Professor Vince will talk about an organizational theory of make-believe. Make believe (without a hyphen) can be understood as a context specific process for creating acceptable pretence in organizations. Acceptable pretence is fashioned, for example, through fantasies, fabrications, vision statements, exaggerations and hyperbole. It perpetuates processes of normalisation and thereby sustains organizational stability and prevailing order.
Make-believe (with a hyphen) represents the mobilisation of creativity and imagination in support of processes of disruption, unlocking possibilities for the challenge of prevailing order and the potential for organizational change. Make-believe invites creativity and imagination, opening up different ways of feeling and thinking that can unsettle elements of established order.
Professor Vince argues that a theory of make believe, using both senses of the term, can inform imaginative engagement with persistent tensions between organizational stability and change.
About the speaker
Russ Vince is Professor of Leadership and Change at the School of Management, University of Bath. His research has focused on learning and reflection in organizations, emotions in organizations and institutions, management education, leadership development, and the psychodynamic study of organizations. Russ is a former Editor-in-Chief of the international academic journal Management Learning; and he is currently an Associate Editor with the Academy of Management Learning and Education (AMLE) journal. Russ co-convenes the European Group for Organization Studies (EGOS) Standing Working Group on ‘Emotions in Social Contexts: Relational, Organizational and Institutional Implications’ (2018 – 2021).