Irony-- Its Use and Potential in Organization Theory

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Book Chapter

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In this chapter we take different discourses in which irony plays a predominant role and link them to organization theory. Irony, while not often used in organization theory, has connections to different scholarly traditions where it plays a recognized role, in particular, literary theory and philosophy. We start with a lexical examination of the word irony. Then we dip into the literary discourse, looking for facets of irony that may play out in the organizational realm. We thereafter introduce some philosophers who may help us connect irony and organizing in new ways. Finally we provide a literature review of research linking irony and organizations, and reflect upon the possibilities that "irony" opens up for organizational research(ers). We characterize three distinct uses of irony that we find useful for organization theory: irony as a preservative device, irony as a destabilizing device, and irony as a liberating device.


ISBN: 9789147075270 (pbk.); 9788763001311