The Monstrous Organization

The Monstrous Organization

Torkild Thanem

Drawing on contemporary debates in organization theory, this book explores the monsters that populate organizations, what organizations do to these monsters, and how this challenges us to re-construct organization theory.

Chapter 3: Exploiting Monsters

Torkild Thanem

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies


Citigroup was a globe-girdling, product-packed, merger-made monster. (Fortune Magazine)1 Tear into a can of the meanest energy supplement on the planet, MONSTER energy. ( THE ORGANIZATION OF SHIT AND BODILY WASTE History includes several examples of how humans, organizations and societies exploit the monstrous. Part of this involves exploiting and transforming the heterogeneous matter of bodily excrements and waste products. In his history of smell, the French nineteenth-century historian Alain Corbin (1994) tells us that in 1844 the political economist Clément Joseph Garnier dreamt of constructing an ammoniapolis, a large industrial complex for the treatment of urine. Little is known in detail about Garnier’s ammoniapolis, but one might imagine that the plan was for a vast network of sewage canals that would transport urine and faeces from the private houses and hotels, the schools, businesses and hospitals of French urban centres, out to ammoniapolises located outside the cities. Thus, the ammoniapolis would not only remove the stench and filth of human excreta from urban space and clean up the places where people lived and worked; it would also put that same matter to effective use in the industrial production of ammonia. Although Garnier’s dream was never realized, there were several facilities of a smaller scale in France at the time that were involved in the processing of human and animal waste and excreta into ammonia. For example, there was a factory producing ammonia near the refuse dump at Bondy near Paris. There was also a thriving industry of...

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