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  • 1.
    Brewis, Joanna
    et al.
    Univ Leicester, Sch Business, Leicester, Leics, England..
    Meisenbach, Rebecca
    Univ Missouri, Dept Commun, Columbia, MO USA..
    Rippin, Ann
    Univ Bristol, Sch Econ Finance & Management, Bristol, Avon, England..
    Risberg, Annette
    Copenhagen Business Sch, Dept Intercultural Commun & Management, Copenhagen, Denmark..
    Sayers, Janet
    Massey Univ Te Kunenga Ki Purehuroa, Sch Management, Palmerston North, New Zealand..
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Professor Heather Höpfl, 1948-2014: Eine Gedenkschrift2017In: Culture and Organization, ISSN 1475-9551, E-ISSN 1477-2760, Vol. 23, no 2, p. 81-84Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 2.
    Fornstedt, Helena
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Lindahl, Marcus
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Stalling Innovation Adoption through the Emergence of Neoconservative Market Structures: Observations from the Energy Sector2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Objectives and theoretical and practical relevance: The expectations on industrial actors in the energy transmission sector to lead and facilitate the transition to renewable energy solutions are building up. When significant financial institutions (such as coalitions of pension funds) are taking serious action to drop investments in coal, oil and gas, to instead invest in sustainable technologies, energy transmission is identified as one of the most central areas, insofar as it sets the limits for how renewable energy sources may interact, and it stakes out the direction for what kind of renewable energy technologies are worth investing in. What remains a question, however, is where the innovative spirit needed to facilitate a transition to renewable energy solutions find its power. Components and subsystems for energy transmission are characterized by extremely high demands on reliability and long product life cycles. Consequently, investing in new technology within this realm is seen as a risky endeavor. And energy transmission has therefore been known to be a market marked by a conservative reflex – a reflex that has worked against radical technological developments within this realm.

    Historically, this conservative reflex has been dealt with through strategic national development programs, through which daring and demanding customers have been integrated in the value-creating processes, for instance. As Fridlund (1999) has shown, this has driven development as well as diffusion/adoption of new products and technologies within this realm. However, the past decades have seen significant shifts in how energy markets are organized – how utility-customers interact with suppliers, and procure and otherwise relate to new technology. The aim of this paper is to explore structural changes within the energy transmission market that appear to be stalling innovation. More specifically, it looks into how changing business models amongst utilities and reorganized value chains in the procurement, construction, deployment, and maintenance of energy transmission infrastructure seem to have fed the conservative reflex integral to this market, and increased the reluctance to adopt new technology. With the analysis centering on how management ideologies and legal-political frameworks have spurred such changes, the paper highlights a set of conservative forces that are seldom mentioned in the debate around the transition to renewables, and that have been overseen in research on non-adoption of innovation – but which call for a re-consideration of dominating innovation and marketing strategies.

    Brief literature mapping and key references: To discuss adoption of energy transmission components and subsystems, the paper draws on research indebted to Rogers’s (1995) work on how diffusion processes are impacted by the ways in which markets are constituted and customers relate to novel offerings (eg, Frambach & Schillewaert 2002, MacVaugh and Schiavone 2010). MacVaugh’s and Schiavone’s (2010) attempt to synthesize existent research on non-adoption of innovation is of particular concern here, with the present analysis dealing with aspects that largely fall outside the ‘integrative model of factors limiting innovation adoption’ they seek to establish, thus extending the understanding of non- adoption encountered there.

    Method: The study builds on approximately 20 semi-structured interviews circling around the development, diffusion and adoption of new technology, around customer behavior and organization, and how these different aspects have changed over past decades. Directed towards product/system suppliers, intermediaries, customers/users and allied partners in the energy sector, the conservative theme and its associated dynamics emerged through the interpretative work following the interviews.

    Research question and theoretical development: In contrast to MacVaugh and Schiavone’s (2010) integrative model – which outlines, in a rather static way, how factors pertaining to the technology, the social structures and the conditions for learning in the market (may) stand in relation to (non-)adoption on an individual, organizational level and industry/market level – the present study seeks an understanding of a dynamics governed by managerial- ideological and legal-political forces that is restructuring and reconstituting this market: giving rise to new actors, increasing the complexity of intra- and inter-organizational relationships, and fragmenting the interests of the actors involved in the market networks, ultimately making them more reluctant to adopt new technologies.

    Findings: With the value chain of this industry spanning across public/private divides, and customers being characterized by increasing degrees of corporatization and privatization, energy markets have been subject to managerial-ideological and legal-political forces that have fragmented and extended the value chains in similar ways, by 1) preventing customers from being an integrative part of development processes, by 2) pushing customers to specialize and seek out business models that increase the dependence on various sub- contractors with limited innovation gain, and by 3) instituting new intermediaries in the procurement process (eg, centralized innovation purchasing units or Engineering Procurement Construction Companies).

    Conclusion and contribution to the field: Consequently, the potential benefits of an innovation becomes diluted upon several actors with no joint responsibility. Limiting the innovators’ capacity to convince the market to adopt new technology, and stealing lead customers of progressive purchasing power, this severely inhibits development as well as diffusion of innovation. With respect to theoretical contributions, the study introduces fragmented/ dispersed value chains or value networks into the (non-)adoption discourse, and puts the focus on the dynamics driving such fragmentation and dispersion.

    Managerial implications: These findings indicate that suppliers need refined innovation inception strategies that take new purchasing entities with narrow agendas into account, and customers may well have reason to re-assess or formulate specific innovation appropriation strategies. Organizations that have outsourced purchasing, construction and or operating services need to carefully secure systemic innovation need that sub-partners lack knowledge or incitements to attain. 

  • 3.
    Fowler, Nina
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Lindahl, Marcus
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Resistance and Accommodation of Project Management: A tale from the Ivory Tower of Academia2012In: 6th Making Projects Critical workshop, Manchester Business School on April 16th-17th 2012, Manchester, UK, 2012Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper, drawing on an empirical study of academic researchers pursuing collective research projects in engineering-, natural- and medical sciences, address the dynamics of accommodation and resistance of project management technology such as tools, techniques and taxonomy. We ground our analysis of accommodation and resistance on three interconnected empirical questions. First, we want to question the means to manage, critically dissecting what skills and methods are in use for running complex research projects within university settings. Secondly, we want to question the authority or legitimacy to manage in the sense if, how and in what way project managers/coordinators have or may appropriate necessary legitimacy for applying such obtrusive management techniques such as project management prescribes. Third, we want to question the identity work (of the self and of the collective) of how potentially to mitigate ideas of freedom and independence with efficient coordination through project management.

  • 4.
    Fowler, Nina
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Lindahl, Marcus
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    The Projectification of University Research: A study of resistance and accommodation of projectmanagement tools & techniques2015In: International Journal of Managing Projects in Business/Emerald, ISSN 1753-8378, E-ISSN 1753-8386, Vol. 8, no 1, p. 9-32Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to discuss and critically examine how formal project management (PM) tools and techniques affect the organization of university research.

    Design/methodology/approach - The paper is empirically grounded and explores how university researchers respond to an increasing emphasis on formalized PM methods to manage research work conducted within the university. The empirical material consists of 20 interviews with research staff working with engineering, natural and medical sciences at Uppsala University, Sweden. Describing how PM techniques are increasingly imposed upon the researchers, the paper analyses different modes of relating to the formalized toolsets, and discusses their accommodation and resistance within academia.

    Findings - One key finding is how the PM formalization is resisted by partial accommodation and containment. This can be described in terms of an enactment of a front-and a backstage of the research organization. At the front-stage, formal PM technology and terminology is used by specially appointed research managers as means of presenting to funding agencies and other external parties. At the backstage, researchers carry out work in more traditional forms.

    Practical implications - The findings indicate a challenge for research to comply with increased PM formalization and secure on-going open-ended research. Second, the paper points toward a risk of young researchers being nudged out into "front-stage" administration with little chance of returning to "backstage" research.

    Originality/value - This paper builds upon a growing area of the critical analysis of PM practice, offering insights into the tension between the values and norms of university research and an on-going formalization of PM in some organizational contexts.

  • 5.
    Lennerfors, Thomas Taro
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Entrepreneurial subjectivities: Lacan and Badiou2012In: Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism, 2012Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The entrepreneurial subject has long been a highly contested issue within entrepreneurship research (e.g. Gartner, 1988). In an oft-cited, recent paper Jones and Spicer (2005) introduce Lacan to the field of entrepreneurship research in an attempt to dissect the field’s obsession with the entrepreneur, encouraging researchers to take on the question of the entrepreneurial subject as, precisely, a question – rather than hunting down an answer. As an open-ended, undecided nature, the Lacanian subject, and its inherent lack, has since been invoked to better understand the primus motor of a self-revolutionizing capitalist dynamics and an economy of desire and excess (e.g. Stavrakakis, 2000; Sharpe, 2006; Zupančič, 2006), creativity in organizations and the value of seemingly useless and excessive activities (e.g. Driver 2008; 2009), and the generation and valorization of excess also in a more general sense – and its perverting effects (e.g. Sköld, 2010).

     

    This paper presents and discusses the implications of Lacan's three different subject positions' - psychosis, neurosis, and perversion - for entrepreneurship research. It then goes beyond Lacan to French philosopher Alain Badiou, who has written extensively on the question of the subject. By introducing Badiou's understanding of the faithful, reactive, and obscure subject positions in the domains of art, politics, science and love, and in some way importing them into the field of business studies, we hope to contribute to the debate on the subject in entrepreneurship research, as well as to theoretically explore the relationship between Lacan's and Badiou's understanding of subject positions.

  • 6. Lennerfors, Thomas Taro
    et al.
    Sköld, David
    Dept. of Business & Administration, Lund University.
    The Metastases of Winning: Svenska Spel advertisements through the lens of a Žižeko-Lacanian critique of ideology2009In: Culture and Organization, ISSN 1475-9551, E-ISSN 1477-2760, Vol. 15, no 3-4, p. 347-360Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In a time when the privileged market position of Svenska Spel is under intense scrutiny by EU officials and pro-market ideologists, this study provides a critical reading of the advertisement material issued by this Swedish state-run gambling operation. Drawing on a Zizeko–Lacanian critique of ideology, the essay identifies and theorizes different kinds of enjoyment promoted in a number of TV advertisement campaigns issued by the company. By taking recourse to the Lacanian notion of jouissance, the study throws light on the radical ambiguity that resides in the gambling win – an ambiguity which manifests itself in the win being pictured as both pleasurable and painful. Moreover, the essay suggests that Svenska Spel entirely excludes the enjoyment derived from the gambling experience as such from its advertisement material, possibly as a consequence of the threat that the promotion of such enjoyment would pose to the company’s legitimacy.

