New Publication on Cooperatives – Pansera/Rizzi (2018): Furbish or perish: Italian social cooperatives at a crossroads. In: Organization (OnlineFirst)

Another interesting case study about about market pressure, scaling up of coops and the conflict between democratic management and commercial success.

Pansera, Mario/Rizzi, Francesco (2018): Furbish or perish: Italian social cooperatives at a crossroads. In: Organization (OnlineFirst).


Although the public debate tends to privilege investor-owned organisations, alternative forms of organisation are mushrooming at the borders of the capitalist economy. In this work, we contribute to the debate on alternative economies by analysing a specific form of worker-owned organisations which originated in Italy in the 1970s and was recognised by Italian legislation in the 1990s: the social cooperative. By drawing on data gathered over 3 years of participant observation, this article explores the tensions and contradictions generated by the rapid growth of an Italian social cooperative focused on waste recovery and its preparation for reuse. We show how social cooperatives might be able to reconcile their commercial success with their founding principles of equality and democratic management. This article contributes to the debate on the ‘regeneration thesis’ by providing new insights into the factors and drivers that force social cooperatives to scale up and to engage in competition with mainstream competitors, the internal conflicts and solutions that emerge in this process and the external alliances that social cooperatives can leverage to prosper and flourish.

New Article about Cooperatives – Audebrand (2017): Expanding the scope of paradox scholarship on social enterprise: the case for (re)introducing worker cooperatives. In: M@n@gement 2017/4.

Between ‘staying  alternative’  and  ‘going  mainstream’ …

Audebrand, L. (2017). Expanding the scope of paradox scholarship on social enterprise: the case for (re)introducing worker cooperatives. M@n@gement, vol. 20,(4), 368-393. doi:10.3917/mana.204.0368.

Abstract. Over the past decade, scholars have argued for using a paradox
perspective  as  a  provocative  and  insightful  lens  for  understanding  social
enterprises. This article addresses two gaps in this burgeoning literature.
First,  it  expands  the  focus  on  social  enterprises  to  include  worker
cooperatives,  which  are  often  overlooked  but  are  highly  relevant  to  this
area  of  study.  Worker  cooperatives  are  unique  among  social  enterprises
due to their foundational principles: worker-ownership, worker-control and
worker-benefit. Due to their dual nature as both a democratic association
and  an  economic  enterprise,  the  relationship  between  the  cooperative’s
social  mission  and  its  business  venture  is  mutually  constitutive  and
inescapable.  Second,  this  article  calls  for  paradox  scholarship  on  social
enterprise  to  include  the  study  of  paradoxical  tensions  other  than  the
conspicuous tension between financial and social performance. This article
suggests  broadening  this  focus  to  include  the  tensions  between
communality  and  individuality,  hierarchy  and  democracy,  and  between
‘staying  alternative’  and  ‘going  mainstream’.  Overall,  this  article  seeks  to
construct  a  stronger  theoretical  basis  on  which  to  build  future  paradox
research on alternatives to the dominant economic paradigm.

Neue Publikation – Hartz/Hühn/Rybnikova/Tümpel: Partizipationspraktiken in Genossenschaften – Ergebnisse eines Forschungsprojekts. In: PerspektivePraxis 4/2017

Hier nur ein ganz kleiner Vorgeschmack auf unseren Projektbericht zu „Partizipationspraktiken in Genossenschaften“, unserem bis Ende 2017 von der Hans-Böckler-Stiftung geförderten Projektes.

Hartz, Ronald/Hühn, Melanie/Rybnikova, Irma/Tümpel, Markus (2017): Partizipationspraktiken_in_Genossenschaften – Ergebnisse eines Forschungsprojekts. In: PerspektivePraxis 4(2017), S.6-7.

Der Link zum ganzen Heft:

New Publication: Pynnönen/Takala – The Discursive Dance: The Employee Co-operation Negotiations as an Arena for Management-by-fear

An interesting study about downsizing, it’s discursive construction through companies and media and the enforcement of a ‚management-by-fear‘:

Pynnönen, Anu; Takala, Tuomo (2018): The Discursive Dance: The Employee Co-operation Negotiations as an Arena for Management-by-fear. In: Journal of Business Ethics 147 (1), S. 165–184.

