The Emotional Organization and the Problem of Authenticity: The Romantic, the Pedagogic, the Therapeutic and the Ludic as Liminal Media of Transition

Paul Stenner*, Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Max Weber excluded the phenomenon of emotions from the idea of rational bureaucracy. Modern European organizational theories are on the other hand almost obsessed by emotions and especially affect. Emotion re-entered organizational theory around the limited topic of ‘emotional labour', but today, passion is generally praised as a driver in successful organizations. An important element here is the demand upon passionate employees to install the organization as their significant other. To the extent that they rely on this new concept of themselves and their employees, organizations become dependent upon the authenticity of the ‘self-enrolment' expected of each employee. In the discursive field of organization, we therefore see a number of new communicative media, which centre upon emotion and upon helping the organization to attribute authenticity and inauthenticity to employees. This paper also makes the case that these media are liminal in nature and extend beyond the use of discursive symbolism in a Sisyphean effort to reach the authentic emotional ‘heart' of each employee.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalSystems Research and Behavioral Science
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)450-466
    Number of pages17
    Publication statusPublished - May 2020


    • Affect
    • Liminality
    • Luhmann
    • Membership
    • Work

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