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http://org.sagepub.com Passion, Knowledge and Motivation: Ontologies of Desire

Stephen Linstead and Joanna Brewis Organization 2007; 14; 351 DOI: 10.1177/1350508407076149 The online version of this article can be found at: http://org.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/14/3/351

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Volume 14(3): 351371 ISSN 13505084 Copyright 2007 SAGE (Los Angeles, London, New Delhi and Singapore)

Passion, Knowledge and Motivation: Ontologies of Desire

Stephen Linstead
University of York, UK

Joanna Brewis
University of Leicester, UK

Abstract. In this paper we address some neglected ontological issues regarding the ideas of passion and knowledge in the contemporary Western context. We argue that passion as a concept can be understood in two main ways. The prevalent interpretation in organization studies is teleological, that of a powerful, purposive motivation to achieve an end result. The second is an ontological understanding of the nature of desire, which in itself is double-sided. Using the ideas of Foucault and Bataille, we suggest desire can be read as lack but also/alternatively as a free-owing creative force operating behind the quest for knowledge. Through the power effects of discourses like knowledge management and motivation theory, this ow of desire is curtailed in its ability to make meaning through nonknowledge as well as knowledge. This entails that formless, unpredictable desire is discursively condensed into functional motivation, whilst at the same time the protean, curious urge to connect to the externality of the world becomes structured into the instrumental, conservative management of knowledge. We reect here on both of these discursive trajectories, as well as on some of their implications. Key words. desire; discourse; knowledge; management; motivation; ontology; passion

DOI: 10.1177/1350508407076149


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Organization 14(3) Articles

Introduction: Etymologies of Passion and Desire

The title of this Special Issue might seem at rst sight paradoxicalafter all isnt passion about emotion and knowledge about reason, which we are accustomed to considering as opposites? In what follows we take this question seriously, exploring the meaning of passion, its relation to desire and the ways in which these concepts are connected. We then consider contemporary approaches to knowledge and its management, and relate these to the very different approaches to desire that have emerged in philosophical work. We do this with particular reference to the concept of motivation, and the work of Michel Foucault and Georges Bataille. But before our discussion can begin, it is necessary to engage in some etymological exploration to clarify two of our key terms; passion and desire. The etymological origins of the contemporary English word passion lie in the Latin patiore, meaning to bear or to suffer, and passio, meaning suffering (Hp and Linstead, 1993). It is also related to the idea of the passive, such that one denition offered by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (accessed 30 August 2006) is the state or capacity of being acted on by external agents or forces. Merriam-Webster goes on to suggest that passion represents an intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction. Literally, then, passion is something that is neither the property of nor controlled by the bearerinstead it is imposed upon them, whether we understand it as an enthusiasm or preoccupation that cannot be shaken off or in terms of the terrible suffering that was the Passion of Christ. Passion is certainly not a wholly pleasant concept. It may involve pain and, in its more obsessive forms, can consume, displace, even destroy the selfand/or othersin the pursuit of something external or transcendent, a sacrice that gives access to the sacred. The apparent mass suicide of 900-plus Peoples Temple members at Jonestown in November 1978, for example, was attributed to their passionately held conviction that they would subsequently be transported to another planet for a life of eternal ecstasy. IRA Volunteer Bobby Sands self-destructive passion led to his 65 day hunger strike in the Maze prison in Northern Ireland, and his eventual death in May 1981. We can also consider kamikaze pilots and Al Qaeeda suicide bomberswho, of course, take as many others with them as possiblein this context. Certain types of passion may therefore require the ultimate sacrice. Passion is also connected to the concept of desire. This connection is not by any means trivialindeed they are inseparable. The etymology of desire originates in the Latin desiderare; de + sidu meaning heavenly body or star (as in sidereal, meaning relating to stars or constellations). Desire is clearly aspirantMerriam-Webster denitions include to long or hope for, to express a wish forand also has the intransitive meaning of to have or feel desire rather than a yearning for anything specic. Other sources make reference to an object of desire or deep interest. Certainly this last sense coheres with our theme of the passion for knowledge, but the pursuit of knowledge also involves being in the grip of powerful forces, and entails

