The Introduction sets out the broad argument, scope, and content of the book and establishes some important working definitions of key concepts that will appear throughout the text, most notably: ‘formal organization’, ‘practical science’, ‘classical stance’, ‘metaphysical stance’, ‘organizational reality device’, ‘persona’, ‘ethos’, and ‘casuistry’. The chapter charts the problematization of formal organization both within organization theory (OT) itself and in the practical world of organization and organizing. It seeks to explore what happens when formality is supplanted: Is the specificity of both the core object—formal organization—and the field dedicated to its analysis—OT—eroded? What might the consequences of such a development be for those dedicated to undertaking organizational analysis, for instance, or, more significantly, for the practical fulfilment of the particular purposes to which formal organization is the crucial means?
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