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Alexander Styhre

The final chapter examines some of the implications of the current challenges in governing corporations, public and semi-public sector organizations such as universities, and industries. The economic concentration appear to correlate with growing economic inequality, but the “deep pockets” of certain market actors, including finance industry institutes, also generate social, political, and cultural effects that further accentuate the changes in the market. For this reason, the finance industry seems particularly complicated to govern and to regulate, blending political activism and market activities, including the introduction of new financial innovations to by-pass or eliminate regulatory control. In order to push down systemic risk—the demon of all finance market actors—legal and regulatory accountability may be needed. The final sections of the chapter examine such proposals and assess their practical utility.

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The Unfinished Business of Governance

Monitoring and Regulating Industries and Organizations

Alexander Styhre

The Unfinished Business of Governance provides an overview of the changing landscape of governance and focuses on the three specific domains of corporate governance, university governance, and market governance. The book examines how changes in competitive capitalism and the wider social organization of society is recursively both determined by, and actively shaping underlying governance ideals and their practices. The shared theme in the various changes of the governance system is that free market theory and ideologies have gradually penetrated governance practices.
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Paul Harvey and Marie T. Dasborough

Talking about schadenfreude feelings can have effects that differ from the intended social functions of the emotion. In this chapter, we contend that schadenfreude is a complex emotion with both positive and negative valence. As such, socially sharing the emotion can have upsides as well as downsides, depending on how it is perceived by others. We illustrate this point by highlighting the benefits of sharing schadenfreude, as well as the negative perceptions that may form regarding the person expressing the schadenfreude. We propose that schadenfreude can play important social functional roles and that talking about it provides valuable information for observers. A number of situational and individual factors––which are not well understood––appear to help determine if the person expressing the schadenfreude is viewed positively or negatively by others. We conclude our chapter with a discussion of practical advice for individuals, as well as directions for future research.

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Edited by Dirk Lindebaum, Deanna Geddes and Peter J. Jordan

What novel theoretical insights can be gleaned by comparing our theoretical understanding of emotion in relation to how we 'talk about’ emotion at work? Drawing from psychological and sociological thinking, leading emotion researchers respond to this question for ten common and powerful emotions at work. The chapters detail various conditions under which our study of emotions and our talk about them can be at odds or reinforce each other in organizations, and how these differences impact subsequent consequences for organizations and their members.
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Alexander Styhre

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Edited by Dirk Lindebaum, Deanna Geddes and Peter J. Jordan

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Alexander Styhre

This chapter introduces the concept of governance as a key term when examining the current economic situation, including growing economic inequality. In order to understand such an economic and social phenomenon, analytical terms that bridge public companies, state-controlled agencies, and transnational regulators need to be introduced. The chapter introduces and critically discusses key terms in the governance literature, including corporate governance, transnational governance, and related terms such as accountability.

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Peter N. Stearns

A growing interest in happiness has been a crucial aspect of modern Western culture since the Enlightenment. Its evolution, alongside the emergence of new labor forms in factories and offices, suggests an obvious, though difficult, relationship and this forms the focus of the present essay on happiness and work in industrial society. Developments in the nineteenth century almost certainly reduced job satisfaction for many workers in contrast to artisanal or even rural experience. At the same time new issues––such as the relationship between what would ultimately be called personality and the work ethic, or the growing importance of measuring work by wages––took shape that have conditioned the interaction between jobs and happiness ever since. Formal interest in workplace happiness increased measurably during the first half of the twentieth century, as experts and management sought to promote greater job stability and productivity while reducing labor unrest. Several conflicting approaches emerged, complicating the assessment of actual results. Job happiness probably lagged behind the surge of interest, though some connections can be explored. Finally, at the outset of the twenty-first century, a new commitment to well-being on the job suggests a new stage in the elaboration of ideas about workplace emotion, inviting another evaluation of the relationship between actual emotional trends.

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Alexander Styhre

Chapter 3 examines the governance of the university sector, and stresses how, e.g., the uses of “big data” and algorithms in what is referred to as algorithm governance is now commonplace to commensurate heterogeneous entities, a process integral to market making. The chapter discusses “the politics of measuring,” now pervading all spheres of social life, resulting in new metrics being constitutive of agency. Using the specific case of credit rating on the basis of so-called FICO-scores, determining degrees of creditworthiness in American society, the politics of measuring is today an ongoing and ceaseless control mechanism. The second half of the chapter examines university ranking, another case of measurement to determine the status and position of higher education institutions. The chapter concludes that contemporary university governance is riddled with problems and inconsistencies, not least the problem of handling reactivity, agents’ rent-seeking work within existing governance models.

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Alexander Styhre

Chapter 2 examines the components of the shareholder primacy governance model that has dominated corporate governance scholarship since the early 1980s. Tracing the roots of the economic theory that justifies shareholder governance to the cold war era and what has been called cold war rationality, the chapter stresses how rational choice theory has informed corporate governance through, e.g., agency theory and other economic theories stipulating instrumental rationality as a privileged analytical model. The cold war heritage has been criticized for overstating experimental data and for ignoring rational responses from experimental subjects, resulting in an overtly negative view of human decision making capacities. When transferring such analytical models to, e.g., corporate governance affairs, salaried managers, e.g., are at risk of being portrayed in unfavourable ways to justify the market for management control, in turn resulting in shareholder primacy governance. The chapter concludes that the efficiency criterion that economic theory stipulates is too one-dimensional to serve its purpose and calls for novel analytical models to better assist corporate governance activities.