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Passion, Knowledge and Motivation: Ontologies of Desire Stephen Linstead and Joanna Brewis suffering. As we have seen, passion may be creative or destructive, and because of its dark side is always potentially dangerous. This dark side demands organizationit must be identied and regulated if the dangers to social life are to be minimized. Sexual passion in particular has long engendered a requirement that it be controlled. Burrells (1984: 103110) tour de force review of the roots of Western organizational desexualization extends back to the emergence of the notion of obscenity in the 15th century against a wider contemporaneous backdrop of the civilizing of sex, and further to the edict of celibacy for monks and nuns as handed down by the medieval Catholic Church. Importantly, moreover, passion always stands in relation to otherness. It is a passion for something or someone. It is therefore in its intransitive sense that desire differs most signicantly from passion, whilst simultaneously being connectedand it is through this connection that we wish to explore the concepts ontologically as well as etymologically. Western thought also tends to treat passion in relation to the concept of desirecertainly this was the case for Plato, for Aristotle, for Augustine and for most continental philosophy since Hegel. Aristotle uses the general term orexis to indicate desire, but its specic sense is the natural human desire to know. This desire allies itself to practical reason in order to be worked out, and it causes humans to reach out for something or someoneindeed one who does not reach out, or has no desire, is anorexic. Aristotle distinguishes three sub-forms of desireappetite (epithymia), passion (thymos) and will (boulsis). Epithymia usually indicates a desire for something, although also implies lust for a person; thymosmeaning passioncarries the sense of heart, courage or spirit in relation to life and strong feeling. Boulsis however is always thought through and, although its meanings are wishing and willing, it is also associated with bouleuomaito deliberate or take counsel. In this paper, whilst recognizing that there are differences, we will therefore use the term desire to subsume that of passion with passion broadly indicating a focused, powerful emotion, whereas desire stands for something more general and intransitive. Indeed rather than arguing in traditional Platonic fashion that desire signals lack, we suggestin extending Foucaults commentary on sexualitythat such readings can be understood as the power effects of prevailing discourse. As an alternative, we offer an interpretation of desire, of which we use Bataille as a key exemplar, as a owing and shapeless creative/destructive urge.1 This amorphous urge, we contend, lies beneath our basic curiosity about and willingness to engage with the world. As such it underpins the pursuit of knowledge about that worldas Aristotle would argue. But at the same time its experimental and non-purposive character explains why feeling, intuition, gut instinct, emotion, play and chance are also important dimensions of our ability to experience the worldand therefore why we act on the basis of things we do not and can never know for sure. The reconceptualization of desire as ow therefore allows for non-knowledge,

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Organization 14(3) Articles the passion for not knowing (Bataille, 2001: 196), whereby we are drawn to things around us even when they seem at best ambivalent or counterproductive, and at worst threaten to overwhelm or imperil us. These phenomena give our existence meaning beyond that which is easily communicated in writing, verbally or even semiotically, and provide us with wisdom beyond knowledgeour dimly sensed and rarely voiced sensibility that in the nal analysis we will always perish, just as does all living matter on Earth. The knowledge that death is inevitable cannot be the knowledge of death, as that must always remain incommunicable. Thus the ultimate knowledge remains a non-knowledge, which Bataille associates with other abject phenomenathose which, likewise, can be known but not known of and thus carry within them the taint of death. To desire to know what is beyond life is inevitably to desire ones own death. Similarly, any object-oriented desire desires its own death in the quest to be satised. This deathly taint, as we go on to suggest in our substantive analysis (see From passion to motivation), may explain the discursive channelling of desire into desire-as-lack, and by turns into the future-oriented concept of motivation. The concept of meaningeven in the sense of a meaningful lifelikewise turns into a surrogate, a narrow and inauthentic substitute that we can only associate with outcomes, with accumulation, with personal and/or organizational advantage (Sievers, 1986). Motivation thus comes to stand in for both desire and meaning. Knowledge, like passion or desire, also brings us in relation to otherness. It is the product, as we have already suggested above, of the simple, desirefuelled curiosity that in the rst instance reaches out to the otherness of the world just as a child might grab for a brightly coloured toy. Knowledge, then, is a means for making sense of and coping withperhaps even resolvingexternality and difference. The more we know about the material or phenomenological worlds of other people, the more we can locate them in relation to our own so that, at the very least, we are able to act in relation to them without personal risk. This entails that knowledge lays the foundations for social community and simultaneously increases our individual freedom and personal sovereigntybut also adds to our ability to control and dominate others. Thus, as is also the case with desire, social rules for the possession and transfer of knowledge tend to develop in seeking to ensure the maintenance of human stability and progress. Indeed it hardly needs to be remarked that social systems depend on degrees and levels of secrecy to function, regardless of how primitive or advanced they are (Luhmann, 1995). One instance is Western legislation such as the UKs Freedom of Information Act (2000), which establishes the categories of data that state organizations must provide if a member of the public submits a request, but at the same time includes a lengthy list of types of knowledge which are not covered. Knowledge cannot freely be shared without risk for, just as the possession of knowledge may convey power, it also carries with it vulnerabilityand the sharing of knowledge renders one especially vulnerable. Shareable knowledge therefore needs

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Passion, Knowledge and Motivation: Ontologies of Desire Stephen Linstead and Joanna Brewis to be manipulatedand its use and movement regulatedby the powerful, who seek to constrain methods of its acquisition whilst elaborating their own. The social regulation of knowledge for the maintenance of human stability and progress is therefore very much embedded withinand central to the continuation ofthe status quo. This leads us to the claim that what we know as knowledge is for the most part another surrogatethis time for the organic power that Nietzsche recognized (and his interpreters distorted) in will-to-power, and the sort of knowledge that is always in relation to its other, non-knowledge; always open to its own deep disconrmation; and always compelled by curiosity about and experimentation on the variegated world-out-there. Indeed the darker, wilder sides of both passion and knowledge are rendered invisible as a result of these processes of discursive regulation and some of the more intractable ontological issues are swept under the epistemological carpet. Our argument will now proceed as follows. First we explore the channelling of knowledge, beginning with the key organization studies exemplar of knowledge management. We then examine the process by which passion and desire become motivation, drawing on Foucault and critiquing motivation theory. Thirdly we explore an alternative formulation of desire informed by our reading of Bataille, before drawing some conclusions as to how we might fruitfully interrogate the passion-power-knowledge relation in future. According to Gherardi (2000: 213) the dominant view of knowledge management rests on the assumption that it is relatively distortion-free or lossless:
The reication of knowledge has grown more overt with the objectied transferable commodity envisaged by the knowledge management approach, which treats knowledge as practically synonymous with information created, disseminated and embedded in products, services and systems The transfer of knowledge [in this view of the world], moreover, may be accomplished without distortion: to transfer is not to transform.

