The Contemporary Resonances of Classical Pragmatism for Studying Organization and Organizing

Barbara Simpson*, Frank den Hond

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The legacy of classical American Pragmatism—Peirce, James, Dewey, Addams, Mead, Follett, and others—in organization theory has been significant, albeit that much of its influence has come through implicit and indirect routes. In light of recent calls for an empirical stance in organizational research, we read Pragmatism as a process philosophy that is highly relevant for process views of organization and organizing. Our reading highlights its emphasis on process and emergence, its theory of knowing as fallible and experimental, its denouncing of dualisms, its future-oriented meliorism, its sensitivity to ethics and democracy, and its positioning of experience as both the start and end of inquiry, arguing that these features lay invaluable groundwork for the study of organization and organizing. We advocate a reappraisal of this legacy, mobilising seven articles from the back catalogue of this journal in a virtual special issues that demonstrates how classical American Pragmatism can reinvigorate the field while also opening up new questions and new ways of questioning.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalOrganization Studies
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)127-146
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 18.02.2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • empirical stance
  • ethics
  • practice
  • pragmatism
  • process theories
  • theoretical perspectives

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Responsible organising


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