Our next WBS PPI sponsored Socrates Club meeting will be held at Warwick Business School on November 11th 2019. Our guest speaker will be Professor Robin Holt (Copenhagen Business School), who will be talking about ‘judgment and strategy’:
I argue strategy is the process by which an organization presents itself to itself and others. To bring this about strategists attempt to gather knowledge about an organization in situ from which to appraise themselves and others about where it has been in the past, currently is, and might go in the future. The upshot of such inquiry is a succession of images by which an organization attains its distinction as a unity, or ‘self’.
Using work from literature, art, and philosophy, I explore what it means to know and declare such an organizational ‘self’. Based on the assumption that it is a knowledge project, I argue strategic inquiry has become a powerful but restrictive force. Strategists attempt to generate more accurate, timely, and more complex information to build better impressions of the world and their place within it, yet all the while remain subject to the basic skeptical challenge that things could always be otherwise. They attempt to configure the world as a ‘calculable, coherence of forces’, and all the while the world slips away. In response come compensating forms of strategic self-presentation, either in the form of visionary images, or assertions of competitive brute will. Either way there are risks. With vision comes the risk of collective thoughtlessness, and with brute will the risk of advocating a kind of Hobbesian state of nature.
I suggest judgment offers another way of responding to the skeptics’ challenge. Tracing a narrative through the ideas of David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Adam Smith, William Shakespeare, William Hazlitt, Hannah Arendt, Stanley Cavell, Harold Pinter, Virginia Woolf, Martha Nussbaum and others, I find much might be gained from associating strategic inquiry with a form of unhomely or poetic spectating. It is by creating this sense of ‘being besides’ oneself that strategy can gain a distinctive role as an ethical and aesthetic rather than rational practice.
Time and location details will be posted here nearer the date.
We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible!
-Rene and Hari