A contribution to the critical theory of organisations : (neo) human relations management theory, ideology and subjectivity
This thesis contributes to the developing field of the critical theory of organisation. It presents a critical inquiry into the ideological nature of (neo)Human Relations management theory and its strategies for the management of subjectivity and organisational culture. The introductory chapters discuss the meta-theoretical grounds and contexts for the development of the thesis. Chapter 1 responds to the epistemological challenges put forward by post- Modernism highlighting the basic trajectory and underlying values of the thesis. Chapter 2 discusses the development of critical organisation theory so far, with respect to the discussions of subjectivity and culture. This includes a discussion of aspects of the work of Foucault, (neo)Marxist Theory, Labour Process Theory and critical social psychology as they have been taken up by organisational studies of subjectivity and culture. Chapter 3 clarifies the use of the concept of ideology and outlines the research strategy for the concrete study of (neo)Human Relations management as ideological. This involves a 'depth hermeneutic' research strategy, made up of the 3 components of (1) A Social Analysis, (2) A Discourse Analysis, and (3) An Interpretation of Meaning. As the 'Social Analysis' component of this 'depth hermeneutic', chapters 4, 5, 6, and 7 highlights the work of Herbert Marcuse, exploring his critical social psychology; his notion of 'new forms of control'; his discussions of the relationship between culture, language and power; and his discussions of the rationalisation process leading to the rationalisation of culture and power relations. This is followed by both the 'Discourse Analysis' and 'Interpretation of Meaning' components of the 'depth hermeneutic' method. Chapter 8 offers an account of the historical emergence of the management discourses around subjectivity and culture and identifies its leading authors. Chapter 9 offers a critical interpretation of meaning of this discourse in the light of Marcuse's social analysis which highlights the ideological nature of (neo)Human Relations management.