Carty examines ways in which the Internet has been employed to enhance political struggle in contemporary society. A case study of Nike Corp highlights the power and autonomy of transnational companies.
The aim of this paper is to point to the potential value of an approach to management based on the idea of the common good, as opposed to classical capitalism based on private ownership. Such an approach makes it possible to resist a pursuit of short term oriented gains and a maximization of narrowly defined profits, and, instead, to focus on humanistic values, as to adopt a long term perspective. The much cited notion of the “tragedy of the commons” was based on deficient material and argumentation, but, most of all, it completely disregards of the issue of management. Using a case study developed through a longitudinal action research project in a big service enterprise we call “Soplicex”, we present the strategic process grounded in learning, as well as the building of a strong structure centred on teams. The engagement of the employees was, originally, strongly oriented towards the idea of the common good. The consultants and researchers adopted this principle as the guiding rule in their work with the organization. Even though the process was interrupted by the takeover by a foreign investor, we show how the findings of the study remain relevant for alternative organizing and managing today and in the future. The conclusions of this paper reach further than just being reflections on a historical case study: a model of management is presented, concerned with the care and protection of the common good.
The central aim of this study is to provide a critical analysis of oppositional practices in the workplace by exploring the role of worker subjectivity in shaping and articulating contemporary strategies of resistance. First, a theoretical analysis will be presented which seeks to challenge many of the dualistic assumptions that have underpinned traditional studies of resistance. It is argued that the re-entry of subjectivity into the analysis of resistance provides a means for escaping these dualisms and retrieving the analytical and empirical significance of oppositional practices. The argument suggests that although subjectivities are indeed effects of power, and that individuals are positioned in relation to dominant discourses - and therefore constituted as having certain interests - power is not fixed and thus cannot completely or permanently determine identity. This instability of power makes apparent certain fragilities within these dominant discourses and makes them liable to threats and seductions from subject positions within different or competing discourses, it is suggested that these fractures and competing subject positions afford small but important spaces for resistance. The second half of this essay presents a detailed case study of the Acme School. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and analysed to explore the subjective experiences of resistant members of Acme toward recent government reform initiatives. Two dominant strategies were identified: 'resistance through distance' and 'resistance through persistence' and it was demonstrated that an understanding of different subjectivities is vital to appreciating how these distinct strategies emerged.
This paper considers the methodological implications arising from competing narratives of an organizational change process in a large acute city teaching hospital. This qualitative case study was informed by a processual-contextual perspective, and relied on an interpretive, constructivist epistemology. Two forms of contradiction are revealed. First, differing accounts were offered of substantive dimensions of the change programme. Second, the impact of change on organizational effectiveness was indeterminate. This study suggests that the unitary, authentic narrative is illusory. Political motivations underpinning account-giving, and phenomenological variations in the lived experience of change, make competing narratives a naturally occurring phenomenon, not a methodological aberration. These findings have two main implications. First, case narrative validation through triangulation should be abandoned in favour of the pursuit of polyphony and ambiguity. Second, the researcher faces the choice of being either an arbiter of accuracy, or of holding the less comfortable, more challenging, but creatively constructive role of exposing organizational tensions, disputes and contradictions.
This paper takes up the themes of organization as dreamscape, the psychodynamics of everyday organizational performance and organizational rituals and the enactment of death and desire in the context of a longitudinal case study of an academic institution. This case study focuses on the various ways in which the organization has developed and continues to develop neurotic and dysfunctional tendencies. It looks at the ways in which those tendencies are expressed in the culture and structure of the organization and the ways in which the various constituencies of the college are complicit in the enactment of the neurosis of its leadership, as reflected in various dependent and counterdependent dynamics and performances. Of specific interest in this paper are the changes in neurotic patterns over time and the ways in which these changes relate to the changes in leadership. Using Kets de Vries' concepts related to organizational neurosis, we will discuss how the college moved from a compulsive organization to a dramatic organization.
This article revisits a previously published case study of group dynamics that related to when a leader dies (or is absent). The conceptual lens used to re-read these group dynamics, is one derived from psychoanalysis and specifically features the notion of the death instinct and the work of C. Fred Alford. The paper frames its discussion of the case study using Alford's five dramas of “acting out the missing leader”. Like a drama, the paper locates the case study as a series of acts and scenes with a specific psychodynamic script that is being played-out. The paper has broader implications than simply “When a leader dies” as the discussion speaks to an understanding of larger leader - follower behaviour.
Recently scholars have begun to explore the influence of materiality on organizations. For example, Gagliardi (1996) notes that the physical setting cultivates human senses and Gieryn (2002) asserts that buildings are a stabilizing influence in social life and are objects of (re)interpretation, with meanings or stories flexibly interpreting the walls and floors they describe. As a counterpoint to the materiality of organizations represented by places and spaces, the materiality of worker identity is noted in embodiment. While organizational studies address a plethora of individual constructs (e.g., motivation, self-efficacy, personality) the embodied identity of workers is a topic largely absent from the field. As individuals manufacture identities in organizational life, what role does the materiality of the body play? The embodied-self influences cognition and emotion (Varella, Thompson, and Rosch, 1991). This paper explores the influence of embodiment on individual identities, actions, decisions and experiences. Examples from a case study highlight issues of embodied selves at work, illuminating the significance of embodiment in workers' processes of manufacturing identities.
