymmetries,
  • bring everyday work practices and the more mundane, day-to-day aspects of organising into our analysis in order to illuminate how social action contributes to the creation and re-creation of the institutional realm, and
  • explore the relationships between discourse and the material, textual and bodily performances at work, as well as organisational actors' dramaturgical presentations of their individual and collective selves in different arenas.

July, 2011

The 7th International Critical Management Studies Conference: Stream on Identities and Critical Management Studies (CMS)

This conference stream, held at the University of Naples, examined the role of identity in critical management studies (CMS).

There is no denying the centrality of the concept of identity in critical work. However, its popularity has led some to argue that this 'academic fashion' has run its course. Papers presented at the conference challenged this argument and identified future directions for research on identities in relation to three broad research themes, including:

  • Politicizing identities: the political imperative of CMS is to document and challenge forms of exploitation and oppression and to engage in research oriented towards changing things for the better. This draws attention to the concern over the relationship between critical studies of identities and the self-conscious emancipatory orientation of CMS.
  • Performing identities: identities are conveyed and attributed through the ways in which individuals use their bodies in various situations or on different organisational 'stages'. While scholarly interest in the body has grown in recent years, there are still relatively few empirical studies of how identities are constructed through both discursive and performative elements, and the relationships between identities, aesthetics, embodiment, and artifacts.
  • Problematising identities: by offering ways to interrogate the exclusionary practices by which subjects are constituted in and by organizations.

The conference was organised by Cynthia Hardy (University of Melbourne), Robyn Thomas (Cardiff Business School) and Sierk Ybema (VU University, Amsterdam).

The 7th International Critical Management Studies Conference: Stream on Discourse and Critical Management Studies (CMS)

This conference stream focused on critical management studies (CMS) approaches to discourse studies that are embedded in critical traditions and considered theoretical and analytical developments concerning the study of discourse among CMS scholars and the critically-oriented application of discursive modes of inquiry to the study of management.

In doing so, the 15 papers presented at the conference sought to identify the contribution of such work to the CMS agenda of challenging established relationships of power within work and organisational settings and exposing the inequities that such relationships create between various stakeholders, including the state, corporations, management, workers, and consumers.

The conference was organised by David Grant (formerly University of Sydney), Cliff Oswick (Cass Business School) and Amelia Manuti (University of Bari).

The 24th European Group for Organisation Studies (EGOS) Colloquium: Sub-theme on Translating Discourses: Text, Change and Organisation

This sub-theme, held at the EGOS meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden, explored different ways of thinking about discourse in relation to the notion of translation, providing innovative insights into change and the (re)assembly of organisations.

In its literary sense, translation refers to translating texts between languages. Yet other meanings of translation exist. If all the world is text, then bodies, artifacts, routines, institutions and organisations also require translation. In this sense, translation involves unpacking the dominant discursive constructions used to produce meaning for these texts, while new or alternative discourses have translating properties in the sense of providing new readings or understandings that have the potential to create change or enact new organisational realities.

Twenty papers were presented in the sub-theme, covering:

  • the interplay of discourse, power and socio-material relations in creating privileged translations of organisations,
  • how discourse is involved in translating perceived crises and challenges,
  • how organisation is envisioned, constructed and translated in discourses and imaginaries around new technologies, such as bioinformatics, new genetics, nanotechnology, alternative energy, and social media, and
  • what roles discourse analytic approaches and analysts do, could or should play in translating and negotiating meaning in organisational and societal change.

This sub-theme was convened by Bill Doolin (AUT University), David Grant (University of Sydney), and Robyn Thomas (Cardiff University).

July, 2008

The 24th European Group for Organization Studies (EGOS) Colloquium: Sub-theme on Identity Work and Organisation

This sub-theme focused on the dynamic interactions between organisation and individual identity work, conceptualising identity as an ongoing accomplishment and seeing organisations as important sites and resources for identity work.