Our treatment of a sample of the relevant literature suggests this representation is perhaps something of a straw manthat many accounts of knowledge management distinguish between knowledge and information, as well as emphasizing that it is extremely difcult to effect straightforward knowledge transfer. Still, the knowledge management discourse undoubtedly bears all the hallmarks of the social regulation to which we have referred above. In other words, we agree with Contu and Willmott (2003) that even the more intellectually sophisticated analyses (e.g. Brown and Duguid, 1991) can be understood as conservative, as contributing to the reproduction of corporate Situation Normal. What we add to their argumentation is our use of Foucaultand his genealogical period in particularto suggest that the discourse of knowledge management generates the functionalist conviction that knowledge is a managerial commodity.

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Organization 14(3) Articles Our excursus through Foucaults middle period is thus undertaken in order to argue that there are inevitably opportunity costs to the commodication of knowledge in organizations, and it is these opportunity costs that the knowledge management discourse seems largely to disregard. Indeed, such a preference for particular routes through the knowledge jungle is typical of organization studies more generally, according to ten Bos (2004), who makes a similar anti-hodological2 argument in criticizing the obsessive study of organizational pathways. Linear models of organizational change, hierarchies of authority, traditional notions of career and modern notions of purposeful networking and the ambitious accumulation of social capital all illustrate how the metaphor of the journey as progress from A to B pulls us back from wanderings of thought and practice and ignores the potentially fertile and exciting ground that lies off-road (Linstead and Pullen, 2006; ten Bos, 2005). We then proceed to examine our second trajectorythe process by which passion or desire becomes motivation. Here we argue that motivation theory is ontologically rooted in the conceptualization of desire-as-lack, although this is rarely if ever acknowledged in contemporary renderings of motivation. On the one hand this makes the concept of motivation difcult critically to unlock because the idea that desire is always lack is so thoroughly embedded within it. But the particular way in which the desireas-lack thesis has been taken up by this body of thought is also profoundly one-sided. Motivation is typically depicted in relentlessly positive terms, such that it has to do with self-completion/-enhancement/-fullment and not self-annihilation or disappearance into the other that is lacking. There is certainly no reference in the existing theory to the death drive, and sex where mentioned, as by Maslow, is rendered as not much more than a biological itch that needs to be scratched. And, once scratched, we move onwards and upwards to seek safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization (Boje and Rosile, 2006: 72, n5). But again there is more to it. Extending Foucault to suggest that the desire-as-lack thesis is in itself a power effect of the modern discourse of sexuality, we go on to propose a different reading of desire altogetheras unruly, chaotic ow. Our inspiration here is Batailles thesis of the general economy. This asserts that the central human dilemma is not replenishment, accumulation or the lling of gaps, but instead squandering the excessive amounts of desire (/passion/energy) available to us. Read through Bataille, motivation theory in fact ceases to make any sense at all. But what is also central to our argument is the melancholy that runs through his work, the sense in which our preoccupation with lack, with securing what is missing, with motive, purpose and instrumentality, means that we are always chasing after something we can never attain. It is as if life is always taking place elsewhere. In sum, our intention is to tell a series of what Sawicki (1994) calls cautionary talesto tease out the implications of contemporary organization studies renderings of knowledge and passion. Our central claim is

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Passion, Knowledge and Motivation: Ontologies of Desire Stephen Linstead and Joanna Brewis that we cannot understand the passion for knowledgewhatever form it takeswithout reecting on the ontological question of desire. It is also worth noting that, whilst Foucaults argumentation has become increasingly signicant in organization studies, the work of Bataille is much less well known, and considers certain ontological issues upon which Foucault bestows less attention. The question of desire is perhaps the most important of these, and it is a secondary contribution of this paper to bring a focus on desire into the contemporary discussion of power/knowledge in the analysis of organization [though see also Munro (2005) for a similar consideration]. Indeed given that Foucault reads desire only as a power effect as opposed to a primary force, for us drawing on Bataille in addressing the ontology of desire provides the necessary basis for taking the analysis of the passionpower-knowledge nexus forward in organization studies.3

Knowledge and its Management

There is an undeniableand persistentpassion for knowledge in organization studies, as manifest in what Gherardi (2000: 212) calls the welter of publications on the subject from the 1970s onwards. One key preoccupation is the extent to which tacit knowledge can be externalizedrendered explicit and thus transferable to others (Leadbeter, 2000; Nonaka, 1995; Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995; Polanyi, 1966)and a related problematic, as summarized by Brown and Duguid (2001), is the imperative to move tacit best practice around within organizations while at the same time preventing it from leaking beyond organizational borders such that it is imitable. However, Brown and Duguid also argue that knowledge sticks for other reasons than its tacitnessnot least of which are unequal power relations, which recalls our earlier point about the intersections between knowledge and vulnerability. Another oft-rehearsed claim is that knowledge is more than data or information, that it is not a static commodity which can be captured and passed on in any straightforward way. For Fahey and Prusak (1998: 269), for example, Knowledge is about imbuing data and information with decisionand action-relevant meaning, so information becomes knowledge only when it is used in the service of the organizational bottom line. McDermott (1999: 105106) agrees that knowing something involves being able to utilize information in the most appropriate, context-specic way. Here then we see warnings against anthropomorphizing organizational knowledge repositories as if these inanimate systems can themselves know, as well as a rejection of the assumption that stories that support learning-in-working and innovation [can] be simply uprooted and repackaged for circulation without becoming prey to exactly those problems that beset abstracted canonical accounts (Brown and Duguid, 1991: 54)irrelevance, lack of context sensitivity, incompleteness and so on. McDermott (1999: 108109) also emphasizes the role of the knowledge community in suggesting that we do not acquire knowledge on our own,