DOI: 10.1007/s10551-015-2991-8


The purpose of this article is to qualitatively describe and critically explain the discursive construction of employee co-operation negotiations in Finland as an arena for management-by-fear. The article consists of a theoretical review, covering the legislative basis of co-
operation negotiations and recent research on management-by-fear. The empirical study consists of media texts and company media releases in Finland in 2012–2013. The
main conclusions are that there are distinctive features in the co-operation negotiations that enable and enforce the possibility of management-by-fear, and thus destructive
leadership. The process, supported by law and very much against the original aim, enhances authoritative leadership, objectification of employees, distortion of information and
misleading, and the negative consequences thereof. The process is an employer-invited discursive dance where the employee has to follow through the set steps and in the set
rhythm, with the media orchestrating the tune and managing the fear. The study adds a valuable element to the research areas of downsizing, bad management, and the
discursive construction of these phenomena.

New Publications: Rhodes/Wright/Pullen on „Impact“ and Bousalham/Vidaillet on „how competition undermines alternatives“

There are two new and interesting publications, both published in Organization, I want to inform you about:

Contradiction, circumvention and instrumentalization of noble values: How competition undermines the potential of alternatives | First Published December 3, 2017


Recent studies have shown that alternative organizations are particularly exposed to the risk of losing ‘their soul’ or their capacity to put into practice their original ends when they compete with capitalist companies. But what happens when an alternative organization competes exclusively with another alternative organization? This article addresses this question using a unique and ‘revealing’ case, in which two mutual insurance organizations compete structurally and directly with each other and propose the same products to the same target population, at the same time and same place. The case shows in concrete terms how competition can undermine the integrity of alternative organizations and expose them to a dissociation between ends and means by leading them to: (1) adopt ‘dirty’ practices that are incoherent with their founding purpose, (2) circumvent the coherent practices that have been specifically designed to reach their alternative ends, and (3) instrumentalize their alternative ends and turn them into means of coping with competition. Furthermore, the case shows how the dynamic of structural and direct competition, because of its ‘captivating’ nature, may prevent local actors from ‘denaturalizing’ or questioning these incoherent practices. This study suggests that any action aimed at promoting alternative organizations requires taking due account of the competitive environment in which local actors of alternatives are placed and which can seriously undermine their emancipatory potential.


Changing the world? The politics of activism and impact in the neoliberal university | First Published December 15, 2017


This article explores the political differences between academic activism and the recently emerged research impact agenda. While both claim that academic work can and should engage with and influence the world beyond the academic ‘ivory tower’, their political meaning and practice are radically different. Following the distinction made by Jacques Rancière, we argue that research impact performs a policing function which, despite its own rhetoric, is arranged as an attempt to ensure that academic work maintains a neoliberal status quo by actually having no real political impact. Academic activism, in contrast, serves to politicize scholarly work by democratically disrupting political consensus in the name of equality. Being an academic activist in an era of research impact rests in a twofold movement: that of both acting in the name of equality in an effort (using Marx’s terms) to ‘change the world’ and resisting and contesting an academic administration whose police actions have attempted to eliminate such forms of democratic practice from the political consensus. The argument is illustrated with examples from the Australia Research Council’s statements on research impact and the practice of climate change activism.

Imperfection, incompleteness and impermanence in organizational life – CfP for the Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism 2018

The Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism 2018 takes place at Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan. The theme for 2018 is Wabi-sabi (侘寂): Imperfection, incompleteness and impermanence in organizational life.

Conference Website:

Call for Abstracts for SCOS/ACSCOS Conference (Standing Conference on Organisational Symbolism (SCOS) and Australasian Caucus of Standing Conference on Organisational Symbolism (ACSCOS))

August 17-20 2018 Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan

Don’t imitate me It’s as boring As the two halves of a melon Matsuo Basho

Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in. Leonard Cohen

Wabi-sabi is an approach to life based on accepting the transience and imperfection of the world. As a Japanese aesthetic derived from Buddhism, wabi-sabi embraces the wisdom that comes from perceiving beauty in impermanence and incompleteness. What might such advocacy of the harmony to found in the flawed, faulty, and weathered have to do with formal organisations, obsessed as they seemingly are with continually striving for perfection? The very ideal of perfection, as an antithesis of wabi-sabi, is embedded in managerial efforts as diverse as striving for continuous improvement, setting ‘stretch’ targets, managing the performance of ideal employees, promoting organizational cultures of excellence, and even the romanticized perfect bodies of employees. Is it then the case that the managerial aesthetic of organizations is the antinomy of wabi-sabi?

The idea for this conference is to explore how the wabi-sabi aesthetic can offer a counterpoint to the forms of idealization that dominate so much of managerial and organisational thinking. This is an exploration of how ideas from an ancient Eastern tradition might fruitfully be brought to bear on organisational issues, challenges and problems, especially as they are dominated by Western intellectual habits and foibles. Wabi-sabi as a theme explores the imperfect idea of a dividing crack between ‘the East’ and ‘the West’ that we hope conference participants will illuminate with the sort of effervescent creativity and fluid thinking that have characterised SCOS and ACSCOS conferences in the past.

