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By Peter Fleming

The 'personal' used to be anything to be positioned to at least one facet within the paintings position: a 'professional demeanour' entailed the suppression of personal existence and emotions. Now many huge firms are available exhorting their staff to easily be themselves. This ebook seriously investigates the expanding acclaim for own authenticity in company ideology and perform. instead of have staff adhere to depersonalising bureaucratic ideas or homogenous cultural norms, many huge firms now invite staff to easily be themselves. replacement existence, intake, ethics, id, sexuality, enjoyable, or even dissent at the moment are celebrated on account that staff are presumed to be extra encouraged in the event that they can simply be themselves. Does this freedom to precise one's authenticity within the office eventually bring in the top of company keep watch over? to respond to this query, the writer locations this predicament with authenticity inside a political framework and demonstrates the way it may perhaps characterize a good extra insidious type of cultural domination. The ebook specifically makes a speciality of the best way deepest and non-work selves are prospected and positioned to paintings within the enterprise. the information of Hardt and Negri and the Italian autonomist stream are used to teach how universal types of organization and co-operation open air of commodified paintings are the muse for private authenticity. it's the vibrancy, power and creativity of this non-commodified stratum of social existence that managerialism now goals to use. each one bankruptcy explores how this is often accomplished and highlights the employee resistance that's provoked hence. The e-book concludes through demonstrating how the discourse of freedom underlying the managerial model of authenticity harbours power for an intensive transformation of the modern company shape.

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Additional info for Authenticity and the Cultural Politics of Work: New Forms of Informal Control

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Likewise, in popular surveys of ‘best places to work’ such as those in Fortune magazine and the Sunday Times (2005, 2006), fun is a prominent theme. Google, for example, explicitly draws on the image and social activities of a college campus (New York Times, 2006). , 2000). , 1999). It must be pointed out, of course, that employees have always found space and time to have fun. Outside the managerial gaze, the informal sphere of work provided ample opportunities for all sorts of mischief. The classic ethnographic studies of Roy (1952, 1958) and Burawoy (1979), for example, revealed workers joking and engaging in humorous rituals within the gaps and fissures of formal managerial authority.

In this sense, we must place the managerial celebration of authenticity firmly within the cultural politics of the firm, especially in relation to the perennial labour–capital 18 Towards a ‘New’ Cultural Politics of Work? divide mentioned in the Introduction. What is fascinating about this discourse is the evocation of motifs connoting freedom, emancipation, and even various types of radicalism – some commentators call for managers to model their businesses after the ‘joyous anarchy’ of the 1968-era counterculture.

The ‘just be yourself’ approach changes this in aiming to humanize work by appropriating (and therefore, partially constructing) a range of non-work identities and other unrewarded characteristics for productive ends. This is particularly evident in the recruitment and production of youthfulness, sexuality, and enthusiasm. It also echoes the, albeit largely informal, ways in which employers have long used gendered characteristics as well as indulgency patterns where a managerial ‘blind eye’ was turned for functional ends on non-work misbehaviour such as informal sports (Gouldner, 1955).

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