LAEMOS (Latin American and European Meeting on Organization Studies) 2014, Havana, Cuba, 2-5 April (

SUBTHEME 06:Performing Alternatives To Capitalism: Which Theories, Models And Mechanisms?

Subtheme Conveners: 

Mário Aquino Alves (FGV–EAESP, Brazil), Luciano Barin-Cruz (HEC Montréal,Canada), Jean-Pascal Gond (City University London, UK)


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Although the models inherited from economics and finance have been described as key sources of organizational troubles, mainly due to their performative or self - fulfilling effects (Ferraro, Pfeffer and Sutton 2005; Ghoshal 2005), they remain the dominant ways of thinking in the post - 2008 crisis world (Davis 2009). More importantly, these models have a drastic influence in the South through global institutions such as the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund.

On the one hand, performativity studies in economic sociology have documented the mechanisms whereby assumptions from economics or financial theory have been turned into social reality for actors and organizations, and, in doing so, have become ‘performed’ (Cabantous and Gond 2011; Callon 1998; MacKenzie and Millo 2003). However, these works have little to say about which alternative theories or organizational models could be performed (Butler 2010), or how emancipatory models (Freire 2000a; 2000b) may emerge and be mobilized by those who are usually seen as ‘followers’ of the performed dominant economic models.

On the other hand, critical scholars have proposed alternative emancipatory ideals for organizations and management practitioners, but have often adopted an ‘anti-performative’ stance (Fournier and Grey 2000) maintaining them at a ‘cynical distance’ from their object of study (Fleming and Spicer 2003). Although the concept of ‘critical performativity’ partially addresses this shortcoming (Spicer, Alvesson and Kärreman 2009), it does not describe how alternative theories or models are transformed into social reality.

Hence, missing from both streams of research is an analysis of which theories, which organizational models and which mechanisms can help make social reality fit, in terms of representation of human beings and organizations that are alternatives to the dominant ones proposed by finance theory or economics. In addition, prior works on performativity have rarely considered performativity in the South (Fridman 2010) nor attached specific attention to how theories developed in the South have been performed.

This workshop aims at addressing these important gaps in organizational studies by documenting which alternative theories and organizational models are currently performed and how they have been, or could be performed. We welcome explorations of any of the following topics, as well as other relevant ones.


·         Which theories? We would encourage studies discussing whether and how alternative theories “from the South” have been performed, or how theories “from the North” can be performed in the South. For instance, how have the ideas of authors such as Guerreiro - Ramos (1976), Freire (2000a) or Singer (2011) contributed to the Performativity of emancipatory ideals? Which theories or representations inform alternative organizational forms in Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, and Mexico, or in African and Asiatic countries? How are different versions of Marxism or post-colonialism mobilized in practice to change organizational contexts? To what extent can concepts designed and promoted by scholars embedded in mainstream institutions actually be translated in the context of the South? The Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) and the notion of Creating Shared Value (CSV) offer two interesting cases in point to follow the journey of such concepts across the world. How are these Northern concepts and labels experienced in the South? How are they appropriated or transformed into local models?


·         Which organizational models? A second set of questions relates to the alternative organizational models that can be performed to turn emancipatory ideals or theories into social reality (Imas and Weston 2012). For instance, are workers cooperatives a sustainable alternative to capitalist organizations from an economic, social and ecological viewpoint? Are social enterprises an alternative or a new way to reproduce capitalist models? What are the economic, social and environmental consequences of this new model? Which alternative organizational process can help address human needs while taking into account the ecological constraints? How can new organizational forms be designed in order to minimize negative externalities?


·         Which mechanisms? A final set of questions relates to the mechanisms whereby alternative theories or models are performed. Under which conditions can a theory successfully influence a region of the world by facilitating the development of new organizational forms? Are the ideals promoted by some thinkers from the South immunized from perverse effects? Which mechanisms can explain the capacity of emancipatory theories to transform social reality? Can alternative or heterodox economic theories also become self-fulfilling prophecies?


We will also accept submissions in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.


Submit your abstract (1000 words) no later than 15 November 2013 at  



Bulter, J. 2010. Performative agency. Journal of Cultural Economy, 3(2): 147161.

Cabantous L. and J.-P. Gond 2011. Rational decision-making as a ‘performative praxis’: Explaining rationality’s éternel retour.’ Organization Science, 22(3): 573586.

Callon M. 1998. The Laws of the Markets. Oxford, Blackwell Publishers.

Davis, G. F. 2009. The rise and fall of finance and the end of the society of organizations. Academy of Management Perspective, 23(3): 27–44.

Ferraro, F., J. Pfeffer and R. I. Sutton 2005.  Economics language and assumptions: How theories can become self-fulfilling.  Academy of Management Review, 30(1): 8–24.

Fleming, P. and A. Spicer 2003. Working at a cynical distance: Implications for subjectivity, power and resistance. Organization, 10(1): 157179

Fournier ,V. and C. Grey 2000. At the critical moment: Conditions and prospects for critical management studies. Human Relations, 53(1): 732.

Freire, P. 2000a. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. 30th anniversary ed. New York: Continuum.

Freire, P. 2000b. Pedagogy of Freedom: Ethics, Democracy, and Civic Courage. Lanham. Rowman & Littlefield.

Fridman, D. 2010. A new mentality for a new economy: Performing the homo oeconomicus in Argentina. Economy and Society, 39(2): 271302.

Ghoshal, S. 2005. Bad management theories are destroying good management practices. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 4(1): 75–91.

Guerreiro-Ramos, A. 1976. Theory of social systems delimitation: A preliminary statement. Administration & Society, 8(2): 249272.

Imas, J. M. and A. Weston 2012. From Harare to Rio de Janeiro: Kukiya-Favela organization of the excluded. Organization, 19(2): 205227.

Mackenzie, D. and Y. Millo 2003. Constructing a market, performing theory: The historical sociology of a financial derivatives exchange. American Journal of Sociology, 109: 107145.

Singer, P. 2011. Universities and the Solidarity Economy – Lessons of the Brazilian Experience.  Available online at:

Spicer, A., Alvesson, M. and D. Kärreman 2009. Critical performativity: The unfinished business of critical management studies. Human Relations, 62(4): 537560

Luciano Barin Cruz
Professeur Agrégé/Associate Professor
Management, bureau 5150
Co-Director GRIDD-HEC (Interdisciplinary Research Group on Sustainability)
3000, chemin de la Côte‑Sainte‑Catherine, Montréal (Québec) H3T 2A7
Téléphone : 514 340-1350  Télécopieur : 514 340-5635

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