Reading Star Trek: Imagining, Theorizing, and Reflecting on Organizational Discourse and Practice

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Title: Reading Star Trek: Imagining, Theorizing, and Reflecting on Organizational Discourse and Practice
Authors: Kavanagh, DonnchaKeohane, KieranKuhling, Carmen
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Date: 2001
Online since: 2014-09-15T14:32:00Z
Abstract: This paper considers the parallels and intersections between Star Trek and contemporary management discourse. We show that the central issues of complex organisations and management are represented in fictional scenarios in Star Trek and that these find their 'real world' correspondences in the management literature. Tracing this theme over the thirty-year lifespan of the product, we outline both the central axial problems of organisations as well as contextual transformations, and, by focusing on particular episodes, we identify and analyse germane micro-sociological and micro-organisational processes. Thus, we consider Star Trek an 'expressive good' - that is, a material product of the culture industry that gives expression to the prevailing cultural processes through which its production and circulation takes place. Moreover, Star Trek, as an exemplary science fiction utopia/dystopia, facilitates a critical imaginary enabling us to envision a variety of organisational alternatives through which we can assess and reflect on our own management practices and organisational contexts.
Type of material: Book Chapter
Publisher: Routledge
Keywords: Organisation studiesScience fiction
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Language: en
Status of Item: Not peer reviewed
Is part of: Higgins, M., Lightfoot, G., Parker, M. and Smith, W. (eds.). Science Fiction and Organization, pp. 125-142
ISBN: 9780415215886
This item is made available under a Creative Commons License:
Appears in Collections:Business Research Collection

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