Postcolonialism, organization, and management theory: The role of “epistemological third spaces”

Tapiwa Winston Seremani, Stewart Clegg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This article contributes a critical discussion of postcolonial theory. It opposes the binary nature of much contemporary discussion of the topic in theory and in organization and management theory in particular. We identify the challenges facing postcolonial theory, which we identify in epistemological terms. The dualism of “colonial” and “postcolonial” theory masks considerable diversity that the binary logic occludes. In place of this dualism, we introduce the notion of epistemological third spaces. As a theory of this third space, we introduce the indigenous theory of southern Africa, Ubuntu, discussing its interaction with more conventional Western management and organization theory. We also highlight a case in which the notion of epistemological third spaces would have been valuable had it been applied to the spread of the Nile River virus. We conclude the article with a discussion of the potential links between epistemological third spaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-183
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Management Inquiry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • cross-cultural
  • philosophy of science
  • power and politics


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