  • 7.
    Lindahl, Marcus
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Fornstedt, Helena
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    STALLING INNOVATION ADOPTION THROUGH THE EMERGENCE OF NEOCONSERVATIVE MARKET STRUCTURES – OBSERVATIONS FROM THE ENERGY SECTOR2015Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 8.
    Lindahl, Marcus
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Fowler, Nina
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Dealing with the projectification of academic research – Practices of resistance andaccommodation in scientific laboratories2013In: On practive and knowledge eruptions, 2013, p. 108-Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Dealing with the projectification of academic research– Practices of resistance and accommodation in scientificlaboratoriesLeading and managing knowledge intensive firmsthat are populated by scientists and engineers, has longbeen conceived as a major challenge (Etzioni, 1964). It isgenerally assumed that such high-level knowledge workersare badly suited for traditional means of control, morelikely to respond to normative measures and unobtrusivetechniques. Looking at the dominant form of managementcontrol system within government funded researchin Sweden, this paper explores the role of the projectas a tool/technique that has emerged as somewhat of auniversal remedy supposed to respond to the challengesinvolved in leading high-level knowledge work.By consequence, it seems, project managementmethods and techniques are unequivocally called for tostructure, guide and control research efforts. Researchersare being forced to appropriate and use PM methodologiesin order to become viable for funding as well as inreporting procedures, and in the handling of the researchon a daily basis. We thus appear to be witnessing a projectificationof academic research, which is manifested inapplication frameworks, in the taxonomies guiding theresearch efforts, and in the daily coordination and reportingof activities undertaken.Our interest lies in exploring the workings of thisdisciplinary regime, and the potential conflict it entailsbetween researchers perceiving themselves and theirresearch activities as being involved, on the one hand,in a process whereby value unfolds in independent andspontaneous ways, and, on the other, in a process of mostinstrumental and tightly controlled value-creation. Howthese kinds of conflicts are being handled, and how thestrategies emerging in response to such a regime appearsto affect how the research activities are played out, is thefocal point of this paper.

  • 9.
    Nina, Fowler
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Larsson, Anna
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Occupying academic space – and a return of the useless university2014Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Over the last decades, the conviction that the university needs to become more entrepreneurial, and learn to perform functions traditionally ascribed to the industrial sphere, has become somewhat of a commonplace. One might even claim that Clark’s notion of the ‘entrepreneurial university’ (1998) has taken on a hegemonic role in debates on innovation and technology transfer – one that is manifested through a broad range of programs and practices intended to enhance and disseminate the value creating activities taking place within the academic realm (see also Shattock, 2005; Williams et al., 2003). While this increasing emphasis on the economic usefulness of universities clearly makes out a central component in the neo-liberal movement that has swept Western capitalist societies over the past 30 years or so, it also makes out the point of departure and the object of analysis of this paper. This insofar as the present research project is conducted from a place within the university that is a direct effect of its ambitions to become more entrepreneurial, and this insofar as it takes an entrepreneurial venture lodged within the university as its starting point for contemplating and conceiving contemporary economic activities at the borderlands of academic and industrial realms.

    The transition to a low-carbon economy is arguably one of the most pressing challenges of our time, with a lot of the renewable energy technologies envisioned by the European Strategic Energy Technology plan for 2011 still being under development, and yet having to prove themselves as technologically reliable and commercially viable alternatives. Ocean wave energy is one such technology, which is expected to play a pivotal role in this transition, with a forecasted electricity production potential of 150 to 240 TWh annually over the coming 15 year period – or approximately one per cent of the projected electricity con- sumption in Europe during the same period. The technologies developed and designed for wave energy conversion are still, however, in their infancy, with the most advanced systems iterating between prototyping and demonstration. So, moreover, is the market, which is still to be convinced of the technological reliability and economic viability of this kind of renewable energy system. Great challenges thus remain in order to reach the EU targets.

    Judging by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7) on Co- operation efforts within the renewable energy sector, the policy makers at EU level expect university research to operate as a central node in such developments – to be both a central driver in the pursuit of the EU targets, and an administrative force, organising collaborative research, development, demonstration and diffusion efforts associated with the renewable technology (see FP7: Cooperation Work Programme: Energy – C(2011)5068). EU policy does, in other words, both presuppose and prompt the existence of the entrepreneurial university, expecting it to play a key role in ramping up the demonstration, further develop- ment and production of renewable technologies such as ocean wave energy conversion.

    Much in line with national as well as European innovation policy, one potential system for renewable energy production off shore is currently being developed at Uppsala University, in collaboration with a spinoff company, a network of suppliers, as well as a utility company. After a decade of research and development – including numerous iterations of inventive engineering solutions, several stages of prototype testing, legal processes, political promotion, financial privation, and commercial initiatives to establish partnerships – this development project is currently moving into large scale pilot testing, with the technology being deployed in the world’s first pilot farm for wave energy. Begun in the late autumn 2013, this implementation is planned to materialise over a five year period.

    On the face of it, this venture may well seem like a poster child for the innovating, entrepreneurial university, whose emergence Clark chronicled in 1998, and which since has grown into an ideal model for politicians, top administrators at universities, and funding bodies alike. A closer look at these attempts to involve the university in a process of technological innovation raises, however, a number of questions concerning how attempts to organise innovation at the borderlands of academic and commercial domains may in fact alter that institution which serves as a condition for this collaboration. Most fundamentally, it raises the question of how academic practices take on particular performative dimensions as a consequence of their involvement in an innovation project that gradually, and in an iterative manner, moves from basic research, development and assessment of singular prototypes, to industrial assembly and deployment of entire farms of wave energy converters – an innovation project that extends the scientific laboratory beyond the traditional academic confines of prototyping, into realms of large-scale demonstration, which is carried out in commercial collaborations.

    With respect to such performative effects, the paper pays particular attention to a double movement, whereby 1) a particular form of being, on the one hand, gets incorporated into the realm of the university – an entrepreneurial being who has to adapt to both internal and external market spaces, where very different kinds of investments are being valued and exchanged; an entrepreneurial being engaged in endless competitive pursuits, driven by a range of different calculative and instrumental logics and interests; and 2) supplementing that, tugging in the opposite direction, a wasteful, excessive and non-useful outgrowth is creating a space of creative freedom at the peripheral borders of the entrepreneurial activities (cf. Styhre, 2013).

    To theorize this movement, emerging in the wake of the foreign, neo-liberal (fantasy) object gushing into and occupying the academic realm, the paper turns to Deleuze and Guattari’s notions of the major and the minor (1972/1986), or molar and molecular (1973/1980), in an attempt to extend and move beyond theoretical discussions of the organizing effects of objects located in shared spaces, so called boundary objects (see, e.g., Star & Greisemer, 1989; Star, 2010). 

  • 10.
    Rehn, Alf
    et al.
    Åbo Akademi University, Department of Organization and Management.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    From Wallet Arithmetics to Stock-Market Thriller2010In: The Rise of Management-Speak / [ed] Björn Rombach & Patrik Zapata, Stockholm: Santérus Academic Press , 2010, p. 129-144Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 11.
    Rehn, Alf
    et al.
    Åbo Akademi University, Department of Organization and Management.
    Sköld, David
    Dept. of Industrial Economics and Management, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Från plånboksaritmetik till börsrasrysare: underhållning, kvällspress och ekonomisk analys2005In: Den framgångsrika ekonomiskan / [ed] Björn Rombach & Patrik Zapata Johansson, Stockholm: Santérus Förlag , 2005, p. 130-148Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 12.
    Rehn, Alf
    et al.
    Dept of Business Administration, Åbo Akademi University, Åbo, Finland.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    ‘I Love the Dough’: Rap Lyrics as a Minor Economic Literature2012In: Organizations and Popular Culture: Information, Representation and Transformation / [ed] Carl Rhodes & Simon Lilley, New York: Routledge, 2012, p. 68-82Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Whereas literary and cinematic representations of economy and management have been analyzed for some time (see e.g. Czarniawska and Guillet de Monthoux, 1994; Hassard and Holliday, 1998), precious little interest has been directed to similar aspects in popular music. Consequently, this paper analyzes economy as it is portrayed and disseminated in rap music. By discussing how conspicuous consumption and economic discourses are used in rap lyrics to convey the image of success and possibility, the paper attempts a reading of contemporary capitalism in a particular cultural setting through the notion of a minor literature as theorized by Deleuze and Guattari. The multidimensionality and ironical approach held to the ‘bling-bling’ thus problematizes simplified analyzes of economic language as colonizing (cf. Gibson-Graham, 1996) and instead opens up to a reading of economy as openness.

  • 13.
    Rehn, Alf
    et al.
    Department of Industrial Economics and Management, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden .
    Sköld, David
    Department of Industrial Economics and Management, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.
    'I Love the Dough': Rap Lyrics as a Minor Economic Literature2005In: Culture and Organization, ISSN 1475-9551, E-ISSN 1477-2760, Vol. 11, no 1, p. 17-31Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Whereas literary and cinematic representations of economy and management have been analyzed for some time (see e.g. Czarniawska and Guillet de Monthoux, 1994; Hassard and Holliday, 1998), precious little interest has been directed to similar aspects in popular music. Consequently, this paper analyzes economy as it is portrayed and disseminated in rap music. By discussing how conspicuous consumption and economic discourses are used in rap lyrics to convey the image of success and possibility, the paper attempts a reading of contemporary capitalism in a particular cultural setting through the notion of a minor literature as theorized by Deleuze and Guattari. The multidimensionality and ironical approach held to the ‘bling-bling’ thus problematizes simplified analyzes of economic language as colonizing (cf. Gibson-Graham, 1996) and instead opens up to a reading of economy as openness.

  • 14.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Ambiguous consequences of keeping going2011Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Over the last thirty years or so, an enterprising discourse has taken a firm hold over western society, and its corporate landscape (see e.g., du Gay, 2004). Entailing a shift away from bureaucratic organizing ideals towards enterprising and entrepreneurship as means for reform, the manager-gone-entrepreneur has thereby entered center stage, and often been hailed a universal remedy to stagnating business operations. Constantly on the look-out for opportunities, willing and autonomous enough to venture into unexploited, highly uncertain territory, the competence and risk-willing mindset of the manager-entrepreneur has been posited as an asset capable of vitalizing private as well as public organizations, quite regardless of either size or scope of the affairs. 

