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Decision-making: coping with madness beyond reason

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Peter Edward


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Mainstream perspectives on organizational decision-making (March and Simon’s bounded rationality and satisficing; Lindlom’s muddling through; Cohen and March’s garbage can model) rely on a classical stages model originating in Dewey’s pragmatism. However, their attention to managers as decision-makers overlooks the non-dualist nature of Dewey’s model. Pettigrew’s focus on power and Weick’s on sensemaking start to recognise the decision as socially embedded but remain dualist, and almost determinist. Rorty’s post-structural reading of pragmatism provides a better understanding of the decision as a process of social construction through framing and coherence (rather than correspondence). Foucault recognises that freedom and agency of the decision arise not in reason and rationality but in a confrontation with a radical undecidability encountered at the limit of Heidegger’s ‘ontic’. Derrida, citing Kierkegaard, describes this confrontation as a ‘madness’ and Laclau identifies that this forces the decision as a moment instantiating both ethics and politics. In organisation theory some authors have explored the implications of these post-structuralist perspectives (Chia, Clegg, Roberts, Weiskopf, Willmott) but the implications for fragile subjectivity are largely unaddressed. Turning to Lacan, Žižek and Critchley this chapter identifies the need to pay more attention here to the irrationality of humour and friendship in decision-making.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Edward P

Editor(s): Mir, R; Greenwood, M; Willmott, H

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Routledge Companion to Philosophy in Organization Studies

Year: 2016

Pages: 352-360

Print publication date: 12/11/2015

Online publication date: 06/11/2015

Acceptance date: 10/02/2015

Publisher: Routledge


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9780415702867


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