In Daedalus' workshop : technique and the dynamics of invention in organization studies

  • Rory Tracey

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

This study proposes an alternative vision of organizational creativity by examining the hidden nature of technique and its role within the production of new things. Taking the figure of Daedalus as an eponym for technical activity, this study asks how technique can be understood as contributing toward creative practice. It is argued that a consideration of technique reveals the hybrid relations formed between humans and technical objects within the process of production. Such relations are found to be incompatible with current theories of organizational creativity, which fail to recognise both the role of technical objects and their attendant techniques, resulting in an incomplete account of how creative outcomes are achieved. A potential solution to this issue may be found within the theory and practice of design, which, through an appreciation of the form and content of its own process and outputs, moves away from the image of an individual creator who preconceives forms in advance of their technical implementation.To explore these issues, this study draws upon fieldwork collected at two design-led organizations and develops the ‘Dynamics of Invention’: a series of guiding concepts designed to help navigate the tangled paths of creative production.This study offers four contributions to the field of process organization studies. First, it provides the resources for understanding technique from a process perspective, and highlights its value for exposing the inherently technical nature of organizational life. Second, it extends and offers a critical dialogue with process perspectives of technical action, such as Actor-Network Theory and related theories of technical assemblages. Third, it offers a critique of the dominant perspectives within the field of organizational creativity, which, without a consideration of technical activity are likely to remain the preserve of the creative individual. Finally, it offers the ‘Dynamics of Invention’ as a guide to creative practice, affirming the inherent technicity of creating within organizations.
Date of Award13 May 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsESRC (Economic and Social Research Council)
SupervisorBarbara Simpson (Supervisor) & Alia Weston (Supervisor)

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