    Having entered a hegemonic position in contemporary society such an enterprising discourse has of course not been left unproblematized. The critical voices that have addressed it appear to have commented mostly, however, on either macro-level issues concerned with its effects and consequences for public management practice. Or on micro-level issues concerned with peoples’ experiences of being subjected to this kind of discourse—and to the exploitative dynamics supposedly inherent to it. In contrast to these two major stands of debate, we concentrate in this paper on how such an enterprising discourse, during the 1980’s, came to manifest itself in the upper management tier of privately held Swedish shipping company Salén Invest. Providing a retroactive interpretation of how the organization was shattered by all too entrepreneurial, risk-willing managers, and of how various ventures rose from the ashes through the relentless efforts the same managers-entrepreneurs, the paper takes to discussing the ambiguity involved in the entrepreneurial ethos of ‘keep going’—how the enterprising spirit involved in relentless pursuits for autonomy, leaves wretched villains in its wake.

  • 15.
    Sköld, David
    Dept. of Business & Administration, Lund University.
    An Evil King ‘Thing’, Rising, Falling and Multiplying in Trucker Culture2009In: Organization, ISSN 1350-5084, E-ISSN 1461-7323, Vol. 16, no 2, p. 249-266Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Paraphrasing Slavoj Žižek (1991: 65), the paper proposes that: ‘‘The Scania Truck does not exist’: it is nothing but ‘the symptom of passionate users’, its power of fascination masks the void of its nonexistence’. Along the same line of reasoning, it argues, again paraphrasing Žižek, that ‘the customized Scania truck is becoming the sinthome of its user’. (c.f. Žižek, 1991: 137). The paper does so by digging into a customizing discourse found in trucker media; by describing some of the customizing endeavours of Lennart Källström, a passionate truck owner, haulier and waste management entrepreneur; and by describing the rise and fall of a customizing King, and the Evil which befalls him in this process. The main purpose of the paper is to explore the workings and the effects of a circular movement of desire, fantasy and ideology at play in truck design development. As is already evident, Žižek is the main support in this endeavour.

  • 16.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Att slå mynt av den befriande kärleken2010In: Regler: Civilisationens Ryggrad (kapitel i bok) / [ed] Claes Gustafsson, Stockholm: Santérus förlag , 2010Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 17.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Beyond an Immanent Theory of Desire: Reconsidering Deleuzian Creativity Research2012In: Proceedings of 28th EGOS (European Group of Organizational Studies) Colloquium, Helsinki, Finland: Design? From Designing Organizational Creativity to Creativity for Organizational Design / [ed] Eero Vaara et al., 2012Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Resorting to the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari’s has lately become a popular move for organizational research that strives to foreground the social dimension of creativity (see, e.g., Brewis et al. 2006; Jeanes, 2006; Styhre, 2006a; 2006b; Thanem, 2006; Case & Selvester, 2006). This maneuver has typically turned on the notion of desire, which in Deleuze and Guattari’s works is conceptualized as an inherently social and creative force that works by upsetting and transforming social formations (cf. Deleuze & Guattari, 1983 [1972]). In so doing – in advocating a Deleuzoguattarian schizoanalysis – it has committed, again and again, to a rather brute dismissal of Lacanian psychoanalysis, treating it as a discipline assumed to be of little or no value for understanding social aspects of creativity (see, e.g., Brewis et al. 2006; Styhre, 2006a; Thanem, 2006). Exploring some often neglected linkages between Lacanian psychoanalysis and Deleuzoguattarian thought, this article seeks to intervene with such – seemingly – premature conclusions, and to illustrate how Lacan may be conceptualized as a thinker of creativity that foregrounds its social dimensions. This, in a way that extends recent work which turns to Lacan to rethink organizational creativity (see, e.g., Driver, 2008; 2009). 

  • 18.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Co-creation at the limit of im/possibility: Learning from Lacan about the logic of desire and the limits of Deleuze2013In: Processes of Organizational Creativity: Collective Entrepreneurship, Co-Creation and Collaborative Innovation / [ed] Daniel Hjorth, Chris Steyaert, Gail Whiteman, 2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Contemporary marketing and innovation strategies often turn on the notion of desire, seeking to address most individual concerns, provide thrills and enjoyment, and have customers lust for the next novelty by turning it into a compelling experience. In doing so, they often seek to mobilize customer movements that contribute to the value creating processes by exploring far out ideas, inventing novel concepts, and valorizing new aspects of the products, services, or experiences that are being promoted. Encouraging passionate engagement with the offering, and enrolling the customer as co-designer, co-creator, co-producer will, moreover, tighten the bond to the supplying party, stage an added value, unify and enhance the common interests of the parties involved. Judging, at least, by much contemporary innovation management and marketing literature, such is the dominating belief in many domains of post-industrial society, with its focus on customization and the co-creation of individualized, unique, singular experiences. [N:1] One of the central concerns of seminal works on co-creation, such as C.K. Prahalad and Venkat Ramaswamy’s (2004) The Future of Competition: Co-Creating Unique Value With Customers, is how to organize the customer interface to best handle this value creating locus – facilitate, but indeed also set limits to participation in the creation and production processes.

    While such visionary and ultimately normative work exists in abundance, the outlook on how co-creation imperatives of this kind may operate with respect to unconscious desires, and how they may stand in relation to the creative input/output generated at this limit of (im)possibility, is however far less explored and theoretically underdeveloped. Put differently, little management, organization, or marketing research has paid any serious theoretical attention to the regulative and the creative powers of the fantasies and desires that are being staged, activated, and perhaps also directed through marketing schemes and PR efforts which emphasize individualized customer dialogues and the co-creation of unique and singular experiences. Little research has paid any serious theoretical attention to the structural or machinic workings of the creative forces that gain their momentum from seductive marketing fantasies, and thrive on desire; little research has paid any serious attention to the ethics and the politics involved also in the inadvertent consequences and (un)manageable off-shoots that these kinds of management and marketing strategies may ultimately generate (for a few exceptions, see, e.g., Cederström & Grassman, 2010; Sköld, 2009; 2010; Sköld & Olaison, 2012). The theoretical understanding of this inter-relational locus of value creation and innovation appears, therefore, to be insufficiently advanced, and makes out the main target of this paper.

    As of late, a more critically minded foray of management studies has indeed begun to interrogate the value creating dynamics implied by such collaborative (corporate) schemes and strategies (for an overview of this work, see, e.g., Cova et al., 2011). In a series of publications, Adam Arvidsson (2005; 2006; 2007; 2008; 2009; 2011) has for instance explored how the social production involved in brand consumption, which turns a multitude of consumers into a community that circles around a certain brand, is subject to a series of techniques that administrate it, and use it as a source for extracting surplus value. Cultivating what he terms an ethical social bond that turns on affect, shared fantasies and experiences, such schemes and such a logic makes brand consumption and to some extent also customer co-creation into an instance of immaterial labor, which is systematically exploited by the productive power of Capital, according to Arvidsson’s largely Marxist-Foucauldian analysis, which also draws on Italian autonomist thinkers such as Maurizio Lazzarato (1996), Paolo Virno (2004), and Christian Marazzi (2008) to understand how immaterial labor is subsumed by the capitalist machine.

    Remaining within a theoretical matrix dominated by Karl Marx and Michel Foucault, but concentrating more exclusively on the political aspects of customer co-creation – more so than ethical ones – Detlev Zwick, Samuel Bonsu, and Aron Darmody (2008) have inquired, moreover, into how such strategies often seek to generate particular lifestyles and knowledge communities by working through the freedom of the user-customer, rather than through normative control measures, in both intentional and highly sophisticated ways. By means of various procedures and techniques that posit co-creation as something desirable, and an arena for autonomy and self-actualization (e.g., formal competitions and awards, or more informal reward systems), many corporate discourses circling around this phenomenon effectively encourage user-customers to generate know-how and creative input, which may be incorporated into value creating processes. Using a Foucauldian terminology, co-creation strategies thus make out a form of ‘marketing governmentality’ in Zwick et al.’s (2008: 163) analysis – a form of productive power regimes aimed at reconfiguring the social relations of production, and (investing life into the accumulation of capital, by) operating on and through the bodies of user-customers to generate a kind of subjects that are ‘at once free and controllable, creative and docile’. Subjecting us to what might – with a further Foucault-inflected terminology – be termed a bio-political power, the co-creation paradigm represent, in Zwick et al.’s analysis, a radicalized co-optation of user-customers’ creative and productive capacity that far exceeds the immaterial labor which Arvidsson concentrates on, and which industrial realms long have known to expropriate from counter-cultural movements (see, e.g., Bell, 1973; Frank, 1998). In this co-optation, capital indeed desires the autonomous creativity of the user-customers, extracting surplus value from it, and exploiting it as free labor.

    In what appears to be a reaction to how such analyses see labor and exploitation in all things voluntary, fun, and playful that are staged through commercial, collaborative platforms – and doing so quite regardless of the particular rationales for participating, or the specific modes and consequences of doing so – the critical engagements with co-creation have also turned to exploring the nuances of such inter-relations, and the shifts involved in the power plays between consumers and producers. While indeed acknowledging that co-creation may involve elements of exploitation – even a double exploitation, insofar as customers’ individualizing work, which is uncompensated in the first place, also may motivate producers to charge a premium price when the produce is sold back to the them – Siwarit Pongsakornrungsilp and Jonathan Schroeder (2011) have focused attention on how the work put in by co-consuming communities may serve as a platform that also enables them, to some degree, to unite and negotiate dominating interests, and thereby gain power towards producers and brand owners. Such communities may for instance limit the possibilities of intervening in the cultural practices of the community, with the agency granted to the customers thus offering an avenue for ‘consumer empowerment’ in the midst of the double exploitation that is also going on.

    Around the notion of co-creation, we can thus begin to discern (i) a visionary discourse, which draws inspiration from a number of different practices that are supposed to illustrate its dynamics, and (ii) a more critical-analytical discourse that engages with, or otherwise assumes the existence of co-creation practices, inquiring for instance into the ethics and the politics implied by such a value creation paradigm. While the first kind of discourse approaches the phenomenon from a management perspective, and supposedly exerts a performative power or normative influence over management practices through the powerful visions/fantasies it conveys, the second kind of discourse is one that raises a number of questions with respect to the phenomenon that this fantasy is supposed to represent, and seeks to understand and uncover its workings. More specifically, we see how this latter discourse offers an analysis that circles around various ethical and political aspects of the strategies implied by the co-creation paradigm. One that at the same time acknowledges their power, and recognizes the agency on part of consumers, and communities thereof, to resist or negotiate them in more or less potent ways – and perhaps utilize them for their own ends. Taken together, the analysis it offers also points to how these aspects are inextricably intertwined, with Arvidsson’s analysis of the ‘ethical economy’ having political implications, insofar as it outlines rationales for participating in social production as well as strategies for the populace to gain more power over brand evaluation. Conversely, Zwick et al. (2008) point to ethical aspects and implications of the marketing governmentality and the bio-political power exerted upon consumers and user-customers through co-creation strategies. And although it remains implicit in their argument, Pongsakornrungsilp and Schroeder (2011) could be said to deal with both these aspects as they investigate the possibilities of an ethics of empowerment in different political strategies for handling and to some extent countering the power structures at play.

