From binarism back to hybridity: A postcolonial reading of management and organization studies

Michal Frenkel*, Yehouda Shenhav

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

205 Scopus citations


Drawing on recent theoretical developments in postcolonial research, we examine the effect of the colonial encounter on the canonization of management and organization studies (MOS) as well as the field's epistemological boundaries. In contrast to Orientalism, which is founded on a neat, binary, division between West and East, we offer (following Latour) a hybrid epistemology, which recognizes that the history of management and organizations should include the fusion between the colonizer and the colonized and their mutual effects on each other. Thus, while we discern the Orientalist assumptions embedded in the writing of management scholars, we also show that certain texts and practices that emerged during the colonial, as well as neo-colonial, encounter were excluded from the field, resulting in a 'purified canon'. We conclude by arguing that hybridization between the metropole and colonies, and between western and non-western organizational entities, needs to be acknowledged by students of cultural diversity, and of critical management.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)855-876
Number of pages22
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Critical management studies
  • Culture
  • Hybridity
  • Imperial bureaucracy
  • Management and organization studies
  • Orientalism
  • Postcolonialism
  • Purification


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