Playing with the Pieces: Deconstruction and the Loss of Moral Culture
This chapter investigates the assumptions and implications of the notion of deconstruction as they are found in writers concerned with organization theory and organization ethnography. It reviews the general attack on cultural authority as it is found in postmodernism and analyzes the assumptions and processes of deconstruction as they have been presented in the discipline of organization theory. Deconstruction, and postmodernism generally, is shown to be a continuation of modernity’s attack on cultural authority and its celebration of the ideology of individualism with its concomitant of endless criticism. Deconstruction posits the oppositional nature of language and symbolism as a “violent hierarchy” and seeks to overturn this hierarchy to achieve human freedom. The chapter deals with deconstructionism on the points that language is oppositional in nature and that cultural forms repress their opposites. Deconstructionism, with its program of “ceaseless moving between terms,” destroys the links to the past, and with them, the possibility of moral culture.