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Möbius Management: The Internal Dynamics of Business Ethics Programmes
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management. (Cultural Matters Group)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9902-1191
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
Företagsekonomiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6843-4038
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The present study draws on the theoretical framework of Giorgio Agamben to conceptualize the dynamic that business ethics programmes create within companies—an area of study that is underexplored in organization and management research. We suggest that the “ethical” corporation can be regarded as a machine that dissolves the boundaries of the firm and conflates the goals and values of management, employees and the corporation—a process we call Möbius Management. Using ethnographic methods, we have studied the American-Hungarian IT company Prezi’s engagement in the Budapest Pride Parade, in a Roma settlement, and in a mission to help Syrian refugees. These different situations can be regarded as what Agamben calls “zones of indistinction”: places where seemingly contradictory values and categories are merged, and where the value of life is momentarily challenged. Entering these zones, employees’ personal engagement is encouraged and developed, which in turn strengthens bonds between employees and sustains an atmosphere of openness at the office. To make the interventions into company events that are also individually rewarding, management and employees downplay the political specificity of the situations in favor of emotional aspects and general references to humanist universalism. In this way, corporations with social visions can themselves also be regarded as “zones of indistinction” where idealism and economic gain, as well as individual and employee identities, are merged. In conclusion, the contrast between Prezi and the present political situation in Hungary, characterized by a rhetoric of inside and outside, accentuates the process and effect of Möbius management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
Giorgio Agamben, corporate social responsibility, homo sacer, zone of indistinction, sovereign power, biopower, biopolitics, business ethics programmes, corporate social responsibility, social value, the boundaryless organization, organizational boundaries, startup companies
National Category
Sociology Business Administration Engineering and Technology Economics and Business
Research subject
Sociology; Business Studies; Engineering Science with specialization in industrial engineering and management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-329449OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-329449DiVA: diva2:1141573
Conference
13th Conference of the European Sociological Association: (Un)Making Europe: Capitalism, Solidarities, Subjectivities Athens, Greece, 29 Aug. - 01 Sept. 2017
Projects
Videography of 'Alternative Entrepreneurships' - Prezi's cultivation of openness and anti-racism
Funder
Ragnar Söderbergs stiftelse
Available from: 2017-09-15 Created: 2017-09-15 Last updated: 2017-12-19

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