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 8: The organization as a nexus of partnerships

Transient Relationships

Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen


The Nobel Prize winner Oliver Williamson suggests that we observe market and hierarchy as different forms of contractualizations (Williamson 1983, p. 253). From this perspective, an organization is seen as a nexus of contracts. What if we similarly see the organization as a nexus of partnerships? And what do organizational possibilities look like if the organization is perceived to be in the process of becoming a nexus of partnerships? What I want to address in this chapter is the fact that it is not only the contract relation between organization and employee that shifts in the direction of partnerships, it is also the relations between organization/ citizen, organization/student, organization/patient, organization/client, and so on, which develop in the direction of partnerships. (And again I want to stress that my primary point of reference is the public sector, although I believe that we might observe a similar development in the relationship organization/consumer. My knowledge in that field is rather limited.)

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