Steffen Böhm

Steffen Böhm
University of Exeter | UoE · The Business School

PhD

About

135
Publications
61,464
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2,855
Citations
Citations since 2017
31 Research Items
1709 Citations
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Introduction
Steffen Böhm is Professor in Organisation & Sustainability at the University of Exeter Business School, based in Cornwall, UK.
Additional affiliations
September 2003 - December 2015
University of Essex
Position
  • Professor of Management and Sustainability

Publications

Publications (135)
Article
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Through the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement, the idea of horizontal, leaderless organization has come to the attention of the mass media. In this article we explore radical, participative democratic alternatives to leadership through an empirical study of four Social Movement Organizations (SMOs). Whilst there has been some writing on leadershi...
Article
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Multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) have become a vital part of the organizational landscape for corporate social responsibility. Recent debates have explored whether these initiatives represent opportunities for the ''democratization'' of transnational corporations, facilitating civic participation in the extension of corporate responsibility, or...
Article
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This article investigates the profound ambiguity of the state in the organization of contemporary business–society relations. On the one hand, there has been a decisive shift from government to governance, encouraging private actors, such as corporations, communities and NGOs, to address social and environmental concerns themselves, i.e. without th...
Article
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The separation between an ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of organizsational politics has become untenable in a rapidly changing political landscape, where people engage in environmental activism in many different domains. To understand contemporary environmental activism, we situate ourselves empirically within an energy utility, Ordalia [pseudonym], a lar...
Article
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The rare-earth industry is of strategic importance for China and many 'clean' technologies worldwide. Yet the processes of mining, smelting and separating rare-earth ores are heavily polluting. Using a neo-Gramscian perspective in the context of organization studies, this article analyses the dynamic interactions between government agencies, busine...
Chapter
The global food system is under pressure to supply affordable, nutritious and appetising products. To maximise production and affordability, the food system has become extractive, linear and excessively reliant on imports and long supply chains. This has resulted in harmful environmental, human and economic health impacts, including: increased gree...
Book
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What is activism? The answer is, typically, that it is a form of opposition, often expressed on the streets. Skoglund and Böhm argue differently. They identify forms of 'insider activism' within corporations, state agencies and villages, showing how people seek to transform society by working within the system, rather than outright opposing it. Usi...
Article
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To commemorate 40 years since the founding of the Journal of Business Ethics, the editors in chief of the journal have invited the editors to provide commentaries on the future of business ethics. This essay comprises a selection of commentaries aimed at creating dialogue around the theme Ethics at the centre of global and local challenges . For mu...
Article
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This article examines corporate social responsibility (CSR) through the lens of political ontology. We contend that CSR is not only a discursive mean of legitimization but an inherently ontological practice through which particular worlds become real. CSR enables the politics of place-making, connecting humans and nonhumans in specific territorial...
Article
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We explore six small-medium enterprises (SMEs) across multiple sectors and their approach towards circular economy (CE) adoption. Our study explores the ‘how and why’ of CE adoption for SMEs, comparing opportunities and challenges around chosen tools and methods. A multi-methodological approach uses interviews, facilitated workshops and tool demons...
Article
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This article presents a place-based systems perspective of the sustainability of small and medium-sized enterprises, exploring the multilevel challenges in transitioning towards a circular economy. We develop a conceptual model showing that, as circular economy systems and their resilience reside at the intersection of business, societal and ecosys...
Article
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The circular economy (CE) is seen as a structural solution to society's sustainability problems. But with a large diversity of definitions, CE is also often portrayed as immature or in need of conceptual synthesis. Rather than treating the bemoaned ambiguity as a problem, in this article we analyse its implications on CE practice at the example of...
Article
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Rare-earth elements (REE) are essential to produce many ‘green’ technologies such as wind turbines and electric cars, yet the mining and processing of these minerals are highly polluting and environmentally damaging. Ever since China monopolized the REE industry in the 2000s, there has been a scramble for securing new deposits around the world. Gre...
