Oxford Brookes Business School

Call for papers: Interdisciplinary Perspectives of Secrecy in Organizations, an international two-day workshop

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Who this event is for

  • Everyone


John Henry Brookes Building (JHBB), Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane site


Secrecy in organizations – or ‘organizational secrecy’ – has been defined as ‘the ongoing formal and informal social processes of intentional concealment of information from actors by actors in organizations’ (Costas and Grey, 2014, p. 1423). The study of secrecy in organizations has been steadily gaining momentum in the field of organization studies (e.g. Costas and Grey, 2014; 2016; Parker, 2016; 2013), following scholarly attempts to explore and analyse secrecy and secrets as an epistemic and cosmological category in the arts and the social sciences (e.g. Simmel, 1905; Bok, 1989; Jütte, 2015). This scholarly focus could not be more topical, as organizational secrecy is increasingly recognised as a fundamental, inherent characteristic of organisations, embedded in practices such as concealing vital knowledge from competitors, protecting employee and client information, and even reinforcing informal employee chatter in the form of gossip.

The two-day workshop aims to bring together scholars from across the world, in order to broaden and deepen discussions and debates on secrecy in organisations from an interdisciplinary perspective. We seek to explore organizational secrecy from a variety of perspectives that include but are not restricted to the following questions:

  • What role does formal, informal, and/or public secrecy play in organisations?
  • What are the social conditions created by secrecy in organisations and what is their impact on knowledge transfer?
  • How has organisational secrecy evolved historically?
  • What insights do cultural artefacts (such as films and fiction) offer on secrecy in organisations? What is their influence on public perceptions of organisational secrecy?
  • How does secrecy in organizations relate to public and political debates about privacy, big data and surveillance?

We would like to invite scholars (very much including early career researchers and PhD students) to submit a 2000 word outline of their idea, to be discussed in the workshop, with the purpose of developing full papers for a potential edited volume on the subject of Secrecy in Organizations. Participation in the workshop will be free of charge (although please note travel and accommodation expenses cannot be covered) and for this reason the number of participants is restricted to thirty. The workshop will be convened by Dr Ioanna Iordanou (Oxford Brookes University) and Professor Chris Grey (Royal Holloway, University of London), and is funded by the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust, and Oxford Brookes Business School.

Please send paper outlines by 10th May 2018 to Ioanna Iordanou: ioanna.iordanou@brookes.ac.uk

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