We invite submissions that consider any of the possibilities through which principles of transience and imperfection are present in, or can be made relevant to, organisational life. Central to this is how organisations have long been exemplars of containment that wilfully defy any recognition of the importance of transience, flux, and fluidity. The edifice of knowledge and its insistence on the reduction of difference and undecideability can, however, have disastrous political and social effects. Undoing the desire of such rock solid certainty might just prove to be essential for developing ethical openness to others. Is it then possible that wabi-sabi’s emphasis on transience and imperfection offers a path appreciating ethical relations and challenging oppressive organizational regimes that violate humanity?

The 2018 SCOS/ACSCOS Conference is a joint conference. For the first time the annual SCOS conference will be combined with the ACSCOS conference which was last held in Sydney in 2015. There is also another first, that SCOS has never before been held in an Asian/Pacific country. Pursuing these new dimensions to SCOS will ensure that it is a memorable experience. As part of this the local hosts at Meiji University have arranged numerous activities that we can participate in which will help all delegates directly experience wabi-sabi during the conference.

Contributions may find inspiration from the following list of potential themes:

• The desire for perfection in organisations, careers, and lives

• Mindfulness, organising, managing, leadership, and followership

• Western philosophy’s engagement with Eastern philosophy though, for example, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Irigaray, as well as Eastern philosophy’s engagement with Western philosophy, for example Nishida, Watsuji, and Yuasa, and its implications for organisations

• The idealization of Japanese management practice in Western management theory, in for example kanban (lean just-in-time process), jidoka (stop everything!), babyoke (automated mistake proofing), poka yoke (mistake proofing)

• Imperfection as a new organizational ideal

• Undecidability and the ethics of not-knowing

• Living imperfect lives at work

• Imperfection as lack, critiques of patriarchal organisation

• Western preoccupations with completeness and totality

• An organisational aesthetics of im/perfection and transience

• Eastern and Western ideals of beauty and cultural perfection

• Symbols of imperfection, imperfect bodies, the monstrous

• The politics and ethics of failure

• Impermanence and organising

• Global transitions and transience

• Simplicity and/or quietness in organizations

• Enlightenment (satori)

• Desolation and solitude or liberation from the material world

• Inspiration for wabi-sabi expressed in the arts (music, flower arrangement, gardens, poetry, food ceremonies)


The conference is hosted by Meiji University in Tokyo, Japan. The conference organizers are Masayasu Takahashi (Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan), Masato Yotsumoto (University of Nagasaki, Sasebo, Japan), Toshio Takagi (Showa Women’s University, Tokyo, Japan), Alison Pullen (Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia), Carl Rhodes (University of Technology Sydney, Australia), and Janet Sayers (Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand).


Abstracts of no more than 500 words, in pdf format, should be submitted as e­mail attachments by February 28th 2018 to You may also direct any queries to this address. If you need a refereed conference paper in order to satisfy funding requirements for your travel please make this clear on your submission. There are a limited number of bursaries available to assist students to participate in the conference. Please indicate on your abstract proposal if you are a student and if you wish to apply for a bursary.

Open stream

SCOS/ACSCOS 2018 will also have an open stream, allowing for the presentation of general papers that do not fit this year’s conference theme but are of interest to the SCOS/ACSCOS communities. Please identify “open stream” on your abstract, as appropriate.


We also welcome proposals for longer sessions run in a workshop format. Outlines of workshops should be the same length as a paper abstract and should give an indication of the resources needed, the number of participants, the time required, the approach to be taken and the session’s objectives. Please identify “workshop” on your abstract, as appropriate.

New Book: The Spectacle 2.0 – Reading Debord in the Context of Digital Capitalism

The „Society of the Spectacle“ reloaded. Free access to the e-book:


Spectacle 2.0 recasts Debord’s theory of spectacle within the frame of 21st century digital capitalism. It offers a reassessment of Debord’s original notion of Spectacle from the late 1960s, of its posterior revisitation in the 1990s, and it presents a reinterpretation of the concept within the scenario of contemporary informational capitalism and more specifically of digital and media labour. It is argued that the Spectacle 2.0 form operates as the interactive network that links through one singular (but contradictory) language and various imaginaries, uniting diverse productive contexts such as logistics, finance, new media and urbanism. Spectacle 2.0 thus colonizes most spheres of social life by processes of commodification, exploitation and reification. Diverse contributors consider the topic within the book’s two main sections: Part I conceptualizes and historicizes the Spectacle in the context of informational capitalism; contributions in Part II offer empirical cases that historicise the Spectacle in relation to the present (and recent past) showing how a Spectacle 2.0 approach can illuminate and deconstruct specific aspects of contemporary social reality. All contributions included in this book rework the category of the Spectacle to present a stimulating compendium of theoretical critical literature in the fields of media and labour studies. In the era of the gig-economy, highly mediated content and President Trump, Debord’s concept is arguably more relevant than ever.

