Even if people may always have been bored, ‘boredom’ as a phenomenon is not a universal feature of human existence. Rather it is deeply connected to organization as a reaction to the gradual emergence in Western culture of the management and administration of time. As an acquired capacity of those able to tell and endure time in an organized manner, boredom is a perceived loss of meaning inferred by the lived experience of a discrepancy between the involvement with transient means in everyday life and their value in a larger vision of existence. But boredom also signifies a concurrent protest against such a loss, which potentially leads new possibilities with it. In this essay, I explore the connection between boredom and organization, focusing on these two interrelated aspects of the phenomenon: how boredom can be understood as an experience of a loss of meaning, but also how this loss itself can be viewed as an imperative towards meaning that remains the source of new forms of organizing.
- Human relations and practices
- Organizational studies