The Metaphysical Problem of Authenticity in Organization Studies: Analyzing and reversing the logic underlying the contemporary conception of authenticity in organization studies based on Deleuze’s reading of Plato

Christian Garmann Johnsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Authenticity has become a central hallmark for many contemporary organizations. This master‘s thesis analyses and reverses the logic underlying of the contemporary conception of authenticity in organization studies based on Deleuze‘s reading of Plato. The dominant discourse on authenticity in organization studies have been preoccupied with two positions, namely the essentialist and the social constructivist view. While the essentialist view holds that authenticity entails being faithful to the inner true self, the social constructivists view argue that the self is constituted through social practices and engagement in discourses. Thus, the idea of inner true self is a contingent construction. However, I will argue that the social constructivist conception of authenticity is not radical enough. Although agreeing that the idea of the inner true self is problematic, the social constructivist critique nevertheless fails to inherently challenge the concept of authenticity. Instead, it reveals the apparently authentic as inauthentic. By doing so, the social constructivist critique operates in the conceptual scheme authentic/inauthentic. In order to overcome the concept of authenticity, I develop the concept ‗simulacrum‘ based on Deleuze attempt to Reverse Platonism. The simulacrum is neither true nor false; neither authentic nor inauthentic. By doing so, this master‘s thesis manages to think beyond authenticity in organization studies, which will be exemplified by CEO-portraits. Yet, the master‘s thesis emphasizes that Deleuze‘s Reversed Platonism has several implications for ethics and normativity that are relevant for organization studies.

EducationsMSc in Philosophy, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages109