Beyond Happy Families and Authenticity: Back to Work Organisation and Mundaneness in the Critique of 'Authenticating' Management Programs

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Over the past 10 years, a concern for the ‘authentic’ individual at work has taken up the agenda within HRM, as well as that of critics of HRM. Within Critical Management Studies (CMS) in particular, spirituality, fun programs and health discourses are treated as forms of neo-normative control – a sophisticated way for modern capitalism to tap into the very existence of the employee. Arguing that this kind of critique mimics rather than challenges the state of affairs, a de-dramatization and re-contextualization of the critique is suggested, based on (re)introducing a classical concern for the organization of work. Shifting the focus from control and identity to mundane matters of work tasks and work coordination produces less sophisticated analysis, but may help CMS critique out of its current state of paralysis and move it closer to the everyday challenges faced by organizational actors.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEphemera: Theory & politics in organization
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)221-247
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Authenticity
  • Neo-normative control
  • CMS
  • Critique
  • Organization theory
  • Work organization
  • Probation Services

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