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Organization 14(3) Articles but instead are socialized into a territory already occupied by others. Here, alongside many other knowledge management commentators, he invokes Lave and Wengers (1991) concept of communities-of-practice, and more particularly: (i) its emphasis on becoming an insider rather than simply receiving explicit, formal expert knowledge (Brown and Duguid, 1991: 48); and (ii) the argument that such communities originate organically, such that any attempt to manage knowledge in organizations needs to respect this. Relatedly, McDermott (1999: 104) and Fahey and Prusak (1998) counsel against over-reliance on technology and formal systems in organizational knowledge dissemination. What stands out for us from this literature, then, is the following: knowledge involves both knowing that and knowing how; effective knowledge management is supported by but not reducible to data capture/dissemination systems, which need to accommodate changes in the knowledge stock; knowledge transfer is best facilitated by hands-on practice and face to face communication; and knowledge managers also require a sensitivity to organizational realpolitik. This is the basis of our suggestion that Gherardis rendering of the knowledge management eld, quoted above, is something of a straw man. But what is also clear is that, in line with wider modern Western discourses of progress, rationality and means-ends thinking, knowledge here is understood as a tool or a commoditywithin the knowledge of knowledge management, knowledge is therefore thinkable only in highly circumscribed and functionalist ways. Perhaps ironically in the light of Gherardis earlier-cited comments, the notion that knowledge is more than just information actually underscores this instrumentalism in the corollary claim that knowing that is pretty useless without knowing how. Purpose, use value, is all. Here the use value of knowledge is itself one-dimensionalbeing to do entirely with the bottom line, adding value, harnessing informal, extant organizational processes so as to maximize corporate return. In order to theorize this discourse of knowledge management and its construction of knowledge as something to be managed in the service of organizational objectives, we now turn to Foucault. His work, as noted, will be familiar to readers of this journal, but we provide a short exegesis here nonetheless in order to clarify how his ideas connect to our argument. Foucault (1982) claims that human enquiry throughout history has dealt with two central questionswho we are and how we should live. He also asserts that the answers generated are specic to the episteme in operation at the time; the sociohistorically located set of assumptions regarding the relationship between things in the world and our knowledge of those things. The prevailing episteme therefore establishes how these things can be known (Foucault, 1970). So it is not possible to say anything at all at any timewhat can be said (i.e. what is accepted as true or valid) varies across epochs and cultures.

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Passion, Knowledge and Motivation: Ontologies of Desire Stephen Linstead and Joanna Brewis Neither does Foucault see movement between one episteme and another as teleological. Instead he regards such shifts as breaks with established ways of knowingand nothing more (Foucault, 1986: 54). Thus there is no such thing as enduring or universal knowledge: it is always a creature of its time and place. Moreover, Foucault (1980: 194) goes on to suggest that, as certain forms of knowledge become accepted as truth (despite their historical or cultural specicity), institutions, architectural arrangements, regulations, laws [and] administrative measures grow up around these scientic statements, philosophic propositions, morality, philanthropy etc.. In other words, specic knowledges form the basis for the emergence of discoursessets of interlocking relationships, policies, symbols, material artefacts, practices and procedures which underpin and perpetuate them. The other important aspect of Foucaults argumentation is that it rejects the modernist notion that we have to be free to knowhe has no truck with the contemporary Western epistemic opposition between power and knowledge. Instead he writes these two variables as power/knowledge, as an inextricable couplet in that prevailing discourses produce the way in which we think about ourselves and the world around us, and thus are powerful (Foucault, 1980: 131). In other words, how we talk and write about what it is to be human structures what we are, do and thinkwe circumscribe what we are capable of becoming by knowing ourselves and others. The power effects of discourse are all that we know or can know of ourselves and the world-out-there: we are in fact lived embodiments of discursive regimes (Foucault, 1982: 213). Power, then, does not inevitably obscure or warp what we know, as in the modernist account. Instead Foucault (1977: 194) instructs us that power produces reality; it produces domains of objects and rituals of truth. So the effects of power/knowledge regimes both enable and excludethey render us able to act on the basis of a particular way of relating to the world, but also simultaneously delimit our possibilities. Returning to the discourse of knowledge management, this specic regime has established a set of parameters around the concept of knowledge, and at the same time excluded other worlds of possibility (Cals and Smircich, 1988: 206) such that the only form of organizational knowledge worth managing is that with corporate utility. So knowledge management consists precisely of the social regulation of knowledge transfer to consolidate the organizational status quo. As Contu and Willmott (2003: 289, 293) indicate in their critique of Brown and Duguid (1991), the latters emphasis is on designing training and innovation programmes which enable continuous learning to be engendered and work performance to be enhanced increas[ing] employees capability of addressing technological and market changes. It is also worth pointing out that this utilitarian channelling of knowledge evokes for us similar renderings of phenomena such as social relations, values and norms, sexuality, aesthetics, spirituality and emotion, all of which have been taken up in the organization studies canon as potentially