Tagung „Arbeit – Lebensführung – Nachhaltigkeit“, 25.01.-26.01.2018, Universität Hamburg

Hier der Hinweis auf eine interessante Tagung an der Universität Hamburg.

Aus der Ankündigung:

Die Zukunft der Arbeit muss nachhaltig sein, oder sie wird gar nicht sein!
  • Wel­che Be­griffe nach­haltiger Ar­beit gibt es?
  • Wird die so­zi­alwissenschaftliche Tren­nung von Ar­beit und Leben in einer nach­haltigen Ar­beitsgesellschaft ob­so­let?
  • Wie könn­te ihr Ver­hältnis unter der Be­rücksichtigung so­zi­al-ökologischer As­pekte neu be­stimmt wer­den?
  • Wel­che Kon­sequenzen hat eine ana­lytische Ver­bindung von Ar­beit und Le­ben(-sfüh­rung) für die For­schung?
  • An wel­che em­pi­risch fes­t­stellbaren so­zio-ökonomischen Dy­na­mi­ken ließe sich an­knüpfen?
  • Wel­che Ak­teure und Prak­tiken ­der Le­bensführung sind für die so­zi­al-ökologische Transf­ormation hin zu einer nachhaltigen Ar­beitsgesellschaft eher för­derlich oder blo­ckierend?

Vor dem Hin­ter­grund die­ser­ Fra­gen­ sol­le­n in ei­ner zweitä­gi­gen Kon­fe­renz re­levante Kon­zepte und Ana­lysen zum The­ma nachhaltige Ar­beit/sge­sellschaft vor­gestellt, dis­kutiert und mit­einander in Be­zi­ehung ge­set­zt sowie mög­li­che Ent­wick­lungs­pfa­de­ hin ­zu ­ei­ner­ so­zi­al-ökologisch nach­hal­ti­gen­Tä­tig­keits­ge­sell­schaft ­vor­ge­stell­t wer­den.

Mehr Informationen gibt es hier:

Online-Plattform Organisationspädagogik: Forum-OrgPaed

Hier der Hinweis auf eine neue Online-Plattform für Wissenschaftler*innen in der Promotions- und PostDoc-Phase im Bereich Organisationspädagogik: ist eine Online-Plattform für Wissenschaftler*innen, die sich mit organisationspädagogischen und verwandten Themen beschäftigen und den Peer-to-Peer Austausch suchen. Die Plattform richtet sich dabei explizit an Personen, die sich aktuell in der Promotions- oder PostDoc-Phase befinden. bietet für seine Mitglieder einen geschützten Rahmen und Raum bieten, um über wissenschaftliche Fragestellungen und Belange ins Gespräch zu kommen. Interessierte können sich auf der Seite registrieren und so Teil des Netzwerks werden.

Zur Plattform:

New issue of ephemera: theory & politics in organization – The labour of academia

Issue editors: Nick Butler, Helen Delaney and Martyna Śliwa

The purpose of the contemporary university is being radically transformed by the encroachment of corporate imperatives into higher education. This has inevitable consequences for managerial interventions, funding structures, and teaching and research audits. It also impacts on the working conditions of academic staff in university institutions in terms of teaching, research, administration and public engagement. Starting from this basis, the special issue seeks to explore questions about how the work of scholars is being shaped, managed and controlled under the regime of ‘academic capitalism’ and, in turn, to ask what might be done about it.

Contributors: Sarah Robinson, Olivier Ratle, Alexandra Bristow, Callum McGregor, Jeremy Knox, Paul Stewart, Miguel Martínez Lucio, Finnborg Salome Steinþórsdóttir, Thamar Melanie Heijstra, Þorgerður Einarsdóttir, Craig Brandist, Sverre Spoelstra, Damian Ruth, Ozan Nadir Alakavuklar, Lenora Hanson, Elsa Noterman, Stephen Turner, Anna Boswell, Niki Harré, Sean Sturm, Kirsten Locke, Dominic da Souza Correa, Tim-adical Writing Collective, Francesca Coin, John Mingers, Ajnesh Prasad and Paulina Segarra.