Article
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We know from the corporate social responsibility (CSR) literature that civil society organizations (CSOs) play a crucial role in helping businesses transition towards more responsible and sustainable business models. Yet, in the circular economy (CE) field, such understanding is still scarce. This article develops a theoretical framework for unders...
Book
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"Negotiating Climate Change in Crisis" brings together 28 essays by over 60 researchers from around the world, who are concerned about climate change and the outcomes of the forthcoming 26th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. ‘COP26’ will take place in Glasgow in November 2021. Climate change negoti...
Article
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In accordance with critical reflective thinking on colonialisation, we respond to Dunlap's critical remarks on our article by deconstructing some of the themes presented in the debate on internal colonialism in the context of large-scale wind energy developments in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico. We return to a historical con-ceptualisation of...
Chapter
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This introduction to "Negotiating Climate Change in Crisis" positions the volume as an intervention, collecting together indicative contributions regarding what social scientists, humanities scholars and climate activists around the world think needs to be done in terms of both understanding why climate action has failed to dramatically reduce emis...
Article
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Energy production is a source of disputes across the world. Governments and firms argue that investing in wind energy contributes to the sustainable development of energy systems. However, wind farms perpetuate ongoing injustices and instigate new injustices. Vulnerable groups such as excluded and marginalised indigenous people can trace the injust...
Article
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Purpose This paper aims to introduce the special issue “Extractivism and the Links between International Business and People’s Struggles,” which is part of our joint research efforts oriented to advance critical knowledge on the impacts and strategies of extractive transnational corporations and social struggles against them. Design/methodology/ap...
Article
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While there is some scholarship in management and organization studies on forms of organized violence, it has rarely focused on the role of organized violence within wider business-society and governance relations. In this article, we argue that conceptualizing the role and capacity of the state is still paramount, precisely because it is normally...
Article
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Many academic authors, policy makers, NGOs, and corporations have focused on top-down human rights global norm-making, such as the United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). What is often missing are contextual and substantive analyses that interrogate rights mobilization and linkages between voluntary transnational ru...
Article
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While calls for critical, engaged and change-oriented scholarship in environmental communication (EC) abound, few articles discuss what this may practically entail. With this article we aim to contribute to a discussion in EC about the methodological implications of such scholarship. Based on our combined experience in EC research and drawing from...
Preprint
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Preprint version of "Introduction to the Special Issue on the Contested realities of the Circular" January 7, 2020 The definitive version was published in Culture and Organization, Vol 26, No.2, pp. 97-174. https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/gsco20/26/2?nav=tocList
Article
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‘Sustainability transitions’ has emerged as one of the most important and influential literatures on understanding the pathways towards a more sustainable future. Yet, most approaches in this literature privilege technological and regime-wide innovations, while people’s agencies, grassroots innovations, and social factors more generally are often u...
Article
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This is the first special issue of any organisation studies journal on food labour. Why is this a big deal? In this Introduction, we argue that the field should pay much more attention to the agri-food system and the work that goes into producing, distributing and consuming foodstuff. Food is such an all-important, basic ingredient to human existen...
Article
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Background: Studies suggest that local food may contribute to well-being, but do not use standardized measures, or control groups. Methods: An online survey compared participants of local food initiatives (n = 302) with members of the general population (n = 157) in terms of scores on standardized measures of well-being and distress. Using hiera...
Article
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This paper explores the interplay between capital, socio-spatial structure and grassroots agency in the context of the recent trajectories of labor geography. Based on field research conducted in Dȇrsim, Turkey, our analysis unfolds the constraining role of socio-spatial structure in the agency and praxis of grassroots movements and their geography...
Article
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to provide a socio-ecological counter account of the role that agroecology plays in supporting the sustainable livelihoods of a co-operative of smallholder coffee farmers, where very little value is created at their end of the coffee commodity chain. Agroecology may be defined as the science that provides the e...
Chapter
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Towards a Cultural Politics of Climate Change provides a new perspective on how climate change matters in policy-making, business and everyday life. It argues that the work of low carbon transitions takes place through the creation of devices, the mobilisation of desires, and the articulation of dissent. Using case studies from the US, Australia, a...
