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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Conclusion: transient relationships – towards the intensity machine

Transient Relationships

Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen


I began this book with a set of general observations about a non-normative diagnostics of the present. I posed the question of how to perform a diagnosis of the present without a fixed “outside” from which to describe and diagnose. I tried to outline a gradual strategy for the development of an “outside” from within, and I have sought to pursue this strategy in my work. What are the results? How does my specific diagnosis relate to other similar diagnoses? Below I address two different diagnoses of the present: The most renowned present diagnosis of the development of work relations in recent years is probably Richard Sennett’s book, The Corrosion of Character (1998). Sennet explores the effects of flexible capitalism on work’s possibility to create a coherent personality and character. Sennett’s “outside”, that is, the place from which he diagnoses the present, is character formation.

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