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Pandemonium
Towards a Retro-Organization Theory


May 1997 | 254 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
"Pandemonium is a dark, gothic place, full of dangers and enchantment for all who enter its labyrinth, a retro-vision that seeks to ensnare, disarm, and disturb all who enter whatever sense they make from the many opportunities that it provides." --Stewart R. Clegg, University of Western Sydney, Macarthur, Australia "Two volumes in one, Pandemonium is a disorganisationally challenging contribution to the postmodern theory of organizations which systematically questions the underlying assumptions and values of contemporary administrative science and organization theory. The MBA will never be the same again." --Bryan S. Turner, Deakin University In this irreverent, yet highly serious book, Gibson Burrell challenges the established frameworks that have defined our understanding of organization and organizations. With a vision that extends deep into the history of Western societies, an interdisciplinary sweep that encompasses the broad domain of social and cultural theory and critical vigor that exposes the staleness of tired ideas, Pandemonium disconcerts and reinvigorates the study of organizations. Moving the field of organization theory back into the center of contemporary critical thought, Gibson Burrell brings to bear different forms of analysis: notions of discourse and genealogy, or narrative and text. Disclaiming the voices of modern, positivist science and of authorial distance, the text itself presents a metaphor for the rejection of linearity and the reassertion of organizational creativity. This is not an organizational behavior textbook, but an exploration mining new ideas and insights that take organization theory into another era.

 
Pandemonium Awaits
 
Into Pandemonium
 
The Magic Kingdom
Pandemonium Municipal Library: Acknowledgements

 
 
First Exhibit
Abattoirs and Death

 
 
Second Exhibit
Pain and Disease

 
 
Third Exhibit
Satyrsville

 
 
Fourth Exhibit
Panopticon City

 
 
Fifth Exhibit
The Pillory

 
 
Sixth Exhibit
The Hall of Mirrors

 
 
Retro-Organization Theory

Burrell has produced a retro-organization theory that seeks to describe the underbelly (or is it the reality?) of orgnizations in pre-enlightenment terms. Organizations are as pandemonium.... Whether you agree with retro-organization theory or not, is up to you. Personnally I find it useful to view organizations where the rational andthe primordial interact and often confront each other.... If we dare look deeply through pandemonium's lens, however, it has the potential to shed a disturbing light on the issues and challenges facing the design and introduction of information systems and technologies into healthcare organizations and the role of information, now and in the future. In retrospect it may also shed light on some fo the problems surrounding its past history' - British Journal of Healthcare Computing & Information Management

`Pandemonium is an irreverent and critical look at management, education and the so-called gurus. It takes as its basic premise the fact that in real organizations there is chaos, even pain, torture, death and destruction, if you look hard enough. More importantly it points out the continuing failure of organizations to recognise the real contributors - the workforce. It is a well researched and written book' - Professional Manager

`A truly bizarre and sometimes filthy historical canter through abatoirs, satyriasis and Noel Edmonds' House Party, among other things, towards a theory of organization' - The Times

'The author pursues a vigorous polemic on organizational development' - Financial Times

`Two volumes in one, Pandemonium is a disorganisationally challenging contribution to the postmodern theory of organisations which systematically questions the underlying assumptions and values of contemporary administrative science and organization theory. The MBA will never be the same again' - Bryan S Turner, Deakin University

`Pandemonium is a dark, gothic place, full of danger and enchantment for all who enter its labyrinth, a retro-vision that seeks to ensnare, disarm and disturb all who enter, whatever sense they make from the many opportunities it provides' - Stewart R Clegg, University of Technology, Sydney

`Undoubtedly, Burrell, through Paradigms, has been one of the main contributors to contemporary organizational thinking, and indeed, to a not insignificant degree, has influenced the way the subject has developed' - British Journal of Industrial Relations

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