    Oddly enough, however, these discourses appear to leave the notion of desire pretty much unproblematized in their respective attempts to work out the ethical and the political implications of desiring production under a co-creation paradigm. Both discourses certainly imply that the customers’ desire is a central component of this paradigm. In Prahalad and Ramaswamy’s (2004) work, it is the precondition that motivates particularized, one-to-one relationships to customers – which is, they argue, the best way to meet, and supposedly also still their desire. Zwick et al. (2008) further suggest that experiences of alienation and defiance on part of user-customers, and a ‘non-identification’ with the standardized offerings available in the market, is what feeds this desire for creative measures and renewed participation in processes of co-creation (see also Arvidsson, 2006: 73). In Arvidsson’s (2009) analysis, the value creation/production mobilized through co-creation strategies finds much of its fuel, moreover, in the social ties and the communities established around co-creative practices. Crucial for understanding this kind of social production is, Arvidsson suggests, the Aristotelian notion of philía, which is taken to mean the ability to establish connections, friendships, and build community. This by being both amaible and highly esteemed within the social context. A desire to go beyond standard offerings and stand out from the collective, on the one hand, and to be desirable and desired by a customizing community, on the other, thus appears to lie at the heart of the value production taking place in co-creation, according to the synthesized analysis encountered in the discourses above. But while these discourses indeed acknowledge, in different ways, that lust, adoration, and desire are most central components for motivating and sustaining participation in co-creation, and generating value within a paradigm of co-creation, little attention has been paid to how these components might work through the kind of practices promoted/problematized by these discourses – to the structural or machinic nature of the desiring production mobilized by such post-industrial strategies, and to the structural consequences of a kind of social bond that feeds on desire, and the displacement of any standard offering, or limit of im/possibility. Again, how desire might work in a productive fashion within a post-industrial capitalist machine, and what kind of ethics and politics may be involved in different modes of relating to the injunction to co-create, appears to be lacking recent critical engagements in this area. To what extent the desiring production that is set in motion by a co-creation paradigm indeed plays into and contributes to unifying the interests of the parties involved, is also a question that merits far more attention than it currently has been granted.

    Now, a most intuitive move to better understand the creative and productive nature of desire in relation to co-creative practices would be to consult the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. Owing both to his sole-authored works, and those which he wrote with political activist and Lacanian psychoanalyst Félix Guattari, Deleuze has for instance been hailed as ‘the champion of desire, free flux and anarchic experimentation’ by Louise Burchill (Badiou, 1997/2000: xii). And by consequence, his thinking has lately been deployed within the field of management and organization in order to better understand the relationship between desire and creativity, and to rethink notions such as passion, motivation, non-organization, and entrepreneurship. [N:2] Moreover has Deleuze’s thought, and particularly that part of his philosophical œuvre which he co-authored with Guattari, been described – for instance by Deleuze himself – as a political philosophy. [N:3] One that seeks to understand the workings of power within capitalist machineries, and that explores and promotes the revolutionary potential of desire, and desiring-production. Furthermore has Foucault suggested, in the preface to the English translation of Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia from 1977, that this particular book had best be read as a book on ethics, delineating an art of both thinking and of living so as to overturn ‘the established order’ (xiv). Invoking Deleuze’s thinking to better understand how desire works in a creative and productive manner through the machineries mobilized by co-creation strategies, and the ethics and the politics involved in different modes of relating to the socio-economic machineries, may thereby seem like a most fitting enterprise.

    However, forty years have passed since Anti-Oedipus was first published in France, and more than thirty years have passed since the English translation it accessible to a wider audience. Since then, the logic of Deleuze’s thought and the politics it implies have not only been subject to intense dispute and debate, but also radical re-interpretation, and perhaps even shrewd appropriation. Drawing heavily on Alain Badiou’s (1997/2000) and Manuel DeLanda’s (2002) work, Slavoj Žižek (2004) has for instance confronted Deleuze’s thinking with the possibility that it rests on two quite different ontologies – which we shall have reason to come back to later on. Moreover has Žižek – owing to observations made by Jean-Jacques Lecercle (1996) and Brian Massumi (2003) – suggested that the later Deleuze, the one who teamed up with Guattari in the late 1960’s, has become the ideologist of late capitalism. This by virtue of capitalism’s ingenuity to come up with marketing schemes that invite us, through a most seductive play of promises, to participate and engage on our own terms – offering themselves to us, for instance, as rare and valuable opportunities to manifest our individuality and our autonomy (see again Sköld, 2010). Put differently, the machinery implied by a post-industrial dynamics which is centered around co-creation – geared, as it were, by tools and techniques that seek to provide singular, intensive and affective experiences, and that encourage transgressions, continuous reinventions of our selves, and ever novel manifestations of who we have come to be – could be said to have appropriated the ethics and the politics promoted by Deleuze and Guattari in Anti-Oedipus. In a time when this thinking may thus have lost its revolutionary potential, disarmed by the same orders they were supposed to overturn, and made into yet another means for value creation, what may indeed Deleuze, and perhaps also Guattari, have to offer? And which Deleuze?

    As the title of Anti-Oedipus makes clear, this is a book that goes against a reigning psychoanalytic doxa, and particularly a Freudian psychoanalytical paradigm. Within the field of organization studies, the import of Deleuzian ideas to understand creativity and desire has often taken this blow against psychoanalysis to also be an attack on the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan; while it has argued that a Deleuzian understanding of desire may help us understand its creative and its productive powers, it has in the same instance denounced the Lacanian notion of desire as having little bearing on such investigations (see also Jones, 2010). This, however, is a vulgar and a most problematic simplification. First of all, because it involves a misrecognition, on a theoretical level, of the close affinity between Lacan and Deleuze (and indeed also Guattari, the latter having been a student of Lacan’s), and the ways in which Deleuze’s thinking is in fact indepted to Lacan – to Žižek’s view, the ontology manifested in the Deleuze’s The Logic of Sense from 1969 is in fact best understood as a materialist, Lacanian ontology, and also in later works such as Anti-Oedipus the homage to Lacan in is quite striking, although opinions part on what body of thought (Deleuze, Deleuze & Guattari, or Lacan) carries the most potential for providing a potent critique of the contemporary ideological landscape, and how they actually relate to one another (cf. Smith, 2004). Second, this simplification is problematic because it points to the premature conclusion that Lacan has little purchase for understanding the productive nature of desire, and how it might work through the socio-economic machineries mobilized through, for instance, co-creation schemes and strategies – and in a structural way play into the generation of the new.

    In an attempt to better understand the machineries of desire mobilized by a co-creation paradigm, this paper therefore sets out to explore: (i) how Deleuze and Guattari conceptualize the ways in which desire has become subjected to different forms of representational régimes, and how the politics promoted for liberating desire and desiring production may relate to the workings of the post-industrial capitalist machine outlined by the discourses encountered above; and (ii) how one might understand Lacanian thought as providing an extension to the work of Deleuze and Guattari under such circumstances – one that at the same time may offer an alternative perspective on the ethics and the politics involved in this inter-relational locus of value creation, and at the same time expand theoretically on the workings of the double bind between customer and supplier, which is implied by a co-creation paradigm.

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    Notes:

    1. For influential work supporting this belief, see, e.g., Grönroos, 2000; Pine II & Gilmore, 1999; Vargo & Lusch, 2004; von Hippel, 1988; 2005. For a somewhat longer, and indeed also broader view on this phenomenon, see, e.g., Davis, 1987; Grönroos & Gummesson, 1985; Levitt, 1986; Pine II, 1992.

    2. See, e.g., Brewis et al. 2006; Case & Selvester, 2006; Jeanes, 2006; Linstead & Thanem, 2007; Pedersen, 2008; Rehn & Sköld, 2005; Styhre, 2006a; 2006b; Sørensen, 2006; Thanem, 2006; Hjorth, 2007; 2011.

    3. In a conversation with Antonio Negri from 1990, Deleuze claims that ‘Anti-Oedipus was from beginning to end a book of political philosophy.’ (Deleuze, 1995: 170) In another much older conversation, from 1972, with Catherine Backès-Clément, Guattari explains this same ambition in slightly different words: ‘what we were both looking for was a discourse that was at once political and psychiatric, without reducing either dimension to the other.’ (Deleuze, 1995: 15)

  • 19.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Co-creation at the limit of im/possibility: Learning from Lacan about the logic of desire and the limits of Deleuze?2013In: Re-working Lacan at work: Abstracts / [ed] Gilles Arnaud, Benedicte Vidaillet, Carine Chemin-Bouzir, Stijn Vanheule, Carl Cederström, Casper Hoedemaekers, Laurent Chaine, ESCP Europe Paris, 2013, p. 59-62Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Contemporary marketing and innovation strategies often turn on the notion of desire, seeking to address most individual concerns, provide thrills and enjoyment, and have customers lust for the next novelty by turning it into a compelling experience. In doing so, they often seek to mobilize customer movements that contribute to the value creating processes by exploring far out ideas, inventing novel concepts, and valorising new aspects of the products, services, or experiences that are being promoted. Encouraging passionate engagement with the offering, and enrolling the customer as co-designer, co-creator, co-producer will, moreover, tighten the bond to the supplying party, stage an added value, unify and enhance the common interests of the parties involved. Judging, at least, by much contemporary innovation management and marketing literature, such is the dominating belief in many domains of post-industrial society, with its focus on customization and the co-creation of individualized, unique, singular experiences. [N:1] One of the central concerns of seminal works on co-creation, such as C.K. Prahalad and Venkat Ramaswamy’s (2004) The Future of Competition: Co-Creating Unique Value With Customers, is how to organize the interface to the customers – facilitate, but indeed also set limits to participation in the creation and production processes.