Article
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Food has been one of the most debated and contested discourses in recent global environmental governance without this fact being reflected, however, in management and organizational studies (MOS). In this paper, we analyze the different positions taken in relation to the transnational agri-food system by the state sector, the private sector and civ...
Article
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Food has been one of the most debated and contested discourses in recent global environmental gover-nance without this fact being reflected, however, in management and organizational studies (MOS). In this paper, we analyze the different positions taken in relation to the transnational agri-food system by the state sector, the private sector and ci...
Chapter
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The discourse of ‘green growth’ has recently gained ground in environmental governance deliberations and policy proposals. It is presented as a fresh and innovative agenda centred on the deployment of engineering sophistication, managerial acumen and market mechanisms to redress the environmental and social derelictions of the existing development...
Article
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The paper analyzes dynamics of accumulation and displacement in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). It combines the theoretical work of David Harvey and James O’Connor with a case study of the Gujarat Fluorochemicals Limited HFC-23 destruction project in Gujarat, India. The framework is used to connect the factors driving opportunities for capit...
Article
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In this article, we analyse the dynamic connections constituted by the global commodity chains of carbon markets, which offer profit, marketing and legitimacy-providing opportunities for both Northern and Southern corporations. Specifically, we contrast EDF Energy's green CSR and marketing discourse with the social, economic and environmental reali...
Article
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In this paper we explore how so-called ‘social media’ such as Facebook challenge Marxist organization studies. We argue that understanding the role of user activity in web 2.0 business models requires a focus on ‘work’, understood as value productive activity, that takes place beyond waged labour in the firm. A reading of Marx on the socialization...
Article
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Almost two decades since the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, global greenhouse gas emissions are still rising rapidly. We argue that the global climate policy focus on carbon markets has played a significant role in the failure to reduce emissions. There are 16 compliance carbon markets in operation across the world. Many more are planned, although the...
Book
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The world faces a ‘perfect storm’ of social and ecological stresses, including climate change, habitat loss, resource degradation and social, economic and cultural change. In order to cope with these, communities are struggling to transition to sustainable ways of living that improve well-being and increase resilience. This book demonstrates how co...
Article
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The main purpose of this paper is to explore the possibility of articulating Political Discourse Theory (PDT) together with Organizational Studies (OS), while using the opportunity to introduce PDT to those OS scholars who have not yet come across it. The bulk of this paper introduces the main concepts of PDT, discussing how they have been applied...
Article
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"Reconnecting to the land grounds us, says Steffen Böhm. Review of Ecovillages: Lessons for Sustainable Community, by Karen T. Litfin (Polity, 2013)""
Article
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In recent years, it has become an increasingly common marketing practice to connect the sale of consumer products to corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, such as aid and development projects in so-called ‘developing’ countries. One example is Volvic’s pioneering ‘1L=10L for Africa’ campaign (2005–2010), which linked the sale of each l...
Article
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Armin Beverungen conducts research on how universities retain their charitable status in a market environment, and on the teaching of ethics in business schools. Steffen Böhm has a particular interest in the economics and management of sustainability. He has also founded an open access journal and an open access press, MayFlyBooks. Christopher Land...
Conference Paper
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"Since 2006, when the Canadian corporation Barrick Gold first received authorization to start exploring the Famatina hills for gold and uranium, the people have been organizing themselves to protect their livelihoods, the hills and the glacier located in the Department of Famatina, in the Argentinean Province of La Rioja. Vecinos de Famatina Autoco...
Article
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Latin America is experiencing a new era of the myth of development based on a model of extractivism. The most dramatic face of extractivism in the region has been, on the one hand, the growing presence of transnational mining corporations supported by national governments as well as regional and international finance and development institutions, a...