This special number of Tamara presents paper on transdisciplinarity and organizational change, deriving sense from a mix of approaches. The articles go from experimental pieces to case study. It is worth noticing that for the first time this edition is bilingual.
Ideas can influence the reproduction of social orders in our work lives, and ideas can alter activities to create new social orders. A key concern of my research is whether individuals can engage new ideas to create organization social structures that promote the basic ideals of democracy. To address this concern, I examined the social structures of labor-managed firms, which, through their ownership by those who are workers in the firm, are believed to embody the ideals of organization democracy. In previous research I developed a general framework of organization democracy from a narrative analysis of the ethnographic and case study literature on labor-managed firms. I propose that there is a fundamental contradiction in the practices of organization democracy among labormanaged firms in that some members believe that humans are essentially egoistic in nature, while some members believe that humans are essentially cooperative in nature. My contribution is that an unproven belief regarding human nature, or what one might call faith, will drive the preferred types of social structures utilized to create organization democracy within a labor-managed firm.
A consultant and lead client discuss the rationale and process for an organization-wide diversity initiative in a national political organization. Approaches and models used to address systemic organization change for racial inclusion in a social justice framework are reviewed. Discussion of initial results, including emerging cultural change and ancillary benefits of the initiative follow. The authors conclude with challenges and expectations for expanding the change into programmatic work and for sustainability.
This paper argues for an interpretive approach to theorizing as more than merely the assertion of truth-claims but in addition, as a social process that narrates the ordering and simplification of reality effects. Mary Douglas’ (1975) notion of the pangolin as a reflexive mediating concept able to “speak” to both macro and micro social theories is recommended. Ressentiment as just such a pangolin-like concept is proposed and its usefulness is explored in an organizational case study, made up of three vignettes, of doing business in a South African township. The role for ressentiment in an interpretive theory of power is considered.
Friedrich Nietzsche’s writings are currently threatened in that he is he treated only as a philosopher or a poet, and his relationship with twentieth century politics and latterly Management theory is largely ignored, excepting of course when he is held to be responsible for the growth in Fascism. In this paper an attempt will be made to show that Nietzsche should not simply be considered as the deracine par excellence with no interest with more general humanitarian concerns.
This paper presents a background to Nietzsche and his relationship to Managerialism and then provides a story written in Glaswegian argot of the relationship between a recruit to a Law Enforcement Office in Glasgow, Scotland and his new Manager. An interesting tale about performance management, illustrates how the abuse of power hides personal and organizational dysfunctionality.
Another key feature in the twist at the end of the tale is the manifestation of simulacra in performance measures relating to inspection tasks, where we see that ‘work not done but recorded’ becomes more important, more ‘real’ than ‘work done but not recorded’. This is the excess of history.
The story is written in the Glaswegian vernacular partly as homage to the renowned author James Kelman, but more significantly in an attempt take us closer to the lived experience of the actors – as opposed to the more usual sanitised accounts which abound in the management literature. The language is surprisingly ‘industrial’ in what is regarded as a ‘professional’ setting.
It is generally accepted that the choice between a qualitative and a quantitative approach appears to be dictated by the criteria of effectiveness regarding the orientation of the research (to create or to test). The main objective of qualitative research is to create a methodology for approaching, understanding, analysing and explaining management phenomena at a social or company level. The objective of this contribution is to present a reflection aiming at understanding qualitative research according to the dual perspectives of final aims and means used.
Through two case studies, this paper explores the role that story or narrative has upon the changing role of the entrepreneur within organizations. The literature on story and leadership is compiled and eight themes are identified. These themes are then used to take a dramatist perspective on the case study narratives. Findings show that there is a new realm of research that could be conducted to illicit a better understanding of narrative and entrepreneurship, specifically: longitudinal studies would help to illicit whether entrepreneurs do restory in face of organizational pressures and identification of the stories told by stakeholders in face of entrepreneurial changes. There is also more research to be conducted on the impact that locus of control has on narrative construction and restorying.
This article studies how a political organization begins to experiment with its identity. By use of an empirical case of the Danish Ministry of Education, I examine how a political organization supplements its identity of a legislating power with identities of a supervisor, beacon and facilitator of reflection processes. I analyse how the Danish Ministry of Education observes that its initial attempts to strengthen evaluation in the Danish public schools did not have the wanted effects because the values and professional norms of public school teachers constitute a resistance towards interference from outside the educational system. The Ministry thus faces a dilemma: the more it tries to control evaluation in the public school, the less likely it is to produce a desired effect. This paradox contains destructive potential but also causes the Ministry to reflect upon its own role in the development of evaluation in public schools. Out of a paralysis emerge new innovative strategies of governing, aimed at the schools’ self-governing capacity. The identity of the political system thus emerges as oscillations between different roles of a legislating power and a supervising coach. The case study suggests that a society of experimentalism is emerging. Thus, the relevant object of study is no longer organizational identity, but the experiments with different identities that modern organizations are performing.
