Concept of presence

Following the literature, these characteristics (as names or data concerning a certain type of collective) seem to be effectively summarised (and named) using the concept of ‘presence’ (Nevejan and Brazier 2011; Nevejan 2009). In terms of such ‘presence’, members ‘witness’ each other, thereby contributing to the 'dynamics of negotiating trust and truth' (Nevejan 2009: 59).

What seems especially relevant is the possibility of using the name ‘increasing presence’ (rather than only ‘presence’) when employees start to strengthen their interaction with their managers and colleagues to help determine the direction of their company. This name should capture important aspects of what happens when employees start to engage their managers to create researcher-ship, possibly as a way to resist being fired, but mainly to stop the latter (or more generally, those representing their company) from treating them as persons without presence (even whilst physically present). Such treatment has been referred to as instrumental (Habermas 1987).

As the fifth type of model focuses on actions (intentional behaviour) and is instantiated by multi-agent collectives or systems, its combination with the concept of presence will be referred to as the ‘actor-presence model’ (or APM). The APM differs from the notion of presence as used by Nevejan (2009) and others in that it includes the notion of research quality (as that which collectives strive for), and thus should allow for the identification (or naming) of ‘increasing presence’, as defined—as a consequence of increasing the coherence and the level of ‘self-naming’ of collectives. The concept will be used to study the behaviour of employees in four companies that can be argued to have been under sufficient stress to engage in full or complete re-organisation. It is expected that the results not only will demonstrate that some employees move towards ‘increasing presence’ as defined, but also that they help others to do so. This kind of result would highlight an interesting and valuable aspect of what employees can do in organisationally difficult times. It also would add evidence in support of the applicability of the concept of ‘presence’ as a way to theorise about some aspects of social change and as a way to model such change in terms of the (fifth) ‘Actor-Presence Model’.