Conference Proceedings

Design Thinking: Classification, Social Order and the Taming of Monsters

Joeri Mol, Miya Tokumitsu, Graham Sewell

Academy of Management Proceedings | The Academy of Management | Published : 2018


In this paper, we invoke the Foucauldian notions of “episteme” and “techne” (or “technique”) to examine the relationship between classification systems and social order. Whereas epistemes capture the constitutive limits of a certain ‘regime of truth’ or body knowledge, technes refer to the associated practices that use knowledge as an institutionalized form of governmentality. By taking a longue durée perspective, we lay bare three different epistemes, each with their own idiosyncratic classificatory techniques that, as knowledge practices, give rise to three distinct forms of governmentality: theocracy, bureaucracy, and the holacracy. By unpacking the historical evolution of “the office”, w..

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