Managing Intensity and Play at Work
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Managing Intensity and Play at Work

Transient Relationships

Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen

In this thought-provoking book Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen uses a unique combination of deconstruction, systems theory and discourse theory to critically discuss topics such as the management of feelings, partnerships as second order promises, and work–life balance as an immune defense against over-socialized employees. He assesses the parallels between layoffs in intimate organizations and modern professional divorce discourses, and explores the dichotomy of double-bounded management commanding both ‘do as I say’ and ‘be autonomous’. In so doing, Professor Andersen encourages the reader to look at relationships in the workplace in new ways.
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Chapter 4: Management of authentic feelings: the trembling organization

Transient Relationships

Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen


When is somebody authentic? A great many employees frame questions like this to themselves, and so do a great many organizations and leaders regarding their employee relations. That question is urgent because the difference between being a member and not being a member of an organization to a greater extent is left to each employee’s own self-enrollment. This creates a fundamental insecurity in organizations regarding the authenticity of the employee’s own self-enrollment. Is she truthful now? Does she mean what she says? Is this a case of genuine engagement? I can see that she is making an effort to work with commitment and engagement, but does she really understand what we are doing here? And the employee is asking similar questions: Am I really happy being here? Is it the work I love or is it my colleagues? Can I be the one I want to be when I am in this organization and in this job? Therefore, am I genuine and authentic in my own membership? It enables the observation of emotions and the management of emotions as a key issue for organizations in the transient regime. Often this is discussed as the emotionalization of organizing (Sieben and Wettergren 2010).

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