The Primacy of “Disorganization” in Social Organizing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Disorganization, also commonly referred to as “mess” and “disorder”, is a concept rooted in the view of organizations as complex adaptive systems. Over the years, in our endeavor to improve our collective understanding of complex systems, management thinkers have come to value synthetic holism (i.e., systems thinking). Building on this synthetic holism paradigm, the importance of examining the interactions among the constituent parts of a system can be extended to that of social organizing. Social organizing is a dynamic phenomenon that consists of an inherent level of “messiness”. With this backdrop, there is a need for disorganization in social organizational systems to be explored in a much more precise manner. As such, this chapter endeavors to articulate how disorganization can be understood as playing a central role in organizational systems. Specifically, in the meso domain where social organizing takes place. The chapter first explores the traditional notions of “unplanned” disorganization which is followed by exploring more modern notions of “planned” disorganization. Building on this the chapter presents the case for a view that puts disorganization at the heart of our considerations of modern organizing. This is then followed by exploring how disorganization can be studied along with the exploration of some promising research directions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOrganizational Cognition
Subtitle of host publicationThe Theory of Social Organizing
EditorsDavide Secchi, Rasmus Gahrn-Andersen, Stephen J. Cowley
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781003169093
ISBN (Print)9780367769512, 9780367769529
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2022


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