From Cool Cash to Coded Chaos: New Adventures in the Public Management of Pay Scales

Betina Wolfgang Rennison

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Communication makes a difference. The manner in which we communicate creates the phenomena we communicate about. It can seem obvious, but we are nevertheless seldom aware of the complexity this constructivist assumption implies. Through an analysis of a new salary system in the public sector of Denmark (called New Wage), this paper theorizes this complexity in terms of Niklas Luhmann's systems theory. It identifies four wholly different `codes' of communication: legal, economic, pedagogical and intimate. Each of them shapes the phenomena of `pay', the construal of the employee and the form of management differently. In this chaos of codes the managerial challenge is to take a second order position in order to strategically manage the communication that manages management itself. Key words: Management; personnel management; human-relations; pay-system; communication; system-theory; discursive epistemology
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKøbenhavn
PublisherDepartment of Management, Politics and Philosophy, CBS
Number of pages34
ISBN (Print)8791839076
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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