Engaging with genocide: the challenge for organization and management studies

Peter Stokes, Yiannis Gabriel

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Genocide has been an enduring and profoundly disturbing feature of history. Yet, scholars of organization and management have approached it in a rather limited and marginal way. In this article, the authors propose that genocide far from constituting a tragic phenomenon at the margins of contemporary society raises questions that go to the heart of organization and management studies. In particular, they argue that genocide represents a challenge for organizational theorists in two regards—first, to unlock the organizational and managerial processes that make it possible, and, second, to investigate the extent to which these processes apply to non-genocidal situations. Four particular issues are drawn out as urgently calling for further research—first, the extent to which genocide should be treated as an ‘exceptional’ event; second, the study of different types of genocide involving different forms of management, organization and violence; third, probing into the issue of whether genocide represents a failure of morality or an instance of exaggerated zeal in applying morality; and fourth, the study of the ways ‘othering’ is acted out, both at the broad level of victims and perpetrators, but also in creating a wide range of subdivisions, different degrees of victimhood and collusion, different choices and dilemmas and different modes of identity construction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-480
Number of pages20
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


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