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Beyond measure

The numbered 

Elias Canetti’s 1956 play The numbered tells the story of a society in which everyone knows exactly when they will die. The people in this society are not given regular names, but instead go through life by their ‘proper name’: a number that signifies the amount of years they will live. While each character knows their own ‘moment’, i.e. their time of death, they do not know when anyone else will die because it is taboo to reveal one’s age. One’s date of birth and death are safely stored away in a locket, hung around their neck not long after they are born.

Power and management according to Agamben: Some implications of Agamben’s thoughts to management scholarship


It is the scholarly instinct in general, and the American predilection in particular, to equalize management with exercise of power. This intuitive understanding of management, Italian philosopher and political theorist Giorgio Agamben argues, reflects a distinct relationship between political theory and management.

Revealing the dominant anthropological consideration of humankind in the teaching of Human Resource Management: A critique of individual performance evaluation


Questioning the normative foundations of management is an essential reflective undertaking but one that is limited in management science. Yet as early as 1958, Hannah Arendt suggested a dissociation between the instrumental end of one’s labour (embodied by her animal laborens) and its creative and durable end (homo faber). By asserting that work has multiple ends, she paved the way for a critical anthropology of work that was later to be taken up by other philosophers, sociologists, ergonomists, economists and managers.

Laughing for real? Humour, management power and subversion


In a comedy sketch broadcast on Danish television, employees of a company are called in for a meeting in the company canteen. ‘Today I have good and bad news for you,’ announces the well-dressed female manager to the anxious employees, ‘The bad news is that, unfortunately, we have to reduce staff by 35 per cent’. The camera shows the fear in the employees’ faces before the manager continues: ‘The good news is that we have teamed up with the company clown from, who is here to help us all through the difficult time’.

Managing the human? Towards diverse, engaged and critical HRM studies

Issue Editors: Frans Bévort, Per Darmer, Mette Mogensen and Sara Louise Muhr

Today considerations about the management of so-called ‘human resources’ is taken up almost routinely both in governmental programs, in organizations as well as in the private lives of citizens (Jackson et al., 2014; Lengnick-Hall et al., 2009). This, in tandem with the increasing power of HRM practices in contemporary corporations, signals how HRM has succeeded to construct itself as a ‘serious’ and ‘established’ field of research.

Governing work through self-management

While self-management has emerged as a robust way of getting things done in present-day work life and organizations, it also presents itself as a conception of considerable multivalency and ambiguity. In a broad sense, self-management seems to require that employees think, feel and act in ways that contribute to the realization and improvement of the individual worker, but only insofar as they concomitantly anticipate and contribute to the various needs of the organization (Manz and Sims, 1989; Thomas, 2002; Costea et al, 2008).

Playbour, farming and labour


This article will discuss various trends in production and organization involving activities or modes of being that, until fairly recently, would have been experienced or thought of as ‘playful’, ‘fun’, or associated with a well-defined sphere of ‘leisure activities’. This is to say that ‘play’ has long been associated with notions such as buoyancy, gratuity and voluntarism, and opposed to a symmetrical set of definitive characteristics that supposedly distinguished ‘work’ as being purpose-driven, profit-motivated, and obligatory.

Practical criticism and the social sciences of management

As we are reminded by the strong programme in the sociology of science, the processes by which ideas come to be counted as knowledge may have little to do with their intrinsic merits. Particularly in the social sciences and more particularly still in those social sciences relating to management, the absence of any analogue to Kuhnian anomaly enables certain favoured texts to circulate within the influence networks of academia, accumulating authority and creating alliances until certain of them achieve quasi-foundational status.

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