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Title: Secret Societies: Intimations of Organization
Authors: Parker, Martin
First Published: 12-Aug-2015
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Citation: Organization Studies, 2015 (Published online first)
Abstract: This paper uses the secret society to pose questions about the politics, epistemology and ontology of organizing. Against assumptions of transparency, or the possibility of hermeneutic understanding, I suggest that much organizing is actually invisible and opaque. The paper begins with a consideration of the characteristics of historical and contemporary organizational conspiracies, and then moves on to elaborate what sort of ‘facts’ need to be claimed about a secret society to bring it into existence. After a section on the politics of contemporary organizational conspiracies, the paper concludes with some speculations on what the example of the secret society can tell us about the paranoia required by contemporary organizational researchers, as well as the ontology of organizations. After all, we have still never seen an organization.
DOI Link: 10.1177/0170840615593593
ISSN: 0170-8406
eISSN: 1741-3044
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © The Author(s) 2015. Licensee: SAGE Publications. Reprints and permissions: This is the accepted version of a paper accepted for publication in Organisation Studies. Archived in accordance with the Publisher's Open Access archiving policy, available at
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Management

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