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Journal Articles Journal of Management Studies Year : 2022

Workers' Rites: Ritual Mediations and the Tensions of New Management

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Roberta Sferrazzo
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Abstract

Scholarship has highlighted tensions arising from the "new management ideology", an attempt to infuse formal organizations with community, informality and equality. Proposals to "liberate" companies have been received with a mix of skepticism and hope for their emancipatory possibilities. While the tensions arising from such proposals are known, less work examines the practices by which they are mediated in the workplace. Taking a ritual perspective, we argue that rituals' unique capacity to mediate oppositions makes it a powerful tool in the new management toolbox. Examining a liberated enterprise initiative in a French multinational company, we analyze how rituals structure, disavow, segment or maintain organizational tensions. While rituals constituted neo-normative controls, we also discuss the emancipatory possibilities for rituals in holding open unreconciled tensions and preventing closure. We discuss the implications for understanding neo-normative control through rituals, outlining a future research agenda for the study of rituals in new management.
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hal-03602215 , version 1 (08-03-2022)

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Gazi Islam, Roberta Sferrazzo. Workers' Rites: Ritual Mediations and the Tensions of New Management. Journal of Management Studies, 2022, 59 (2), pp.284-318. ⟨10.1111/joms.12708⟩. ⟨hal-03602215⟩
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