Article
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"Review of Carl Cederström & Peter Fleming (2012) Dead Man Working. Winchester, UK: Zero Books. May 2012; ISBN 978-1-78099-156-6, £9.99, $14.95, www.zero-books.net/books/dead-man-working This is an extended version of the Review31 of Cederström & Fleming’s book; http://review31.co.uk/article/view/111/no-hope-no-release"
Article
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Fracking has been hailed as the answer to our dwindling North Seas gas supplies and our increasing reliance on gas imports, not to mention the ever rising energy prices. In the hope of replicating the alleged success of fracking in the United States, the government has recently lifted a temporary ban on fracking in the UK, allowing energy companies...
Article
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Climate change is increasingly being recognized as a serious threat to dominant modes of social organization, inspiring suggestions that capitalism itself needs to be transformed if we are to 'decarbonize' the global economy. Since the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, carbon markets have emerged as the main politico-economic tools in global efforts to addre...
Article
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The article opens with a critical analysis of the dominant business model of for-profit, academic publishing, arguing that the extraordinarily high profits of the big publishers are dependent upon a double appropriation that exploits both academic labour and universities' financial resources. Against this model, we outline four possible responses:...
Article
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Informed by a Marxist theoretical perspective, the aim of this essay is to critically reflect on the relationship between capital and nature and specifically the ‘Rio process’, which started in 1992 and continued with the recent Rio+20 conference. In this process we have seen a discursive evolution from sustainable development to green economy. We...
Article
Multi-stakeholder governance forums have become a vital part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. In this article we explore the political dynamics of multi-stakeholder governance forums. To do this we draw on an in-depth case study based on secondary sources of an exemplary multi-stakeholder governance forum – the Forest Stewardship...
Article
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This paper argues that critical studies of organization need to extend their analysis of labour beyond the sphere of value production organized by capital in order to fully apprehend the realities of today's political economy. One direction in which this analysis must be developed is to radically expand our understanding of 'labour' to incorporate...
Article
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In a pivotal section of Capital, volume 1, Marx (1976: 279) notes that, in order to understand the capitalist production of value, we must descend into the ‘hidden abode of production’: the site of the labour process conducted within an employment relationship. In this paper we argue that by remaining wedded to an analysis of labour that is confine...
Book
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The contributions collected in this special issue of ephemera question the underlying ideologies and assumptions of carbon markets, and bring to light many of the contradictions and antagonisms that are currently at the heart of ‘climate capitalism’. They offer a critical assessment of the political economy of carbon trading, and a detailed underst...
Article
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In this article we ask how ‘civil society’ actors and organizations can become constructed and treated as ‘uncivil society’. We contest the notion that ‘uncivil’ necessarily equates with the dark qualities of violence and organized criminality. Instead, we take a Gramscian perspective in suggesting that what becomes ‘uncivil’ is any practice and or...
Article
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To date, the primary focus of research in the field of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been on the strategic implications of CSR for corporations and less on an evaluation of CSR from a wider political, economic and social perspective. In this paper, we aim to address this gap by critically engaging with marketing campaigns of so‐called ‘...
Article
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Alternative media form an important part of the global mediascape. Research on this phenomenon is, however, often drawn from studies in the `global North'. In this paper we discuss alternative media in the `global South', by exploring two case studies of cooperation between Northern and Southern partners: IFIWatchnet in South America, and Indymedia...
Article
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Purpose This paper aims to link the process of “transition”, which started in the former Soviet system about 20 years ago, to the recent global financial and economic crisis. The paper considers “transition” as a shift from one socio‐economic “dreamworld” to another, rather than as a real change towards freedom and democracy, as most mainstream com...
Article
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Despite prolonged resistance campaigns against what are regarded as unethical production practices of companies such as Nike, people around the world still seem to be happy to spend a lot of money buying expensive consumer products. Why is this so? In this article we discuss this question through the lens of the concept of fetishism. By discussing...
Article
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In this paper we interrogate the demand and practice of autonomy in social movements. We begin by identifying three main conceptions of autonomy: (1) autonomous practices vis-a`-vis capital; (2) self-determination and independence from the state; and (3) alternatives to hegemonic discourses of development. We then point to limits associated with au...
