(Dis)organizing through imbrications of human and material agencies: the case of fighting and surviving a battle

Elena Tavella

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch


This paper sets out to contribute to the discourse on the role of sociomateriality in enabling and/or constraining organizing processes. Scholars have emphasized that organizing processes include moments of order, as well as disorder, and that those moments emerge through the imbrication of human and material agencies. However there is a lack of insight into how human and material agencies are imbricated during the emergence of (dis)order, and how different imbrications lead to (dis)order. This paper addresses this gap by presenting a content analysis of a book reporting the Battle of Stalingrad during World War II. Drawing on the theory of affordances, the author identifies how different materials were used by the German and Soviet armies to organize specific activities, and whether and how those activities led to order and/or disorder. The analysis suggests that soldiers used different materials to organize different activities within one and the same organizational context, which led to (dis)order. Whether order or disorder emerged was dependent on how human and material agencies were imbricated within the conduct of particular activities, and how they related to internal or external influencing factors. The findings contribute to increasing our understanding of how different types of imbrications of human and material agencies lead to (dis)order.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2016
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event32nd EGOS Colloquium, Naples 2016: Organizing in the Shadow of Power - Naples, Italy
Duration: 7 Jul 20169 Jul 2016
Conference number: 32


Conference32nd EGOS Colloquium, Naples 2016
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