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Organization 14(3) Articles relevant to the bottom line if regulated in the appropriate ways. Critical management studies has also had much to say on these renderingswhich include corporate culture change programmes, emotional intelligence and funky workplace redesignin terms of their air-brushing out of any threat to organizational protability and the mechanical, hyperreal representations which result (see for example Bell and Taylor, 2004; Burrell, 1992; Fineman, 2004; Hancock, 2005; Ray, 1986; Sinclair, 1995; Warren, 2005a, 2005b; Warren and Fineman, forthcoming; Willmott, 1993). In sum, then, as knowledge becomes epistemologically sanitized under knowledge management regimes, it assumes the objective qualities of a commodity. What counts as knowledge enhances the three Es of efciency, effectiveness and economy, so that the work arounds of the employee looking to full their quota faster and render their shift easier as a result, say, can be appropriated in the name of shareholder value. At the same time the subjective dimensions of power, those that create and shape its epistemological status as a form of subjectication and delimit the ways in which we relate to knowledge, are suppressed. It therefore becomes difcult to see what the alternatives are to knowledge-as-organizationalcommodity, or indeed that there are alternatives. Hence Foucaults key message, for us, is that the discourses which currently structure our lives narrow the range of our possibilities in ways we might not even register. These regimes are worthy of interrogation precisely because they are just thatcontextual, arbitrary and constructed. As he remarks,
My point is not that everything is bad, but that everything is dangerous, which is not exactly the same thing as bad. If everything is dangerous, then we always have something to do. So my position leads not to apathy but to a hyper- and pessimistic activism. (Foucault, 1986: 343)

We might therefore ask what is lost in the commodication processes described abovewhilst being aware of the potential for inviting a further renement of the commodication process to make good the gap, thus replicating the very channelling we have argued against. But other ways of thinking about organizational processesand organization itselfare certainly being marginalized in knowledge management economies, and it is in the nature of such economies that this should be so. In the second half of the paper we move from Foucault to Bataille to explore an ontology of desire that illuminates similar problematics around the discursive production of the concept of motivation.

From Passion to Motivation

In this section we develop our understanding of passion as an approximate synonym for desire in proposing an ontological reading which suggests that desire can be understood either as based on a lack of someone or something or as a non-instrumental ow of energy. What this two-sided reading enables

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Passion, Knowledge and Motivation: Ontologies of Desire Stephen Linstead and Joanna Brewis us to do in the rst instance is argue that desire understood through the former lens is always purposeful, and more particularly future-oriented. It turns upon adding to the present, so as to enhance what-is-yet-to-come, and is associated with an ontology of scarcity or absence of unity. In fact the conceptualization of desire as lack has a long history: it is precisely the drive to reunite and to replenish which Plato (1994) discusses in his thesis of the androgyne, the human compulsion to seek ones missing gender complement, to bring together male and female halves into a whole. Hegel (1977) subsequently draws upon these ideas to suggest that human consciousness inevitably demands that one identies oneself as one selfand not an other (another). Thus our very individuality is also always a lackof othernessand freedom to be ourselves means that there is an inescapable discontinuity between different individuals, different subjects, different self-consciousnesses. Hegel suggests that desire is therefore the desire for continuity with or recognition from those around us. He writes that Negativity, in other words, [is] the integrity of determination (Hegel, cited in Bataille, 1985: 171emphasis removed)such that negativity (lack) is what drives us onwards, what makes us determined or determines us and the course of our actions. Just as one seeks recognition from the other (continuity), so does one become more aware of precisely how one is oneself and not other, monadic, distinct and therefore lacking (discontinuity). This conceptualization of desire as lack re-emerges in Freud and his identication of the two animating forces of the human conditionEros (light, positivity, life) and Thanatos (dark, negativity, death)as well as in the structuralist modication of his work by Lacan where the primary lack is the lack of language (see note 3). A profound tension haunts this reading of desire, deriving from the ontological conict between self-identity and the compulsion to unite with the other, to lose oneself in the other. Indeed as Linstead (2005: 29) has already suggested, Desiring that which we are not means risking loss of control, loss of self, perhaps loss of being, and so is always tinged with dread. Moreover, this desire is also object-drivenit is desire for someone or something that propels us into the future. At the same time it represents an ontological burden to be carried, a nagging sense of incompleteness or a feeling of loss; an imposition, as we suggested earlier in our discussion of patiore as one of the etymological roots of the term passion. Foucault, however, argues that desire-as-lack is not a primary existential force. In terms of sexual desire at least, he suggests that this conceptualization has been established by the discourse of sexuality as a key aspect of the human condition. Foucault (1979: 154) refers, for example, to the way in which the modern idea of sex allows an articial bringing together of parts of the body, bodily functions, behaviours and feelings under one discursive sign. Here there is an explicit recognition of our materiality and of the ways in which our bodies react under certain circumstances, but the corollary is Foucaults rejection of the modern truth of these experiences

