Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Call for papers: Art of Management conference, Turkey, 2010

Track at Art of Management Conference, Turkey, 2010: ARTFUL ORGANIZATION DESIGN

Daved Barry & Stefan Meisiek, School of Economics and Management (FEUNL), Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Lucy Kimbell, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

This track focuses on ‘artful’ organization design, reflecting recent revisionist trends in organizational practices and the organization studies literature. In particular, there has been a significant rise in approaches that reflect more of an arts-based sensibility rather than the scientific/engineering mindset that has characterized organization design efforts since the late 1800’s. Representative works of this revisionist perspective include Boland and Collopy’s “Managing as Designing,” Mintzberg and Liedka’s “Strategy as Design,” Martin’s “Design Thinking,” and IDEO’s articles/videos on service and culture design, all of which focus on design-as-process. These approaches to organization design seek a meeting between art and science, and craft and technology in design practice. Importantly, they stress going beyond a sole focus on instrumentalism in design—great designs should not only deliver utilitarian outcomes but should also create delightful and meaningful ones. Thus, an organizational appraisal system designed from this new approach should not only result in useful appraisals, but should also be a pleasure to use and enrich the work life with a sense of possibility.

In this track, we push the arts-based approaches to the forefront. To do so, we will depart from the regular presentational track format and host a design studio where we work on live organizational issues.

Specifically, we will provide designers, artists, and organization scholars interested in our track with basic information about Garajistanbul (, an Istanbul-based performing arts organization. This organization and its presented issues will be our ‘design site’; the design brief appears below. Designers, artists, and organization scholars selected from those who apply to our track will be invited to develop either 1) an artful design exercise to take place during the conference; or 2) a design sketch or proposal engaging with organization’s issues, and to submit this to us. In place of the usual paper submission, this will be used to select participants to take part in the track. The form of the submission will be open and might include whatever activities submitters are familiar with or would like to experiment with (e.g., visual methods, role play, modeling methods, narrative techniques, philosophical inquiry, etc.).

At the Art of Management conference, then, our track participants will briefly introduce their artful design exercises or solutions, and then we will continue to work on, discuss, and explore possibilities in the design studio. We imagine a multistage process in which participants create designs for Garajistanbul, discuss them in plenary, receive feedback, and go into another design phase. There might be 3 or 4 phases in all, in which we aim to understand the participants’ design assumptions and methods in a hands-on way and to amplify these methods via feedback. Stakeholders from Garajistanbul will be invited to take part—either as ongoing commentators, or as a ‘review panel’ on the last day.

The resulting designs will be documented and may provide the basis for a special issue in Aesthesis, or a ‘thin book’ on artistic approaches to organizational design. Apart from a desire to discover and share new design approaches, a key aim of the track is to begin to build a network in which people interested in artful approaches to organizational design can meet one another, both at this Art of Man conference and also in the following years.

Design Brief:

The design site for our track at the Art of Management conference is Garajistanbul ( In their own words, Garajistanbul “is an international, non-profit, contemporary performing arts organization that owns a venue in Istanbul, Beyoglu; makes productions and publishes a magazine called "gist". Garajistanbulpro and 10+ are the two production units. Garajistanbul tours regularly abroad, especially Europe.”

Your task as a potential conference participant is to design either an exercise or sketch initial design proposition that could help Garajistanbul redesign its services and activities, organization design, corporate identity and culture, and/or strategy. If you develop a design exercise, it should be doable within the conference period. Members of Garajistanbul will share further materials online (organizational charts, rules and routines for organizing, photos of the site and people, etc) prior to the conference in September, which will allow you to prepare your sketch or exercise. They will also join us at the conference site, and, if time permits, we will visit the premises and see what they are doing.

Abstracts for papers should be approximately 500 words, but we will accept any form of media submission you feel appropriate. Your abstract should be sent to the stream conveners (dbarry AT; smeisiek AT; lucy.kimbell AT and copied to Jane Malabar at by 1st February 2010.

We look forward to your imaginings.
Daved, Stefan, and Lucy

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