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Two faces of organizational irony: endemic and pragmatic

Hoyle, Eric and Wallace, Mike ORCID: 2008. Two faces of organizational irony: endemic and pragmatic. Organization Studies 29 (11) , pp. 1427-1447. 10.1177/0170840607096383

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This paper puts forward a perspective on organizational irony framed in terms of two reciprocal faces, as a contribution to the developing interest in irony as a tool for organizational analysis. Endemic irony explores theoretical approaches implying that irony is a characteristic of all organizations, extended by contingent manifestations in contemporary organizations. Pragmatic irony conceptualizes how organization members engage in ironic strategies and deploy verbal irony as modes of coping — with both endemic discrepancies between intention and outcome, and contingent contradictions generated through major change efforts. This perspective is offered as a heuristic for exploring organizations whose members are inherently confronted by irony. First, those philosophical, literary and organization theory approaches to irony are reviewed which relate most closely to organizational irony. Second, the endemic nature of organizational irony is elaborated. Third, distinctive manifestations of irony in contemporary organizations that extend endemic irony are discussed. Fourth, instances of pragmatic irony in contemporary organizations, conceived as the reciprocal of endemic irony, are explored. Finally, the value of an ironic perspective as a means of understanding organizations is asserted and suggestions offered for future theory-building and research.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Uncontrolled Keywords: Endemic irony ; Pragmatic irony ; Ironic disposition ; Ambiguity ; Principled infidelity
Publisher: Sage
ISSN: 0170-8406
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 09:47

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