Symptoms of organization

volume 8, number 1
February, 2008
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The contributions to this issue, which were all written by PhD students, reflect upon the meaning of a symptomatology of organization and explore its possible practice. The idea of symptomatology itself originates from medicine and refers to the study of the signs of a disease. In medicine, the general task of the symptomatologist is to interpret and organize different symptoms in such a way that they designate a more or less coherent disease. Given this medical sense of ‘symptomatology’, it might sound like we are trying to hand over the theory and politics of organization to the ‘management doctors’ of the world: the management gurus, motivational experts and self- improvement writers who offer diagnoses and cures for organizational problems. 

This is not what we have in mind when we speak of a symptomatology of organization. For us, symptomatology of organization is about the relation between organization studies and philosophy.