Philosophy of Management

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 197–210 | Cite as

Facing Creation: When the Pragmatic Credo Masks the Orders of Action

  • Mathias BéjeanEmail author
  • Armand Hatchuel


This paper discusses the problematic use of the “pragmatic credo” – defined as a minimal set of basic pragmatist propositions – in practice, especially when facing creation. To do so, we analyze how managers deal with “art-based firms” and provide results from an in-depth case study of a small firm operating in garden art and design (Béjean 2015; 2008). The findings are interpreted in light of previous theoretical developments in management theory (Hatchuel European Management Review, 2(1): 36–47.), as well as symbol theory (Goodman 1968; 1978). They suggest that, while appearing wise and reasonable, the pragmatic credo as embodied in practical management doctrines rather inhibits collective action and masks the necessary revision of symbolic “orders of action”, defined as the way action is itself pre-categorized by a special class of symbols. The paper concludes by providing further insights of how an “epistemology of action” could contribute to enriching both pragmatism and management, especially when action is no longer the solution to resort to but rather the enigma to unfold.


Pragmatism Philosophy of management Meaning-making Symbolic functioning Epistemology of action Orders of action 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université Paris Est CréteilCréteilFrance
  2. 2.Mines ParisTech, PSL Research UniversityParisFrance

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