What is the CPO standing working group?

The Communication, Performativity and Organization (CPO) standing working group of the European Group for Organizational Studies explores how organizing and organizations are continuously produced and performed through communication and interaction. From this performative perspective, any organization and organizing process is always a matter of the sayings, doings, understandings and interactions performed in everyday life. This stance on organizations can bring novel insights into many central research topics, as evidenced by the growing body of work in organization studies that adopts such a performative perspective on organizations (Bourgoin et al., 2020; Cabantous et al., 2018; Gond et al., 2016) or a communicative constitution of organization (CCO) perspective (Cooren, 2010; Cooren, et al., 2011; Schoeneborn et al., 2019). 

 Building on both the performative and the CCO perspectives, the SWG will invite its participants to pose new questions and develop new insights arising from the assumption that organizational phenomena are never fixed, but are brought into existence by relations of human/non-human actors and their material-discursive practices. In particular, the SWG will be an opportunity to develop knowledge based on a conjoined communicative and performative stance on four important topics for organization scholars, each time approach through the lens of communicative performance.

Our aim is that the SWG nurtures a new, strong cross-disciplinary CPO community, enabling its participants to enhance and synthesize diverse theoretical and analytical approaches. Such a move will advance knowledge of the performative powers of communicative relations and practices, and of the way organizational phenomena are continuously constituted through the sayings and doings of organizational actors. 

 To develop and expand the theoretical, methodological and empirical avenues of CPO, the SWG also welcomes thought-provoking contributions by scholars from within neighboring research traditions, including, amongst others:

  • organizational process studies (all four colloquia)
  • science and technology studies (the 2022, 2023 and 2024 colloquia)
  • critical management studies (the 2024 and 2025 colloquia)
  • feminist and critical diversity studies (the 2023, 2024 and 2025 colloquia)

As a meeting point between various research traditions (e.g., performativity, CCO, critical studies, process studies), the CPO SWG is of particular interest to a number of participants who attended previous EGOS colloquia, including:

  • SWG #5 “Organization as Communication” (2015-2020), which has created a new space for dialogue between organizational communication and organization studies. This SWG has had a consistently high number of submissions (e.g., 67 in 2019 and 51 in 2020, a similar focused sub-theme in 2020 (#44) received 30 submissions).
  • Performativity researchers, who have met regularly at EGOS (see below).

The SWG will also be of relevance to organizational discourse researchers and will attract scholars who do not normally attend EGOS, but whose work resonates with the aim of exploring the constitutive features of communication and performativity in organizations.

Past EGOS CCO-related events


Sub-theme 24: “Organizations as Phenomena of Language Use: Interconnecting Discourse and Communication.” Convenors: J. Cornelissen, T. Kuhn, D. Schoeneborn.


Sub-theme 42: “The Communicative Constitution of Organizations: Organizations as Precarious Accomplishments.” Convenors: D. Schoeneborn, F. Cooren, T. Kuhn 

Sub-theme 43: “The power of language(s): A linguistic perspective on organizational realities.” Convenors: M. Śliwa, W. Barner-Rasmussen, M. Johansson.


SWG 5: “The performative power of talk.” Convenors: D. Schoeneborn, F. Cooren, L. T. Christensen.


SWG 5: “(Dis)organizing through texts, artifacts & other materialities.” Convenors: C. Vásquez, T. Kuhn, P. Leonardi.


SWG 5: “Toward & beyond (formal) organization.” Convenors: D. Schoeneborn, T. Kuhn, J. Barker.


SWG 5: “The enduring and fading away of organization.” Convenors: C. Vásquez, F. Cooren, J. Mengis.


SWG 5: “Exploring the communicative incarnation of organization.” Convenors: D. Schoeneborn, J. Cornelissen, B. Cnossen.


SWG 5: “Unpacking the critical, transformative, & emancipatory role of communication.” Convenors: C. Vásquez, N. Bencherki, D. Kärreman.