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Organization 14(3) Articles as sex, something innate in human beings which can be expressed in more or less healthy waysthat is to say, directed at more or less appropriate others. This being the case, the question becomes one of isolating the point at which these disparate elements discursively combine to become sex, and identifying the implications. Further, if we extrapolate from this to return to our discussion of desire more generally, we can suggest that prevailing discourse creates the idea of a lack which is then fastened upon by post-Hegelian social and post-Freudian psychoanalytic thought. In both accepting and extending Foucaults claims, the next move we wish to make is to suggest that this discursively powerful, long-established reading of desire-as-lack also underpins contemporary conceptualizations of motivationthose routinely taught in business schools, appearing in mainstream organizational behaviour textbooks and forming the basis of many contemporary management techniques. For us therefore motivation does not exist a priori: rather it is a mask or surrogate for a discursive process. The understanding of desire as always having a metaphorical eye on the future, on some ideal state of unity or plenitude, is, fairly obviously, the basis for the idea that we humans are motivated to direct ourselves at some kind of eventual purpose. Whether this goal is to work smart, hard and fast, or to minimize effort and maximize reward, our actions are always, apparently, intended to achieve an end result. Indeed, as we and others have already argued, motivation as a concept in organization theory and practice developed against a 20th century backdrop of Taylorisms far-reaching effects on job design; improving standards of living and concomitantly increased employee expectations; and high employment levels during the 1960s in particular, such that changing jobs in a quest for more satisfaction was straightforward. Indeed Sievers (1986: 338339) argues that:
Motivation only became an issuefor management and organisation theories as well as for the organisation of work itselfwhen meaning was either lost or disappeared from work motivation theories have become surrogates for the search for meaning.

In other words, discourses around motivation appear when work no longer fulls or satiseswhen there is, we could say, a lack. This ontological infrastructure of desire-as-lack is particularly visible in content theories, where the result of motivation is the satisfaction of universal human needs (Alderfer, 1972; Herzberg, 1966; Herzberg et al. 1959; Maslow, 1943, 1954; McClelland, 1961; McClelland and Burnham, 1976). Indeed another name for this body of thinking is needs-deciency theory. Nonetheless, in process theorieswhich on the face of it are more cognitivist in their sensibilities and thus make greater room for differencethe accent is still on seeking benecial outcomes. Whether understood in terms of a restoration of equity, an achievement of goals or the attainment of a personally valent reward (Adams, 1963; Locke, 1968; Porter and Lawler, 1968; Vroom, 1964), these outcomes motivate because

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Passion, Knowledge and Motivation: Ontologies of Desire Stephen Linstead and Joanna Brewis they are in the rst instance absent. According to Adams, equity does not motivatebut inequity (the lack of equity) does. Likewise, a goal already achieved (Locke) or a reward attained (Porter and Lawler; Vroom) would seemingly not spur an employee on to further efforts. What we are suggesting here is that motivation as it tends to be understood in organization theory and practice is in fact a surrogate for desire, at least when conceived of as lack. To be sure, prevailing conceptualizations of motivation tend not to acknowledge this theoretical legacyas Westwood (2006: 38) has it,
although the western motivation discourse has its genesis in the pleasure principle and therefore in desire, desire is actually an almost totally neglected construct within subsequent theory development and is studiously avoided.

But the emphasis here is nonetheless on motivation set against absence or paucity and directed at fullment, achievement or restoration. Again, as with knowledge management, we can therefore see how the discourse of motivation sits against a wider discursive backdrop of modern Western instrumentalism. Furthermore, the failure to acknowledge a specic ontology of desire (-as-lack) as what lies beneath motivation in the bulk of established theory makes it difcult to open up the very concept itself for critical scrutiny. Indeed the
idea of motivation itself is somewhat stultifying discursively imbued through and through with the assumptions of content, process and reinforcement theory, such that its invocation makes it difcult to think beyond the idea that individuals are motivated by some form of internal need-deciency or external stimulus [or] a rational calculation of the outcomes of their behaviour. (Brewis et al., 2006: 19)

Even when we unearth their ontological commitments, there is an important occlusion in these popular readings of motivation. This is the overwhelming sense in which motivation is a positive force for the good leading to a lling up or completionas opposed to any sense in which our (passion/ desire/) motivation is actually to lose ourselves, to disappear into Hegelian continuity, to die both metaphorically and perhaps also literally (Westwood, 2006), as clearly present in the philosophical treatments of desire-as-lack discussed above and our argumentation concerning passions self-destructive potential. Motivation stands then, in ways which are largely unheeded, for something which is much more ambiguous than examination of its surrogate would imply. But prevalent understandings of motivation occlude more than just the fact that the desire-as-lack thesis is characterized by shades of darkness as well as light. Indeed, if we accept that desire-as-lack is itself a power effect, and thus that motivation is a power effect of a power effect, we can extend our understanding of desire by consulting Bataille. Bataille outlines

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Organization 14(3) Articles a very different ontology of desire, one which is a good deal more wild and creative, and one which, importantly, has been distilled through various forms of discursive regulation so as to produce the surrogate or mask which we know as motivation. Batailles theory of general economy conceives of desire, not as driven by lack, but as purposeless, protean, endless. Indeed desire here, which he alternatively renders as energy, originates from the sun and binds together all life on earth. As Bataille (1985: 7) explains in a characteristically poetic passage,
The simplest image of organic life united with rotation is the tide. From the movement of the sea, uniform coitus of the earth with the moon, comes the polymorphic and organic coitus of the earth with the sun. But the rst form of solar love is a cloud raised up over the liquid element. The erotic cloud sometimes becomes a storm and falls back to earth in the form of rain, while lightning staves in the layers of the atmosphere. The rain is soon raised up again in the form of an immobile plant.