Seventy papers were submitted, with the 32 accepted for presentation aiming to recognise that identity can be a 'disorganised' phenomenon as a result of the ways in which actors engage with multiple others; and that identity work can be a form of resistance to the organisation (or disorganisation) to which individuals are subjected.

In keeping with the general theme of the colloquium - upsetting organisations - papers explored organisational practices that are upsetting to individuals, as well as the processes whereby individuals try to upset existing practices.

Participants represented institutions from South and North America, Europe, Asia and Australia and reported on studies being conducted on Dutch railway employees, female Turkish Muslim entrepreneurs, French labor unionists, Scottish community addiction teams, the Dutch police force, Indian call centre workers, Swiss physicians, Italian sex workers, and New Zealand scientists.

Theoretical issues explored as part of the sub-theme included age work and disrupted identity to the micro-processes of identity fortification to the materiality of identity.

An interactive format was developed which allowed for considerable debate as well as feedback on individual papers.

The sub-theme was convened by ICRODSC members Cynthia Hardy (University of Melbourne), Steve Maguire (McGill University), Leisa Sargent (University of Melbourne) and Robyn Thomas (Cardiff University).

8th International Conference on Organisational Discourse: Translations, Transformations and Transgressions

Following two successful events in Amsterdam, the conference returned to London in 2008, hosted by the School of Business and Management at Queen Mary, University of London and organised under the auspices of ICRODSC.

As with previous conferences, the primary aim of the 8th conference was to develop further insights into the field of organisational discourse, providing a forum in which academics with contrasting epistemological and ontological perspectives on both organisation and discourse are able to engage in open and constructive debate and dialogue.

About 150 people attended, with plenary addresses from Joep Cornelissen (Leeds University Business School), Ann Cunliffe (Hull University Business School and University of New Mexico), and David Sims (Cass Business School, City University).

July, 2006

The 7th International Conference on Organisational Discourse: Identity, Ideology and Idiosyncrasy

This conference was hosted by the Vrije Universiteit (Free University) of Amsterdam's Department of Culture, Organization and Management, attracting 130 participants and speakers including René ten Bos (Radboud University, The Netherlands), Wanda J Orlikowski (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Carl Rhodes (University of Technology Sydney).

Stemming from the conference was a special issue of the International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy.

The 22nd European Group for Organisation Studies (EGOS) Colloquium: Sub-stream on Dis/Organising Identities

With the growing popularity of research into the nature of identity, the construction and effect of categories of identity, and processes of identification and identity in different organisational arrangements, this conference aimed to deepen understanding in the field.

The conference was divided into three broad themes:

  • organising identities,
  • disorganised identities, and
  • resisting identities.

Twenty-nine of the 80 papers submitted for the conference were accepted, with participants ranging from doctoral students to well-established experts in the field from 11 countries, including Finland to Australia. Presented papers covered artifacts, identity and culture in corporate museums and entrepreneurial identities of Islamic women in the Netherlands.

A diverse set of methodologies, including discourse, archival, texts and interviews, were used in empirical works and proved to be a contested issue for discussion in the round table sessions.

The sub-stream was convened by ICRODSC members Robyn Thomas (Cardiff University), Cynthia Hardy (University of Melbourne), Susan Ainsworth (University of Sydney), Leisa Sargent (University of Melbourne) and Stefan Sveningsson (University of Lund).

August, 2004

Professional Development Workshop at the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management on Technology Evaluation Metrics: Institutional and Strategic Perspectives

This Professional Development Workshop (PDW), co-organised by Steve Maguire (McGill University), focused on the processes whereby technology evaluation metrics come into existence, are operationalised and institutionalised, and eventually change.

The workshop was specifically interested in how firms can act strategically to influence these processes by engaging in institutional entrepreneurship or processes through which dimensions of merit are constructed, contested, 'locked-in' and periodically changed.

Participants also explored how 'black boxed' understandings are opened and new categories of meaning emerge, as well as how closure is accomplished, and metrics of valuation emerge or are transformed.

