29 September 2007

"Organizations are mental entities capable of thought."

Like any self-respecting suitor for the reader's favor, we begin by making explicit our intentions. Our aim in this essay is to examine an idea that, although generally familiar, as not been developed in sufficient detail to permit its considered use in the theory of organization. This is the idea that organizations are mental entities capable of thought. In short, we wish to make what we can of the idea that organizations are minds....

[P]ragmatists ... define mind as being present wherever ideas are found within the matrix of the natural and social world. Mind is not so much a substance with intellective powers as it is a process of forming ideas.... Clearly distinguished from the concept of mind is the concept of brain.... Also to be distinguished from the concept of mind is the concept of intelligence. Intelligence is the ability to maintain a working similarity between mind and nature.
Sandelands and Stablein, The Concept of Organization Mind, Research in the Sociology of Organizations, vol. 5, pp. 135-161 (1987).

5 comments:

joe shropshire said...

Organizations are certainly entities capable of feelings, or of personalities. That is to say they have stable aversions, lusts, phobias, and all the rest. Or to put it another way, if the Turing test were one of the personality surveys, then there are lots of organizations that could convince you that they were in fact your wife's neurotic best friend. Actual thought, I am not so sure about that.

Oroborous said...

Organizations are entities which shape thought, but I'm skeptical that they generate thought.

And, as joe says, organizations often have personalities.

Peter Burnet said...

If organizations are capable of feelings and personalities, what about blogs?

Oroborous said...

Most absolutely so.

David said...

Hmmm, group blog as collective mind. Interesting.