Doctoral seminar: Researching and organizing for good The Goodness of Research / The Researching of Goodness 23, 24, 25 june 2021

There are many fields of research and study that are unthinkable without a concept of ‘goodness’, such as in: ‘the good life’, ‘the good society’, ‘good deeds’, or in the ‘good book, painting, building, or whatever’. Management, organization and business studies have produced almost no literature about ‘goodness’. They have celebrated rational economic self-interest, efficiency and effectiveness, optimal solutions, power and control, but not ‘goodness’. Even the business ethics literature focuses on responsibility and integrity, leadership and dialogue, and sometimes honesty, spirituality and authenticity; but not on ‘goodness’. Does not business studies, insofar as it accepts the ‘rational economic man’ model, rotate around power, success and wealth; a triumvirate that stands uncomfortably with Judeo-Christian values? And, while ‘critical management studies’ lambasts greed, selfishness and exploitation, it does not actually bring us values and practices of ‘goodness’.
When we think of social interactive ‘goodness’, we easily think of ‘random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty’, a phrase attributed to Anne Herbert in reaction to the phrase: ‘random acts of violence and senseless acts of cruelty’. Indeed, ‘goodness’ all too often, seems to be defined in dialectical opposition to cruelty, narcissism and exploitation. But ‘goodness’ requires something more, something proactive: must not social goodness be in harmony with human nature, via the organizing of good encounters? Are not such encounters necessarily characterized by a desire to prevail and/or persist as and with the human ‘Other’? Imposed ethics and obedience, whether via ethical codes, transformative leadership, or creative entrepreneurship, do not lead to needed affective and participative practices of ‘goodness’. The necessary organization of interactive and co-constructed relatedness, requires care and respect, as organizational but also as research practice. We want to be involved in organizations and institutions of ‘good encounters’; though our universities often seem to display far too much hatred, abuse of power, mockery, and despair.
In this seminar we will aim to discuss definitions of goodness: philosophical and concrete; and to investigate how these can be demonstrated, analyzed and researched.
Potential themes:
• The ‘goodness’ of affirmative joyful actions of research and action;
• Friendship versus fear, potentia versus potestas, research as freedom of voice or fear of reprisal;
• The ‘banality of goodness’ — the management of idealistic and voluntary organizations – paradoxes and issues;
• Experiences of organizational ‘goodness’ — ethnographies of (organizing) ‘goodness’;
• Ethical leadership – each her (his) own ‘Other’;
• From Spinoza to Humanism [with Deleuze in between] — implementing philosophies of ‘goodness’.

Ericsson E & M Kostera eds. (2019) Organizing Hope London: Edward Elgar.
van der Klundert M & v R Boeschoten (2016) Organizations & Humanisation London: Routledge.
Kostera M (2016) “Humanistic Management” in A Research Agenda for Management and Organization Studies, B Czarniawska ed. Pp 48-58 London: Edward Elgar.
—- (2020) After the Apocalypse Winchester: zero books.
Munro I & T Thanem (2018) “The ethics of affective leadership” Business Ethics Quarterly (28) 1, 51-69.
Roberts J (2011) “Corporate governance and the ethics of Narcissus” Business Ethics Quarterly (11), 109-127.

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