    While such visionary and ultimately normative work exists in abundance, the outlook on how co-creation imperatives of this kind may operate with respect to unconscious desires, and how they may stand in relation to the creative input/output generated at this limit of (im)possibility, is however far less explored and theoretically underdeveloped. Put differently, little management, organization, or marketing research has paid any serious theoretical attention to the regulative and the creative powers of the fantasies and desires that are being staged, activated, and perhaps also directed through marketing schemes and PR efforts which emphasize individualized customer dialogues and the co-creation of unique and singular experiences. Little research has paid any serious theoretical attention to the structural or machinic workings of the creative forces that gain their momentum from such seductive marketing fantasies, and thrive on desire – and to the ethics and the politics involved in such movements, and in the (un)manageable off-shoots they may ultimately generate (for a few exceptions, see, e.g., Cederström & Grassman, 2010; Sköld, 2009; 2010; Sköld & Olaison, 2012). The theoretical understanding of this inter-relational locus of value creation and innovation appears, therefore, to be insufficiently advanced, and makes out the main target of this paper. 

    Now, a most intuitive move to better understand the creative and productive nature of desire, and the ethics and the politics involved in the kind of desiring production prompted by co-creation practices, would be to consult the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze – particularly the works he co-authored with political activist and Lacanian psychoanalyst Félix Guattari. Demonstrating how desiring-production has become bound up with power, domination, and repression under different kinds of socio-economic régimes, and how it plays a central role in the self-revolutionary or deterritorializing/reterritorializing movement of the capitalist machine, famously led them, in their two volumes on Capitalism and Schizophrenia from the beginning of the nineteen seventies and eighties, towards an ethics and a politics aimed at the liberation of these machineries from the repressive, molar workings of established interests within the social formation. Their means of mapping the unconscious, social machineries of desire that are constitutive of productive forces in contemporary society, and understanding how these machineries play into the continuous organization and reorganization of socio-economic activity, led them to outline a mode of relating to these forces, which sought to escape some of their repressive and subjugating powers – first in Anti-Oedipus (1972/1983) and later in A Thousand Plateaus (1980/1987).

    However, forty years have passed since Deleuze and Guattari’s collaborative work was first published. And since then, it has been suggested that the kind of ethics and politics they advocate has been appropriated by the capitalist machinery and lost much of its potency; it has been suggested that its creative ethos, and the liberation of desire which it allegedly prescribes, has been incorporated into post-industrial innovation strategies and co-creation schemes – appropriated by Capital as yet another means for generating surplus value, now by enabling customers to engage in creative processes seemingly on their own terms (see, e.g., Lecercle, 1996; Massumi, 2003; Žižek, 2004). Some, such as Slavoj Žižek (2004), have argued, moreover, that in order to properly understand the ideological landscape of contemporary capitalism, and the productive workings of desire, one had best turn to Lacan for theoretical support. In advancing this position, Žižek has also argued that the affinity between Deleuze, Guattari, and Lacan, with respect to how they understand the logic of desire, and its relationship to creativity and the creation of the new, is much more intimate than it usually is taken to be – especially in organization studies (cf. Jones, 2010). In addition to this, Žižek has also argued that it is the earlier Deleuze – the one which had not yet teamed up with Guattari, and which for instance manifests itself in The Logic of Sense (1969/1990) – who comes closest to formulating a Lacanian materialist ontology that is capable of shedding light on the conditions under which the creation of the new emerges; much more so, than the kind of materialist ontology manifested through the political philosophy of Capitalism and Schizophrenia.[N:2]

    While the first part of such an analysis appears to have gained acceptance also among avid readers and proponents of Deleuze and Guattari’s joint work, the second part has been subject to severe criticism. For instance has Daniel Smith (2004) suggested that Anti-Oedipus is a very open-hearted attempt to build on Lacan’s thinking, albeit by taking it in a different direction than many of his own disciples – an attempt to continue Lacan’s own project of turning psychoanalysis against itself, taken to its extreme (see also Deleuze, 1995). Moreover has he maintained that the linkages between these two strands of thinking do indeed remain obscured, and ought to be explored further. Taking this conflict as its starting point, this paper starts out with a close reading of Anti-Oedipus, exploring at the same time how it attempts to build on Lacan, and how the ethics and the politics it advocates relates to the desiring production instigated by a contemporary co-creation paradigm. The paper then goes on to explore how Lacan’s own thinking on the different discursive modalities outlined in Seminar XVII and given in 1969-70, against this background and as deployed by contemporary Lacanian theorists such as Slavoj Žižek, may (not) be understood as extending our understanding of the machinic workings of contemporary capitalist dynamics – and thus also furthering the ethical and political implications of the desiring production involved herein.

    References

    Cederström, C. & Grassmann, R. (2010) The Unbearable Weight of Happiness, in Cederström, C. & Hoedemaekers, C. (eds.) Lacan and Organization, MayFly Books.

    Davis, S. (1987) Future Perfect. Addison-Wesley. Deleuze, G. (1969/1990) The Logic of Sense. Columbia University Press. Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (1972/1983) Anti-Oedipus. University of Minnesota Press. Deleuze, G. (1995) Negotiations. Columbia.

    Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (1995) Capitalism: A Very Special Delirium – an interview with Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, in Lothringer, S. (ed.) Chaosophy. Autonomedia/ Semiotexte. [Online] http://www.generation-online.org/p/fpdeleuze7.htm

    Frank, T. (1998) The Conquest of Cool. The University of Chicago Press. Grönroos, C. (2000) Service Management and Marketing. A Customer Relationship Management

    Approach. Chichester: John Wiley & Co.

    Grönroos, C. & Gummesson, E. (1985) The Nordic School of Service. Marketing, in Grönroos, C. & Gummesson, E. (eds.), Service Marketing – Nordic School Perspectives, Stockholm University Press.

    Jones, C. (2010) Lacan in Organization Studies, in Cederström, C. and Hoedemaekers, C. (eds.) Lacan and Organization, MayFly Books.

    Levitt, T. (1986) The Marketing Imagination. Free Press. Lecercle, J-J. (1996) ‘The Pedagogy of Philosophy,’ Radical Philosophy 75, January-February:

    44.

    Massumi, B. (2003) Navigating Movements, in Zournazi, M. (ed.) Hope: New Philosophies for Change. Routledge.

    Pine II, J. (1992) Mass Customization: The New Frontier in Business Competition. Harvard Business School Press.

    Pine, J. & Gilmore, J. (1999) The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage. Harvard Business School Press.

    Prahalad, C.K. & Ramaswamy, V. (2004) The Future of Competition: Co-Creating Unique Value With Customers. Harvard Business Press.

    Smith, D.W. (2004) The Inverse Side of the Structure: Žižek on Deleuze on Lacan, Criticism 46(4): 635-650.

    Sköld, D. (2009) An Evil King ‘Thing’, Rising, Falling and Multiplying in Trucker Culture, Organization, 16(2): 249-266.

    Sköld, D. (2010) The Other Side of Enjoyment: Short-circuiting Marketing and Creativity in the Experience Economy, Organization, 17(3): 363-378.

    Sköld, D. & Olaison, L. (2012) Excessive Value Creation: Under the Tyranny of a New Imaginary, in Jemielniak, D. & Marks, A. (eds.) Managing Dynamic Technology-Oriented Business: High-Tech Organizations and Workplaces. IGI Global.

    Vargo, S.L. & Lusch, R.F. (2004) ‘Evolving to a New Dominant Logic for Marketing’, Journal of Marketing, 68: 1-17.

    von Hippel, E. (1988) The Sources of Innovation. von Hippel, E. (2005) Democratizing Innovation. Žižek, S. (2004) Organs Without Bodies: On Deleuze and Consequences. Routledge. 

    NOTES:

    1. For influential work supporting this belief, see, e.g., Grönroos, 2000; Pine II & Gilmore, 1999; Vargo & Lusch, 2004; von Hippel, 1988; 2005. For a somewhat longer, and indeed also broader view on this phenomenon, see, e.g., Davis, 1987; Grönroos & Gummesson, 1985; Levitt, 1986; Pine II, 1992.

    2. In a conversation with Antonio Negri from 1990, Deleuze claims that ‘Anti-Oedipus was from beginning to end a book of political philosophy.’ (Deleuze, 1995: 170)

  • 20.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    From Surplus Value to Surplus Enjoyment, and Back: The formation of dilettante knowledge as the bone in the throat of late capitalist dynamics2011Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper inquires into a dynamics that supposedly drives knowledge production in contemporary society, and more specifically in post-industrial settings which are geared towards the production and the promotion of enjoyable experiences. The analysis takes its starting point in Daniel Bell’s writings on the post-industrial society and on cultural contradictions of capitalism from the early seventies (Bell, 1972/1999; 1973). Reviewing how value creation stands in relation to knowledge in Bell’s work, the essay first takes to problematizing Bell’s conception, before recovering some observations that indeed do appear to hold some significance after nearly 40 years. These observations are related to what Slavoj Žižek (2000: 25) has termed a ‘culturalization of the market economy itself’, and raise important questions about how the knowledge-value nexus may be constituted in such economic developments. 

    Working from the assumption that the promises promoted by contemporary marketing programs cannot but fail to deliver, due to their purposive play on unsatisfiable desires, it inquires into the dynamics of value production which follows from such a structural incongruity. In this dynamics, enthusiastic amateurs who engage in the creation, the production, or indeed the staging of the various experiences, in attempts to make them correspond to lofty expectations, become a most central component. A component whose knowledge production—i.e., the knowledge acquired and refined through enthusiastic involvement – may be understood as an excessive element that is difficult, if not impossible, to tame or control, and which thereby possesses an inherent power to dislocate the material base of economic value production. In this sense, this dilettante, excessive knowledge could be said to make out a bone in the throat for late-capitalist dynamics; an inherent impossibility which contributes to capitalist production revolutionizing its own conditions. 

    In an attempt to theorize the dynamics which drives the activity and the work through which such dilettante knowledge is being generated, the paper accounts for the affinity between Marx’s notion of surplus value and Lacan’s notion of surplus enjoyment. Elaborating on how Lacan modeled the notion of surplus enjoyment upon Marx’s thinking on value, the paper goes on to explore how the effects following from an increased production and promotion of enjoyment in contemporary society, could be said to make out an inherent limit of Capital in post-industrial settings—in a similar way as the usurpation of surplus value made out an inherent limit of Capital in Marx’s writings.

