Heterogeneity between simplification and complexity: Actor-Network Theory and a new epistemology for organizational studies

<p></p><p>Abstract This article discusses and reflects on the relevance of considering mediation as focus of analysis of heterogeneity in the Actor Network Theory (ANT) when it comes to organizational studies, comparing it with two paradigmatic perspectives much discussed today - simplification and complexity. Therefore, it initially deals with the modern paradigm crisis, showing the transition of this paradigm to the paradigm of complexity and places organizational studies in this new paradigm. Then, the study synthetically shows the historical path of heterogeneity, and then shows how this is conceptualized in ANT as an epistemological possibility to organizational studies. Finally, it highlights some considerations about mediation as focus of analysis of heterogeneity in ANT. The main argument is that from the heterogeneous analysis of the social, natural and technological factors interrelated in what ANT calls “actors networks”, it is possible to overcome, in organizational studies, the circularity in which the modern paradigms of simplification and complexity are inserted. This is because the heterogeneity, the way proposed in the context of simplification and complexity, consists mainly of static conceptions of reality and ANT, heterogeneity is primarily relational, it is the flow of collectives and the ways they behave, whether they are performing simple, complex, ordered or fluid activities. From these reflections, the article is based, epistemologically, on the heterogeneity assumptions of ANT as a lens of analysis relevant to understanding the organizational phenomena.</p><p></p>