Sub-theme 44: “Putting management communication to the practical test in its heyday.” Convenors: P. Stücheli-Herlach, C. Schwägerl, F. Cooren.


Sub-theme 55: “Organizing difference: Communicative constitution of organization and discourse perspectives.” Convenors: M. Plotnikof, T. Kuhn, D. Mumby.

Past EGOS performativity events


Sub-theme 30: “Performativity by design!?” Convenors: J.-P. Gond, K. Starkey, A. Wright.


Sub-theme 52: “Organizing performativity: The practical life of theory across time and organizational settings.” Convenors: K. Boll, J.-P. Gond, P. du Gay.


Sub-theme 43: “Performativity as Politics: Rethinking Performativity and Power Dynamics.” Convenors: L. Cabantous, J.-P. Gond, Y. Millo.


Sub-theme 65: “Translating the Business Model into Action: Practice and Performativity.” Convenors: S. Häfliger, V. Mangematin, C. Baden-Fuller


Sub-theme 70: “Strategy Practices and Performativity: Understanding Strategy as Performative Practice.” Convenors: L. Cabantous, D. Seidl, M. Kornberger.


Sub-plenary 2-4. “Performing ‘Good’ Organizations and Markets: From Felicity to Abuses and Misfires?” Chair: J.-P. Gond; speakers: M. Morsing, P. Karnøe, L. Cabantous.


Sub-theme 7. “Doing Process Research: Performativity in the Unfolding Actions of Organizing.” Convenors: B. Simpson, N. Harding, V. Sergi.


Sub-theme 44. “Strategy, valuation and organization.” Convenors: L. Cabantous, L. Doganova, M. Kornberger.

Sub-theme 53: “Discourse, Organizations and Society: The Constitutive and Performative Role of Language.” Convenors: A. Whittle, E. Vaara, F. Mueller.


Sub-theme 45: “Re-organizing markets: Questions, resistances, responsibilities.” Convenors: S. Geiger, P. Roscoe, J.-P. Gond.

Why communication and performativity?

The concept of performativity was originally crafted as a means of describing how communication performs reality, for instance in speech act theory (Austin, 1962; Searle, 1969) or in the writings of Wittgenstein (Fayard, 2017; Shotter & Tsoukas, 2011). Communication, in this sense, is performative and consequential: it creates and accomplishes organizing. This line of inquiry has been developed, in particular, by scholars working on the elision of communication and organization studies scholarship. This research focuses on how communication constitutes organization (e.g., Boivin et al., 2017; Schoeneborn et al., 2019; Taylor & Van Every, 2000).  

The notion of performativity – broadly defined as the power of discursive and material practices to shape and change the world – has also gained increasing traction in organization studies (Gond et al., 2016) and has resulted in numerous conceptual developments (e.g., Beunza & Ferraro, 2018; Cabantous & Gond, 2011; Cabantous et al., 2016; Garud & Gehman, 2019; Harding et al., 2017; Hultin & Mähring, 2017; Fleming & Banerjee, 2016; Marti & Gond, 2018; Muniesa, 2018; Nyberg & Wright, 2016; Roscoe & Chillas, 2014; Simpson et al., 2017; Vásquez et al., 2018; Wickert & Schaefer, 2015). Drawing on the work of scholars such as Michel Callon, Bruno Latour, Donald MacKenzie, Judith Butler and Karen Barad (Barad, 2003; Butler, 1993, 1997; Callon, 2007, 2010; Latour, 2005; MacKenzie & Millo, 2003; MacKenzie et al., 2007), researchers adopting a performative lens consider that organization exists through the way in which people and things interact and communicate (Cooren, 2018). 

The CPO community shares with both the CCO and performative research traditions a post-humanistic outlook on organization that seeks to de-center analytical attention from human beings and to re-focus it towards inter-relating actions and practices themselves (human and non-human; see Cooren & Seidl, 2019). By connecting both streams of research, the CPO community aims at enhancing and strengthening organization theory based on a relational ontology – to explore the ongoing communicative performativity of organizational phenomena and issues.