  • 21.
    Sköld, David
    Dept. of Industrial economics and management, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.
    In need of Medication?: Review of: Emma Bell (2008) Reading Management and Organization in Film.2008In: ephemera: theory & politics in organization, ISSN 1473-2866, Vol. 8, no 4, p. 499-503Article, book review (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 22.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Kickstarting a Financial Revolution?: Exploring the liberating logic of crowdfunded ventures2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    “It is, perhaps, one of the most powerful developments in our modern-day socioeconomics, and it promises both to transform the capital formation landscape and to offer an avenue for a creative and intellectual rebirth.” (Lawton & Marom, 2013)

    Over the past eight years or so, the interest in micro-financed business ventures and other creative projects has risen quite dramatically. Artistic activities and technological developments, scientific research, entrepreneurial initiatives, and adventurous events now try to win the public’s favor and its excess capital on crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe, Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and FundedByMe. With the pledges to successfully funded projects amounting to 422 million US dollars on Kickstarter alone (since the start in 2009), and with this financing principle emerging in new markets through an ever increasing range of platforms, crowdfunding is indeed beginning to make out a significant institution in the realms of venture capital. Judging by the current craze surrounding this socio-economic phenomenon, it constitutes a most appealing alternative at that. It has popularly been portrayed, for instance, as a possibility for more peripheral actors, who find it difficult to convince traditional funding bodies of their potential value, to access faster and more flexible funding schemes, and get their means of subsistence directly from those who best understand and appreciate what is at stake. It has been seen as a possibility for creative and innovative actors to establish more intimate bonds to customers as well as other enthusiastic stakeholders, and learn from the collective wisdom they possess from the very start of the project. It has been seen as a possibility for different kind of originators to free themselves from established institutions and structures, and in a more direct and independent way take advantage of a a widespread fan base or a certain community spirit. In connection to this, it has also been seen as a possibility to reduce risk and uncertainty when initiating a new project – the first customers already being committed to it, with sales as well as further promotion thereby being secured through a loyal following.

    But it is not only from the creator’s point of view that crowdfunding has been seen as altering the conditions for value creation in a favorable way. Also from the financiers’ perspective – that of the funding public, the crowd, the community – has it been seen as a possibility to retain a bit of power over the productive forces, and to exercise at least a tad bit of influence over where society is headed; it has been seen as a possibility to impact creative and intellectual developments, without having to rely on some intermediary to channel and redirect our benefactions, and our dreams and desires of the world of tomorrow. Moreover has it been said to provide a stimulating social activity that in itself may be fun, playful, and possibly induce collective action. One that, according to Kevin Lawton and Dan Marom (2013), caters to an inert human “need to support and feel involvement in the kinds of projects and companies that we care about”, and one that may help “galvanize a community” – to put it in the words of Seth Fine, co-director of the first crowdfunded film to win an Oscar (Murphy, 2013). [NOTE: On February 24, 2013, the short documentary Inocente became the first Kickstarter-funded film to receive an Oscar.]

    All in all, the crowdfunding phenomenon has been portrayed as a major (potential) transformation of how capital is allocated to creative and intellectual developments. A revolution, even, of capital formation and financial markets, and at the same time a democratization movement, which circumvents the bottleneck constituted by established financial institutions and enables an ever-widening range of initiatives to be funded by broader segments of society. Insofar as it contributes to displacing the power over art and culture, technology and innovation, to the intersection between an interested public and creators who stand detached from the demands and desires of finance capital, this funding principle may certainly appear to hold a lot of promise.

    Without renouncing the potential favors of crowdfunding, and without reducing this funding principle to one working dynamics, the paper seeks, in a first instance, to deconstruct the exhilarated discourse surrounding this phenomenon. This, so as to map out the assumed logic of its liberating potential, and the kind of power regime it is contrasted against. In a second instance, the paper goes on to explore the workings of the kind of productive machineries that this funding principle may in fact entail. With a particular interest in how crowdfunded ventures play on desire and feed off “inspired crowds”, it turns to Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s political philosophy to conceptualize how the power relations at work in this kind of production may be constituted – how power may be distributed and how it may work within the kind of machineries encountered here, and particularly with respect to the desiring machines they mobilize and feed upon. Ultimately, the question that the paper circles around is how one may conceive of the political dimension of the creative energy that is mobilized by crowdfunded ventures, and liberated from the desires of financial capital, in exchange for that of the crowd.

    References

    Lawton, Kevin & Marom, Dan (2013) The Crowdfunding Revolution: How to Raise Venture Capital Using Social Media. MacGraw Hill eBooks.

    Murphy, Samantha (2013) “Oscar Win Is a First for Kickstarter-Funded Film”, at Mashable.com, 130225. [Online: http://on.mash.to/15gCAYJ] 

  • 23.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Lacan and Organization2013In: Scandinavian Journal of Management, ISSN 0956-5221, E-ISSN 1873-3387, Vol. 29, no 2, p. 205-206Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 24.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Management Without Management: A suppressed dynamics of transformational leadership2010In: Theology and Organization: konferensbidrag, Academy of Management CMS workshop on Theology and Organization in Montreal, August 2010 / [ed] Sverre Spoelstra & Bent Meier Sørensen, 2010Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Probing into the dynamics of contemporary knowledge formation processes, this article addresses the notion of transformational leadership. Drawing on a strand of research that has proposed leadership theorizing to miraculate its object of study, and to operate by means of seduction (see, e.g., Calás & Smircich, 1991; Spoelstra, 2010), it explores the enthralling—and indeed hegemonic—workings of the knowledge discourse surrounding this concept. Invoking Jacques Lacan’s thinking on discourse, as outlined in Seminar XVII but also as reread by Slavoj Žižek, the article articulates how such a discourse of the university has come to constitute an ideological fantasy structure that urges prospective consumers to enjoy some rare—if not altogether unattainable—feats of management. Inquiring into the discursive dynamics at work here casts light on suppressed aspects of this fantasy, and points towards a number of both unforeseen and unintended consequences possibly stemming from the propagation and widespread consumption of this spectacular knowledge formation.

     

  • 25.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Revision, Critique?: Exploring the limits of Anti-Oedipus under an imperative to co-create2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper revisits the joint works of Deleuze and Guattari’s on Capitalism and Schizophrenia (1972/1983; 1980/1987), to explore to what extent the politics of desire they proscribe, stills holds a potential for critiquing and resisting the dynamics of the contemporary capitalist machinery. In a times when innovation strategies often look to the customer’s input in different guises – in the form of creativity (in, e.g., co-creation), production (in, e.g., crowd-sourcing), or even financing (in, e.g., crowd funding) – the creative ethos often ascribed to Deleuze and Guattari’s political philosophy has as of late been accused of re-enacting and reinforcing the machinic workings it was once supposed to counteract. Slavoj Žižek (2004) has for instance suggested that this politics has been subject to shrewd appropriation by the same forces that motivated Deleuze and Guattari to launch their critique in the 1970’s and the 1980’s. Others, such as Daniel Smith (2004), have however argued that Deleuze and Guattari’s thinking in fact eludes the kind of criticism that for instance Žižek has directed towards it. In the light of this debate, and of contemporary management ideals, the paper seeks to revise the critique issued towards Deleuze and Guattari’s political project. 

  • 26.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    SoundCloud All In: Surplus Enjoyment and Value Creation in Post-Industrial Society2011Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article performs a reading of an advertising film promoting an enterprising spirit that circles around passion and enjoyment. Turning to psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan for theoretical support, it explores the relationship between advertising and enjoyment as it has been thought in a Lacanian vein, and proposes that at least three different dynamics are at play in the advertisement. The article centres on an understanding of the advertisement’s administration of enjoyment that pertains to what Lacan (2007) labelled the ‘the university discourse.’ While the dynamics highlighted through this discursive mode remains within the paradigm of an economy of desire, the article explores the possibility of understanding the enterprising example it sets as also, and more significantly, promoting an economy of the drive.

  • 27.
    Sköld, David
    Dept. of Business & Administration, Lund University.
    The Flipside of Creativity2009In: Proceedings: 25th European Group of Organization Studies Colloquium in Barcelona, 2009Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In discussions circling around what makes successful leadership, the notion of creativity is often cherished as a key component. Inspiring and motivating creative thinking and unorthodox modes of operation, and fostering opportunities for associates to utilize such means so as to enhance organizational performance, are often posited as some of the most important tasks on part of the contemporary leader. Allowing scope for associates to passionately engage in creative efforts is often assumed to foster personal development and provide opportunities for self-realization. Which supposedly is desirable both for the individual and the organization in its entirety, since this is assumed to bring a certain degree of harmony to the business – for instance, by aligning refractory interests. So the story goes, at least, in that specific turn of leadership studies which has been headed by Bernard Bass (1985, 1999, 2000) and others (see e.g., Avolio & Bass, 1995; Bass & Avolio, 1997; Avolio, Bass & Jung, 1999; Bass & Riggio, 2006), and which is often referred to as transformational leadership.

    Turning to Slavoj Žižek’s reading of Jacques Lacan’s work, and specifically the framework of the four discourses of psychoanalysis, this essay strives to explore another, and quite contradictory side of this beguiling story. Indeed, it argues that the concept of transformational leadership – as it is commonly theorized by Burns and others – best be understood as an ideological construct that is perfectly aligned with a broader discourse in late capitalist, contemporary society. And it pays special interest to a dynamics arguably lurking in the shadows of the idealized depictions of the phenomenon that one typically comes across in much literature homing in on the topic; to a suppressed dynamics arguably also at work in the ideological discourses promoting it as an ‘exemplary’ form of leadership (cf. Conger, 1999).

    Ultimately the essay suggests that transformational leadership, through such ideological formations, is posited as a management without management, an art of leadership without the arduous and perhaps even repressive aspects inherent to management, but instead something to be enjoyed by all associated with it. And it attempts to establish a link between this proposed enjoyment and rather disharmonious workings supposedly inherent to this kind of phenomenon. This is a disharmony which stands in close relationship with hysteria and with perverse masochistic ways of subjecting to the supposed expectations of the leader – leading, possibly, to stress, agony and burnout.

  • 28.
    Sköld, David
    Dept. of Business & Administration, Lund University.
    The Other Side of Enjoyment: Short-circuiting Marketing and Creativity in the Experience Economy2010In: Organization, ISSN 1350-5084, E-ISSN 1461-7323, Vol. 17, no 3, p. 363-378Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The notion of experience economy asserts that staging the most mundane consumption practise as individualized entertainment adds value to the producer and consumer alike (Pine and Gilmore, 1999).This article questions this assumption of mere added value.Probing into an interplay between a marketing fantasy and a customer movement passionately engaging with its promise, it draws attention to a structural inability to enjoy the pleasures that the experience economy revolves around. Invoking the theoretical apparatus outlined by Lacan in The Other Side of Psychoanalysis (2007), the analysis sheds light on a social dynamics regulating this impossibility.This brings to the fore a range of ethical, political and economic consequences left largely untended by the literature, and dwelling on the other side of the lustrous enjoyment that so easily captures our imagination.