Article
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In this paper we ask how actors and organisations can become constructed and treated as part of ‘uncivil society’. We contest the notion that ‘uncivil’ necessarily equates with the dark of qualities of violence and organised criminality. Instead, we take a Gramscian perspective in suggesting that what becomes ‘uncivil’ is any practice and organisat...
Book
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Upsetting the Offset engages critically with the political economy of carbon markets. It presents a range of case studies and critiques from around the world, showing how the scam of carbon markets affects the lives of communities. But the book doesn’t stop there. It also presents a number of alternatives to carbon markets which enable communities...
Article
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to provide an introductory overview of this special issue highlighting some of the distinctive features of Žižek's Lacan‐inspired thought relevant to the role of ideologies in organizational change management. Design/methodology/approach The approach used aims to show how ideological and ethical ramifications o...
Article
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This paper explores articulations of the value of investment in culture and the arts through a critical discourse analysis of policy documents, reports and academic commentary since 1997. It argues that in this period, discourses around the value of culture have moved from a focus on the direct economic contributions of the culture industries to th...
Article
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Paper for presentation at the Second Conference of Practical Criticism in the Social Sciences of Management, Leicester University Management School, 8th - 9th January 2009.
Chapter
Knowledge is implicitly assumed to form an increasingly important, or even the dominant source of values for today's knowledge based organizations. It is rare, however, to encounter writings questioning what is 'value', enquiring into its provenance, or examining its distribution amongst organization's stakeholders. This chapter asks these very que...
Working Paper
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Article
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In this paper we analyze the role of marketing in the construction of what can be called the hegemony of development. Through an investigation of the marketing practices of the pulp and paper industry in South America and the resistances that are articulated by a range of civil society actors against the expansion of this industry, we problematize...
Article
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Summary This paper contributes to critical understandings of how international business is resisted. It develops a Neo-Gramscian approach that emphasizes the importance of informal or 'infra-political' processes. Current conceptualizations demonstrate how international business is challenged via formal and organized political strategies in the firm...
Article
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Despite prolonged resistance campaigns against what are regarded as unethical production practices of companies such as Nike, people around the world still seem to be happy to spend a lot of money buying expensive consumer products. Why is this so? In this article we discuss this question through the lens of the concept of fetishism. By discussing...
Article
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This article has two purposes: the first one is to continue a collective effort to confront the exclusion proceedings usual in the organizational studies field. By taking social movements as our research object, we also take the risks of 'isolation' by 'silence of reason'. The second purpose is to contribute to make visible a part of the multiplici...
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RESUMO: Este artigo trata de um sintoma: o de uma mudança ideológica, uma fratura histórica na produção fantasmática da organização social–a transição de Leste para Oeste. Ao seguir a recomendação de Žižek para “usufruir do sintoma”, exploro minha própria experiência histórica do “Wende” europeu Oriental de “socialismo real existente” para “capital...
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How do groups resist the apparently all-encompassing discourse of management? Rejecting current theories of resistance as `re-appropriation' or `micro-politics', we argue that resistance may be thought of as a hegemonic struggle undertaken by social movements. We identify four major resistance movements that engage with management: unions, organiza...
Article
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In this paper we engage with the liberalist project in organization and management studies. The first `face' of organizational liberalism is expressed through post-bureaucratic discourses which very much define the mainstream of management thought today, highlighting the need for organizational openness which can only come through a liberation of m...
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Purpose The purpose of this article is to analyse the organisation of the Bolivian “water war” in Cochabamba that saw a social movement resist international business and the privatisation of public goods. The implications for the study of resistance in management and organisation studies will be evaluated. Design/methodology/approach Laclau's disc...
Book
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Repositioning Organization Theory studies the political positioning of organization theory. The book argues that there are two main projects in organization theory: the positioning and depositioning projects, or the hegemonic project of management and the postmodern project respectively. To critique the theoretical and political limits of these two...
Book
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Despite its promise of freedom and autonomy, the ubiquity of the automobile has influenced unforeseen ecological, social, and political change. In Against Automobility, a panel of distinguished scholars take a critical look at the contradiction of the automobile. - A critical account of the impact of the car on society, which is both liberated by...