We might progress this to suggest that the plant is then eaten by a cow. This animal produces faeces which fertilize the growth of more vegetation. In addition, the cow generates milk to suckle its young, and this milk may also be extracted for the nourishment of human beings. Similarly, elsewhere in Batailles (1991: 23; 1997: 256) oeuvre we see references to the play of living matter in general and the desire that relates to the total movement of life. The birth of any living creature therefore represents only a temporary break from this ongoing circuit of desireone that unfailingly ends in death, in its restoration to the power of nature (Bataille, 1997: 243). Bataille suggests, moreover, that the life force of desire is always available in excess because, although living organisms utilize energy to subsist and to grow, they cannot expand unhindered by the physical limits of the spherical earth: yet the sun continues to shine, such that there is always energy to spare. Thus, instead of being preoccupied with fullment, production and accumulation, we should in fact recognize that our key social dilemma is expenditure, disposal, excretionthe most extreme or radical form of which is death, because in dying we make room for others (Bataille, 1997: 246). As well as this alternative rendering of desire-as-ow, we can draw on Bataille for a potential explanation for the discursive strength of the desire-as-lack thesis, and more generally perhaps for the wider Western preoccupation with utility and instrumentality. While we as humans are no more and no less than the other organisms that populate the biosphere, given that we are all tied together by the same immanent circuit of energy and we, like these other organisms, will inevitably die, consciousness of our impending deathwhich other organisms do not shareterries us to the extent that we spend our lives trying to stave off our demise. The human project is therefore one of endlessly building a future, moving forward in productive and acquisitive activities, anticipating the authentic being

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Passion, Knowledge and Motivation: Ontologies of Desire Stephen Linstead and Joanna Brewis which [we] never [are] in the present time (Bataille, 1997: 244) because, if we have a future, death is deferredat least pro tem. But even in this future-oriented, apparently lack-driven world, we are continually tormented at the most instinctive level of our being by the accursed sharethe excess energy (/desire/passion) which must somehow be spent. And so, from time to time and despite the social taboo that haunts these behaviourswasteful, according to the prevailing utilitarian perspective where accumulation is all, as they arewe give in to the urge to get drunk, to sob or laugh hysterically, to gorge ourselves with food, to dance wildly or to have uninhibited sex:
Erotic conduct is the opposite of normal conduct as spending is the opposite of getting. If we follow the dictates of reason and try to acquire all kinds of goods, we work in order to try to increase the sum of our possessions and our knowledge, we use all means to get richer and to possess more. Our status in the social order is based on this sort of behaviour. But when the fever of sex seizes us we behave in the opposite way. We recklessly draw on our strength and sometimes in the violence of passion we squander considerable resources to no real purpose. Pleasure is so close to ruinous waste Anything that suggests erotic excess always implies disorder. (Bataille, 1986: 170)

Indeed for Bataille pleasure is puny unless it also invokes the shadow of death. Here Hegels dialectic of life and death, of discontinuity and continuity, is expanded into a consideration of ecstasy as necessarily tinged with the threat of self-annihilation. Motivation theory, and the management practice with which it interacts, can therefore be deconstructed as follows. Its premise that our behaviour is always directed at that-which-will-be represents the importance that the future has for us whilst also serving as proof that we have a future. This emphasis on behaviour as purposeful seems to form part of our project of convincing ourselves that we are above and beyond the unthinking mass of animal and plant life, the better to forget our inescapable death. In Bataille we can also see the aforementioned but largely unacknowledged melancholy of the surrogate motivation writ large. Witness his suggestion, for example, that Man is always more or less in a state of anguish, because he is always in a state of anticipation, an anticipation that must be called anticipation of oneself (Bataille, 1997: 316, emphasis added). As we suggested earlier, a life driven by motivation, by this inauthentic discursive substitute for passion/desire, is a life that is always being lived elsewhere, at some future point, when we are in receipt of all possible valued rewards, where equity reigns, where there are no more goals to achieve, where (job) satisfaction is total. Our present is inevitably anguished because it is by denition decient when compared to this unattainable future. On the other hand, motivation as a concept, with its tripartite structure of direction, effort and persistence, is not supportable by reference to the ontology of desire-as-ow. Moreover, given that it functions as a discursive surrogate for passion, understood here as desire, this forgetting creates a

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Organization 14(3) Articles double occlusion which renders the concept of motivation anodyne at best and dehumanizing at worst. Indeed Bataille (1997: 259) argues that
Everything that justies our behaviour needs to be re-examined and overturned [such thought] is the subordination of the heart, of passion, to incomplete economic calculations. Humanity is letting itself be led the way a child submits to a professor; a feeling of poverty paralyses it. But those general interests that it alleges are valid to the extent that fear prevails, or energy is lacking. They make sense only in the short view that obtains in ofcial discourse; but energy abounds and fear doesnt stop anything.