  • 29.
    Sköld, David
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    The Power of the Gaze, and the disintegration of symbolic identity2010In: Vision, Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism, 2010Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 30.
    Sköld, David
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Dymek, Mikolaj
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Exploring Visual Production of Entrepreneurship: The case of SoundCloud going ‘All In’ with Adidas2012In: Conference on Management and Film: The pharmakon of film & new media, 2012Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Extended abstract

    Facilitated by various Internet technologies, contemporary advertising campaigns have arguably come to make use of ever-more elaborate architectural approaches to building brands and communicating with the market. Intricate arrangements of text, hypertext, sound/music/radio, interactive animations/illustrations, photos/graphics, video/television makes out a key component of such developments, which has blurred the line between traditional media formats, and opened up new avenues for addressing and appealing to potential consumers. As of late, social media has further contributed to such divergent convergence, and to blurring the line between production and consumption of advertising campaigns, with phenomena like YouTube operating foremost, perhaps, as an enabler for sharing video – one that has led to the proliferation of the short, amateurish, personal, and often captivating video clip, which leads a viral existence, appearing and reappearing in ever new contexts as it roams the worldwide web, and leaves a broad range of value producing activities in its wake. This being a kind of value production that stems out of the exchange, the new video format has not only come to redefine what video is (i.e., how it is made and how it is intended to operate), but also how it functions – how it is used, and how it produces value in society. By consequence, this redefinition has come to change the strategies for how market communication is conducted over the Internet – with organisations increasingly using visual and video-based communication as a foundation for the entire communication schemes (e.g., company presentation videos, news announcements, product demonstrations, advertising to mention a few). 

    This paper inquires into the processes and the strategic work whereby such video-based communication comes into being. And it does so by drawing attention to the production of a video advertisement through which the multinational sportswear company Adidas enters into a strategic collaboration with a tech start-up that is beginning to play a key role in the merging of digital media – borrowing both lifestyle credentials and a passionate attitude from the realm of web entrepreneurship. For along with the booming success and growing social impact of digital media, the creators of the tools and the technological platforms allowing this realm to converge – usually called ‘web entrepreneurs’ – have become the centre of attention of a reflexive, meta-level discourse that circles around the influential position of the technological applications, as well as the adventures of enterprising into this unpredictable, and highly lucrative world. Hailed as the epitome of success, fame, intelligence, business acumen, pioneering boldness, these entrepreneurs serve as iconic representatives of theirrespective media technologies/services – some, as Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, having had their their private lives, engineering deeds and professional rivalry dramatized and turned into award-winning full-length movies. What would, moreover, Google be without Larry Page and Sergey Brin? Or, to tie back to the topic of this paper, what would the less known, but subculturally dominant sound platform SoundCloud be without its two founders Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss?

    SoundCloud is a music service popularly deemed “the world’s leading social sound platform where anyone can create sounds and share them everywhere” (SoundCloud 2012). Founded by two former students at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2008, the company is based in Berlin, and employs some 80 people. Over the past four or five years the service has captured 10 million users (Noël 2012), and after a recent funding round by world-renowned US venture capital funds, it was valued at 1.4 billion Swedish kronor (approximately !160 million) (Dagens Industri 2012). Their stars undoubtedly on the rise, the two founders of the sound platform were, in the early spring 2011, singled out as the main feature of the Scandinavian/Swedish implementation of Adidas’ global marketing campaign One Brand Anthem (OBA), which was directed, recorded and swiftly launched in mid-April the same year. With the strategic intention of unifying various different brands and category campaigns under one and the same slogan, the OBA campaign by Montreal-based agency Sid Lee was the biggest globally coordinated advertising effort in the history of Adidas at the time of its launch (Schori 2011). If the coordination efforts were complex, its basic message was all the more concise, circling around the concept of “All in.” According to the agency brief, the meaning of this brief slogan was intended to be that “we’re connected (together) through our love of the game (passion), no matter the game” (Sid Lee 2010), it also featured French electronic duo Justice, American pop-star Katy Perry, US rapper B.o.B, English football legend David Beckham, Argentine football super-star Lionel Messi, US NBA-profile Derrick Rose and a host of other endorsers.

    The Scandinavian part of the worldwide campaign was focused around a two-tiered campaign of ATL (Above The Line) communication, i.e. bought mass-media communication, as well as a digital and social media oriented, video-based, public relations/market communications campaign. The prime concern of this paper is the latter stage of this campaign, which revolved around the adaptation of the global campaign into a Scandinavian context by communications agency Jung Relations. This resulted in a similar celebrity endorser-based campaign, but with portraits of alternative spokespersons (“local ambassadors”) ranging from Swedish DJ duo Rebecca & Fiona, an innovative sushi chef, a prominent street artist, several sportsmen (one in wheelchair), through a coffee bean micro-roastery, a fashion boutique, to the two SoundCloud founders. Each of the twenty celebrity endorsers were portrayed in short YouTube clips that were seeded through various official Facebook Adidas pages and several other social media channels. What interests us, in the remainder of this paper, is the genealogy of this particular Adidas advertisement – that is, how it has come to be, what the campaign is intended to convey from the marketer-endorser side, and what this may tell us of the way in which it lends meaning and valorizes web enterprising and entrepreneurship.

    Now, as an advertisement campaign issued by a multinational sportswear company, turned into popular entertainment, and borrowing meaning and value created within a realm located beyond the formal control of the organisation, this kind of marketing scheme could easily be subject to various forms of critique. Immediately suggesting itself here, are at least two strandsof post-Marxist critiques. One proposing that such schemes imply an appropriation of value by multinational capitalist corporations – Capital – from its rightful creator/producer (see, e.g. Zwick, Bonsu, & Darmody 2008). And another accusing it of feeding into a spirit of a consumerist capitalism and an economy of desire where the motor force resides in a sensation of dissatisfaction, which continuously displaces customer interest onto a next Adidas consumable (see, e.g., Stavrakakis 2000). These two strands of critique may indeed merge in the works of, for instance, Zupančič (2006) and Sharpe (2006). What we are faced with here, such a critique may indeed suggest, is yet another case of the structural movement of Capital as devoid of any fixed meaning, and in need of (sub)cultural content from which to extract passion and enjoyment, and ultimately new meaning and value – and doing so through advertising that addresses us in a seductive and entertaining fashion, talking to our passionate interests, and seemingly on our own terms. But, in fact, operating in the service of Capital, appropriating and integrating this cultural produce into its workings, on the conditions of Capital itself. Our position in this paper, however, is that such a critique might indeed be somewhat premature, and ascribe too much strategic intent to the multinational sportswear company, and too much determination to the dynamics at play here.

    Inquiring, instead, into the research, planning, and production of the video, carried out by the communications agency Jung Relations, this paper conducts a range of in-depth interviews with executives at the communications agency Jung Relations involved in the Adidas campaign. The aim of this explorative work is to juxtapose two parallel perspectives on the mediatisation of entrepreneurship discourse in this “new media entrepreneurial” landscape: a consumer culture theoretical (CCT) perspective, and a post-Marxist Lacanian framework (one that enters into debate with Zupančič and Sharpe). According to McCracken’s (1989) seminal article, which practically established the CCT tradition, the central foundation of the (celebrity) endorser process is the cultural meanings that are transferred from the celebrity via the endorsement and consumption to the consumer. What the celebrity adds, except the obvious fundamental extra attention, is the highly specific cultural meaning, in relation to general categories of gender, age, lifestyle, etc, that the celebrity has managed to associate with him/herself during his/her career, as part of an ongoing negotiation process of meaning creation through mass-media. McCracken separates the process into three stages:

    1. Culture

    2. Endorsement

    3. Consumption

    The celebrity endorser belongs to a special category of famous person within the culturally constituted world. The reason for using a celebrity, as opposed to anonymous actors, is the pivotal fact that a celebrity is charged with a very specific and broadly-known cultural meaning. This meaning is most easily communicated with the use of the specific celebrity as spokesperson instead of having actors perform this message by acting, speaking and referencing to semiotic markers (appearance, environments, props, etc):

    “When the celebrity brings these meanings into an ad, they are, in a sense, merely passing along meanings with which they have been charged by another meaning transfer process” (McCracken 1989).

    These meanings are not only purely positive, but naturally negative as well. Consequently the role of the second stage, the endorsement, is to enhance only the messages that the advertising/endorsement ideally wants to associate with and receive from the celebrity. Theendorsement consequently creates a context within the advertising that cue the consumer to the intended message by means of communicational redundancy. Hopefully the consumer “discovers” the similarities between the endorser and product, and the meaning has been transferred to the product. The last stage of consumption does not by default transfer the meaning from the endorser to the consumer as this is a highly dynamic and recursive process of meaning negotiation on part of the consumer. There are countless perspective on this last process, but this ultimate step is outside of the scope of this paper.

    The crucial focus in our analysis is the relation between the cultural notion of entrepreneurship, the cultural portrayal of this notion generated in the Adidas/SoundCloud cooperation, and finally the organizational process of producing this meaning. Many rewarding perspectives are afforded by Holt’s (Holt 2002) theoretical framework of cultural branding (Holt 2004). Holt claims that branding in the age of consumer culture can be divided into three stages of modern, postmodern and finally post-postmodern consumer culture. In the postmodern consumer culture era there are five principal techniques employed by marketers to communicate with consumers in terms of branding as part of the culturally constituted world: authentic cultural resources, ironic/reflexive brand personas, coattailing on cultural epicenters, lifeworld emplacement and stealth branding. All of these techniques are at play in the Adidas/SoundCloud case, but the most powerful dimension for our analysis is provided by the coattailing on cultural epicenters. This constitutes one of the most ubiquitous strategies employed by contemporary consumer brands – the weaving of brands into expressive cultural epicenters such as arts/music, fashion, ethnic subcultures, professional communities and consumption communities. By associating with these cultural expression forms brands attempt to transfer the desirable meanings from the meaning-generating cultural production centers onto themselves and consequently through the consumption process continuing to the consumer.

    What is striking is the radically shifting societal position of entrepreneurship, and how the meaning of this notion is shifting and becoming equated with significantly more established cultural expression forms and their respective epicenters. Our paper aims to analyse what type of cultural meanings from this new cultural epicenter that are intended to be transferred on part of the marketer/endorser, and what this tells us about the transforming meaning and role of entrepreneurship.

    References

    Dagens Industri. (2012). Miljardvärdering på svenskarnas musikbolag, Dagens Industri, Available: http://di.se/Artiklar/2012/1/3/255052/Svenskarnas-musikbolag/. Accessed: 2012-01-03.

    Holt, D. (2002). "Why Do Brands Cause Trouble? A Dialectical Theory of Consumer Culture and Branding", Journal of Consumer Research. 29(1).

