Gauthier, J.-B. (2007).  Reflection about the Structuration of Organizations: The Capacity of Responsibility of Human Agents and Conditions of Absence.  Dans A.-M. Dávila-Gómez et D. Crowther (Éds.), Ethics, Psyche and Social Responsibility, (pp. 73-92). Burlington : Ashgate.

Organization theories are in continuous questioning. The bases of its questioning are various. Among them, we find the debate between structure and action. Inside social sciences, Giddens (1984) is one of the authors who studied the subject. Essentially, he proposes an important reflection concerning the idea that structures do not exist in an independent way form actions. Equally, for him, while individuals are acting they are producing and reproducing the structures of the social systems. He calls that principle the duality of the structure. Those interactions presented by Giddens as one of the dimensions of the duality of the structure, unfold themselves mainly as a co-presence. Giddens utilizes the notion of co-presence in the same sense that Goffman (1959) does: “co-presence is anchored in the perceptual and communicative modalities of the body” (Giddens, 1984, p. 67).

As we highlighted previously, the theory of structuralism does not deal directly with the organization. However, it is seen by several authors as a conceptual architecture that is very interesting as it studies daily interactions between individuals inside organizations (Hatch, 1997). With the support of this point of view about the structure of social systems, Giddens (1984) calls for a conscious awareness concerning the relevance of the co-presence in organizations. In fact, the majority of interactions with other individuals in organizations (whereas employees, clients, shareholders, citizens, etc.) is developed in a context of co-presence. On the other hand, the theory of structuration invites us to reflect about the absence as a modality of interactions with other individuals (the alter-ego). Interactions with the alter-ego are more particularly examined from the point of view of the capacity of responsibility, a capacity of ethical nature of the human agents. These are the points that we will develop in this chapter.