Indeed he refers to the project of work and its building for the future as servile and hatefulbecause it does not allow us ever to luxuriate in what we have producedand posits instead the possibility of an existence where we live for the moment. Importantly, he also avers that we can choose how to waste the excess which is available to us, choosing a more acceptable loss (such as those described above) over, say, warwhich reconnects him to Aristotles bouleuomai and Foucaults later work on ethics, truth and power (Bataille, 1991: 24, 31, 46).

Conclusion: Exploring the Desire for Knowing?

Lets do a double takeif everything is dangerous, then we always have something to do. In this paper we are trying to take Foucault at his word andnot to conne his arguments to the realm of epistemology aloneto pursue issues of power and knowledge into areas that he didnt concentrate on, perhaps because he didnt consider them dangerous enough at the time. From our more limited perspective, given the burgeoning of work on knowledge management and to a lesser extent the organizations position within the knowledge society, there is little that we could consider more dangerous to the future of organization studies than the continued neglect of ontology and desire as we embrace the contradictions and possibilities of the 21st century. To accept Batailles claim that the free ow of desire is intrinsic to being human, and not just an outcome of discourse or other systems that position us as social and psychological subjects and motivate us to act in politically and economically acceptable ways supportive of the latest mutation of the status quo into its virtual successor, is not quite to shake the practice of organizing to its foundations. Indeed organization is founded on precisely this understanding, whether implicit or overt: certainly Taylorism, for example, had a clear idea of what its other represented. Mainstream organization theory, however, has tended to suppress this appreciation in favour of a more normative view consistent with management and organization as a form of science and a functional practice following from that. Critical management studies, on the other hand, has arguably concentrated on the exposure of and forms of resistance to control techniques rather than addressing their ontological aspectsor its understanding of ontology has been framed in terms of a more restricted

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Passion, Knowledge and Motivation: Ontologies of Desire Stephen Linstead and Joanna Brewis realist account than we are proposing here. As a result, neither can adequately deal with the unexpected, with surprise, with the subversion inherent in the everyday living of lives, with ordinary creative processes and the continual emergence of novelty (Chia and King, 1998) and with the fact that we routinely accept that, whilst we perpetually say more than we know, we know more than we can ever say. Bringing together ontological concerns derived from Bataille with an epistemological critique based on Foucault does, we believe, offer a fruitful way forward for a better understanding of motivation, knowledge processes and their organization. Which is, of course, all to do with that which we dont know and what we desire.

We are extremely grateful to the three anonymous Organization reviewers for their detailed and constructive criticism of the original version of this paper, as well as to Mike Bresnen for his help with sources. 1 As our abstract suggests, there are two very broad traditions in thinking about desire. One via Plato and Aristotle is picked up and signicantly developed by Hegel, and extended by Freud and Lacan. This we call the desire-as-lack thesis. The other, inuenced by readings of Hegel by Nietzsche, Heidegger, Bataille, Derrida, Foucault and Deleuze and Guattari inter alia is the desire-as-ow thesis. For the second thread Batailles response to Kojve is pivotal and exerts an inuence on all subsequent authorsDerrida, Foucault and particularly Deleuze and Guattari. As bets one of philosophys more signicant concepts, the arguments are many and the differences subtle, and there is no room for us to convey them all here. However, interested readers can nd them explored further in Brewis and Linstead (2000: 17483; 196203); OShea (2002); Linstead (2005); Styhre (2006); Thanem (2006); and, in a more strictly philosophical vein, Butler (1999). 2 From the Greek hodos, meaning road or way. 3 A brief summary of the differences between some of the thinkers we mention in this paper is perhaps in order. Batailles reading of Nietzsche against Hegel leads him to read desire as a primary force, one that is mediated by culture and communication. Lacans reading of Kojve, against Freud, leads him to position desire as a lack, but one that is created by language in the unconscious. For him the unconscious is structured like a language and is the ground where self and other are constituted. Freuds father, in Lacan, becomes the name of the Fathera more adaptable concept. Foucaults reading of Nietzsche and Bataille leads him to an awareness of death, sacrice and the importance of prohibition but, as we have said, he shares with Lacan a view that desire is a language effect, though for Foucaultwhose criticisms of Freud are legionthis is achieved in discourse where language, power and knowledge intersect. Deleuze and Guattari share with Bataille the view that desire is primary, rejecting its conceptualization as lack, and see symbolic conjunctions such as language acting to form various assemblages that they call desiring-machines. Through these the rhizomatic ow of desire is temporarily caught, channelled and focusedwhich is different from Batailles cultural reading.

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Stephen Linstead is Professor of Critical Management and Organization Theory at the University of York, and Visiting Professor at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. His research interests involve various approaches to dissolving the boundaries between the arts and organization studies in theory, method and practice, including the playful. Nevertheless he has this nagging feeling that his life may be lled with rather too many activities and too few passions, of which DIY is denitely amongst the former. Address: The York Management School, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD, UK. [email: sl519@york.ac.uk] Joanna Brewis is Reader in Management at the University of Leicester. When not researching the intersections between the body, sexuality, identity and processes of organizing, or teaching research methodology, or running the BA Management Studies programme, she likes to buy shoes, watch football, dance to cheesy anthems and read chick lit. But not necessarily all at the same time. Address: Management Centre, University of Leicester, Ken Edwards Building, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK. [email: j.brewis@le.ac.uk]

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