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Decoding OrganizationHow was Bletchley Park made as an organization? How was signalsintelligence constructed as a field? What was Bletchley Park’s cultureand how was its work co-ordinated? Bletchley Park was not just thehome of geniuses such as Alan Turing, it was also the workplace ofthousands of other people, mostly women, and their organization was akey component in the cracking of Enigma. Challenging many popularperceptions, this book examines the hitherto unexaminedcomplexities of how 10,000 people were brought together in completesecrecy during World War II to work on ciphers. Unlike mostorganizational studies, this book decodes, rather than encodes, theprocesses of organization and examines the structures, cultures andthe work itself of Bletchley Park using archive and oral history sources.Organization theorists, intelligence historians and general readersalike will find in this book a challenge to their preconceptions of bothBletchley Park and organizational analysis.christopher grey is Professor of Organizational Behaviour atthe University of Warwick. He was previously Professor ofOrganizational Theory at the University of Cambridge and Fellow ofWolfson College. Professor Grey has published numerous academicarticles on the sociology and history of management and organizations,on management education and learning, on critical managementstudies and on professional services organizations. He is the authorof the bestselling student primer A Very Short, Fairly Interestingand Reasonably Cheap Book about Studying Organizations (2009,second edition).Decoding OrganizationBletchley Park, Codebreaking andOrganization Studieschristopher greycambridge university pressCambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town,Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi, Tokyo, Mexico CityCambridge University PressThe Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UKPublished in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press,New Yorkwww.cambridge.orgInformation on this title:© Christopher Grey 2012This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exceptionand to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,no reproduction of any part may take place without the writtenpermission of Cambridge University Press.First published 2012Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, CambridgeA catalogue record for this publication is available from the British LibraryLibrary of Congress Cataloguing in Publication dataGrey, Christopher, 1964–Decoding organization : Bletchley Park, codebreaking and organization studies /Christopher Grey.pages cmIncludes bibliographical references and index.ISBN 978-1-107-00545-7 (hardback)1. Great Britain. Government Communications Headquarters – History.2. World War, 1939–1945 – Cryptography. 3. World War, 1939–1945 – Secretservice – Great Britain. 4. World War, 1939–1945 – Electronic intelligence – GreatBritain. 5. Intelligence service – Social aspects – Great Britain – History – 20thcentury. 6. World War, 1939–1945 – England – Bletchley(Buckinghamshire) 7. Bletchley (Buckinghamshire, England) – History – 20thcentury. 8. Corporate culture – England – Bletchley (Buckinghamshire) – History –20th century. 9. Organization – Case studies. 10. Corporate culture – Casestudies. I. Title.D810.C88G74 2012940.5408641–dc232012000127ISBN 978-1-107-00545-7 HardbackCambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence oraccuracy of URLs for external or third-party Internet websites referred toin this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on suchwebsites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.Dedicated to my mother, Madeleine GreyThe fact is that the process of ‘cryptography’ would perhaps better bedescribed as interpretation.Josh Cooper, Head of Air Section at Bletchley Park, 24 June 1941Inherent in all good interpretations is the casting of new light onsomething that earlier has either escaped serious attention or beenunderstood in a conventional and thus partly conservative way.Alvesson and Deetz (2000: 152) ContentsAcknowledgements page xiAbbreviations and Acronyms xvIntroduction: Organization Studies, History andBletchley Park 1Part I Decoding Structures 471 The Making of Bletchley Park 512 The Making of Signals Intelligence at Bletchley Park 78Part II Decoding Cultures 1073 Pillars of Culture at Bletchley Park 1134 Splinters of Culture at Bletchley Park 145Part III Decoding Work 1735 Making Bletchley Park Work 1776 Understanding Bletchley Park’ s Work 213Conclusion: Reviving Organization Studies 245Appendix A. Timeline 1919–2011 273Appendix B. Table of Interviewees 280Appendix C. Brief Profiles of Key Figures 283Appendix D. Organization Charts 1940–46 286ixGlossary of Terms 289References 296Index 313x contents[...]... intend when speaking of decoding organization, and I contrast it with the ways in which organization is often ‘encoded’, for example when underlying organizational processes are reified into organizational charts, or when the dynamics and complexities of organizational culture are encoded into typologies of homogeneous cultural blocks Thus what I am aiming to do in decoding organization is to make... purposes One is to explicate the decoding organization at Bletchley Park, the place most famous for the breaking of Enigma ciphers in conditions of complete secrecy during the Second World War The other is, in the process, to develop a certain approach to the analysis of organizations; a way of making sense of, or decoding , organization which points to a way of reviving organization studies as currently... which is the organization This apprehension of the organization is by no means confined to commonsense, however Most academic case studies of organizations adopt precisely the same ontology Yet the apparent solidity of ‘the organization is an accomplishment of a process – organizing – which occurs in time and requires a day by day, indeed minute by minute, enactment: the organization of the organization, ... analysis can flesh out one of the most significant insights of recent organization theory This is the recognition that organization is both a noun and a verb (Weick, 1979; Bakken and Hernes, 2006) That is, on the one hand, it is a ‘thing’ – the organization – and on the other hand, it is a process – organization Commonsensically we speak of ‘the organization , imagining it to be in some way a solid, bounded... conducting organization studies It makes sense for me to do this before, later in this chapter, giving an introductory presentation of the organization of BP because, of course, to give any such presentation entails a set of assumptions about, or at least predispositions towards, what organization means and how one might give a ‘presentation’ of organization problems and possibilities in organization. .. interests of better organizational understanding we should urge people to stamp out nouns’ Rather, it is not a matter of organization as noun or verb, entitity or process, being or becoming – it is that organization is always both at the same time Thus my intention is to show (aspects of) organization in both of these senses through a lens of historical distance and via a case study of organization over... of organization studies and therefore did little to restore the status of historical analysis The latter remark is significant because, just as organization studies separated itself from organizational sociology, so too did it move away from industrial sociology, of which labour-process analysis is one outgrowth This had, and continues to have, a tradition of historically grounded analyses of work organizations... understandable to a range of readers and which overcome at least some of the fragmentations within organizational theory, and to do so not via an abstract discussion of that theory but through a situated analysis of a particular organizational setting It is this kind of analysis which I am denoting as a decoding of organization It is important to clarify what I mean by this term It should not be taken to... persuasive, a story of the organization of BP organization studies and history But what kind of story is this? Many of the examples I gave of studies which have the illuminating and persuasive character I am seeking are studies of a particular sort, namely organizational ethnographies (e.g Kunda, 1992; Watson, 1994) in which the researcher lives among, and to an extent as, a member of the organization being... brings some things, like organizational process, into focus whilst necessarily occluding others Returning to the issue of organization as process, I want actually to suggest something rather more than I have done so far Firstly, in the way I have presented it, it might be inferred that I see history as a means of accessing organizational process rather than as studying an organization that existed . Reasonably Cheap Book about Studying Organizations (2009,second edition). Decoding Organization Bletchley Park, Codebreaking and Organization Studieschristopher. approach to the analysis of organizations; a way of makingsense of, or decoding , organization which points to a way of reviving organization studies as
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