    Holt, D. B. (2004). How Brands Become Icons: The Principles of Cultural Branding, Harvard Business School Press.

    McCracken, G. (1989). "Who is the Celebrity Endorser? Cultural Foundations of the Endorsement Process", Journal of Consumer Research. 16(3), 310-321.

    Noël, D. (2012). Thank You – 10 Million Times, SoundCloud, Available: http://blog.soundcloud.com/2012/01/23/ten-million/. Accessed: 2012-01-23.

    Schori, M. (2011). Adidas går all in, Dagens Media, Available: http://www.dagensmedia.se/nyheter/kampanjer/article3128309.ece. Accessed: 2011-03- 16.

    Sharpe, M. (2006). "The “Revolution” in Advertising and University Discourse". In Jacques Lacan and the Other Side of Psychoanalysis – Reflections on Seminar XVII, J.Clemens & R. Grigg (Eds.), Duke.

    Sid Lee. (2010). Adidas SS11 OBA Campaign, Sid Lee. SoundCloud. (2012). About SoundCloud, SoundCloud, Available: http://soundcloud.com/pages/contact. Accessed: 2012-02-13.

    Stavrakakis, Y. (2000). "On the Critique of Advertising Discourse", Third Text. 14(51).

    Zupančič, A. (2006). "When Surplus Enjoyment Meets Surplus Value". In Jacques Lacan and the Other Side of Psychoanalysis – Reflections on Seminar XVII, J. Clemens & R. Grigg (Eds.), Duke.

    Zwick, D., Bonsu, S. K. & Darmody, A. (2008). "Putting Consumers to Work: ‘Co-creation’ and new marketing govern-mentality", Journal of Consumer Research. 8(2).

  • 31.
    Sköld, David
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Forsberg, Petter
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    The Emergence of Equity Crowdfunding & CrowdEquity Ltd.: Exploring the relationship between crowdfunding models and emergent legislative frameworks2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    “It is, perhaps, one of the most powerful developments in our modern-day socioeconomics, and it promises both to transform the capital formation landscape and to offer an avenue for a creative and intellectual rebirth.” (Lawton & Marom, 2013)

    Over the past eight years or so, the interest in micro-financed business ventures and other creative projects has risen quite dramatically. Anything from artistic activities to technological development projects, and scientific research, now try to win the public’s favor and its excess capital on crowdfunding platforms such as Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and Kiva, or in the Swedish context, GoFundMe or FundedByMe. With the pledges to successfully funded projects amounting to more than 750 million US dollars on Kickstarter alone (at the end of August 2013), and with this financing principle emerging in new markets through an ever increasing range of platforms, crowdfunding is indeed beginning to make out a significant institution in the realms of venture capital – so significant, and with such promise, in fact, that rigid investment laws/regulations in the United States, which have remained the same for almost 80 years, have recently come to be reformed (see, e.g., Kassan & Long, 2012; Obama, 2012).

    Analyses and opinions part, however, on the potential that this financing principle has for transforming the conditions for artistic as well as entrepreneurial endeavors, and for society by and large, for social, cultural, and economic institutions, and ultimately for the dynamics of value creation; and analyses and opinions part on what interests this financing principle may actually serve, and what effects it will bring. While it has, on the one hand, been hailed as an institution that democratizes venture capital, and an opportunity for the so called 99% to get a bit of influence over investments formerly controlled by the 1%, by optimistic commentators and promoters such as Kevin Lawton and Dan Marom (2013), quoted above, recent legal reforms geared to support the crowdfunding phenomenon (by allowing a broader range of investment models than merely rewards and donations) – namely, the JOBS Act that passed the US Senate on April 5, 2012, and which opens for makes it legal to issue equity investment funds for cooperative start-ups – have, on the other hand, been understood as a plot directed by Wall Street that will seriously undermine the potential of this financing principle. More specifically, it has been understood as a plot by Wall Street to avoid regulations from the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) by further deregulating the flows of capital – and ultimately positing this financing principle as one that allows for more of that which for instance the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was made to counter. More “speculation, fraud and destabilization of the economy at the expense of the 99%”, as the signature Geminijen of Anti-Capitalist Meetup (2013), has put it in My Firedoglake’s reader diaries.

    In this paper, we explore the relationship between different crowdfunding models/schemes and the emergent legislative frameworks that are currently being elaborated and effectuated to regulate how the general public, or the so called crowds, may invest in new startup ventures. The starting point for this analysis is that these legislative frameworks, which in a first instance are put in place to allow public investments in crowdfunded ventures, not only will impact the future of crowdfunding, but that they will also be conditioned/impacted by various social, political, and economic forces that contribute to shaping the regulatory reforms. Starting off by looking at the promises associated with crowdfunding, and a number of premonitions that have emerged in the wake of the regulative frameworks imposed on equity crowdfunding through the JOBS Act, the paper goes on to exhibit/explore and discuss how equity crowdfunding, despite the formal regulations that have been said to circumcise it, and despite the many interests having impacted the bill before it was passed into Law (and turned into an act), nevertheless has been said to possess a subversive socio-economic power vis-à-vis the traditional financial industry – due to the social dynamics and the informal orders also regulating this arena, and due to the opportunity it offers for interest groups, who usually find themselves on different sides in the debate, to join forces and undermine established power structures within the finance industry, for instance. In a third section, the paper rewinds the tape, and broadens the perspective on crowdfunding, as it takes a look at a range of different crowdfunding principles and platforms currently emerging, and at how they relate to the awaited regulations that will follow upon the JOBS Act – and to the legislative limbo presently marking many domains of the crowdfunding arena. To what extent does the regulative framework impact already established actors, and to what extent do other value systems, and social and politico-economical agendas impact the strategies pursued within the crowdfunding arena. This is the question guiding this section. And it leads on to – or transmogrifies into – a more concentrated account and discussion of a current Swedish initiative to establish a crowdfunding (crowd equity) platform; this in a setting where no legislative reforms have yet been made to facilitate and to regulate equity crowdfunding.

  • 32.
    Sköld, David
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Lindahl, Marcus
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Fornstedt, Helena
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    The emergence of neoconservative market structures in the energy transmission industry: Rejecting innovation, in the ruins of mutual domestic development collaborations2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The expectations on industrial actors in the energy transmission sector to lead and facilitate the transition to renewable energy solutions are building up. When significant financial institutions (such as coalitions of pension funds) are taking serious action to drop investments in coal, oil and gas, to instead invest in sustainable technologies, energy transmission is identified as one of the most central areas, insofar as it sets the limits for how renewable energy sources may interact, and it stakes out the direction for what kind of renewable energy technologies are worth investing in. What remains a question, however, is where the innovative spirit needed to facilitate a transition to renewable energy solutions find its power. Components and subsystems for energy transmission are characterized by extremely high demands on reliability and long product life cycles. Consequently, investing in new technology within this realm is seen as a risky endeavor. And energy transmission has therefore been known to be a market marked by a conservative reflex – a reflex that has worked against radical technological developments within this realm.

    Historically, this conservative reflex has been dealt with through strategic national development programs, through which daring and demanding customers – often state utilities in domestic markets – have been integrated in the value-creating processes, for instance. As Fridlund (1999) has shown, this has driven development as well as diffusion/ adoption of new products and technologies within this realm. However, the past decades have seen significant shifts in how energy markets are organized – how utility-customers interact with suppliers, and procure and otherwise relate to new technology.

    The aim of this paper is to explore and discuss how structural changes within the energy industry have altered the conditions for diffusing new technological applications, made intimate collaborations in the ‘home’ market impossible, and mobilized a set of forces that appear to be stalling innovation adoption in important market segments. The analysis presented in the paper adds to a discussion of how free market ideology paired with managerial initiatives assumed to increase competition/competitiveness and innovation/ innovativeness within these industrial domains have lead to more complex modes of interaction, which appear to be threatening the perceived innovation gain in the adopting environment/client network. Whereas prior research into client–supplier relationships in the energy sector (see e.g., Berggren et al. 2001) has highlighted how increased complexity and organizational fragmentation (on part of both suppliers and clients) impacts the management of large scale projects and the incentives for implementing new innovative solutions during the execution of turn-key deliveries, the present analysis provides a more detailed account of how technology is perceived to be evaluated and procured within this industry, mainly from a supplier’s perspective. The article suggests that the increasingly market-based relations, paired with managerial strategies to increase competition and innovativeness within the utilities sector, have opened up the value chain to more disparate value creating logics, and entertained an industry/market dynamics that has diluted the incentives to adopt new technology; this by distributing the innovation utility over a broader range of actors, and institutional, organizational and business-related logics.

  • 33.
    Sköld, David
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
    Olaison, Lena
    Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.
    Excessive Value Creation: Under the Tyranny of a New Imaginary2012In: Managing Dynamic Technology-Oriented Business: High-Tech Organizations and Workplaces / [ed] Jemielniak, Dariusz & Marks, Abigail, Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2012, p. 192-208Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This chapter demonstrates how contemporary imaginary structures, which urge us to move up in life by making the most of the possibilities we are faced with, may operate in an industrial setting where users are involved in the production of heavy duty vehicles. Opening up new domains for value creation, devoid of established norms and regulations, this appeal to elevate ourselves arguably provides little guidance for how to do so. Demanding ever more from those subjected to its call, this appealing power, the chapter suggests, follows the logic of the Lacanian superego, which according to Salecl (2004, p. 51) “commands the subject to enjoy yet at the same time mockingly predicts that he or she will fail in this pursuit of enjoyment.” As such, it makes out a central component in a creative force that feeds excessive outgrowths, which perpetually contribute to pervert, displace, and fragment established grounds for value creating activities within this industrial domain.

  • 34.
    Sköld, David
    et al.
    Dept. of Industrial Economics and Management, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Rehn, Alf
    Åbo Akademi University, Dept of Organization and Management and Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.
    Makin' It, by Keeping It Real: Street Talk, Rap Music, and the Forgotten Entrepreneurship From “the ’Hood”2007In: Group & Organization Management, ISSN 1059-6011, Vol. 32, no 1, p. 50-78Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article deals with rap music and with two distinct discourses in which rap artists habitually engage. It also deals with the way that one, in these, can find a dialectic between the special and the mundane, between succeeding – makin’ it – and remaining loyal to the values of your community or culture – keeping it real. Furthermore, it deals with how the rap star Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter handles this dialectic, positing entrepreneurship as both a politics and an ethic, and how we, by reading his lyrics, are led to some forgotten localities in academic research – the disenfranchised, urban, marginalized, entrepreneurial “’hood.”

1 - 34 of 34
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