Cubism and Organizational Analysis: Revisiting Representation in the Age of the Knowledge Economy

We suggest that interest in the new times of the knowledge economy may privilege attention to new organizational forms and new approaches to studying them at the expense of those from the past. Arguing that concerns with representation are not necessarily related either to postmodern epistemology or to postmodern epoch, we show how the modernist movement of cubism was an earlier complication of representation that has much to contribute to both the form and content of contemporary organizational studies. We identify some of the main tenets of a cubist approach to organizational analysis and argue that cubism offers an extension to current interest in aesthetics within organizational studies. Cubism, we argue, offers an aesthetic contribution that may supplement contemporary approaches to small-scale organizational studies by slowing them down: by allowing attention to repetition, to the mundane and to the taken for granted.