A Career is Nothing Without a Personal Life: On the Social Machine in the Call for Authentic Employees

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Abstract

In this paper, the Danish company Danfoss’ recruitment campaign ‘a career is nothing without a personal life’ is read in light of the current call for authentic, self-expressive employees. The Danfoss campaign provides an example of the contradictory logic at work in the contemporary call for authenticity. On the one hand, it shows how the desire for authenticity of employees is expected to converge with the drive for organizational productivity: employees are invited to be whole persons at work, and the good employee is the employee who willingly takes responsibility for both personal and organizational interests. On the other hand, however, this ‘whole person’ is always construed as a subject to come. Authentic employees must, as the very sign of their future productivity, also express the fact that they have more desire than the current convergence between their own and the organization’s interests. In the case of Danfoss, this is exemplified by the focus on life outside of work as the prerequisite for a good career. Drawing on Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of ‘social machines’, the article outlines this contradiction and argues that it in fact acts as the very driving force in the call for authenticity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEphemera: Theory & politics in organization
Volume11
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)63-77
ISSN1473-2866
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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