Organisation, Work and Technology

50 years of critical interdisciplinary analysis

Celebrating Five Decades

The department of Organisation, Work and Technology (originally named ‘Behaviour in Organisations’) is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019. Since its inception, the department has been defined by three distinctive, key features: interdisciplinarity; a critical perspective on the study of organisations and management; and the refusal to simplify social phenomena, instead embracing their complexity to produce meaningful and reflective analysis.

50 years of critical interdisciplinary analysis

Our Approach

Teaching students

A Research and Teaching Orientation

The Department’s approach to research is informed by a particular principled position that draws from the variety of interdisciplinary approaches of members of the department. In particular, a focus on the role and effects of management and organisational practices in society is a preoccupation. By this, we mean that we are collectively more concerned with the broader significance of managerial and organisational practices for society rather than the efficacy of these practices. As such, the concern is the analysis of management and organisations rather than an analysis for management and organisations.

Management has become one of the axes for the organisation of personal lives, of societies, of institutions, economies and cultures, as well as the natural environment. This belief helps define a number of features of how we approach research and teaching.

Student and lecturer

Sustained and Engaged Contributions

One of the most notable things about the department is the way it has sustained the philosophical perspective across the 50 years of its history. From the start, the department brought psychologists into conversations with organisational sociologists; and over time, this interdisciplinary conversation has evolved in relation to the changing context that critical interdisciplinary management analysis needed to respond to.

Few departments can claim to have such a clear philosophical positioning that has been sustained over time and allowed significant and substantial contributions to be made in management and social science research.

A Year of Events

A series of activities have been planned throughout the year to celebrate our 50th birthday.

Anniversary Event 17th December 2019

Our year of events culminated in a one day conference on "Uncertainty, Complexity and Continuity: Organisations, Work and Technology in 2020 and Beyond". The event provided time to pause and reflect on past, present and future developments and their implications for us within the roles we play in society. The day was organised around a series of interactive panel discussions enabling attendees to introduce and discuss their personal experiences.

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Conference attendees

Interdisciplinary Research Event - 20th May 2019

The Department in partnership with the British Academy of Management, hosted an Interdisciplinary Research in International Business (IB) and International Management (IM) event at Lancaster University Management School, on the 20th May. The central focus of this event was to address the pressing needs for and issues of interdisciplinary research in IB/IM field in terms of journal publications, grant applications, research development and engagement activities. The event also discussed how IB/IM scholars can successfully engage more broadly within the business and management community through interdisciplinary research, providing an excellent opportunity for both academics and non-academics to collaborate. Visit the event programme for more information. View the Event Programme for more information.

Networking event

Alumni Event - 17th May 2019

The Department hosted an OWT Alumni workshop on 17th May, at Forrest Hills, welcoming several key figures back to Lancaster, including some who were present in the 1970s soon after the Department's establishment. During the event, alumni colleagues gave presentations about their research in the Department and shared their knowledge of the evolution and development of the Department since the 1970s.

Networking event

International Studying Leadership Conference - December 2018

In December 2018 the 17th ISLC was held at Lancaster. Organised by David Collinson, it showcased the diverse ways that power is implicated in leadership theory and practice, and how leadership is also central to the understanding of power. Approximately 100 delegates attended the meeting and over the three days 63 papers and the 3 keynotes were presented. Feedback from delegates was universally positive, emphasising the high quality of papers presented and the collegial atmosphere of the meeting as a whole. Visit the International Studying Leadership Conference website for more information.

ISLC conference

Our History

Colleagues past and present have contributed to making the department what it is today. Discover their stories, and hear how they have helped to shape the future of Organisation, Work and Technology.