Asking the question - 'what is organization?'
Philosophy plays an increasingly important role in organisation studies. This is particularly true for the recent sub-discipline in organisation studies known as critical management studies. In this thesis I am concerned with the relations between philosophy, organization and organization studies. I argue that philosophy performs two radically different roles in organization studies. The first role corresponds to the under-labourer conception of philosophy. According to this conception, philosophy is important for organization studies because it performs functions for organisations studies. Most notably, it is considered to provide different methods, paradigms, or ontological and epistemological frameworks in which one can perform organisational research. Within this approach, which I identify as the dominant conception of philosophy in organisation studies, philosophy remains an outside force: philosophy does itself not belong to organisation studies. The second, contrasting, role of philosophy in organisation studies is immanent to organisation studies itself: philosophy as the creation of concepts of organisation. In this conception, which I present on the basis of a reading of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, philosophy is understood to have a positive dimension which is lost when it is understood in terms of its usefulness for the social sciences. Philosophy of organisation, in this sense, means asking the question "What is organization?" philosophically, i.e. by creating concepts of organisation. It is this second role of philosophy that is further elaborated in this thesis; by asking what it is (part I) and also by exploring the philosophy of organization in the works of theorists such as Spinoza, Robert Cooper and Michel Foucault (part II). Taken together, the two parts argue for a more important role of philosophy of organisation in organisation studies, as distinguished from a philosophy for organisation studies.