Doing Time with Deleuze
: Researching Organisational Change

  • Ian Fouweather

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This research was originally conceptualised as a traditional piece of qualitative inquiry in which the researcher would analyse participant narratives to reveal how individuals made sense of organisational change over time. The focus was informed by Karl Weick’s extensive work on organisational sensemaking. The planned methodology was built on a processual ontology and an epistemology based on Bakhtin’s work on dialogue. However, as time passed the research changed, becoming ever more influenced by the work of Gilles Deleuze. A rhizomatic theory of change, time and self emerged, that draws attention to the inevitable paradoxes and contradictions that are created in our collective attempts to make sense of how individuals experience change. Taking inspiration from Deleuze’s materialist philosophy of difference, I abandoned the research imperative that requires the imposition of order on an external reality by identifying regularities, categories, and bifurcations to what is thought of as empirical data. Instead, I tried to develop a non-representational form of inquiry in which my own struggles to make sense of sensemaking, time and change are acknowledged. My research became post qualitative, recognising that the interwoven iterative process of reading-thinking-writing, was central to my attempts to create knowledge. This forced me to write differently, to escape the chronological research narrative that moves smoothly from start to finish; from literature to data to analysis, conclusions, and inevitable closure. Free from this trope, some of my physical, intellectual and emotional entanglements that refused to be neatly represented in space and time are folded and refolded into the narrative. This allows me to trace multiple lines of flight to reveal the contradictions and paradoxes, confusion and messiness that inevitably emerge as change-time-sense-self are continually co-constituted and disrupted in the ongoing process of becoming.
Date of Award28 Jun 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorNancy Harding (Supervisor) & Lorna Stevens (Supervisor)

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