Sometimes, trauma strikes with a momentous vengeance and many are injured and killed at once. These mass casualty incidents have to be addressed by a multi-array of professionals such as law enforcement, emergency care workers, and those who are immediately on the scene to use their mental and physical laurels to deal with the situation. Some argue that mass death tears communities apart. The theory is that an area can only stand so much devastation. With the stress of the catastrophe more destruction will arise by the people themselves. What are the procedures and polices of dealing with a mass fatality event? The tornado tragedy in Riegelwood, North Carolina is an excellent case study for a multi-death disaster scene in the rural setting. This prompted an inquiry in to the larger issues of death whether in a small town or world setting.
This case study aims to discover why and how people tend to conclude that grievers of loved ones, acquaintances, friends, or even pets should remain under concealment. Some non-grievers in our society feel that grievers should conceal their heartfelt pain of those whom they have lost to death and dying. Grandmom, Mom, Matterie, Shabba (my pet), Brenda, and then Ivy were all individuals close to my heart. As the author, I take aim at finding consolation and answers as to why people in society today feel that grieving should remain concealed publically. These behaviors are seemingly constituted by non-grievers with such feelings of not knowing what to say, how to say it, or what to do, or is it simply because they really do not want to experience sorrow first handedly with others? Alternatively, this study seeks to reveal these behaviors or biases which may be imparted because non-grievers are unable to sympathetically or uncaringly, tune into their own intuitive super subconscious minds for grievers with a heart of care earnestly. Who listens, to our pain? This study is not suggesting that people intentionally do not want to show deep heartfelt care and concern for grievers to be mean, but brings to light how nongrievers really may not understand the complete social economical interventions that go along with the grieving process, and what grievers feel in the deepest part of their souls themselves over the loss of a loved one, acquaintance, friend, or pet. This case study hopes to discover the awakening of death and dying ontologically by delving deeper into the sense-making of common sense, and Social Constructivism as it relates to death and dying.
This paper considers dilemmas for organization and management scholars studying and writing about environmental sustainability. It suggests that sustainability requires new ways of thinking which in turn require new forms of representation to help foster their emergence. Consequently, the paper partly takes the experimental form of a ‘metalogue’ (Bateson, 1972), in which the structure of the conversation between the authors is intended to be reflective of the content of the problematic subject discussed, in this case their experiences of trying to raise critical questions about scholarship for sustainability. This experimental form, which invites the reader to eschew expectations of typical points of orientation, enables an appreciation of how forms of argument seem to replicate epistemological challenges in the sustainability field. The paper shows how metaloguing becomes not only an alternative form but also an inquiry process for considering sustainability that can support embodied reflexivity, critical questioning and appreciation of entanglements of people-scholars.
This article reports the author's experience of working in telesales. Through a call center, the case study company sells home improvements. The article describes the everyday organizational life of the telesales unit. Using this autoethnographic experience, the article analyses the organization of work-time in call centers. In particular, the article probes how commission constitutes a form of piece-wage. This piece-wage assists the manipulation of working hours. It does so by masking their extension. To understand this, the article appliesthe conceptual tools of Marx’sCapital. Marx directs attention to how
capitalists organise time in the pursuit of surplus-value. The autoethnographic account explores the application of this to call-center work. Flexible working arrangements and zero-hour contracts extend work-time. A pay framework based around commission and performance-linked piece-wages conceals this.In the case study, there is an absence of technology as productivity-raising measure or means of control. This challenges existing Foucauldian approaches to call-center work. It suggests that traditional forms of capitalist domination-the contract, the wage, time organization- are highly relevant to the call-center context.
This article contributes to the on-going debate among scholars of organizational identity on collective and polyphonic identity formation processes. The article explores the interplay between individual and organizational storytelling by conceptualizing organizational identity construction processes as a web of storytelling practices, a memory system evoking a sense of coherence and nostalgia among organizational members. By drawing on the results of a narrative and ethnographic case study of a consultancy, the article aims to unfold the web of stories and storytelling practices in a single case organization. The analysis explores how members of this organization, through their everyday storytelling practices, created shared understandings of being members of a fantastic company while simultaneously telling critical counterstories. The analysis shows how organizational members learned to shape not only their stories of success but also their counterstories in ways that made them harmonize with the storytelling traditions of the organization. Furthermore, the concept of personal polyphony is suggested to describe how everyday work stories are antenarrative in the sense that the construction of self, work and the organization is never finished; it is an ongoing process of negotiating and handling many potential and sometimes contradictory storylines simultaneously.