1. What ontology and metaphysics mean


Most researchers have already coped with this most difficult issue: how to describe what they saw, lived, experienced? What is true, real, not only for them, but for their whole experience?

Describing requires a language and a focus, what some people may call ontological units. Some researchers will insist on 'causes', others on 'practices', 'generative mechanisms', 'moments', 'events', 'durations' or 'images' or 'folds'. All these are likely to be at the heart of reality (ontology) or how things come to existence (ontogenesis). Broader, more systematic descriptions of all realities are likely to be incorporated into an infinite landscape, a 'metaphysics'.

At OAP, we are particularly interested in research with ontological reflexivity. Studies likely to cover a continuity from ontology to methodology and empirics.

We believe that both new ways of organizing work and life and the new digital semiosis we are all part of today require more than ever rigor about ontological units and metaphysics.

Onto-logies and metaphysics explored in MOS range from Process philosophy, Phenomenologies, Post-phenomenologies, Marxism, post-Marxism, Critical Realism, Pragmatism, and many others.

Time, space, materiality and embodiment are very important ontological dimensions.

Beyond that, non-western and dead or future ontologies are also welcome in our discussions!


By François-Xavier de Vaujany, co-founder of OAP workshop



2. Interesting references to explore ontologies and metaphysics


Al-Amoudi, I. (2007). Redrawing Foucault's social ontology. Organization, 14(4), 543-563.

Bhaskar, R. (1979, 2014). The Possibility of Naturalism: A Philosophical Critique of the Contemporary Human Sciences. Routledge.

Carlile, P. R., & Langley, A. (Eds.) (2013). How Matter Matters: Objects, Artifacts, and Materiality in Organization Studies (Vol. 3). Oxford University Press.

Chia, R. (1996). The problem of reflexivity in organizational research: towards a postmodern science of organization. Organization, 3(1), 31-59.

Chia, R. (2002). Essai: Time, duration and simultaneity: rethinking process and change in organizational analysis, Organization Studies, 23(6), 863-868.

Coole, D., & Frost, S. (Eds.) (2010). New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics. Duke University Press.

Cooper, R. & Burrell, G. (2015). Modernism, postmodernism and organizational analysis: an introduction. In For Robert Cooper (pp. 141-167). Routledge.

Czarniawska, B. (2008): A Theory of Organizing. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.


Dale, K. (2005). “Building a Social Materiality: Spatial and Embodied Politics in Organizational Control”. Organization, 12(5), 649-678.

Damasio, A. (2000): The Feeling of What Happens: Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness. New York: Vintage.

de Vaujany, F.X. (2024). The Rise of Digital Management: From Industrial Mobilization to Platform Capitalism, London: Routledge.

de Vaujany, F. X., & Mitev, N. (2013). Materiality and space: organizations, artefacts and practices. Palgrave Macmillan.

de Vaujany, F. X., Mitev, N., Laniray, P., & Vaast, E. (Eds.). (2014). Materiality and time: Historical perspectives on organizations, artefacts and practices. London: Palgrave.

de Vaujany, F. X., & Mitev, N. (2015). “The post-Macy Paradox, Information Management and Organising: Good Intentions and a Road to Hell?”, Culture and Organization, 1-29.

de Vaujany, F.X. and Introna, L. (2023). Becoming processual: Time to de-place managerial education, Managerial Learning, doi.org/10.1177/13505076231183111

de Vaujany, F.X., Holt, R. and Grandazzi, A. (2023) (Eds). Organization as time, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Engeström, Y., Miettinen, R., & Punamäki, R. L. (1999). Perspectives on activity theory. Cambridge University Press.

Gagliardi, P. (Ed.). (1990). Symbols and Artifacts: Views of the Corporate Landscape (Vol. 24). Walter de Gruyter.

Goodman, D. (2001). “Ontology Matters: the Relational Materiality of Nature and Agro-food Studies”. Sociologia Ruralis, 41(2), 182-200.

Hayles, N. K. (1999, 2008). How we became posthuman: Virtual bodies in cybernetics, literature, and informatics. University of Chicago Press.

Hernes, T. (2014): A Process Theory of Organization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hernes, T. (2022). Organization and time. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Introna, L. D. (2013). “Epilogue: Performativity and the Becoming of Sociomaterial Assemblages” In de Vaujany, F.X. & Mitev, N. (Eds). Materiality and Space, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan Press. (pp. 330-342).

Jones, M. (2013). “Untangling Sociomateriality”, in Carlile, P. R., & Langley, A. (2013). How Matter Matters: Objects, Artifacts, and Materiality in Organization Studies (Vol. 3). Oxford University Press.

Jones, C., Boxenbaum, E., & Anthony, C. (2013). The immateriality of material practices in institutional logics. Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 39, 51-75.

Kelly, J.D. (2014). “The Ontological Turn in French Philosophical Anthropology Theory”, Journal of Ethnographic Theory, 4 (1): 259–269.

Latour, B. (2007). “Can we Get our Materialism Back, Please?”, Isis, 98(1), 138-142.

Latour, B. (2014). “Technical Does not Mean Material”, Journal of Ethnographic Theory, 4 (1): 507–510.

Lemonnier, P. (2014). “The Blending Power of Things”, HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, 4(1), 537-548.

Leonardi, P. M., Nardi, B. A., & Kallinikos, J. (2012). Materiality and organizing: Social interaction in a technological world. Oxford University Press on Demand.

Lorino, P. (2018). Pragmatism and Organization Studies. Oxford University Press.

Meyer, R. E., Höllerer, M. A., Jancsary, D., & Van Leeuwen, T. (2013). ”The Visual Dimension in Organizing, Organization, and Organization Research: Core Ideas, Current Developments, and Promising Avenues” The Academy of Management Annals, 7(1), 489-555.

Miller, D. (1998). Material Cultures: Why Some Things Matter. University of Chicago Press.

Orlikowski, W. J. (2007). “Sociomaterial Practices: Exploring Technology at Work”. Organization Studies, 28(9), 1435-1448.

Pozzebon, M., Diniz, E. H., Mitev, N., de Vaujany, F. X.  Cunha, M. P. E., & Leca, B. (2017). Joining the sociomaterial debate. Revista de Administração de Empresas, 57(6), 536-541.

Robichaud, D., & Cooren, F. (Eds.). (2013). Organization and organizing: Materiality, agency and discourse. Routledge.

Ropo, A., Salovaara, P., Sauer, E., & de Paoli, D (eds.) (2015): Leadership in Spaces and Places. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Tsoukas, H., & Knudsen, C. (2005). The Oxford handbook of organization theory. Oxford Handbooks Online.

Tuan, Y.-F. (1977): Space and Place. The Perspective of Experience. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Turner, W., Bowker, G., Gasser, L., & Zacklad, M. (2006). Information infrastructures for distributed collective practices. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 15(2), 93-110.

Van Dijk, J. (2012). The network society. Sage Publications.

Wasserman, V., & Frenkel, M. (2011). “Organizational Aesthetics: Caught Between Identity Regulation and Culture Jamming”. Organization Science, 22(2), 503-521.