Splittede sind: En analyse af mindfulness som ledelsesværktøj

Karen Margrethe Gotfredsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Mindfulness is becoming increasingly popular in both public and private organizations as partof trend within management, where focus is moving away from traditional tools concerningnumbers, efficiency control and process alignment. Instead emphasis is put on the employee’sability to reflect on and develop her inner potential. Mindfulness offers techniques to help theemployee to become more focused, balanced and in touch with herself, enabling her to makebetter decisions and meet challenges in a modern, ever changing work environment.However, the way the tool is presented by various advocates, points out a paradox as theemployee emerges as both a solution and a problem simultaneously.Combining an analytical framework derived from Michel Foucault’s ‘problematization’and Luhmann’s concept the ‘paradox’, this thesis will explore the above mentioned. This isdone by looking into how the tool is used in a public organization, thus how manager andemployees observe the employee and the work environment through the lenses ofMindfulness. The analysis shows that the way Mindfulness constitutes the employee, an idealof ‘radical self reference’ is constructed: through continuous self-reflection and selfproblematization,the employee is observed and observes herself as the solution, and also theproblem, to both organizational and personal challenges. This way of observing seemscultivated in the culture of the organization and the language shaped by the principles ofMindfulness. Furthermore it is elaborated, how the problematization dynamics contextualizedthrough Mindfulness unfolds several paradoxes around the employee such ashonesty/dishonesty, robustness/fragility, personal/common. However, despite being oppositesand thus impossible to contain simultaneously, both manager and employee continues toobserve the employee through Mindfulness, as the paradox is handled through further selfproblematizationallowing the dynamics to carry on.Subsequently the thesis unfolds how Mindfulness can be understood through Foucault’spower-analytics using his presentation of ‘governmentality’ and ‘pastoral power’ andapplying them to the findings of the analysis in a discussion of Mindfulness as a power andself technology, subjectifying the employee in certain ways through rationales, language,social interaction and confession techniques.Finally the thesis suggest, based on the empery and analysis, how Luhmann’s concept of the‘paradox’ is an important contribution to Foucault’s problematization and power analytics,when looking into a management tool such as Mindfulness.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages90
SupervisorsNiels Thyge Thygesen