July, 2004

The 6th International Conference on Organisational Discourse

Held in Amsterdam for the first time, this conference, co-sponsored by ICRODSC and titled 'Artefacts, Archetypes and Architexts', was designed to accommodate a wide range of papers and presentations.

Its origins was in the work of Gerard Genette, who argued that all text is built out of primordial 'architexts' that are visible everywhere in and about and around the text.

The conference was hosted by the Vrije Universiteit (Free University) of Amsterdam's Department of Culture, Organization and Management, with 150 participants and plenary speakers including François Cooren (Université de Montréal), Yiannis Gabriel (Imperial College, University of London), Martin Parker (University of Leicester) and Karen Salamon (The Design Research Centre, Copenhagen).

Special issues of Time & Society and the Organization Management Journal followed the conference.

July, 2003

The 3rd Critical Management Studies Conference: Stream on Technology, Language and Power

ICRODSC members Bill Harley and Cynthia Hardy (both of the University of Melbourne) together with Nelson Phillips and Kamal Munir (both of the University of Cambridge) convened a stream on Technology, Language and Power at this conference, which was held in Lancaster, United Kingdom.

The stream was very well attended, with presentations from Australia, the United States and Europe on topics as diverse as the labour process, e-commerce and globalisation.

The 19th European Group for Organisation Studies (EGOS) Colloquium: Sub-theme on Broadening the Scope of Discourse Analysis

Discourse analysis is a powerful methodology in organisation and management theory, helping to build understanding of ongoing changes in organisations and societies.

In doing so, the research acknowledges that discursive activity does not occur in a vacuum, but is shared and social, emanating out of interactions between social groups and complex societal structures in which discourses are embedded.

Accordingly, to understand discourses and their effects, researchers must also understand the context in which they arise.

As a result, this sub-theme, organised by ICRODSC members, brought together academics from across the world to:

  • examine these issues, especially the difficulties in connecting the micro and macro,
  • explore theoretical developments that focus on this relationship, and
  • discuss how organisational discourse analysts can combine both in their empirical work.

July, 2002

The 5th International Conference on Organisational Discourse

Part of a well-established series of conferences on the management and organisation studies international calendar, this conference was co-sponsored by ICRODSC, attracting 160 delegates and more than 90 presenters.

The theme of the conference was From Micro-utterances to Macro-inferences and resulted in three co-edited volumes (two with Sage and one with Pitman), five special issues of international journals and four edited volumes of conference proceedings.

As with the previous conferences, it provided a forum in which academics with contrasting epistemological and ontological perspectives on both organisation and discourse to discuss ideas.

Keynote presenters included David Boje, Stan Deetz, Norman Fairclough and John Hassard.

The 18th European Group for Organisation Studies (EGOS) Colloquium: Sub-theme on Directions for Organisational Discourse

ICRODSC members organised a sub-theme at the 2002 EGOS colloquium in Barcelona, with more than 20 papers presented by academics based at universities in the UK, Europe, USA, Brazil and Australia.

The sub-theme was designed to provide a forum for debate and discussion about the direction organisational discourse might take in helping to develop new methods to study organisational phenomena, exploring how organisational discourse can inform and influence the broader fields of organisation and management theory.

The contributors held different views regarding the contributions and challenges of organisational discourse, resulting in vigorous debate among attendees.

August, 2001

Professional Development Workshop at the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management on Studying Organisational Discourse

ICRODSC, represented by David Grant, Cynthia Hardy, Cliff Oswick, Nelson Phillips and Tom Keenoy, hosted a Professional Development Workshop on Studying Organisational Discourse at the Academy Conference in Washington DC.

This workshop was designed in response to the increasing interest in the study of organisational discourse and provided participants with a forum in which to:

  • share the latest developments in the application of discourse analysis in organisational contexts,
  • develop skills in applying discourse analysis in organisational settings, and
  • obtain feedback on their current work.

More than 30 papers were accepted for the workshop, allowing individual authors to work through their papers with the help of other participants well versed in organisational discourse theory.