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Prefigurative Partaking: Employees' Environmental Activism in an Energy Utility
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management. University of Exeter Business School.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2898-9995
University of Exeter Business School.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0888-1362
2019 (English)In: Organization Studies, ISSN 0170-8406, E-ISSN 1741-3044Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The separation between an ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of organizational politics has become untenable in a rapidly changing political landscape, where people engage in environmental activism in many different domains. To understand contemporary environmental activism, we situate ourselves empirically within an energy utility, Ordalia [pseudonym], a large corporation active across Europe and heavily criticized by external activists for its carbon emitting operations. By merging Rancière’s method of equality and notion of ‘partaking’ with literature on prefiguration in social movements, we analyse everyday green actions pursued by Ordalia’s employees, which we conceptualize as ‘prefigurative partaking’. By focusing on six characterizing themes of prefigurative partaking – aspirational, individual, professional, critical, loyal and communal – we have found that employee activism is incremental, horizontal and boundaryless. We discuss these findings in relation to recent calls for more fruitful exchanges between social movement theory and organization studies, arguing that Rancière’s conceptualization of politics can help us study actions that span civil society and business. This complements and expands our understanding of environmental activism as a dispersed set of actions that can take place anywhere, and hence also at work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Activism, renewable energy, employee, Rancière, transformation, sustainability, climate change
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
Engineering Science with specialization in industrial engineering and management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-390559DOI: 0170840619847716OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-390559DiVA, id: diva2:1341998
Funder
Swedish Energy AgencyAvailable from: 2019-08-12 Created: 2019-08-12 Last updated: 2019-08-12

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Publisher's full texthttps://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0170840619847716

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